What does it take to get started?

What does it take to get started?  This question is often asked in a tone and mood that’s sacred, as if there will be a moment of nirvana by my pronunciation of truth – something that will enlighten them!  As if I’ll give them the mantra to life’s secrets and life will be happy and sunshine henceforth! (sigh, if only!)

 I typically list a set of things. The list contains roughly the same items for everyone but I customize the narrative to suit the guy on the other side. My first reaction is – Nothing. You just need to makeup you mind! J (Yeah! Simply said than done, right?)

Image Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tutuwon/

So here I am trying to put down the most important things you need to figure out in your life before you get started!

  1. Belief:  Most important ingredient is to have belief in yourself. As an entrepreneur you will encounter times when you’ll be made to question yourself and keeping that confidence intact is super important. Closely related is the belief you have in the problem you are trying to solve – there are many (and unfortunately, near and dear ones) who will dismiss your idea!
  2. Undying Passion: You need to have a crazy passion that keeps the “never say die” attitude in you alive, even at the lowest point in your life! You need to be passionate about doing just about anything to keep that idea of yours alive. The passion that ensures you are focusing on the right things each day, a passion that will push you to solving the right problems, answering the right question, to go on when it seems all doors have closed themselves upon you!
  3. Stoic-ism (to an extent): Stoic is a dispassionate attitude, something that allows us to detach ourselves from something and not show feelings about it. I think its important to have or cultivate this trait as an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur you are trying to solve a problem that seems critical and many times that problem may not be all that critical, its important for you to move from that idea to something else that makes sense. Being excessively obsessed with the idea or be stuck to it will not help here. Hence, the stoic-ism helps. Being stoic also helps in moving on with what you are doing and not take all the critics too seriously J
  4. Discipline: This is something that we can consciously develop. Working as an employee is something else – you perform everyday or you perform when required; it’s a choice you make. But as an entrepreneur, of course you don’t have appraisals at the end of the quarter to evaluate you, but it is self induced discipline that sees you through many quarters. You must impose a schedule, have short-term goals, a to-do-list of what you need to achieve for the day, evaluate what got done and what did not on a daily basis, and follow all of this with a supreme sense of discipline and devotion. We need to be our own watch dog, follow a self induced gate-keepers role and ensure we achieve / learn something daily and move forward.
  5. Patience & Perseverance: As an entrepreneur, the task you’ll embark upon is no less than building Rome. It will take time to build a solution to the problem at hand. Sometimes months, many-a-times a few years. If you are someone who wants fast success – this is not your play! You need to exercise immense patience, keep going at it, as well as keep others you work with interested in the project.
  6. Sense of selflessness: Having personal ambitions and goals are important, but if you want to be the one appreciated for the efforts – then you’d want to think again. As an entrepreneur, start-up founder you are the leader, content and appreciative of your teammates performances. Even if you have done half the work, do not expect people to acknowledge you for it, instead appreciate the efforts of the others in the team. This may not bring you short-term glory, but will bring you long-term success. You have to be a team person and lead from the front.

Wondering why this post does not cover things like: Be an expert in the problem you are trying to solve, connections & networking, experience, money, etc. etc?  That’s ‘coz I wanted to deal with some psychological, attitude & qualities based traits that are required for an entrepreneur. And most of it, as against the common belief, can be consciously cultivated for self-growth.

I think it’s important for an entrepreneur to be like a cockroach. Yea a roach! It can survive anywhere & it can pretend to be dead and come back up alive!

And Oh! I don’t think you need money to get started, nor do I think you need experience (generically understood as work experience) – you can be a fresher out of college or even a school kid to realize a pain-point to solve it. 

So, have you got what it takes to get started? Yes? Then, we’re looking for you! Read more.