I love creating new things and that can be clearly reflected in my hobbies – photography, poetry writing, and composing music. I love to read but my dream is to write my own books someday.
With such a weird nature, it was obvious for me to go through the path of entrepreneurship rather than the execution path of working in a mundane 9-5 job. However, like most of the other Indians, I also had a fear in me – a fear of losing my full time salary that I was getting (I was not happy with my job though – working on some ugly green and black screen called AS/400).
I had worked for ICICI Prudential for a year and had seen the real end users use my programs. The thought that the piece of code that I coded as a part of my routine work was actually used by some people always excited me. Moreover web technology also excited me because you do not need a person to install a software to use your code.
When I went to France in 2006, I made up my mind that I will create a website when I return back. I came back and created a very crap looking website called puzzlesforyou.com. I ran it for almost a year and earned around $ 300 out of it. But somehow I was not happy with the type of work and thus my next website was Molu which was a search engine rather than a meta search aggregator that presented the search results in a user friendly manner and inline viewing of the results. It got featured on several sites across the globe and I even got many job proposals because of it. However I declined them all and continued to work on the green & black screen.
I then moved to do my MBA from IIMB in 2011 and then Bangalore clicked. I did not see such startup ecosystem, such zeal to work in startups among people anywhere in the country. Every road here has 5-6 startups and most of them are doing fair in their businesses.
I later joined a multinational company in the business development and new product development role. After working for nearly a year I thought, “Why am I doing this for someone else when I can do the same for myself?” That was certainly a eureka moment that led to a new beginning for me.
The ‘Senior Citizen’ Dilemma
I am in my early 30s and I believe I still have a good 25 years to work and earn my living. However, the people around you do not think the same. When you start your entrepreneurial journey at such an ‘old’ age, you will always face questions which make you ponder over the the drawbacks involved in such type of journey. Most of the people around you cannot get out of their ‘salary’ mode and the mere thought of not getting a salary for probably a year is like a nightmare for them. I will include myself also in ‘them’ at some point of time because being the head of the family; you have certain responsibilities that just cannot overlook.
Coming out of the ‘Who will do it?’ mode
When you are bootstrapping, you are working on a lean model. I have seen many people in startup circles around me who go into the hiring mode right from day 1 of their startups. However a person who is starting up should understand that it is YOU who needs to do the tasks. It is your startup and you ought to give your utmost before anybody else. You cannot say that I do not know this area so I need to hire someone else for this work. You have to open up your arms to learning.
I was working in a corporate strategy role and PowerPoints, Excel sheets, Financial statements were my strengths. However, today the complete 75000+ lines of code in our company are written by me. I did not know MongoDB but learnt it because we needed it. I did not know Python but learnt it.
Taking one day at a time with focus on Bull’s-eye
Biggest thought that comes to a founder’s mind is “Where is it going? What will happen after one month?” Leave such thoughts behind. I would suggest setting daily targets and meeting them no matter how difficult or unrealistic they seem.
Many startup guys start losing their focus when something goes wrong or continuously keeps on going wrong. This is not the right way. If you lose focus, you lose business. Thus patience is the key.
Plan Plan Plan and the Execute
Remember when you go on a vacation, you prefer a planned one rather than an unplanned one. The same happens with a startup as well. You should plan up your tasks for a week and whatever is the situation try to finish them and stick to them. Many founders lose the track of what they are supposed to do and keep doing operational things that are not a priority. Decide the priority and stick to it.
Any task should be assigned to one of the three categories. If it is most important and highly required – Do it. If it is not urgent but important – Delay it to give way to some priority tasks. If it is neither important nor required – Dump it.
A startup journey is an uphill ride. If one thing works in your favour, ten things do not. So just hold your nerves and enjoy the most memorable time of your life.