As entrepreneurship becomes more popularized and romanticized, many people are attempting to start-up something at a certain point of time. What are some things you need to think of before starting up
Explore opportunities as much as you can
It always helps to take part in as many events as possible. Things such as hackathons, conferences, pitching competitions and many more are great platforms and ways to get a brief understanding of what the culture and process of starting up is. Once again, I want to emphasize that this is just a very very simple way of getting into the ecosystem, and there is a lot more to entrepreneurship than just these events. The main takeaway from such opportunities is the connections you make, and the ideas that you can acquire from participating.
I myself have taken part in numerous start-up competitions, design thinking competitions, my favorite one being InCube 2019. You guys have to check it out! You get to live inside a glass cube for four days to perform design thinking.
Pride and ego needs to be out of the window
This is one of the most crucial elements of entrepreneurship. You HAVE to accept that you will be face a lot of challenges and constantly make mistakes. Entrepreneurship means you will be faced with something out of the blue EVERY SINGLE DAY! Remember, if you are someone who is proud and need validation, this is not the path for you. Both sides of the coin exist in this journey. On some days, you will receive a lot of positive validation and on most others, everyone is out there to say no to you and prove you wrong.
“Who are you anyway? Why should I buy your product? Why must I pay you this money? That’s the worst possible thing you could’ve done!”
Common statements all the time and if you are not humble and open to learning, you will be hurt over and over again. Entrepreneurship is one of the most humbling experiences you will ever be going through.
Being from a very competitive background, I personally struggled a lot with this. A lot of my peers were getting starting jobs at the FAANGs or MBBs raking in huge paychecks. I definitely felt it, and questioned myself numerous times as to why was I not doing that as well, and I felt the ever prominent “FOMO”. But the main way I dealt with this is through coming at peace with the fact that everyone starts at a different point. It’s the journey that matters.
Practice a huge deal of self-awareness
One of the most important things in the entrepreneurial journey is knowing what you don’t know, and not just knowing what you know. Sounds weird? Well it basically means that you are aware that there are many things that you are not familiar with, following which you have to then take steps to know those things and fill in those gaps. If you do what you always do, you get what you always get. So take time, and ensure you are always updating yourself and knowing what else to do and what more to find out, such that you can get more things!
I personally allocate time every week or few days to do self-reflection and find out what I am lacking and what I have been doing good and work from there. The journey is very long and dynamic so I constantly put in effort to change and adapt to the circumstances. I tend to be very fast paced and straight-forward so sometimes I don’t take time to reflect and practice awareness which results in me committing repeating mistakes that could have easily been avoided.
Know that you do not have what it takes to be an entrepreneur
No matter how involved you are in the start-up ecosystem or how much you read the numerous entrepreneurship books out there, the best way to learn how to do a start-up is by actually starting up something. You have to acknowledge and accept the fact that you will never know what it takes and are never ready to be an entrepreneur. There are just so many facades and elements to this that it will be a constant learning journey. If you start something knowing that you have it all, you are in for a ride my friend. Of course, there might be some success stories of people who just think they have it all, and they actually ride through the whole thing facing no issue. But for the majority, me included, I will always be evolving my thought process.
I have learnt so much in this whole process from people management, to technology understanding to client engagement, the entire learning curve is so steep but gratifying to a whole new level. I can assure you that whatever I have learnt over the last 10 months of working on my own start-up cannot be taught anywhere else.
It is never going to be the right time
Many people wait for the “right time” to start-up. I have asked numerous friends if they ever considered pursuing the entrepreneurial route and majority of them mention that they do want to. But when I ask them why haven’t they done so already, and they reply that it’s not the right time for them.
Trust me, it is never going to be the perfect time for you to start-up something. There will always be changes and unexpected circumstances, so you just have to get started, and work your way out one hurdle at a time. Nothing is absolute in this journey, and if you don’t want to start because you need a firm and solid plan, then you are going to be disappointed.
The above mentioned points are some of the things that you may want to consider before embarking on this journey. Many of us are in constant dilemmas in choosing this route, so hope this article helps! Also, I would like to mention that entrepreneurship is not the only amazing way to give back to community and create changes. It is completely okay to not be an entrepreneur. I do not want to romanticize or idealize entrepreneurship. Everyone has their own paths, and everyone can make a positive difference to society in their own way.
I also want to end off this article by linking an amazing opportunity I recently had to have been part of a podcast conducted by a good friend of mine. The podcast is titled, “Self- Discovery Through Entrepreneurship” and you can find it here! I share my journey and my motivations as to why I chose the entrepreneurial route.
Tun Yong Yap
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