I have often heard senior professionals tell entrepreneurs that they wish they had the guts to leave their jobs and startup on their own. But I have yet to hear an entrepreneur, irrespective of whether their venture is doing well or struggling, tell any professional,
I wish I had your job.
The reason is easy to understand. Entrepreneurs start ventures largely in their areas of interest or passion or competence. It’s always a great feeling when your work is also what you love to do. A job may or may not provide that option. Entrepreneurship does.
But just doing what you are passionate about is not the only reason why entrepreneurs are generally more excited about their work. In some cases, rare though, you may get to do what you really are passionate about in a job too. The big difference however is that while in a job you are living either someone else’s dream or a company’s objectives, in your own startup, you are driving your own vision, goals, dreams and aspirations. Every small step in an entrepreneurial journey feels like an accomplishment and gives you the satisfaction of having reached a new milestone.
And while the entrepreneurial journey is not always smooth and often fraught with risks, challenges and failures, the entrepreneur’s passion for the concept and the domain provides the person the patience and courage and the will to push ahead and sometimes, even if the venture fails, gives the person a personal high of having tried something.
Most importantly, irrespective of what the outcome of an entrepreneur’s venture – whether it fails or succeeds – the entrepreneur always wins, because even the failures teach you so much about business and life. They prepare your foundation for another leap. Another shot at glory.
Most entrepreneurs continue on the entrepreneurship journey. If one venture fails, they try another. If the entrepreneurial experience had not been a satisfying one, they would have given up and taken up a job.
But passion about what you do is not just a nice by-product of entrepreneurship. It is a necessary ingredient. Because, without passion and commitment you are unlikely to find the will to push through challenging times.
And challenges there will be many and at many different times of the venture’s life. That’s why I tell entrepreneurs – don’t start a venture because it was the first opportunity that came across, or because you saw someone else do something well. Don’t just think of the obvious business ideas that seem to be doing well around you, or businesses that investors seem to be funding currently. Don’t go after a fad or a sector just because it is seeing a lot of action. Do it only if your interest lies in that sector, and in what you want to do in that sector.
Most of us have a streak of entrepreneurism within us. Many of us dream of becoming entrepreneurs and starting a venture. Often we have ideas that we think we should pursue, and which we think we can build a successful business around.
But most people don’t startup. Something holds them back, and they find several excuses for not being able to even startup. How often do we hear people look at some successful company and tell their family & friends
I had exactly the same idea a few years ago.
But I did not start a business then. I wish I had.
Most would know friends who have had this exact feeling of regret because the very idea that they did not act upon is now a successful company.
Today it is far easier to get started. Cost of starting up has gone down. Accelerators and incubators and forums like TiE and NEN provide mentoring to first-time entrepeneurs. Acess to investors is easier through angel groups and online platforms that connect startups and investors. That opens up entrepreneurship as a career option to anyone with ideas and aspirations.
Get Set. Startup.
This article was originally published in Inc42. Read the article here.