Still thinking over when should you take the plunge towards following your dreams, well do it now, before any of the following things strike you, and kill the entrepreneur in you.
What kills the Entrepreneur? There are several things that will just rip that entrepreneur heart out of your chest and squeeze it dry till the time it replaced with a ‘JOB ORIENTED’ heart that beats with every promotion, every pat on the back by the boss and receives a boost at those family gathering when people say “Hey, you are the Manager at this Big Company…wow”, or ‘Hey guys meet the GM of the X Company’, and maybe you too feel that moment of pride, you are, after all having a great job at a super great company that all have heard of. Why would you have wanted to start something that would take years before people would know its name and talk about it at those family gatherings? After all, in India pleasing others is all that matters, Right? And you could really think of uttering is “Long live the entrepreneur in you and long live the entrepreneurship. They are dead. R.I.P. So what killed the entrepreneur?
1. The Mindset of the Indian Family:
I may sound too cynical, but really I have rarely come across a family that don’t follow the ‘standard procedures’ when it comes to raising their kids. As kids we are never conditioned to really think out of the box. Just think of it. We are all told to study harder, be in the top 5 and then land a fat paying job in your campus placement. While education is important, for us it becomes the be all and end all of life. When it comes to career choices, people often tell their kids only 4-5 choices they have- You can be a Doctor, Engineer, CA or an MBA. That’s it. If you have a family business, you don’t have to look elsewhere. You are never conditioned to think otherwise. But then again, youth are rebellious; they will find a next best thing and have a business development plan in place. Families need to understand that not all are cut out for a JOB or are all supposed to in the TOP 5 to really make it big in life.
2. The Concept of Marriage and the Age:
The Government of India allows the Guys to get married at 21 and the Girls at 18. Thankfully our families do not take that as a benchmark but they have their own ‘cut-offs’. Marriage by 25 for a guy and 23-24 for a girl, which is the ‘rule of thumb’ they mostly follow. This often leads to the added responsibilities for both, the guy and the girl. Things change after marriage for both, and in today’s day and age the guys and girls are both career oriented, and the pressures of getting married at the ‘right’ age leads to a lot of entrepreneurship finding graveyards. Even the boy and the girl, will often feel that since they are getting married, they cannot take risks and need to land a settled job that pays well and provides for the family. What a lovely self-sacrificing thought. It just gave the entrepreneur in you, a cardiac arrest.
The other thing is, if the boy says he plans to quit his job and start this venture that he thinks will click in a few years and can really make it big that way, the families on either side would just back off. The groom’s side will push him to never leave a job and the bride’s father would have already made a few calls to find a groom with a stable job. While to marry or not is an individual choice, the pressures of family and society at large take their toll and at times a majority of us give in. My simple question is, if you are going to spend your life with someone, won’t it be great it that someone understood your vision and supported you. Just speak to her/him. If they are in, go ahead get married and still follow your dream together. Marriage doesn’t have to kill the entrepreneur in you. Unless of course the families and your future spouse do not understand at all, then really, take a call.
Oh! Did I mention the ‘right’ time to have kids? Yes, you get the point. It’s all planned for us by our family.
3. That thing called Home Loan:
You have to buy a home. Yes you have to, you have to, and you absolutely have to buy it now. You can’t wait. That is what our families say, that is what our society says. By and large the average middle class family will not have enough to even pay 40-50% of the cost of the house. So the best resort is Home Loan. Yeah, you have a job, you earn, so you shell out some of it on the Home Loan EMI. You have tax benefits; don’t you want to enjoy those? So go buy that home, take a home loan for 60-70% of the cost, and keep paying it for the next 15-20 years. So now tell me, will a sane person ever risk his/her job and start a business today when they know they have to keep paying fat EMI for the next decade or two. (Yeah, decade sounds really long, doesn’t it?) The vicious cycle starts. You take a JOB that pays well, you strive harder to keep that job so you keep earning, and you keep paying your EMI. What happened to that great business development idea? Oh yes, it retired.
But hey, you can always do it once you pay off your EMI and then retire. Yes you can, only thing, you would be 10-15 years too late then. Even if you are married, you would look at joint home loans and your spouse would too be entangled in the debt trap. Home loan is a big liability and hence any sane person wouldn’t risk a decent job that pays their EMI for a business plan that will take time to start paying well. Also the entire system is such that it is easier to get a home loan, but not easy to get funding for a really out-of-the-box business idea.
4. That Social Presence:
“What does your Kid do these days?”…asks a relative to the other at a social gathering. “Oh he is the manager at this big company” …comes the reply. “Oh, he is really hard working and smart, no wonder he is doing so well in the ‘Company’.” The relative lavishes praise, the father is proud. Now tell me, will this same kind of praise be lavished when you tell those relatives that you are having this next big idea that would find traction in the next couple of years and when the time comes, you would be ready to reap the rewards of it? No forget it. You don’t have a job, you don’t have a stable income and you are talking ‘Greek’ and ‘Latin’ to them, don’t expect them to understand. So, to be socially and ‘relative’ly acceptable; get a JOB in a BIG company. Yes, burry that entrepreneur under the social pressure.
Well, I always feel like asking them, what if this same person who has a JOB in that BIG company, that they just praised; quits his job and starts a business venture that will not pay for the next year or so? Will the same praise he lavished on him today stand true, or will he start to think, he’s gone dumb and what on earth he thinks. I bet this will happen. If one decision to be different from the rat race makes you a sudden dumbo from the smart guy you were some time back, then really, there is something wrong. NOT with YOU, but with the people – relatives, friends, and family whoever thinks that way.
5. Your own mindset:
Unfortunately the most important factor that kills the entrepreneur in you is you, yourself. Yes, the above factors are not in your own control. People will talk, people with think. Come on, I mean anything that has a brain will think and anything with a mouth will talk. Just live with it. You can choose to only let the one’s that matter to you get to you and even then just make them understand. I mean from the above, who matters the most? Just your Spouse, Mom and Dad. I think beyond these three you should not be bothered by anyone else. Make them understand what you want in life and more often than not they will understand. At times they may not, but if you still have enough will and vision, over time they would. Till that time, you have to ‘manage’ them. The one’s who overcome and are able to achieve what they do, are truly ‘successful’ in every sense of the word.
The other factor that you yourself are responsible for is your own leap of faith. Yes. So often some great ideas are just rotten in the mind webs of people just because they never took the first step out of fear of losing their financial security, or just because friends told them, that idea was wrong or it won’t work. No one is GOD. If you are sure, just do it. Also often people have reasons like, it’s not possible because I have got this routine and I don’t get time from office and etc, etc. Grow up. Take time off, change your routine and get your priorities right. Things will fall in place.
Really, this is it. The reason there are no Microsofts, Facebooks, Googles from India is because we are trained to follow. Yes, we are supposed to get a certain kind of education, and then have a certain flow of life, oh, yeah… we also have to put in long hours at work to please our bosses. After all, your boss is the one paying you and hence you have to be in his good books and even if it means forgoing your family and personal life, heck YES. I have to do it. Because you are trained to think that way. If you don’t, then it may hamper your chances of your next promotion or pay raise and if that happens, what will you or your family boast of at the next family gathering, how will your chances of marriage improve or how will the bank give you a great home loan offer. What will your friends think…………
OH GOD….! Screams the entrepreneur, and thus dies the entrepreneurship.