Have you ever zoomed down a steep mountain road on your bicycle, with both your feet in the air ? It’s thrilling and terrifying at the same time. You react to circumstances as quickly as you can, but still wonder if your last decision will throw you off the mountain, or cause you to run headlong into some obstacle or, better still, will allow you to gain even more speed and momentum ! It can be a truly exhilarating, hair-raising ride. But like a roller coaster, every peak is followed by a valley. These peaks and valleys represent the joys and frustrations of entrepreneurship. And, if you have had that cycle ride, like most Parsis have had, you are already an Entrepreneur !
Yes, being an entrepreneur IS being crazy. But he would not have life any other way. With a fire in his belly, an entrepreneur is compelled to do what he loves doing most and thoroughly enjoys doing it over and over. He is a master of his destiny. And he creates something from nothing ! Other mundane stuff like making money, creating jobs, having no boss, etc. are all pleasant side effects.
And, are we not all crazy as a community ? Taking your motorcycle up to your home on the second floor, washing your car when it is raining, collecting ball point pens for no reason – are all signs of being madly passionate about something. That is what entrepreneurship is all about – being passionate to the point of madness. Proves a point – entrepreneurship is in our genes.
So, why are we not seeing many entrepreneurs around these days ? Is it fear of failure ? or too many hassles or lack of risk appetite ? Maybe a little of each, combined with easy availability of high paying jobs. But then, there is no comparison between a steady bus ride in the city and a humongous roller coaster ! Safe, but no thrill – yuck.
Where do I start ? The answer is very simple – start with a hobby and make it your vocation. If music is your passion – start a music academy. If art is your craving – you could trade in paintings. And, if you are the nerdy type, you might like to dabble in silicon chips and ultimately invent a commercially viable Solar power generating system. You could start a part-time hobby and later convert it into a full time business.
How do I start ? Well, well. There are so many institutions and organizations ready to help these days. Look at National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) and our very own World Zarathushti Chamber of Commerce (WZCC). Did you know that WZCC conducts Entrepreneur Development Programs on an annual basis to educate and mentor those who want to dive into the abyss of entrepreneurship and equip them with sturdy parachutes to ensure safe landings ?
But where is the money ? Show me a good project and the money will follow – something that has been said a million times. No matter how crazy your idea, if it is workable and commercially viable, there is no dearth of money these days. So many investors, venture capitalists and banks prowling around, looking for so few good, viable projects. Beware – before you find them, maybe they will find you ! And all ventures do not involve big money. Better to start small and grow, thereby minimizing your need and risks.
Isn’t it risky ? If you invest in shares, it is risky. If you take up a job, the company may fail, or your boss may be obnoxious. If you use a computer, you may get a virus. If you walk on the street, you might just meet with an accident. There is no place which is risk free. But there is a place where you can enjoy being yourself – your own sweet entrepreneurial venture.
What if I fail ? No worries. A couple of failures will bring out the best in you and groom you to become a tenacious entrepreneur. What happens when a child learns to walk ? Does he succeed the first time ? Does he keep trying ? Till he actually walks ? Well – we must learn from kids these days!
The eco-system – The support system where you meet with others who are as ambitious as you are, where you find mentors and hand-holders, where you find experienced stalwarts guiding greenhorns – all this is available for the asking. Just walk into a WZCC office with a prior appointment and you will be surprised.
Well, all this is fine, I am raring to go, but who will convince my family ? YOU – who else !
It is certainly not a bed of roses. Grit, determination, hard work, smiles and tears are all a part of the game. At the end of it all, when you create your baby venture out of nothing, enjoy being there and succeed in making your dreams a reality, you will look back with a smile and say – “Well, after all, it was well worth the effort.”
Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of Entrepreneurs !
I would rather stumble a thousand times
Attempting to reach a goal,
Than to sit in a crowd
In my weather-proof shroud,
A shriveled and self-satisfied soul.
I would rather be doing and daring
All of my error-filled days,
Than watching and waiting, and dying
Smug in my perfect ways.
I would rather wonder and blunder,
Stumbling blindly ahead,
Than for safety’s sake
Least I make a mistake
Be sure, be safe, be dead.
– Author Unknown
E-Series – Yazdi Tantra