Basic Intro of the article
Thinking of starting a company? Success stories on Television and Internet are so lucrative that every young boy/girl in college wants to start a company. Successful startups which make founders millionaires/billionaires inspire every young mind. We are so attracted by the success stories that most of us forget we live by parents who are struggling to just live life. In most research carried out it is found that 90% of startups fail. 50% of startups fail in the first two years.
I have completed 2 years which means I still can fail by 40%. The rate is reduced to 20% because of strength in vision and completed product and personal strength in skills to take things forward.
NOTE: This article is primarily relevant to tech startups.
10 things I learned from my startup journey are:
1) Idea doesn’t matter, it’s implementation does
- When you talk about things in the beginning no one is going to believe in you. Even if someone believes you, they will take it back if things are not on the table as expected/told. When you work super hard to show and reflect on things people are going to take an interest in you.
2) People working with you are likely to misunderstand you
- Many things will go beyond your control in a startup with people you work together with. You are going to sense and feel problems in a situation without any power to change/control it instantly. You will try to go with the flow and try to take a lot of time to understand the situation. This will bring distrust among genuine people. So they are going to think you are either a cheat or indecisive which is ultimately going to create misunderstanding.
3) You are likely to build frustration/anger issue
- With so much work in place and things not working as planned you will end up building exceptions from people. Very few people are going to work hard for you. You might display open anger with people if a task is not completed or you find they are not serious with work.
ON POSITIVE NOTE: Later I started setting Zero Expectations from people which ultimately help me control my anger issue. If people are not able to work you need to provide a good environment for them to leave. It will save both of you.
4) You will need to be alone and work on the hardest times
- When the product development is not going as planned you need to stay focused and complete the product. As startups are highly demanding you will end up with a continuous workload of over 100+ hours weekly.
PIECE OF ADVICE: Have a high pain threshold.
5) Help will come from an unexpected place
- I needed a few people to work seriously in Company with me. There were ups and downs in the company where no person could contribute at a remarkable level. I was amazed when my own youngest sister started to help me. I asked her to help me with expectations to help with basic things. But she understood all things very quickly and took the lead to complete the product and help me in remarkable ways.
6) It’s hard to get investors/VC on board if you are creating something different/challenging
- Although we hear about easy money with investment, it’s not so easy after all. Investors will have their own choices and will invest in areas they find understood. You are likely to get investment if you are already generating some revenue. If not, then it's hard to convince any people.
ON ADDED NOTE: My Strength with people is with one-to-one communication. Due to COVID, it was impossible to meet people and talk directly which made things more difficult.
7) Everyone will uselessly question you when you need help/answers
- In startup journeys, you will need help from everyone around you. Rarely will someone come to you and help you when a problem persists. Just be strong-hearted and continue to work on things that are important to take the company forward.
8) People beginning with you will fail to continue with you when you are weak on your finances
- I had a plan to create a product within 6 months and all finances in place. I too had budgeted to extend for a year in case things not working out as planned. I had to extend it to a 2 years time frame which not only exceeded my planned budget but also consumed me financially. I had to pull personal loans from all possible places to at least ready the product.
9) Your family is going to burst into tears seeing you working (Stay away from them)
- To build and complete a product I had to stay long hours at night coding. Due to COVID, I traveled back home. During this time, I used to have my own timings of things and mostly avoided meals together with my family. I used to eat alone, sleepless, and used to stay away from communication for days.
My parents were not happy seeing me working super hard under such stress that they often asked me to quit. Later, I convinced them that this is very important to me.
10) It’s hard to convince a client to use your product
- Although your product is super cool, it’s going to be super hard to make them start to use your product. You need to deliver some remarkable value that is going to add up in your client’s business/life.
So what is the gist?
PERSISTENCE and ACCEPTANCE are highly important when you are on a startup journey.
Life is going to be super hard where you are in the beginning days of your startup journeys. Accept it. Gradually, things will start to improve if you have worked super hard and can create a sellable product/service.