After years of contemplation, working with start-ups and reading about entrepreneurship, I have finally decided to take the plunge. And yes, it is scary. At a time when I am on the wrong-side of thirty, I have doubts whether it is a good decision to risk it all? Am I doing the right thing?
These are the five biggest questions that haunt me:
What about the pay check that comes every month?
The assurance that a fixed amount of money will come to my account at the end of the month is a great thing. It makes you forget everything. All the disagreements you have had with your manager, all the office politics you had to face, the traffic jams you had to course through to be in office on time, the sleepless nights you had spent thinking about how to do that assignment better while your partner happily snored away to glory beside you.
True, money cannot buy everything but most of the things that you want, you can only have if you have money in your wallet. Starting up would mean skipping all those vacations, visits to the Zaras and Chemistrys and most importantly skipping on checking out the latest restaurant that has opened up in the city.
What will people say?
It is very easy to say that I don’t care what people think about me but it is very difficult to actually practise it. God made us social animals. The friends we have, the colleagues we work with, the family, the extended family, they all matter. To me they definitely do. I do not want to be looked at as a loser. I always want to be a rock star in their eyes.
When I announced that I have put in my papers, the first question that came from them was if I had found a better job with a fatter pay cheque? When my answer was a ‘No’, the next question was so you are planning to start a family and have kids and all? Still a ‘No’.
When I said that I am starting up with my husband, all I got were looks and glances which were not very assuring. Only a few said “Wow! that’s great and let me know if I could be of any help.”
To those few I really owe a lot. To others, hopefully I could become that rock star again!
What will my maid think?
I know it may sound a bit funny but yes this is one of my biggest fears. My domestic help comes every morning at 7:30 am to do the dishes and cleaning, etc. She is used to seeing me make breakfast and get ready for work. Now with me having nowhere to go, what will she think! Won’t she go around telling everybody in the building that both husband and wife do not go for work? They sit at home all day. Won’t she think that will we be even able to pay her salary?
To avoid this, I have decided that I would wake up at the same time, make breakfast and get ready in the same way I used to do, till the time she has finished her work and left the house. If nothing else, it would at least help me stick to my routine and give some kind of semblance to a professional life now that I will be working from home.
There’s a hell lot of things that I still don’t know!
Firstly, both of us are pretty bad with numbers. To add to it we are unfamiliar with the legal aspects of running a business. When it comes to Indian tax laws, it is like we were residing somewhere in Pluto till now. When the first of our clients deducted 10% from our bill under TDS, we were like “What the hell! Why did he not pay full?”
It took a 10 min telephonic counselling from my dad to understand that this was actually the legal thing to do. Also, in the course of our conversation, I got to know that we should have charged the client Service Tax. Yes, this and many other goof ups we did on our very first billing.
But hopefully we will learn things soon. When it is your baby, you cannot really say I won’t do the potty cleaning. You have no other option but to do it.
Will it work out?
My husband and I are like two opposite poles with different working styles. While I prefer working in the morning, he prefers working till late in the night. He cannot work without music and I cannot concentrate when there is music. He is more of the ideator-types while I am more of the executor- types. Starting up with him would mean adding one more item to the list of 9999 things we disagree upon.
However, thankfully to our respite there are a few things that are common between us. We both want to do awesome work and can go to extremes to do it. We take pride in our creations…he in his designs and I in my writings. We may not be the best but we definitely want to be the best.
For the time being, we are relying on the belief that these common factors will see us through.
The decision to start up is great but scary. Did you have doubts in your mind too? What were the questions you faced and how did you find answers to them?
P.S: Our startup, Lemonade in Summer, is a Design, Content & Communications Agency based out of Bangalore. We are looking for work. So in case you have any design or communication needs, please mail me at email@example.com
i can so relate to your story shilpi.
my husband and i both work from home and i don’t really think the domestic help wonder much anymore – coz they see me on my laptop ALL THE TIME. BUT ALL MY RELATIVES have no blinking idea what we do and think we are good for nothing bums living in goa and must be poor coz we don’t drive swanky cars or haven’t bought an old portuguese house yet :))))
it is scary and rightly so shilpi but pls ride the wave. not having a regular paycheck coming in is always scary at first. it will be a concern till you start getting regular clients.
none of us know everything. shilpi – pls start using our search engine – our ASK section is a GOLDMINE of useful information.
working with your spouse is always a crazy preposition. we’re both from advertising – both writers and both very different. all of our advtg and non advtg friends thought we would set up our own creative boutique once we decided to move to goa. but i always maintained we shouldn’t work together. but every case is different 🙂
shilpi, pls link your new startup so we can click & check it out. also, pls feature yourself in our showcase section.
ALL THE VERY BEST. MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!
Thank you so so much Asha…really need the FORCE now 🙂
We are working on our website and other social media handles….hopefully I will have something to share soon.
Congratulations on starting up Shilpi 🙂
I started a digital ad agency 3.5 years ago in Gurgaon and it’s been a pretty interesting ride so far.
Here are some pointers incase you haven’t already discovered them:
1.) If you can’t afford an office at the moment, try and work out of a co working space. Since it’s just 2 of you, it should not cost more than 7-8k a month in Bangalore. Not only will it make you more disciplined but will also give you access to more clients and the interaction with other entrepreneurs will keep you motivated.
2.) Keep an eye on billings. Till you hit 9 lakhs in revenues, you don’t need to charge or deposit service tax. Get a good CA who can keep your tax and accounting stuff in order.
3.) If you are planning to charge Rs 100 for a project, keep a discount buffer of 10 to 15% i.e quote Rs 111. This will also help as the 10% TDS will be locked up for a year and might hinder cashflows.
It’s going to be a mix of pleasure and pain so have fun on the way.
Thank you so much Abhik. Will keep the pointers in mind.
Your post has been so “bang on”, I actually ended up reading this and having a good launch with my wife/partner.
The maid point, thought we were the only one who faced it. She actually asked us one day, don’t you guys have to goto work? Third world problems, I tell you 😛
To have a partner who always has a different perspective is surely a boon than a bane.
Wish you all the very best in your venture and will surely give you a shout in case something comes up through our network.
Hahahaha…Maids can be scary at times 🙂
Thank you so much. And all the best to you and your wifey too!
I could relate to certain elements..but I started because I wanted to start.. though even after doing some good work I learning in terms of an business personal… at times as an HR, at times as BD, at times as an Admin or Networking guy.. I definitely feel there is lot of learning, I have learned things which a steady job would have never thought me… I am myself from a design background and use to handle production team, but never tried my hands on development, html etc..so definitely i am learning.
You mentioned you are into some short of writing, so are you into content writing, if yes let connect offline – please call me at 9811122212 between 10am to 1pm or after 6pm.
how’s startup life treating both of you?!
lots of rodinhooders are looking for content writers/communication professionals – feel free to showcase your venture when you are ready to!!
It’s going good 🙂
Amidst client work, our own website seems to have taken a backseat 🙁 But hopefully soon I will have something to share.
But it would be great if you can help me connect with these rodinhooders who are looking for content + communication professionals. My mail id: firstname.lastname@example.org
And thank you so so much. Muah 🙂
a lot of them have posted in our #jobs section – do check!!
Ok. On it 🙂
you need to update us on this one…. hope you both have settled in to your new life much better now!
Shilpi! A brilliant post. The Maid and Society points were critical to one’s existence! The maid is more important than the society! Betta convince her!
For starters rodinhooders do read Roadmap to Enterpreneurship. I am doing it for 4 years and still smiling! 🙂 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/roadmap-entrepreneurship-my-panel-discussion-sies-college-dahotre?trk=prof-post
Also dont ever worry what people say. Smile when they disapprove of you. Laugh when they abuse u. It maybe anyone … your parents friends ex co workers. Ex co-workers especially are useless at a time like this. Hundreds of my ex Microsoft, Infosys C0-Workers approach me for starting up… I give them advice on how to startup without leaving their job.. startup in stealth mode etc. But they even find this difficult. They have no future in startup
Also like the Roadmap post says.. its ok to be beg and borrow though not steal. Do all what it takes to keep the startup running.
Happy Startups! 🙂
All the best on your plunge. It’s nerve-wracking to say the least. But just like your monthly paycheck, every payment from a client will give you that same high. So more clients = more paydays! That’s the good part. I totally understand the taxation troubles too (did the same mistake you did on my first ever invoice!).
If I can offer advice, go in for a tool like Quickbooks from Day 1 to manage billing and recovery. Indian clients are notorious for paying late (you know who you are!) and cashflow will be the biggest initial struggle. So grow slow! That’s the joy of the startup. Once those paychecks start hitting the bank regularly, you’ll forget the 1st of the month. Every day is a thrill!
Thank u Samir for the encouragement 🙂
“Everyday is a thrill”…true that 🙂 Thanks and good luck to u too.
Will check out Quickbooks.