Learning to Fly: 13 Guiding Principles to follow while you are starting up


Entrepreneurship is a journey full of uncertainties. Its a roller coaster ride out of your comfort zones and an endeavour that brings the best out of you. If you keep persisting with grit and determination, it will be an extremely rewarding process. If you have discovered your passion and if you are thinking about taking the leap of faith and starting your own business, this article will guide you through the entire process. These important points have helped me in my eighteen months of entrepreneurship. Hope they help you too in your journey. Bon Voyage!

1. Doing it for the wrong reasons

Before we get into the details about what to do, lets first go through what not to do. You should not start your business because of one of the following reasons:

  1. Because you want to work less
  2. Because you are sick of working for someone
  3. Because you want to become rich
  4. Because you want to become famous
  5. Because you want to be cool
  6. Because you want to save the world
  7. Because you want to create jobs

Now you might wonder what may be the so called “right reason”. Well, there is no right answer, but as Michael Noble, the CEO of Apruve aptly puts it, “When someone pays us because we provided a product that solved a problem, it’s that satisfaction, not the money, which really hits home and keeps our team going. The money is just the measure of the value we’ve created”.

2. Do it NOW

Remember that one of the most clichéd and biggest truth in life is that it exists only in the present-RIGHT NOW: neither in the past, nor in the future. Once you start living this clichéd truth, life will not be the same. Then you will neither be bothered about things that happened in the past nor be concerned about the things that will happen in the future. If you want to do anything, do it RIGHT NOW. Get that guitar out of the closet, get those running shoes on and start running-start with 100 steps- you will slowly beat yourself at it, start that dream business you always wanted to start- the world is waiting for your masterpiece. Talk to that girl you always wanted as your girlfriend-she is probably waiting for you to speak up. Always wanted to write? Write a piece and share it with your close friends-let them be your critique.

3. The Growth Mindset

Rather than setting result oriented goals, setting growth oriented goals will save the day for you. It is an absolute necessity for you to go on in your business. This methodology proposed by professor Carol Dweck will not just increase your productivity, but will also be a critical factor for your success in the longer run. Without the growth mindset, you are likely to immense amounts of self-doubt, which will get you to quit faster. Its an uphill task when you start questioning your abilities. Taking failures as opportunities to learn and perform course corrections rather than using them as a magnifying glass to view your flaws and judge yourself, will really take you long way. Want less frustrations? Want to reduce your learning curve? Use growth mindset and you would have won half the battle.

4. Give more, expect nothing

When you deliver or give more than what is expected of you, you foster not only awesome relationships and trust, but also growth and happiness. As the management and leadership guru Simon Sinek puts it- generosity is a breeding ground of love, creativity and fulfillment. Fulfillment, as they say, is the best of all the feelings. The hormone responsible for this feeling is oxytocin or the love hormone. Mother nature has cleverly designed the hormone to encourage the survival of the human race, and hence it is only secreted when you do acts of generosity and kindness. Because when you are generous and loving you ensure others’ survival and growth and this behaviour encourages others to be kind to you as well. Thus fostering trust and mutual respect. It is only secreted when you give wholeheartedly without anything expected back in return. Be generous to your co-workers and subordinates. Rather than competing with each other, if your focus is on making them win, you will inculcate team spirit and every challenge will be an opportunity rather than being a burden. Give your client more than what they expect and they will help you grow by leaps and bounds. Since most of us will be spending major part of our lives working, we better feel fulfilled at our workplaces. If not, the major part of our life will be miserable. So in conclusion, the best access to having is giving!

5. Shutting down the backdoor

Once you take the leap of faith, make it a point that you close down all the back doors. During your journey of building your own empire, you will face disappointment lot of times. Things will not work the way you want them to work, plans will be thrashed and dreams will be broken. During those disappointing moments, you would want to quit and run away to do things which are within your comfort zone. You would want to take up the job that you quit to start up your dream. Beware of such thoughts-they will build a coffin for your business. The line to say to yourself is “All in or Nothing!”. Yes, the Adidas tagline. When you subconsciously know that ‘this is it’ and act like your life depends on it that is when you take off and start flying.

6. Solve an existing problem

Take any of the plethora of problems the world is facing right now and put all your efforts in solving them-make it your sole mission in life. This way the journey will not only be inspiring and challenging, but it will also ensure your success. The solution of any problem starts with a question. So bring forth that child-like curiosity and start questioning. How do you make others’ life easy? How do you make an organization more effective and more productive? How do you improve communication facilities and help them to connect people? How do you make renewable energy more efficient and affordable? How do you educate every child and provide basic necessities like clean drinking water and electricity to every village of the world? The list is endless.

7. Keep Hustling

Entrepreneurship is not a 9 to 6 job-it’s a journey to build your dream empire- it is demanding. You have to hustle your way out of every obstacle-whether you know how to deal with the roadblock or not, it doesn’t matter, keep hustling and you will find your way.

8. Right attitude towards Money

Your conversation about money would dictate how you would do in your business. If you are starting a business to become rich, as mentioned earlier, its the biggest pitfall in the road towards success. Here, what the business tycoon J.R.D. Tata, one of the pillars of the 100 billion dollar Tata Group once told Sudha Murthy before she left TELCO to assist her husband Narayana Murthy to start-up the billion dollar company Infosys becomes very relevant. He said,“remember that no one is the owner of money, you are only trustee of money and it always changes hands. When you are successful, give it back to society that gave you so much goodwill”.

9. The Idea conundrum

Remember that ‘Ideas are worth shit if you don’t act on them’ and ‘putting your efforts in wrong direction and on a wrong idea is a recipe for failure’, these two quotes have to be followed with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, it’s a balancing act. The more you practice, the better is your balance.

10. You are not entitled to anything

If you believe that since you work hard, do not take breaks and have a social life that sucks, you are entitled to be successful, you are hugely mistaken. The fact of the matter remains that 90% of the startups fail. Here’s an advice from the awesome Taylor Swift given to Ashton Kutcher, which he shared at a tech conference, “Keep your hopes high and your expectations low. You’re not entitled to anything, but there’s nothing you can’t earn. And most importantly, enthusiasm can protect you from absolutely anything”.

11. Attitude Gratitude

Remember the attitude gratitude-you will get more things done in a day if you operate with love and gratitude towards everything that comes your way. Be grateful to every moment of your life, it has made you who you are today and most importantly it’s a gift, that’s why it’s called a present(there you go master Oogway :) ).

12. The Silver lining

It doesn’t matter if your business is successful or not; if you persevere hard, you will surely be a better person at the end of the day. You will start valuing every moment of your life. Your point of view of looking at things will change- you will see the world in a broader light. Metaphorically it is a very spiritual journey.

13. Don’t take it too seriously

And last but not the least, enjoy every moment of this journey. If you are not enjoying the ups and downs of the journey, you are likely to fizzle out in the mid of the journey. You are doing something that you are passionate about and it will drive you through all the lows and make you ecstatic about the little victories. Its a journey and not a destination. At the end of the day, remember you are just a speck of dust in the vastness of the universe and life inherently has no meaning attached to it. You were nothing when you started and you will end up nothing. The beauty of the in-betweens is all that matters!

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