About 7-1/2 months ago, I had written a post on my initial journey as an entrepreneur. Well, guess what? It has been exactly a year to the day today since I left the corporate world and took the entrepreneurial road – one with many twists, turns and surprises. Going back to that post, I see that I had listed down 10 aspects that I had learnt then:
- It’s a great learning opportunity
- Listen to a lot of opinions …
- … but pick & choose the opinions to value
- Pick people for attitude …
- … and repose faith in them!
- Keep a close eye on your costs
- Taking a decision is better than none
- Watching a product grow is exhilarating
- Being your own boss is liberating
- Enjoy the journey
At the end of a year, as I looked back at this list, wondering whether there was any one of these that I might need to change, it struck me that I didn’t really need to change any of these. To me, these had stood the test of the intervening months, through pivots, tough times, lost opportunities and the promise of new opportunities.
Incidentally, my dad landed up today from Coimbatore and as we were talking, he asked me about four aspects of my life, viz., material, emotional, physical and intellectual. So I thought, I would share the answers that I gave him for all four.
As someone who has bootstrapped, the obvious response to this is that I am in the red. Have been in the red since the day I left the cushy corporate job. I see signs that we as a company are at a stage where we will start to have a constant stream of revenue coming in, but that still doesn’t take away the fact that I am materially worse-off now than I was a year ago. Entrepreneurship 1 : Arun 0
That leads me to the next aspect. Emotional. Am I emotionally better off now than I was a year earlier? And the answer to that is an unqualified yes. As I mentioned to someone not that far back, I haven’t earned a single rupee this year but it has been one of the happiest and most satisfying years of my life. Obviously, emotional contentment also implies contentment within oneself as well as the family and is dependent to a large extension on the support that one can get from the family. And here, I must say that I have been singularly lucky in having a family that has been extraordinarily supportive. Entrepreneurship 1: Arun 1
I had often heard that physical well-being can take a toll once one gets into the startup mode. After all, a startup founder is on the job 24 x 7 x 365 hours a year! Well not quite. It is very essential to switch off and get some quiet time for oneself and I find that working out everyday (or at least 5-6 days a week) helps to get me going every morning. I am now an early morning adrenalin junkie and without my 30 minutes running or hitting the gym in the morning, I don’t feel quite up to facing the day. What this has also helped me do is get 6-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night and that has meant that overall, I haven’t seen any great decline in my physical abilities. Entrepreneurship 1: Arun 2
Finally, we come to the intellectual aspect of life. I cannot tell you how alive I feel knowing that I would be learning an immense amount every single day. My creative juices flow (especially given that ours is a product company) and just being able to think about new features, methods, algorithms is an exhilarating experience in itself. Entrepreneurship 1: Arun 3
So overall, if you look at the scoreline, I feel I am well ahead in this game and hopefully can turn it 4-0 in my favor before the next year is out!