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When You First Learnt What Entrepreneurs Did, How Did You Feel?

When You First Learnt What Entrepreneurs Did, How Did You Feel?

Entrepreneurs entrepreneurs everywhere, and you want to be too! Intrigued? Inspired? Excited?

Chances are you were swept away by the success stories of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Ratan Tata and then spent countless hours on TechCrunch and Forbes trying to know more about their lives and how they built the amazing products we can’t do without today.

Chances are many of you weren’t just excited with their wealth – yes, no doubt you wanted to live a life like them. You got a high, reading how they hustled, how they fell and got up back again, and how they steadfastly built their companies, created their empires. You were fascinated with entrepreneurs who didn’t look to take the shortcut to success, but who built sustainable companies which created actual value.

The first entrepreneurs I knew were my parents. They quit their jobs as government doctors to setup their own clinic and bootstrapped all the way to build a hospital in Gaya. They didn’t have any family backing, and there were no investors funding them. No, they didn’t care about hockey stick growth in terms of users and revenue , they cared about providing the best experience to every patient. And I loved every bit of what I saw, right from building a team, imparting skills to the staff, dealing with political and demographic hurdles of Bihar, to the art of bootstrapping. They could have worked in Delhi or some other country. But they didn’t. My parents made Gaya their home and worked hard to change the healthcare scenario there.

I saw how they worked like a startup team early on, when they were on their own, and how they became so good at delegating the staff and getting things done more efficiently. It gave me a ton of knowledge about how to start and sustain a venture.

I was inspired by their dedication to doing things that were not the ‘ín things’, ventures that took time to scale, but over the long term were sustainable and created value. That’s why I chose to be an entrepreneur!

When I tell my dad about how the likes of OYO and TinyOwl raise millions of dollars for hyper growth, he always tells me they’re building their companies the wrong way! We don’t discuss the specifics and business models of each company but our discussion usually centers around how companies are raising too much capital in too short a time to finance unstable growth on top of unsustainable economics with inexperienced teams. We discuss about how how today’s entrepreneurs are more concerned about growing too big too fast so that they can cash in and get rich.

We discuss about how a lot of our generation entrepreneurs haven’t learnt what true hustling actually means ,  that all they think is that building an app and getting a bunch of smart kids from A-listed engineering colleges together will allow them to raise funds. And I have to tell you, my dad gets it right most of the times with his predictions , a year ago he told me TinyOwl won’t survive and I didn’t pay heed, but I guess we all saw what happened.

I think we’d agree that we are becoming entrepreneurs for all the wrong reasons now — to build unicorns, to raise a Series A in the first year of business, to get acquired. This attitude is creating bad entrepreneurs.

Today, you’d find founders living in kothis, and driving fancy cars after raising funds without having any revenue. You’d see glorified real estate web apps come up and their founders talk trash to their older peers who could have been their mentors instead. You’d find people hire a content analyst from one of the A-listed engineering colleges rather than going to a Mass Comm. university (maybe this works, who knows?). We’re building companies which are attracting customers based on discount campaigns, and in the process ruining the whole industry. We’re creating jobs which are not needed, hiring people whom we don’t need, and all this to get a high valuation and to raise a larger round. I can go on and on about this!

Let’s look deep, introspect, and come back to where we started — to the very same question — why we wanted to be entrepreneurs?

Do you see it now? Our reasons have changed over time. We want billions over millions now. But at what cost?

No! This isn’t why we took up entrepreneurship, rather why we shouldn’t. Cliched it might sound but yes, there is no shortcut to success. Good things happen over a period of time when you’re willing to work hard every single day. There will be highs of course, but far more lows in this journey. I think we need to go back in time when we were growing up observing entrepreneurs — we need to model ourselves on that path.

Yes, the reason why we wanted to be entrepreneurs is not for fame or money, but for the kind of impact we can create with our work. We need to chase sustainable growth, and build companies not just for raising funds, but for providing jobs to thousands year-after-year.

Let’s do this!

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.


Abhineet Kumar founded Rocketfood and is passionate about community building where he leads @thousandnetwork
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