Startups — Fund It Yourself To Do It Your Way
Incubators, VCs And Mentors Aren’t Bringing Your Startup Your Way. It’s Bringing To Theirs.
I am always in awe of people starting their own businesses and having their creativity and ideas and philosophy juice fill a culture and company they call their own.
Having your own business is a feat, as you have to constantly fight to survive. You’re the sales, marketing, ideas generator, toilet cleaner.. everything jammed into one person, for the start, at least.
I strongly believe that if you are doing out of your passion, then it is no longer work, and you will even be obsessed and start to “overwork”.
About a year ago, I was approached by a friend to invest in his online platform dealing with financial stuff. I knew that industry wasn't my cup of tea (and I didn't have the available funds) so I didn't join in. A year later today the value of his company increased. He hired more headcounts and have an office now.
I didn’t have the feeling of stabbing myself, but I learned that everything is possible if you try.
Since then, I went on to finally finishing books that I had bought long ago… I bought courses online, spent a few thousand bucks on materials and learning thoroughly on different aspects of the one thing I am truly interested in — Viral Marketing.
I now know what I want to do, how to do and why am I doing it. I’ve set up a few business units online and they are still in the developing stages.
Not all are profitable businesses yet (only started 3 months ago). One of it, however, did land me a job which I find myself paving the way and leading the digital aspect of that business. It is a major Interior Design company in the country. And this, I think it is a miracle and I thank God for it.
For the past year I have seen many interesting people, meeting different aspiring entrepreneurs.. and found that most people are concentrating on finances and headcounts and one million other things but the most important one — Their Business.
Interestingly, the ones that will steer people away are usually the things that founders think will help them:
Money. The bane and curse, the cure and mojo.
Jon Yong Fook explained why he didn’t take a single cent and so should all budding entrepreneurs.
But often, money causes more startups to flunk than succeed, usually because of sell outs.
Sometimes because of income, startups tend to become something they are not what they started out to be. Users go to them initially for the solution they provide and if they sell out like that, income will drop. Isn’t that a simple logic?
Also, when funders, VCs and anyone who support you with their resources, aren’t you at the mercy of them as well..?
Personally, I think this is a huge deal that clips wings.
I had the chance of joining an incubator startup that grooms startups and incubates ideas. My role was to do growth hacking for the startups under it. The pay wasn’t fantastic with a mere crazy $1k odd. I was about to join nevertheless to learn, however, I realised one thing.
My idea of a startup was rejected and I was told it “wasn't good enough”.
It wasn't, in the mentor’s eyes. But it is an idea that is very achievable, very doable and has lots of potential in it.
The irony is that the exact same project website idea that I was rejected for, I am now being offered 4 times the income.
Mentors, Incubators, Angel Investors, Venture Capitalists… They are people rich in resources and experiences. Most of the time very savvy with the market they are in, and are usually smart human beings.
They have seen it, been there, done that.. And that is the problem.
They want to innovate, to create.. only because it is a good investment. That being said, the direction is theirs.
Most startups/entrepreneur want to have their own business because they want to change the world.
But how are they going to change the world if their world is being managed by people whom have spent their lives seeing and experiencing things so differently from them?
On top of that they’re not just being mentored.. Ideas may change because of being mentored. Mentoring may work if they can make a stand.
Or if they have a say in their own startup.
3. Financial Freedom
I was talking with a relative whom I consider her life (so far) rather successful. She is one year older than me, earning a decent pay and having a reputable job. She works with politics and the internet, lobbying for a giant eCommerce company.
But she never wanted to have her own business. She doesn’t want to change the world and believes that the corporate ladder is safer than striving it on your own and is the way to achieve financial freedom.
And I totally agree with her on that too.
If you have a startup, you are constantly hunting and farming. You are at the mercy of your suppliers and customers. Things are difficult, if one day your supplier stop supplying you with whatever you need, you are doomed.
But is that it?
When you work for someone.. you are also at the mercy of your employer.
“Ain’t no thing like me ‘cept me.” - Rocket Raccoon
If you believe in your idea, go for it. Even if the whole world thinks it’s a dumb idea.
People laughed at Steve Jobs when he first launched the iPhone and the iPad.
Here is a list of 35 very popular figures with creations and inventions you must have heard. It consists of people like Walt Disney, JK Rowling and Oprah Winfrey.
They all had one thing in common: Being mocked at before becoming famous.
They still have one thing in common now.
5. The Solution — Change The World With It
It is evident. Everywhere I go, everything I read.. it all boils down to one factor that makes a brand a good brand, a product a good product and a design a good design.
Like what Apple does, Steve Jobs focused on developing good products and it is based on this single focus, that is able to propel Apple into what it is today.
KFC focused on making delicious chicken. Moleskine focused on making good notebooks. Google focused on being a reliable and accurate search engine.