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Once upon a time, not too far away in Indian history, starting your own venture was a really difficult task. Getting the licenses, operating the staff, working on the business model—either it was mandatory to have a ‘Godfather’ or ample cash for under-the-table conversations. India, which still lags behind in Research and Development, was teeming with young minds that did not have the right guidance at the right time. The competitive rat race was on, ferociously, gulping down the best and sharpest minds in the madness for being only a doctor, engineer, lawyer or administrator. Careers were designed or perhaps, designated, at the time of a child’s birth. And that very existential crisis, everyone dealt with.
Sadly, in the second most populous country of the world, adrenaline and creativity of originality suffered.
Then, times changed. With the onset of neo-liberal policies of government and more Foreign Direct Investment, little businesses started to emerge. New ideas, shops, banners, tags, companies—little by little. The power-hungry charm of government jobs started to wane off, slowly. Now someone could be an artist, a designer, a painter and be “proud” of it. The entire idea of identity started to change. The previous generation had worked really hard for the younger one to at least have freedom of choice which is not curtailed by scarcity of money. Slowly, even the middle class was getting ready for little investments, a thought they couldn’t afford in the 80s and 90s. Meanwhile, with the burst of dot com bubble, several Indians—active participants of brain drain—returned. Most of these IT professionals, carrying the concept of international exposure, felt they had to do something different. India’s demography was promising, more and more youth entered the employment cycle. And that’s when; the true seeds of entrepreneurship were sown.
Now, things have changed completely. The start-up culture has taken the country by a storm. Young, 23-25 year old-graduates are minting money, spinning their ideas into reality.
Companies are starting from a small ‘barsati’ on the terrace to multi-storeyed buildings employing thousands.
The working life has transformed, along with what it means to be a part of start-up culture. But as the old saying goes, ‘Excess of anything is Bad’, even the field of entrepreneurship suffers in its own ways. You might wonder how? Just ask yourself, if having ‘too many’ youngsters opting for being entrepreneurs, really a good thing? Why is it happening? What culture would it create?
It’s quite a difficult topic to get hold on. Especially, if one is not an entrepreneur oneself! But for starters, today becoming an entrepreneur is perhaps the easiest thing to do in the world. A sense of nonchalance has seeped into the working culture, where a firm aversion is growing towards the corporate 9-t-5 work cycle. The concept of ‘open offices’ or freelancing is emerging, quite phenomenally. But at the same time, it’s also introducing those who do not want to literally delve into a hectic work-life balance, an easy way out. The ‘cool’ image that is associated with being an entrepreneur or establishing a start-up is not deserved by everyone. But that’s where today’s rat race is. Rather, it takes the charm away from the entire ‘profession.’
For those who are self-made, watching peer group members choose entrepreneurship just because they can easily get start-up investment from their affluent circles or they have a foreign degree, can be really depressing. And we all have heard about the old idiom ‘An Empty Vessel Sounds Much.’ So, the newbie of today, quite proud and smart, does not know the time and stamina that has been consumed by professionals to literally rise in their ladder. They don’t know the feeling of appraisals, salary hikes or arrears bestowed on good performance. Sadly, for them money is a piece of paper. This trait further illustrates the consumer behaviour and materialistic culture we are currently gripping with.
It’s not inflation actually doing the damage, but the attitude towards money. And with money, automatically comes the power to dominate. Well, it’s not too difficult to connect the dots in a country like India where the division between have’s and have-not’s is quite a burgeoning gap. So, many of the aspiring entrepreneurs, owing to the nascent introduction to ample money, do not understand the scarcity of it. In short, they do not understand how difficult earning one’s name can be in a difficult and competitive scenario.
And on top of that, these new-age pseudo-entrepreneurs do not have the urge to give back to the society. To do something for the greater good! They are aimless, too-high-on-attitude and egoistic. Sadly, this bunch of people can’t make things happen. Their identities will get easily morphed, erased.
So, for those who have the ‘noise within’ and crave to do something really different rather than being entrepreneur for the sake of it, here are some tips:
Not for food, but for ideas. Did you know 10,000 people can do 10,000 jobs in 10,000 better ways than you? Have you ever wondered about it? It’s too difficult to be original, a visionary. And developing that kind of acumen demands a lot of slogging. Every entrepreneur needs to embrace this fact, ‘It is not going to be easy’.
Don’t be afraid to take risks
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs took major risks, and they paid off in a big way. Many would assume it isn’t possible to start a business with very little money, but those who aren’t afraid to take risks don’t see things such as limited funding as a handicap. Keep striving for more and more. Never stop networking.
Failure is part of being an entrepreneur; you will take those failures and use them as learning experiences. Real world experience, even failing, will teach you more than you would ever learn in a classroom. It’s not necessary to have been born Steve Jobs’ creative genius or Gates’ iron will. You need to figure out your own strength. What is that keeps “you” going? What can make you stay awake for hours, work and seek pride in it? What is your spark?
Most entrepreneurs I know believe they will change the world. And this illusion is worth the risk. There’s an excitement and belief in what they’re doing that gets them through the hard times. Don’t fall prey to naysayers who don’t take entrepreneurs seriously because they don’t work from an office building, office park, storefront, or factory. Little do these skeptics, who rain on the home business owner’s parade, know is that the number of people working from home, and making very good annual incomes, has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years.
So, here it goes. Understand that if today you can opt to be an entrepreneur, someone else must have paid the price of you getting this freedom of choice. So, respect it. And grow! Give back to the society! Leave your mark. Stay original!