I remember our Prime Minister Narendra Modi once saying, “Be an employer, not an employee”. With jobs diminishing worldwide, technology making life easier and competition among startups getting intensified, employers will do everything they can to cut costs; even if it means firing their average employees. Which means you are not safe.
But if you are thinking this is the reason why people jump into entrepreneurship, you can’t be more wrong. Becoming an entrepreneur has nothing to do with the pain of doing a 9–5. While some may get frustrated working under someone else and then consequently thinking of starting on their own, more often than not, the people who succeed are driven by mere love of their ambition and excitement of pursuing something on their own rather than as a stress outlet for their boring jobs.
This blog post is dedicated to Entrepreneurship. The roller coaster ride, the exhilarating journey from the Kanyakumari to the Siachen Glacier which will consume you, vilify you, challenge you into reaching such levels of perseverance that you end up realizing that entrepreneurship is not a sprint; it’s a marathon! Probably this is the reason why not everyone is cut out to start a successful and that 90% startups fail.
Now that we have begun talking, let’s dig deeper and delve into some interesting insights about Entrepreneurship:
What makes people jump into the bandwagon of Entrepreneurship?
1. The Adrenaline Rush: For most people, what’s the fun in doing a nine-to-five. Where’s the drive? Where’s the grind? The feeling of doing something on your own gives you dozes of dopamine; right where we need it. We, as humans are instinctively free minded; especially the millennials who seek freedom in everything they do. Entrepreneurship is such an haven.
2. Drive to change something: Entrepreneurs constantly seek change. They are the problem solvers, the ones who challenge the status quo. When Jeff Bezos started selling books on Amazon, it became such a giant of a disruption, it nearly changed the way people shopped. Visionary leaders are always looking for problems around them and are hell-bent in finding ways to change (read improve) the existing ways. This is probably the biggest reason why people start their own venture.
3. The money honey!: Let’s accept it that while money is not a key driver for most successful entrepreneurs, smart ones know that the key to riches does not lie in working for other people. What if they get fired? The ultimate caveat of ‘actively’ working to make money does not make sense now. You need to find a way to make money while you are sleeping in order to become rich. Entrepreneurship is a way of letting your money make money for you.
You are starting a business? Good! It’s only necessary that you know these things:
1. Learn the art of living frugally: This is extremely important. You need to revise your budgets actively and look to live in the barest minimum. For a person living a startup life, it is essential to do so, because more often than not you would find yourself in a deep slumber of cash shortage, and in that case borrowing may remain the only option. Something, too much of which, isn’t wise.
2. Network, Network and Network: You’ll need tons of people in your journey. Some of them are mentors, consultants, employees, partners and (even) competitors! Participate in all the networking events happening locally, exchange business cards, find like-minded people. In simple words, network aggressively because you’ll need trustworthy people on your side when shit hits the fan. And it will happen more often than you think.
3. Learn how to sell: This is the gray area where two ideologies converge. While some may believe that in modern times, you can become a great entrepreneur even without being too sociable. I, on the other hand, beg to differ. Selling and marketing is what constitutes the maximum time consumption of a full-blown entrepreneur. Be it your product, service, your values, your skills; you are always selling. And if YOU as a leader do not how to sell, no matter how much sales employees you hire it won’t work. Actually scratch that, you MUST become a pro at selling if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.
4. Prepare for the grind; mentally: Having a high growth startup means no weekends, no personal life — at least for the first 2–3 years. Prepare yourself (and your spouse, if applicable) to overlook the short term pains for the greater good, the bigger picture — the grand scheme of things!
5. Start Hustling: No amount of business books or MBA Classes can teach you what it means to hustle as an entrepreneur. You need to jump right into the water and wet yourself. Have the ‘whatever it takes attitude’ even if it means starting again from rock bottom.
Finally, let’s look at some industries that can be expected in a humongous level in the coming times (Think $10 Billion!)
1. Gig Economy: There’s a huge upsurge in the freelance world and the number of freelancers has increased multi-fold in the recent years. People are willing to work from home and some of them are better off with that.
McKinsey Global Institute, in its report released this December, predicts that even if there is enough work to ensure full employment by 2030, about 75 million to 375 million workers (3–14% of the global workforce) will need to switch occupational categories because of automation technologies that include AI and robotics even as automation generates “significant benefits for users, businesses, and economies, lifting productivity and economic growth”. This is where gig economy comes into the picture. Admittingly, the freelance market is fragmented and controlled by a few marketplace apps like Fiverr, Freelancer, upwork etc. Optimizing this platform can have a huge upside.
2. Sharing Economy: I see a lot of potential in the sharing services. Example: AIRBNB, UBER. There is a billion dollar market waiting for the same. Progress is inevitable given there are plenty of services (like AirEnvy and Homejoy) coming up rapidly. Research labs can also be a part of the sharing economy.
3. Internet of things: Keeping the obvious thrill of IoT aside, this is one industry which has already seen huge growth over the years as millions of startups are using this technology to make things never made before. Imagine waking up to a cup of perfect coffee made by a autonomous coffee machine triggered from your alarm clock going off and your bath water getting heated up after 5 minutes. Imagine your car informing the person you are visiting that you will be late after self-assessing the traffic conditions. Amazing right? This is already happening in controlled environments in developed countries and soon it will be accessible to the average Joe before you know it!
4. Smart cities: Google is making cars driver-less. Things like trash cans are becoming smart (they will compact the garbage as you throw). Our sewage systems are getting smart. In the future, a lot of boring jobs will be done by a network of smart robots.
5. Solar power: Solar energy is still more expensive than conventional energy sources. However, the cost of solar energy is rapidly falling. At this rate, solar energy might have parity with conventional energy in a decade. That will radically change the industry and a trillion dollar solar power energy will evolve.
6. Blockchain (of course!): You have heard and read a lot about the advantages of decentralization system, something pioneered by the blockchain technology. This then gave birth to super interesting use cases like crypto-currencies and smart contracts! Only a fool would afford to look over this Industry.
All done and dusted, entrepreneurship is best tested on field and no amount of text-ish knowledge can substitute it. Having talked about it, I cannot resist the temptation of reviving the Apple commercial dedicated to The Crazy Ones! Here’s the YouTube Video in case you want to have a look.
And here’s the transcript:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”