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What it’s like to be an Entrepreneur

There have been tons of stories about this breed of beings called the “Entrepreneurs”, more so in the last decade than ever before, simply because it’s never been as easy to become one. Specially if you understand the technology world well, it’s very difficult for you to not be an entrepreneur in these times.

Well that’s what you think when you contemplate being an entrepreneur. You are capable, you’re intelligent, you are flexible, you’ve got skills. You want to now become a free bird. You want to spread your wings and take a flight. You almost start feeling the fast winds hitting your face and experience a rush of adrenaline gushing through your veins, the thrill of cruising miles above the ground. You want to take on the world.

No matter how strong, capable & smart you think you are, when you actually start off, you quickly realize that in this new “Entrepreneur World” you are a bird sure, but the bird is a duck. More interestingly, it’s a duck in a crocodile lake. You are yet to discover your wings, and you got to do it fast, before the crocodiles discover you. The desperation of flying out, the fear of becoming a croc snack, and thoughts that you are just a vulnerable little thing in this overtly powerful world leave you exasperated. A couple of nasty scuffles with the crocodiles brings you in contact with the reality of the entrepreneur world, a couple of neat escapes from the crocodile grasps, builds your confidence. The shores are far, the sky is away and your journey has just begun.

You live dangerously, you fight to survive, every fight teaches you a lesson, every moment of survival is cherished, every new fight is equally scary, but you stay alive. You stay in the game. Something keeps you going. The key is persistence. Eventually the very process of fight-survive-fight gradually starts to transform you. It gives you strength, it gives you clarity, it gives you WINGS. You are no longer a duck now, you’ve earned your wings. You transform into a giant hawk and fly out to enter a new world of opportunities. The crocodiles are left far behind and you feel strong, free and powerful in your new world. But the new world has new perils.

You have to hunt for your food, every day. You have to save yourself from the environmental uncertainties; you have to save yourself from other powerful predators higher up the food & power chain, each day, every moment. And that’s true for everyone, no matter how powerful you may think you are. Everyone is vulnerable.

Well all the crocodiles, predators, environmental uncertainties etc, as you’ve picked already, are metaphors for the challenges that an entrepreneur faces. The challenges come in various forms, and they come anytime, most of the time when you are least expecting them. You got to be fully conscious, alert and aware ALL THE TIME. It’s akin to walking on a rope. That’s the state of mind you got to invoke.

An entrepreneur is blessed with an indomitable never-say-die spirit. He is obsessed with where he wants to go. And this obsession is his source of strength, the strength he requires all the time to grapple with all kinds of things that keep crossing his path. This strength gives him a kind of psychological immunity to any uncertainity that could hit him. There is very little difference between an insane jerk and an entrepreneur. An insane jerk too is immune to the world’s uncertainties, but his immunity stems out of ignorance, and hence is frugal. However in the entrepreneur’s case his immunity comes with intelligence, knowledge and hard experience of his journey and therefore his immunity is real, the one that’s rightfully earned.

This immunity to the world’s uncertainities does get tested all the time, only to strengthen it and lend it more shine. It’s a hard game, but it evolves you. It liberates you.

As an entrepreneur, you live to fight another day. You fight to win. You lose & learn. You stand up to fight again. Entrepreneurship doesn’t kill you, it TRANSFORMS you for good. That’s the reward. And that’s a great reward.

The thrills and the perils of the entrepreneur world are hard articulate. All known languages and vocabulary would fall short of capturing the exact essence of what it is to be an entrepreneur. It’s only a thing of experience. I have just attempted to share some of my thoughts here, and while I may have referred to the entrepreneur as “he” it does not indicate gender bias, it’s just a placeholder, all “he” in this post is as much “she” as “he”. 

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