You should start a business at least once in your college life, irrespective of the result
This is quite a famous line which I’ve heard almost all entrepreneurs say during startup events and conferences in colleges and to be honest, I have a great deal of problem with it.
This is a wrong advice. Stop saying it!
Let’s look at some aspects which lead to my problem:
Firstly, the entrepreneur who is giving that advice is a successful businessman or investor who always wanted to be entrepreneur or at least his calling came and he realized it. He made it because he felt he has the ability to build something useful which people will pay for, to lead a team of people, to deal with a lot of daily failures and finally to scale it at the right time.
Now, here’s the issue!
The students listening don’t actually know what they’re good at (generally) and suggesting them to be an entrepreneur is just like asking them to try out engineering or CA after 12th standard. Some people are good leaders than others, some are good managers and some are good techies.
Here’s another thing we don’t realize
College is the meatiest part for a person to build his career. It’s the pillar where you gain knowledge before going to the professional front, where you gain experience by getting into internships at various places, where you build your cultural base by learning new languages and where you build yourself by trying different things like a new relationship, social work, travel, gym etc.
When you start up while in college (and this is coming from personal experience) you miss out on a lot of that. You mess with your studies, you mess with your ‘me’ time; actually you mess with all the time you have, you mess up with your realtionships- friends, family, girlfriend/boyfriend and what not. Yes, that’s what you have to compromise on while trying to be a successful entrepreneur. May be even more than that for some people.
Students get all starry-eyed while listening to entrepreneurs speaking about starting up and they fall for all the glamour that comes along with it and end up creating non-sense products with no aim (sorry, but it’s the truth) and end up wasting a lot of their precious college time which could’ve been used to build a great professional career. They never startup again after that and that’s exactly why all their time is mostly considered waste.
Entrepreneurship is not just about starting up. It’s beyond that. It’s about taking the leap of faith knowing you’ll fail 9 out of 10 times. It’s about failing and still going on. Those who do it, they do it forever. They don’t do it just because someone said it would be a learning experience or it would be fun or because “startup” & “CEO” are the sexiest words going around these days.
By asking students to start up, you are actually asking people who can be good number 5,7,10 or 15 to become number 1 or 2. That’s where it starts, they actually end up being bad or at most avg number 1–2 and ultimately get crushed by other better ones. Had they known that they can be good number 10, they could’ve focused on that and honed their skills for that and actually end up being a great number 10.
AND can actually end up making more money/living more satisfactory life than 99% of the entrepreneurs.
Please be self-aware about who you are, what your strengths/weaknesses are and where can you use them to make life better for you. Double down on your strength and work on your weaknesses.
Even if you want to startup, make sure you are doing it seriously and not because of someone’s influence. Learn all that you can about your industry. Meet as many people as you can- potential customers, fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, emplyoees and others. Do it with passion, Dream.
And to those who advise them to be entrepreneurs:
Please ask them to be self-aware about themselves. I’m asking this because they listen to you, because you have the power to affect their thinking process and nothing can be greater than helping them be the best version of themselves.
And here’s a request to media and community builders:
Celebrating funding is a culture we’ve created around entrepreneurship. But for every successful entrepreneur, there are a lot of failed ones. It’s time that the failures are also projected equally amongst everyone so that one can access all the pros and cons. There are people dealing with stress, depressions, family issues, financial issues and social issues because of starting up and suicides due to them are actually becoming a thing. You guys also have the power to address that.
Please Start A Business Only When You Are Passionate About It, Only When You Know You Are Good At It, Only When You Know Any Failure Won’t Affect Your Journey Of Being An Entrepreneur.
[This is a guest post by Somvir Yadav]