So, you want to be an Entrepreneur? I assume that your personality qualifies for at least five of these features viz. bravery bordering on foolishness, driven by gut instinct, restless open eyed dreamer, masochistic, and hit on an idea that makes you believe that investors will line up at your office. I know you just re-read this to check if there are more than five features mentioned. The fact is that every wannabe star in this journey is a mixture of all these 5 traits. The oxymoronic joyful pain can only be experienced in 2 activities in the world, one is at child birth and the other is entrepreneurship. Let's look at the pain points that almost every entrepreneur feels at some stage of his journey.
Once a crazy idea hits a go-getter, he embarks on a journey of validating his idea with many peers, colleagues and prospective investors. This is the most difficult time in a startup journey as one feels a myriad of emotions ranging from exciting discovery to insecurity that the idea may be stolen by someone. Every entrepreneur has to face these demons and only the winner is able to take it ahead. Accepting ridicule is also an art one has to learn on this journey.
It's rare to find total support and funds to kick-start your dream. The first source of funds is friends, family and fools. It's important to stay lean once you get some money coming by as it is quite easy to get into an office play mode and hiring more than necessary. While nobody starts a venture to fail but the high mortality rate in entrepreneurship is a testimony to the fact that the journey here is not going to be smooth. Being a CEO to peon to a manager to a receptionist, one needs a 10 handed Indian god type of supernatural appendages. This pressure cooker situation (especially when one has quit a job) is definitely not for the faint hearted. Knowing when to quit is the most important lesson which unfortunately, nobody can teach.
Keeping ones team motivated is another uphill task as the team may not share the same passion as you do. There has to be enough energy, effervescence in the idea and the leader himself to inspire. Getting employees to join and making them stay is a pain point which every start up feels as good talent is easily tapped into more secure organizations. The reputation of “9 in 10 start ups fade out” doesn't help matters further. For every successful venture, there are hundreds of failed ones. Finding talent and retaining can mean sharing the company in terms of equity and the entrepreneur should be ready for this. Having a co-founder increases one's chance at success or at least the pain is shared!
A venture built only for the sake of funding without much passion is a recipe for disaster. Investors clearly see through whether an entrepreneur has his heart in it or it's only for the money. It can take hundreds of cold calls, frozen shoulders, unreturned smiles and a dime of luck to find someone who would show some interest in your venture. If an investor does come on board, the term sheets, targets, performance goals are daunting and the initial delirium of getting funded can get nerve wrecking, if things don't go according to the plan (which usually happens). Many entrepreneurs have seen their partnership change hands if things don't play out as per the projections.
Entrepreneurship is one of the most exciting avenues and provides invaluable experience. "Winners never quit, quitters never win” is the mantra every startup should follow when they begin but one should be a smart captain who can read the tides and the direction of the wind to either continue sail or get back to the shore.