An old friend casually remarked on my twitter bio – “Hey! Is wannapreneur a real word? I have never heard of it before”
The urban dictionary states – Wannapreneur is someone who talks about organizing and managing enterprises, usually with considerable initiative and risk, but never actually does it. Now, technically I don’t qualify. It has been a little over a year of swimming, surfing, almost drowning and swimming again in the choppy seas of entrepreneurship.
After a few pints of beer and some gluten-free snacks (the irony intended), I proceeded to explain my predicament…
My father quit his cushy MNC job to turn entrepreneur in the late 80s. A rather ballsy move in those days. The good old days when sweat equity was unheard of and sweat was the only fuel that would float your boat. When savings was the only form of venture funding and the path to profitability wasn’t a slide on the investor deck but the only way out.
The lifestyle changes were visible and the before-after scenario was indeed quite stark. The corner office had given way to an office corner in the bedroom. All the perks had vanished overnight…but the spirit remained unbreakable!
There is an incident that remains etched in my mind. As a nine year old boy – I learnt the most valuable lesson in life. I remember coming home from boarding school for the summer break to see our living room converted into a stuffy warehouse. Both my parents were packing goods in gunny bags and coordinating with the courier company to ship samples to some part of Europe. I was standing in the doorway, almost in tears, wondering why my family was being punished. This is not the life I had envisaged – my rockstar MBA parents being reduced to physical labourers!
My father looked at me and matter-of-factly remarked – “We are the only company in the world where even the despatch clerks have a management degree from IIM Calcutta”. Oh boy! He had just flipped the situation on its head. It was no longer a binary equation of a glass being half-full or half-empty. It was the infinite possibility of refilling the glass – whenever and by how much ever you wanted!
It has been two-decades since I have lost my father, but the “despatch clerk” anecdote continues to ring in my ears and serves as instant motivation every time I feel stuck. Hence, my ethos is fairly straight-forward. I don’t think I have the right to call myself an entrepreneur till I have imbibed his spirit and power of positive thinking. So wannapreneur it is, possibly with baby-steps, striving “that each tomorrow finds me further than today”…