Entrepreneurship? Wow, sounds so fancy! Whenever we think about entrepreneurship/ entrepreneurs, the very first image if of a suited white American stepping out of a private jet to crack a billion-dollar deal. Magazines, coverage, billion-dollar funding, yacht, independence, respect, fame, it looks one has it all. Being an entrepreneur, at times it makes me so sad to seeing how falsely this image of ‘glamourized entrepreneurship’ is sold to people making them fall in this career with unrealistic get Rich quick expectations.
Entrepreneurship is a path of self-discovery, you have an idea, you believe in it so much while you risk everything aside - you risk your money, your time, your health, your career, your dreams, your reputation, and more importantly you risk your heart and soul.
You risk all of it for a vision no one except you can see, you sacrifice a lot, feel like giving up every day but just don’t want to. Every day is a new challenge, you begin with wanting to solve one problem but end up with 10 new problems everyday. You see your friends having work-life balance while at times all you do in your life is work but seem to be lost.
By stating the facts, I don’t intend to discourage anyone who wants to startup. Starting up is great but just know what the pool has to be offer and more importantly what it asks for before you make that jump. Do not jump only because it’s ‘cool ‘ to be a founder or you might raise that million-dollar round.
The best of change-makers we have had, all of them had one thing in common - ‘The purpose or the why!’ Talk around or read about any entrepreneur you idolize and at the end you will realize all of them had ‘something they fought for ‘, something ‘they believed’, and that makes all the difference.
For me, my encounter to entrepreneurship was accidental. I started my career as a social entrepreneur ( I realized that’s what it’s called at a later stage ) where at the age of 16, I wanted to admit some street kids to school with a desire to ‘do something good !’ Very little did I know that that particular encounter would explore this new world of entrepreneurship where we as human beings have the power to create sustainable solutions with the problems we are not ok with.
The initial success at Kilkari gave me the confidence to experiment more on solving problems and exploring my traits of leadership and entrepreneurship in many ways. I soon started my journey to the startup world just to realize it’s not the Steve jobs movie I got inspired from.
I was in the real world seeing it all - from being rejected because of my gender to chasing investors just to listen that I should stop dreaming and ‘ settle down. ‘ As an entrepreneur, every day you’ll be questioned doubted may be made fun of but what really matters is what you ‘fight for .’
To be able to have your ‘why ‘ or ‘purpose’ very clear, one must know the reality of entrepreneurship. It is not the jet lifestyle we fantasize in movies or magazines ( though it might be the outcome someday ) but if you intend to enter entrepreneurship with the lifestyle as the end goal, maybe you should re-think.
We assume entrepreneurs to be well-suited smart men (where my misogyny hits hard) that are strong, know it all, are mentally tough, consistent, focused, and don’t give up. While in reality it’s extremely important to understand how tough of a troll entrepreneurship can take on your mental health. The sleepless nights, the result-oriented anxiety, the self-doubts, the losing confidence and that constant introspection- am I doing the right thing in life?
I remember asking myself very often and I do it till today - ‘Is it worth the sacrifice?’ ‘ Am I doing the right life thing ?’ Seeing my friends landing with their dream jobs, earning good and here I was fixing my business model may be the 20th time. There have been days ( still are) where I ask myself have I not taken a lot of risk? Will it actually take me to the freedom I aspire for? And trust me no matter how much Ted talks we founders give, the fear always remains.
We don’t talk about the failures, the setbacks, the doubts because as entrepreneurs we are expected to be and show our best selves to the shareholders, the investors, and to the world. I remember being coined as ‘unemployed’ by my family because of working from home and attending calls (much before, work from home became a culture).
Summing it up, entrepreneurship is risky! It’s a game of cricket where don’t know which over would turn out what for you. If the market will accept you? If the investors will back you up? And not just this, even when you cross the initial hurdles you don’t know if you’ll still be relevant in the next 6 months. We have had the biggest examples of crazily funded companies going to zero In a minute.
Does that mean, you should not try? You should give up or find something easy? Well absolutely not! Where there is gut there is glory! Before you jump in, be sure on what’s your why to keep going, to face it all with a smile, to be ok despite facing millions of rejections. Once that introspection is done, there is no turning back.