Today, we can see women holding high-profile jobs and leading industries, but we still have a long way to go. There aren’t too many women entrepreneurs in the Indian startup ecosystem and it’s a strange feeling when you go to any startup event and see only a handful of female counterparts.
It would be wrong if I say that I faced certain challenges because I am a woman; that has never been the case. India has progressed to the level where women are respected and appreciated for the work they are doing so it would be very unfair to say that I faced hurdles because of my gender. On the broader spectrum, it would be right to talk about some aspects of entrepreneurship on the whole.
These lines from Frost may sound clichéd but it is one of the things that have kept me going.
“The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep… And miles to go before I sleep”
The term “Startup” sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? It absolutely is because for us as entrepreneurs, it’s our passion that we live in the form of a startup. But then, it comes with its own set of challenges and hurdles. I started my career in fashion, with a regular 9 to 5 job and then realised that I actually wanted to do something else. I followed my instincts and today, I am working on something that I am truly passionate about. Mentioned below are the things I relearned along the course of my entrepreneurial journey:
Never Stop Believing
Not in the idea or reason that made you quit your high-paying job and risk it for a startup.
When you look from the outside, having a startup seems like the new fashion fad. Everyone wants to have a startup and be their own bosses. I would say, don’t do it for the heck of doing it. Don’t waste your time, energy and resources for something that you are not ready to put your tears, sweat and blood into.
I won’t say that you will love your job and you will enjoy every bit of the work that you will be doing, because that’s a lie. There will be 100 things that you will be doing, some of them will be nice and some of them will not be exactly what you were looking for. But, you can’t say no. You need to be prepared to give your 100% to everything that you do. When you feel lost, go back and relook at the reason for which you quit the job.
Eat, Drink, Sleep, Think Like A Customer
To me, Elanic was not just another job. It was a problem that I realised existed, one that everyone faced. And here we are, chasing the idea of optimising every bit of our customer’s closet.
In the last one and a half years, the one thing that I have learnt is that you can never and should never disconnect from your users. Think like a customer at each and every stage and don’t lose sight of the problems that you are solving for them.
It is very important to touch base with them at every stage. Do not live in your own bubble. You maybe solving the biggest problem but that problem is faced differently by each user. On a number of occasions, our users have come up with brilliant ways to make the process smoother. When you are connected to the customer, they feel that they are a part of the company and not just another user.
The ability to learn quickly is something that everyone needs to learn from children. The ability to learn and iterate quickly based on user feedbacks is one of the most important success mantras.
An entrepreneur should be very adaptive to the market and must always take data-driven decisions against the blind assumptions within themselves. This ability is very much relatable to that of a child, learn as it comes, and of course, learn fast.
It has been 18 months since my journey as an entrepreneur began but it feels like yesterday. What I would like to say to other entrepreneurs who want to start up on their own is to go ahead and do what you are really passionate about.
It’s not about one great idea or one great opportunity, it’s about what you really want to do. And it is that passion that’s going to lead you to success.