“Entrepreneurship is mostly long hours of hard, dedicated work and a few hours of long lost thoughts”.
I was sitting in-front of my laptop and reviewing some code for an android app. It was past midnight, and as I stared into space thinking about what’s next, I had this weird thought that love life in college is so very similar to entrepreneurship. In fact so similar is the relationship that you would wonder, does every entrepreneur fall in love, at least once in a lifetime?
Every step of falling in love has a parallel in entrepreneurial journey. I will draw some analogies to impress on all college-goers to fall in love because if it works, you will have an awesome time. If it fails, you will learn few very important lessons of life and make the next big move of your lifetime.
If one were to define the word “love” it would be something like the most spectacular, indescribable, deep euphoric feeling which kind of spells your life forever. (there can be innumerous definitions, but this suits the context I am talking about).
Once you fall in love, you pursue that somebody with single minded devotion. Whenever I used to be with my singular someone, I used to forget the world around me. The care for what others would say or think used to vanish into thin air. For me my love was the most important person and my whole world revolved round her.
I woke with her thoughts and slept only after talking to her. Most amazingly, most of the times she came in my dreams. Now, when I reflect back, I can easily see a similar pattern in my entrepreneurial journey so far. I wake up by reading mails from last night and sleep after doing an introspection of work done today and a mental analysis on what did I do right/wrong in the day.
This 100% commitment is something one cannot do without, in a start-up. Another attitude to get started is not giving a damn to the typical Indian sentiment of ‘log kya kahenge’(which translates to , what would people say) . If you learn this, it will be single most important learning to help you grow as an entrepreneur. Because, even before you start , people start talking, parents would get protective, friends would be skeptical, competitors would scare you and you would be drowning in self-doubt.
Moving on to another analogy say you were not lucky enough, and the girl you thought was your life rejected your proposal. You feel dejected. And since you have already fallen for the girl, you feel anguished. But, once you come out of this mess, you are stronger . You have already learnt how to take rejections in your stride. Post this piece of life education I might get irritated when I call a prospective customer and I am told “don’t waste my time”, but the only thing I do now is smile and move on with the next task on the to-do list.
Most of the college romances do not last long. If you happen to be held up in one such relationship, trust me nothing can be more heart-quashing than a break-up. Reasons can be anything like ‘we are not destined to be this way’ or ‘you have changed’ blah blah. When I was told, “I don’t think we are meant to be this way, I need a break”, I was shattered. My whole world went upside down within a matter of 2 minutes.
But as they say, time is a great healer. You too will bounce back, slowly. I too did. It took me 8–9 months to actually accept that I have actually lost her forever now. By the time you be your normal self, you would have learnt, how to let go of something which was your life.
When you start on your own , it’s your baby, you care for it and try to nurture it. However inspite of your best efforts, things might not go your way and you may have to finally take the heart-breaking decision to shut it down or take an exit.
Love life is a roller coaster ride. You fight, you laugh, you cry. The same is true for entrepreneurship, it can be emotionally very draining and stressing. So a prior experience will help you in remaining in your senses. At times you will be euphoric and the very next day you will be at an emotional low.
In college days, you won’t have a lot of cash (given you are not the spoilt brat of some xyz industrialist) still you will seek to give expensive gifts to your loved one, go out on dates to all these exotic places in your city. Thats where you learn to manage your finances so that, your endeavor to impress also gets fulfilled and you still have enough to survive for the month.
During initial days of a start-up, you won’t have many customers, if you are bootstrapping, money will be an issue always. You will have to pay salaries, rents, bills etc. So, lesson learnt on managing things on shoe-string budget will help here. Initial couple of years, every expenditure will have to be very thoughtfully done and prioritized.
In short drawing up an analogy between a failed or a worked out love story and that entrepreneurship prone life, one thing that you conclude up clearly is that:
A hungry stomach, an empty pocket and a broken heart can teach some of the “Best Lessons of Life”. Lessons which serve you well as you fight out to survive another day or grow into a new day of glory even.