of the week!!
As I complete ten years of being an entrepreneur, here is what I would like to share with all you aspiring, being and dreaming to be – entrepreneurs:
10 years of being an entrepreneur, 10 truths of about being one!
1. Being an entrepreneur is not tough. Its almost impossible!
You see, it doesn’t come with any definite ‘promotion’ plans, promises of bonus or number of holidays in a year. You need to get up and prove your worth every single day. Its a merit test by the hour. If you aren’t self motivated, dont even think about taking this plunge, its far more challenging than it looks like. You will taste despair, failure and triumph every day. It will make you jump with joy or smash your confidence in quick succession. You need a heart of steel to go through these emotions on a regular basis and not get swept away by wither.
2. Excel Sheets and Business plans will fail you!
No matter how good you are with numbers, the plans will fail you. Almost certainly so! If they dont fail you then you are playing too safe or slow. Entrepreneurship is about learning on the go. It needs one to be agile, on your feet and flexible. The numbers on the sheets will dissolve into newer plans as you strive to keep up with newer market trends.
3. Believe in your dream
A million people dont need to believe in your dream for it to come true. You need to believe in them, no matter how large and distant they seem. Times will be tough, people will be cynical or even unfair. Dont let that taint your vision. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world did the impossible by staying with their beliefs. Dont let the opinions of others crush your dream. DOnt react, dont get mad. Just get working.
4. Brands take time to build
You need to have patience of a monk and be industrious like an ant. Calm and focused like an archer. Any name worth its credibility in the market takes time to build. It takes years for people to begin trusting your organization especially, if you are in services industry. Dont be in a rush to grow, add people, introduce new verticals…until you have found the initial confidence in the clients.
5. No one cares for a fancy office!
We are entrepreneurs; we are supposed to bring innovation into business, not a bill of overheads! No one cares for plush offices or paintings in your conference rooms. Infact, the first thing the client thinks when sees the splurge is- I am paying for this lavish style!! Dont do that. Work your funds sincerely. Even if it means sharing offices, splitting resources, working from home..do it. Whatever keeps you working efficiently and smartly. Use the money to increase quality of output.
6. Accept failures, learn and move on. Dont be stupid and live in denial.
As brave as you may be about your ideas, they may fail and very unceremoniously so. At that point, one needs to stop living in denial and false ego. Accept the failure, learn from the experience, adapt your style, work on new goals, dont feel defeated in the purpose and dont let it kill your spirit. Learn to wear your falls and its bruises with pride. It shows that you had the courage to pursue your dream but the wisdom to know when to let it go.
7. Surround yourself with wise people
Keep company of people who are sharp and motivated. Get them to be your trusted soundboards. Share your ideas with people who may tear it apart but with the intention of making it robust. Find a good mentor but dont depend on them on everyday decisions. Use their expert advise to take critical long term calls. Sometimes, many ethical and twisted dilemmas are easily resolved if you have good advisors.
8. You are the CEO- Chief Everything Officer!
I have worked out of home, delivered couriers, picked up cheques, pasted creatives on sunbaords for presentations, literally lived on ground at event venues, delivered positives (years ago when internet wasn’t as widely used for file transfer) to pilots to carry for print in another city, spent nights proof reading ads for 54 different publications, supervising shoots and much more…there is no job too small if you wish to be an entrepreneur. Be ready to be a janitor and a company director as and when needed. It wont kill you but will crush your ego for sure. Stack away the precious degrees and fold up your sleeves to even sweep the floor if needed.
9. Dont play man vs woman card
This is an important piece of experience I would like to share with my women friends. Do not play a man vs woman card. Ever. Dont expect to get a project or dont feel that it was refused just because you are a woman. If you are capable and have what it takes, people will get up and take notice. Eventually. The world may be biased and there may be cultural defences to break especially in a country like India but, talent conquers it all. Carry yourself with confidence. Do not negotiate your integrity. Dont let someone deal you the cards based on your being a woman. If you are equally capable and determined, you will get work, irrespective. Look around you, there are women achievers in every single field and none of them are playing – oh i am so helpless-card. These are all women of substance.
Dont whine, dont complain. Dont blame it on a male dominated society. Be inspired. Be inspirational.
10. Entrepreneurship can get lonely
You may meet a hundred people during your professional pursuit, be a part of forums, socially active and all of that. But, at the end of the day, most entrepreneurs are still weaving their dreams on their own. Their mind is full of new ideas, strategies which they are constantly working upon and that can turn one into a bit of a lonely person. Before you find yourself consumed and a recluse, start to build a close circle of friends from different fields. Make sure you spend time away from your regular bunch of work associates. Pick up a hobby, read something unrelated to your work, travel, listen to music, photograph, write….anything that keeps you in touch with other aspects of life too.
As for me, the last ten years have taught me taught me everything about work and life- triumphs, conquests, winning pitches, highs, applause……losses- of work and people, passing away of my mentor, abrupt closing of projects,despair, difficult clients, impossible deadlines….meeting people from across the globe, partners, vendors, clients, friends…some who trusted with conviction and others who made me stronger by being cynical. its been in parts- heart wrenching, ego crushing, tough, educative, fulfilling, evolving and a roller coaster ride! Wouldnt trade it for anything in the world!
Dedicated to my Gods & Gurus.
Learnings of life, presented in a sweet manner… Thanks Akancha… wishing you and Azure a hearty congratulations… and a rocking decade ahead 🙂
point numbers 4 and 10… i superlike!!!!
Sanchita (http://www.indiacod.com, http://www.gizmobhai.com )
Glad you enjoyed reading it :))))
Superb write up!!!!
Thank you Akancha for sharing and Congrats for achieving 10years mile stone…. many more to come 🙂
Thank you!!! :))))
Very apt post Akancha..to the ground realities..would like to know how u managed all this with home(kids) to take care of..i have just started my own venture but only thing which pulls me back rather i feel guilty abt is not able to spend time with my son.. 🙁
Hey Shikha, I understand your state of mind though I am not married yet. I did have responsibility of my family at one point and have many others today even though I dont have kids to manage. I believe that there is always time for everything if you can prioritize. Especially with the kind of technology support we have today, one can smartly plan a flexible schedule with time around kids to be spent working from home etc. For every decision we take in life- whether as an entrepreneur or not, we always have to make some adjustments. This is not a trade off but the most apt way of managing things. Things wont be perfect (they never are) but they will be the best possible they can. Support from others in the family of course would be a great help.
wish you tons of luck being a great mom and an awesome entrepreneur! :)))))
many congrats!!! here’s to many many more 🙂
i’ll quickly try to answer shikha’s dilemma.
shikha… i work from home. spend around 12 hours online. and though i’m around my 5 yr old – i’m actually “not there” for her! no matter what you do professionally, as a mom you will always feel guilty “about not spending enough time with your kid”.
it’s a harsh reality. but the truth is, part time moms make better moms. so as long as someone else who truly cares for your son is spending time with him while you’re busy with your venture – pls don’t feel bad 🙂
thank you asha..:))))
yes, i totally agree that pls get rid of the “guilt” feeling…its a tough job juggling responsibilities but trust me, with some amount of time management, smart delegation and prioritizing, you should be all set!
Thank you so much asha for encouraging words..I guess i need to be more organised and accept the reality without guilt 🙂
Point no.3 & 6 must be written on the walls of every entrepreneur’s office. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Thanks Vishal! :))) I really felt that sometimes entrepreneurs are so consumed by their passion that we don’t accept failure easily. I also strongly believe that we don’t need everyone to buy into our belief and dreams. It’s enough if we are convinced. Resilience, persistence and courage should do the trick…:)))
Nice write up. Congrats Akancha on 10 years and my best for even more
many thanks!! ;)))))))))))
Each and every point is spot on !
Thanks Afroze! :)))
Thanks Akancha… And many congratulation on reaching the milestone!!
I like the sound of Chief Everything Officer aka CEO!
Congratulations on completing 10 years!!!
I bet you are raring to go especially with your new role 🙂
Thank you Vinay! Yes, Super excited about all the new challenges ahead…:))
And isnt CEO true? We are almost everything our venture needs us to be…from being a janitor, courier person, driver, copywriter to anything else it may demand….:)))
Thanks Sridhar!! :)))
Thank you mam, for letting me know how business has to be, though I’m always a sport, and I have made myself a shameless person to be frank, as a lot of times I wash my own car, and my neighbors and friends are like please do wash my car also and I shamelessly with a cunning smile answer them back saying “1000 bucks for half an hour”, as I take my car cleaning a bit too seriously, I take almost two hours just to clean up a small hatchback 🙂 ……. but yet this is quite some information to me, on what to do and how to do it. #
I too am a CEO working from home, though unfortunately in the bush, not reaching the target having slow growth as its a financial service biz I’m in to so it is taking its sweet time. I also congratulate you for completing 10 years in the biz world.
I would look forward to meet you on 15th at NSE.
Thank you for your story
Very well written and absolutely a must-read for all wanna-be entrepreneurs. Even after 8 years of being an “entrepreneur-in-making” I have benefited from reading this wonderful set of advice. Thank you.
Karan, no matter how slow your growth, whats important is that you are moving ahead!
love your car cleaning story..:)))) ya, if you do something well, never do it for free!..;))
Thank you for the wishes. See you on the 15th!
Thanks Pratap! Just yesterday I posted a status saying that Entrepreneurs are always a “work in progress”..forever learning, setting new targets, learning new skills…
all the very best! :))
Thank you ! 😀
I am new to this forum and the first write up I read was this. I am a entrepreneur in field of Services ( Security) and believe me point no 4 gave me such a morale boost….thanks. Very truly said.
I sometimes get mad that when i will be like…you know the established agencies with all those state of art service facilities they have. But as you said….people take time in believing so that is the case with me(us) as well.
hey, dont get frustrated and dont give up. ideas take time to shape up. business evolves. its a new learning every single day. be persistent and consistent. dont be mad, just be great at what you do :)))
look at adding some unique value. set new benchmarks and stay true to your purpose. everything else will fall in to place automatically! wish you the very best!!
and you are on the right forum. you will find some outstanding talent, brilliant minds, experts.. who will come together if you need any inputs…:))
I somehow missed this last time.. Thanks for reposting it.. Loved some points to the core!! Congrats for completing 10 years.. .. and truly thanks for sharing the learnings with us all.It’s motivating 🙂
Thanks Anamika!! :))) And you are a rockstar yourself! Glad if it helped in anyway….:)))
Written with full boldness, without polishing or hiding in special words, like Excel sheets/plans will fail u, Entrepreneurship can get u lonely which is truth but people are reluctant to tell that, but it is the ground reality what happens. Finally if you love Entrepreneurship then do it without looking at setbacks, & finally everything will be good as u do what u love.
Thats true!! :))
Very Nice, Superbbbbb. style to present reality. Something cute-One something fact-fool. 🙂
They say – An angry man gives the best speech. I want to amend it by saying – An entrepreneur can give the best speech, Always!
Thanks Akancha for wonderfully hosting the event yesterday for this piece of read!
thanks divyesh and glad you could attend the event..:))
loved you post
thanksfor sharing such a nice article
glad you enjoyed reading it piyush…:)))
could not control my tears, Keep Inspiring!!!
Thank you so much…I am touched by your response…..thanks!!
Awesome!! n Thanks
Glad u enjoyed it -:)))))
syed kadar ansari
I am glad! Thank you -:)))))
absolutely loved it… 🙂 lot many congratulations for the successful completion of 10 years and the best wishes for the years ahead !!!
thank you so much Neha!!!
Beautifully expressed, Akancha! I Love your passion and and can see why you have survived 10 years of this roller coaster. I live in Dubai and nobody in our family has ever done business before, yet here I am, being the chief everything officer! And you are absolutely right on the advice for women – if we believe in our dreams and persevere hard enough for long enough, our gender is rendered irrelevant. Relationships certainly build business, but real relationships are based on mutual trust and respect, which a flighty, flirtatious or I-need-you-help pitch rarely achieves.
First of all salute! Posts like this are a shot in the arm for freshers like me. It could get lonely sometimes, yes. And Especially agree with Chief Everything officer. I work as courier boy, relationship officer, design processes, even design the website and act as developer.Sometimes I also get to act as the founder. supercilious people are everywhere, I do feel dejected at times but I have learned to smile as soon as I am out of their office. Someday I’ll laugh and brag about it, right now I am living it as much as I can.
Thankyou for the read
i am glad you relate to it Neerja. I am a first generation entrepreneur too and completely know how challenging that can be. And yes, men or women…eventually its the talent and hard work which will determine the success.
I wish you all the very best!! -:)))
Sarvesh, thank you for your kind words!! Dont let the loneliness of those few days take away the glory of many others!!! Dejection is temporary but, the satisfaction of following your dreams is forever!! I wish you the very best. Stay focused, keep smiling…-:)))
Hozefa Shabbir Sabuwala
Your thoughts/learning are just too good. It is my 2nd year in this foreign land and I can feel the same in every experience of mine. My projected sales were no where close to my target (2 went way high and 2 went way low), my office was my second room, where I made my people sit for 6 months and work and best of all when the going goes tough all leaves your hand, so only person to hold you is “YOU”. But believing in dreams is what made me sustain all till date.
Your thoughts are inspiring !!! keep writing
Hozefa, i wish you the very best. targets will be missed once in a while, its just important to keep trying with all earnestness. and, dreams never lie…just have faith in them…-:))))
I am just starting up and I am facing some of issues mentioned above. This article surely provided a clearer view. Thanks for sharing!
10 years is a long time. Congrats. 😀
pls check the top of your post!
wowowoowwoow!!! superrrrrrr happy!!!!! grinning ear to ear!!! (btw, also came to office wearing the rodinhood tee today!!!)
thank you!! 😀 😀 😀
one of the most unbelievable articles I have read in recent times.. truly amazing 🙂
thank you prashant…-:)))))
Reading this post, for a strange reason brought tears in my eyes.
The articulation of thoughts is immaculate.
One thing that I would like to add to this would be… be sure.. as an entrepreneur that you are providing a solution to a problem at hand and not just your solution. Creating a solution or a product because you are excited about it is like having babies and we like ours the best.
Successful entrepreneurs are always aware of the problem the potential clients are facing and then provide a solution which is cheaper, faster and better than what is currently available.
Only my best,
Saran, thank you so much for your kind words. truly appreciate..-:)))
i totally agree with you. if there is no innovation in the applied solution/product then, we arent achieving much as entrepreneurs. Thank you for sharing your thoughts…-:)))
Tejas Vishnu Nimbargi
I am yet to become an entrepreneur..
I am yet to become successful in life…
But Akancha you know what I am…
I am one of your biggest fans!
Superb writing, touched my heart, and everybody else’s too…
And yes, Congratulations for those eventful 10 years!!
Noman Salam Jami
Xperience counts ….and dat was all in the post
simply some awesome lessons which every entrepreneur should learn
thanks noman!! -:)))
thank you for your kind words!! i have a long way to go too. we are evolving as entrepreneurs and people every single day. hope to continue this journey with same enthusiasm that i have felt every moment of last ten years…-:))))
awesome.. just awesome akancha, points 3,5 & 8.. really true
Many thanks praveen….:))))))