Addressing a gathering about Entrepreneurship has always been a touchy point for me. Neither am I a successful entrepreneur (yet), nor a very experienced one. Still, whenever am invited by the student community to take a session on Entrepreneurship, I am always glad to share my bit of experience, my failures, my mistakes. Because as far as I have learned, you only get inspired from winning stories. You need failures to learn stuff.
I was recently invited to KMEA College of Engineering to take a session on Women Entrepreneurship as part of their IEEE WIE activity inauguration. I gave the topic a good thought and actually decided to let go of the “women” portion. No bias to anyone meant. But if you ask me, men, women, dolphins, aliens…. no matter who gets into entrepreneurship, the issues and hardships faced are the same.
I’d say Mothers are the best entrepreneurs. They multitask things perfectly like all entrepreneurs do and take the biggest of calculated risks – bringing up a child! So, women finding it more difficult to be entrepreneurs, I don’t agree to that statement.
Following is my presentation from the hour long session I took at the college – on myths and facts of entrepreneurship. I really hope I did justice.
Myths about entrepreneurship :
- Entrepreneurs are born. Not made – totally disagree. Its all attitude and hard work. Not just inborn talent.
- College dropouts make better entrepreneurs – not always. Though it has to be agreed that college dropouts give it their all as they have nothing to go back to if they fail.
- Idea + Prototype = Start a Company – you need market analysis, building a great team, marketing and a million other factors.
- Its easy money – never is!
- I need to be a techie – not all entrepreneurs are techies. Identify if you’re a techie (who does the work), manager (who can get the work done) or entrepreneur (who has the vision to build the product/service into something scalable).
- I must invent something new – was Google the first search engine? Was Facebook the first Social Network? It’s all about doing the thing right, keeping in mind the users.
- Entrepreneurs are gamblers – they are risk takers, yes. But only calculated risks, not blind ones.
- You are your own boss – nope. You’re actually at the bottom of the food chain. Clients, Customers, Vendors, Landlord, even the freaking Income Tax department is your boss!
- Unlimited vacation – pffft!
- My best friend is my co-founder – never mix friendship and business. You’ll be screwed. And at times, screwed Big Time.
Facts about entrepreneurship :
- Your first idea will be wrong
- Your friends and family won’t understand what you do
- You’ll be broke at times
- Don’t build your company only on one vertical
- CXO posts don’t matter a S#!t. You’ll be the freaking delivery boy!
- Customers/clients will irritate you
- Your personal life will suffer
- You’ll work 100 hours a week (or maybe even more)
- There will be no one to congratulate you
- Finding a good team/staff will always be a challenge
- Negativity will be showered upon you
And, the focal point of entrepreneurship – Only YOU are responsible. Whether you succeed or you fail. Only you are responsible.