"Take a chance it's the best way to test yourself.Have fun and push boundaries." - Richard Branson
I had the most expensive hobby in the world for 2 years called ‘owning a start-up’. It taught me to move on, be considerate about those who work for and with me and most importantly gave me a first-hand practical experience of running a business.
Let’s start from the beginning when I was a tech guy at a big corporate (I still am, but with loads of differences). I was an intrapreneur for 12-13 years, who didn’t have to worry about running or developing the business, acceptance of the product in the market or making money.
Finally, that turning point came when I decided to leave my job and started planning further about my tech-based venture from the very next day. I believed only technology was important, unaware of the fact that it is only 10% of the whole business. I assumed I had signed up for something very BIG and felt overwhelmed thinking the world will run as per me.
But the world didn’t come across like that.
In business, more than what you are, whether or not you are making money is important. If you’re into it for anything but money, be it solving an issue or doing something for the community, then you might as well go run an NGO or work for a salary. But remember, even that involves money. SO YOU JUST HAVE TO THINK MONEY! If you are not making money in the first year, better shut down.
It was interesting to see the amount of attention you get from your family and friends. It varies as you go through highs and lows of your career. While I was doing my corporate job, everybody loved me. But the moment I quit and started something on my own, the very same people started avoiding me. All of a sudden, from being important, I went on to become a NOBODY!
Nobody likes being ‘nobody’, because that nobody hurts.
Call it magic or call it luck, things worked for my company. People liked the idea and soon I was generating money.
With time, I started appearing in newspapers and those people started coming back to me. This made me realize the importance of PR. Sell yourself right and sell fast. I gave so much importance to building the technology that I did not do selling for the first year. I learned it the hard way, but the more time you spend waiting to sell yourself, the more time you waste.
After 2 years, by giving 2 months notice to my employees and helping them find new jobs through recommendations in my network, I shut the company because I couldn’t raise next round of funds.
I then decided to get into a job again. I got hired soon because people took the risk of hiring me. I sold myself well and I’ve been selling since then, but I never realized how good I was until one of the commercial heads of another company, in response to my “I don’t know sales” statement, said “If you don’t know sales, then who does? I’m almost convinced to buy your product”. Whereas, what I was actually doing was only trying to be passionate about my work. That is what entrepreneurs do best.
Now when I have many business schools graduates reporting to me, I realize that they are very good at theory only, but alas, life isn’t a theory. Practical experience is the key, which for me, came through my ‘expensive hobby’.
You don’t celebrate failure instead celebrate its learning and nor do you place yourself as a failure but instead place yourself as a leaner so that the next time you do something, you do it even better and success comes your way.
Experience Contributed By :
Experience Contributed By :
Mr Amit Goel
He is currently Product Head at Amagi. A technologist, worked with multiple large corporations in technology roles. An Entrepreneur at heart he founded Patterbuzz.