The age of 9 to 5 jobs is far from being over. But its monopoly is definitely challenged by millennials, who have bigger dreams and want to follow their passion, even if it means letting go of stability and job security.
Today, more and more young Indians are opting for freelance roles and several others are dipping their toes in entrepreneurial waters. The idea of starting-up is everywhere — advertisements and web series, and even our PM launched a program to provide the much needed push.
But before we all get carried away by the rosy picture of working for ourselves, we must realise that the struggles to get there are real. In fact, starting and running one’s own business is, in most cases, harder than working for someone.
We asked 3 millennial entrepreneurs to give us the real picture of entrepreneurship and the struggles that come with it. Here’s what they had to say:
1. It’s Not Easy to Generate Funds
You want to solve a problem and you have faith in your idea. But there are chances that the investor doesn’t see a market value for your startup. This means: a long struggle to find the right funding.
Needless to say, running short on funds is not something you want for a company in its nascent stage.
“Funding is hard to come by, and most of the times, is irregular. You have to maintain the investor’s trust in your idea and potential – and that becomes a real challenge,” says Manish Sharma (28), co-founder of Youth Dreamers Foundation.
2. There Are High Chances of Failure
We’re not trying to dissuade you but this is a fact. A majority of startups actually fail — and we have data to back this claim. According to a study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV) and Oxford Economics, nine out of 10 startups in India fail.
If you have the right preparation and skills, you will be among those who succeed. But to learn from others’ mistakes is also a skill you must possess!
3. The Competition Is Tough
There’s a big possibility that another startup or, at times, multiple startups similar to yours are already operating in the market. This makes things highly competitive, as the big fish are out there to swallow the smaller ones.
“We are an adventure travel startup and there are dozens of people working in the same area. To ensure that adventure sports reaches everyone, we offer the lowest packages (price-wise). This is to stay ahead of the competition,” says Sanjay Jha (27), executive head of Himalayan Weekenders. Similarly, you must figure out ways to stay ahead in the game from the get-go.
4. Finding a Trustworthy Team Is a Challenge
This is the fourth point in this article but it sure does top the list in actuality. Say you have a great business idea and you also have the funds — but how will you implement the project if you don’t have a team of trustworthy people, who share the same vision for the company as you?
Staffing is a real problem especially for startups that can’t afford to pay chunky salaries. You’ll find that you have to stretch yourself to make things work, taking up tasks beyond your profile, and working extra hours.
“Having a job is all about instant gratification. You do your work and you get your salary at the end of the month. Working with a startup gives you a delayed gratification. Sometimes, the results take years,” adds Manish.
5. People Will Bring You Down
We’re not talking about your business competitors. When you decide to start out on your own, the people closest to you (your teachers, friends, or parents) will question your decision, which frankly, is even worse!
“It takes a hell lot of courage to quit a well-paying job and become an entrepreneur. Everyone thinks we have made the worst decision of our lives. They think we will fail, and they wait for us to return to our ‘normal lives’,” says Arbab Usmani (31), founder of UppSkill.
People are the toughest to convince. You might even have to go against your loved ones, adding to the pressure and stress. But if you do succeed — no matter how long it takes — people will be proven wrong, and that feeling of believing in yourself is simply precious!
So, would you take a leap of faith?
Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar