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What Nobody Tells You About Starting up It is not easy chasing your dreams walking down an unknown road, constantly struggling to scale the mountains and cross the moats that appear out of nowhere making you push new boundaries of perseverance

By Tanul Mishra

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If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same….

If — by Rudyard Kipling pretty much sums up the life of an Entrepreneur.

It is a brave new world where ideas are being voiced and innovation is taking tangible shape. More people are finding the courage to start their businesses and a supporting ecosystem is increasingly becoming available to oil the wheels of your entrepreneurial dream. But it is not easy chasing your dreams walking down an unknown road, constantly struggling to scale the mountains and cross the moats that appear out of nowhere making you push new boundaries of perseverance.

Below are 13 truths that no one tells you about your start-up journey:

  1. You are on a roller coaster: It's like being in an open car down a steep road, navigating turns and bends. The best highs and the most abysmal lows too. Yes you will have sleepless nights but they help you savor your victories even more

  2. Peer learning is important: This is something most people don't talk about. Meeting other entrepreneurs and interacting with them helps you gain insights from those who have been there and done that. There is no greater school in life than experience and you can glean a lot from the success and failure of your experienced peers.

  3. Networking: A strong network can be the wind beneath your wings. Building referrals and your business network helps build contacts, raises your profile and throws open new opportunities.

  4. Mentors are necessary: Mentorship from seasoned industry experts and consultants is unparalleled. It can accelerate scale up and solve interruptions breathing a fresh lease of life into a tottering startup.

  5. Your team matters: The best ideas can get lost in the sands of time if not backed by a stellar team. A capable team coupled with the right chemistry is a winning formula and one that even investors seek out and favor in the pre-seed funding rounds.

  6. Partnerships can prove make-or-break: Finding the right partner means boosting your capacity for capital, creativity and support. But the darker side of this partnership brings conflict and loss of control. So don't be hasty and find a partnership with the right synergies that will grow your venture.

  7. You will don many hats: There is blood, sweat and toil behind the entrepreneurial success stories and smiling faces in the news. To get there, you too will be juggling the roles of CFO, COO, CMO and more, rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty without taking it easy. Working harder than ever before must become a way of life.

  8. Capital infusion, this way or that: If you are bootstrapping your way, your capital needs may swell up, making it critical for you to organize more capital or re-invest your profits. Be prepared for that eventuality.

  9. Tenacity and persistence are superpowers to cultivate: Most startups fail within the first 5 years. The statistics might seem dis-heartening but keep pushing the seemingly solid walls and your tenacity and persistence are sure to pay off.

  10. You are not alone: Just like parenthood everyone is struggling to get it right and doing their best in the present moment. Draw solace from the fact that every entrepreneur feels the same angst as you. It's ok to be vulnerable so cut yourself some slack and exhale.

  11. Communities are great: Communities can be a great knowledge sharing platform helping you share and learn from the journey and struggles of others.

  12. You will fail: If you do not taste failure then you are not trying everything. Not all your plans will succeed. Not all ideas will be gold.

  13. There is no set road. Look ahead and begin afresh every day.

The entrepreneurial journey is addictive, if you set off with a great vision and learn how to fine tune your expectations around your success and failures, and treat those imposters just the same – you will certainly be addicted

Tanul Mishra

CEO, Afthonia Labs

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