By Megha Chopra
“This is mine”, says Baby X.
“No, this is mine. Play with your toy”, counters Baby Y.
“I said give it to meeee”, barks Baby X; mercilessly snatching Baby Y’s prized possession, inadvertently demolishing his own brilliant creation of Lego blocks, wrecking Baby Y’s asset too in the bargain, left with nothing in the end. This clipping has rerun many a time in our subconsciousness; its one of the many playful altercations we had with our kins while growing up. What baffles me, however, is every mortal’s unflappable desire to acquire what he’s not in possession of, to tame what he’s not in control of, to acquire what doesn’t belong to him and to seize what captivates his soul- especially if it belongs to someone else. No wonder why today everybody wants to be an Entrepreneur.
The trigger…Entrepreneurs being “celebrities”
The unprecedented success of these new age start-ups has weaved a web so beguiling that every aspiring candidate is getting trapped in its vicious design. Media has painted a larger-than-life picture of these entrepreneurs, putting them on a pedestal and elevating their status manifolds. Their career is being pitched as alluring as a movie-star. In a country like ours, that celebrates such prodigious success stories, where a rags-to-riches fable wins the empathy and admiration of the aspirational bourgeois, such achievers are worshipped and cloned by a many.
Today, every young aspirant wants to trade his 9-5 mundane job for an adventurous, lucrative and cushiony (so in their mind) job of an entrepreneur. Every alternate day, if not everyday, we see newspapers, magazines, news channels showcasing such a glorious picture of the likes of Kunal Bahl and Bansal duo that its almost impossible for the young and ambitious to not be bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.Rahul Sharma of Micromax is yet another achiever who bagged the “GQ Man of the Year” in 2013 and upped his glamour quotient. Not to ever forget that pioneer who propelled this revolution-Mark Zuckerberg (Social Network- a movie that further lifted the celebrity stature of the otherwise bashful Mark)
Start Young, Sing A Tune Unsung
A philosophy that was deciphered and implemented to its truest essence by the Kumaran brothers in 2011. A 10 year old Sanjay-the CEO and 12 year old Shravan- the President founded Go Dimensions, an app development unit, out of their home in Chennai. The company tasted success with its very first product-Catch Me Cop, a mobile application which rightfully established its presence in Apple’s app store. And a more recent success story would be 21-year old Ritesh Aggarwal- CEO and Founder of OYO rooms, who actually started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 17. Yet another example would be the band of 12 young students from IIT, Mumbai who founded Housing.com.
Age, experience and success have always shared a hand in gloves sort of a relationship. Today, the rules of the game have changed immensely. It’s ‘now or never’. Impatience fuelled with passion is the thrust behind the decision to embark on this eventful entrepreneurial journey.
Be one’s own boss
How awesome is the feeling of being your own boss, mapping the blueprint of your life yourself and being in control of your own destiny?
Has the start-up culture triggered this feeling? Or vice-versa? It is every man’s desire to run the show as per his beliefs and outlook. Though the job culture currently is extremely progressive and rewarding, it still fails to fill that void for some. A handsome pay cheque, a luxurious lifestyle, and the penultimate designation in the company- none can come close to the picture you have envisioned for yourself- of being that ‘ultimate’ boss, of being the highest authority whose word is the last word.
Such is human nature. No longer we want to be shackled by a job that inhibits freedom of decision-making, no longer we wish to be cuffed by the company’s vision that doesn’t align with our own vision, no longer are we willing to confine ourselves to a cubicle that hinders our personal growth.
Pranay Chulet worked in a slew of MNC’s like P&G, PWC and Booz Allen Hamilton before he co-founded Quickr in 2008, thus giving a form to his entrepreneurial dream. Bansal duo who founded Flipkart in 2007 had been working with Amazon.com but took the plunge in the rough waters of the business world and proved their metal.
“A lion leading an army of 100 dogs will come victorious over a dog leading an army of 100 lions”. Time to be that lion!
Barriers to entry are minimal
“No money O honey, still nothing to worry” Who could have imagined running a business without any money? Today’s success stories disrupt all our pre-conceived notions for succeeding in the business world. Have an idea? Pitch it to an investor. After all anyone and everyone today is riding on investor money. Snapdeal raised $627 million funding by Japan’s SoftBank last year. Zomato has raised $225 million from Info Edge, Sequoia, Vy Capital and Temasek.
“No Assets? Will still prosper you bet!”
Who needs to spend a fortune on procuring that strategically located retail space considering the obnoxious real-estate prices? Flipkart and Snapdeal are finest examples of a marketplace without a physical space. Ola(owns no cars)and OYO Rooms(owns no hotels)have become benchmarks in creating companies without any physical assets.
“Only will and skill takes you up the hill”
Unlike professionals who rely on fancy college degrees to find a lucrative job, entrepreneurs are free of any such bindings. We do know few famous college drop outs: Steve Jobs, Bill gates, Mark Zuckerberg- finest examples of what determination, passion and vision can achieve. Entrepreneurship gives you the freedom to chisel your ideas outside of the four walls of an educational institution, in the real world, fighting real challenges. Such is the craze of entrepreneurship that the IITs have created incubators to allow the visionaries to turn revolutionaries.
If He Can Do It, So Can I
To ape is human. As I stated in the beginning, we humans are always eyeing what others have and get enamoured by their achievements and lifestyles. We wonder at the possibility of our future similar to their present. And that brings us hope which consequently breathes life into our dormant desire of being an entrepreneur.And this confidence comes from the fact that a chunk of these celebrated entrepreneurs came from humble beginnings. Steve Jobs, a college drop out, set up Apple Inc. in a garage. Closer home it’s the Bansal duo who pooled in Rs.2 lakh each and operated from a 2 bedroom apartment in Bangalore- today Flipkart is India’s biggest success story in the start-up cult.
Now that we know what triggers that bug, I must mention that Entrepreneurship is not a bed of roses and I know it from personal experience. Having grown up in a business family and later marrying into one, I have a first hand experience of the trials and tribulations of an entrepreneurial journey.
It’s definitely not for the faint hearted. It is a roller coaster ride which can make you nauseous along the way, spinning you head, shaking your insides so vehemently. It’s not for those who unplug themselves the moment janitor switches off the office lights. It’s a journey, not a destination.
Ask a mother if she has ever been able to cut that umbilical cord- Never! Not even when her one foot is dangling in the grave. An entrepreneur is comparable to a mother- his thoughts always with that baby that he has created, a baby so beautiful, so precious. Like how a mother nurses that fragile creature all day, all night, an entrepreneur too gives the whole of himself in tending his creation.
Entrepreneurship is not just a skill, it’s a talent- and you are born with that talent. Skill can be acquired, talent can’t. Can anyone be a singer or a dancer? No. But can anyone be a skilled craftsman? Probably Yes. So here’s to all those freshers, mid-level executives, senior level executives who are mindlessly quitting their jobs and jumping on the entrepreneurial bandwagon- Beware.
They say-“Grass is greener on the other side”. But to verify that you must climb that steep mountain, often a perilous one, and only those who are resilient can make it all the way up to the top, cross it and reach that luscious meadow bearing bountiful trees, promising a humble abode to that fine flock of sheep. Yes, grass is greener on the other side but only because someone has cared to water it dutifully.
Megha Chopra is a director at RateGain.
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