5 lessons I learnt during my entrepreneurial journey
As entrepreneurs, we all create our own path. For most of us, there’s been no magic wand that makes everything fall in place. Yet, if you find someone who has vision, is passionate about something and is willingto defy conventional wisdom, you have spotted an entrepreneur! Not all start-ups succeed, but we have to encourage people to think of ideas that can make a difference in people’s lives and leave an impact.
I’ve learnt a lot during my entrepreneurial journey – and while the learnings have been many, I’m listing some that I would want to share with entrepreneurs-in-the-making:
1. Proud To Be a Woman: People often ask me: what is it to be a woman entrepreneur? And I say, being an entrepreneur is not about being a man or a woman. To be a woman in a man’s world is difficult but not impossible. We have the same set of challenges at work, but women are known for being better managers with greater persistence and people skills. I think all entrepreneurs face difficulties, and as a woman, you’re constantly guilt-ridden about whether you are balancing your work and personal life well, but the world does need more women role models. Still, it’s good to be a woman. Chances are, no matter what field you choose to be an entrepreneur in, you’re probably going to be the minority, use that to your advantage rather than wishing you could be a part of the crew. I’d rather stand out than be a part of the crowd.
2. Believe in Yourself: People will only believe in you only when you believe in yourself. So don’t doubt yourself. If you set your mind and heart to something, go do it. What’s the worst that will happen? You’ll fail but that’s not all that bad – you just start over again.
3. Don’t Quit: As an entrepreneur, you tend to get knocked down often and it’s the ability to get up and keep going that makes it fun. Success is not achieved overnight. It’s very important to have a vision but it’s great if it comes with some perseverance to back it up. When we had started, there were more than 38 deal sites in our competitive tracker, but now it’s down to less than a handful. It’s not like we had better luck than some, as a matter-of-fact funding after initial months was a regular concern, as was the ever-growing well-funded competition. But we just kept at it, quitting was never an option.
4. Innovate Constantly: You might have an idea that worked, but if you pause to rest on your laurels, you will be overtaken by somebody who found something more innovative to do. You have to keep listening – to your customers, merchants, and people around you – to get their feedback and improve your offering.
5. Avoid Distraction: Don’t try to do everything that others are doing, simply because it’s the flavour of the month. You have to find your niche and keep at it. Focus on challenging yourself and racing against yourself. It’s the only thing that matters in the long run. It’s not exactly a cake walk, but trust me, once you start, you wouldn’t change it for anything in the world!