Since my MBA days, I had this strong urge of doing something of my own. Coming from a family of Kerala communists, it was natural that I had an initial urge to start something in the non-profit social sector. Thanks to the library at my first employer #DelphiTVS, I started reading business success stories and for some reason, the social sector got buried under those books.
Till date, I don’t enjoy reading Philosophy/Fiction because my reading has always been around real life situations of various entrepreneurs. Among Indian authors, Rashmi Bansal has helped me understand the situations around an entrepreneur’s life which evolve in a startup.
When I decided to startup, I had a lot of pointers in my mind which I had imbibed from those books to prepare myself for the unknown. Yet there were many situations which came as a surprise, that none of the authors mentioned. I am completing five years of being an entrepreneur on April 27. In a corporate setup, I would have been eligible for a gratuity.
But in the world I have chosen, gratuity is the learnings of these 5 years, which will make me fly higher.
Your Journey Is Only Yours
There are so many stories to get motivated and much more to feel sad about, neither compare yourself with a failed startup nor a successful one: that’s rule number one. You must learn from their mistakes but don’t compare. The way one is not supposed to compare kids, each startup is different and can’t be compared. Everyone is in the pursuit of making a difference either for himself/investor/customer/public and everyone is right in THEIR path.
Related Article: From “Student” to “Struggling” Social Entrepreneur
Don’t Take Family Sacrifice For Granted
One needs to be grateful to the family which allowed you to pursue your dream. Family may rarely complain and give up on you, but don’t take them for granted. It’s an entrepreneur’s responsibility to think from the family’s perspective too and correct the course of direction. Let the family not face the pressure of your business in terms of standard of living because one needs peace back home to face the day at the workplace.
If You Can’t Handle Stress, Don’t Be An Entrepreneur
Currently, there is a lot of glamour associated with startups, people get attracted to that and jump. Being an entrepreneur what you will face every day is uncertainty across everything: model/resources/product/ the future etc. You can’t pass on that feeling to anyone but your co-founder and still face the world with the impeccable confidence of a winner. That is not an easy one unless you are made of steel or cool as Dhoni. As I am neither of those, I look at only the brighter side of things.
Opportunity Cost Is The Excuse Coined By People For Giving Up
I think this is the most overrated word in the ecosystem. Did we think about the time we lost during our first 15 years of school? Why is that time valued in money post-education and not before? To me, the journey is meaningful as long as what you are doing today is going to help you tomorrow (not necessarily in monetary terms). Also, believe you are going to be here for eternity and live the moment.
Win Team Confidence During Successive Failures
You might be completely ready for a test game and ready to fight for the next best product/service. But the biggest challenge is to make your best team trust you and stick with you. This becomes even more challenging when you are a non-VC funded startup running on shoe string budgets with “ZERO” margin of error.
The above five points summarise critical points in my journey and I am pursuing it with the confidence that I will create and nurture something priceless and help in making this world a healthier place. The way the old saying goes, it doesn’t matter whether you are a Lion or a Deer, one needs to keep running once sun rises. The lion thinks he is the king and the deer feels sorry seeing the struggle a lion faces for his two square meals. You might have lion days and deer days!!
The last five years, have taught me to believe that it doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a deer, what matters is what you think of yourself!
[This post by Sreejith Moolayil first appeared on LinkedIn and has been reproduced with permission.]