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Master or Slave

September 23, 2011

Some of the top reasons (at least for me) that entrepreneurs give for starting a own company is

1) To be the master of their own destiny,

2) They don’t want to take orders from others

3) and work for themselves.


All these three reasons are true to some extent and yes an entrepreneur will be the master of his/her own destiny, will not take orders from others (not really though) and work @ will. Over the past three months what I have experienced is a bit contrary to this thought – yes I don’t take orders from others, I work for myself and I am master of my own destiny. But it is not taking about orders or giving orders, it is more of team work, just get the work done no matter who does it and how it will benefit the company


Master of my own destiny: Is is true? Once you start a company you no longer control your destiny (I am not getting philosophical here). You are controlled by the VCs, by angel investors, by your customers and by the whole world. What I have noticed is that you constantly think about the company (24×7) on different topics ranging from the very survival and growth of the company to strategic alliances to customer complaints. It is just that as an entrepreneur you never stop working – consciously or unconsciously, and may be that is what “being master of my own destiny means”


Taking Orders from others: What I have realized is that as a startup since the entrepreneur is closer to the idea and has a much higher understanding (at least on most) of the areas they tend to provide direction to the company (this again is a flaw as entrepreneurs might miss the forest for the trees). This to the outside world looks like as if the entrepreneur is incharge (and hence giving orders) of the company. In reality after a very short duration the rest of founding team would have had the kind of experience, faith in the idea that they start contributing and in the end it becomes more of a team exercise.


I work for myself: To the outside world and especially for my 5 year old son having a company means that I am the boss (in my previous work life I used to tell him that I am away as my boss had asked me to work on something important) of the company and hence I can do whatever I want to. This statement might be true literally in movies but at the end of the day you work for the company and company is made of people. Though you are working for yourself and for the company it boils down to the fact that you are part of the team and you might have a lot of say in how things have to be shaped but it is all about team work.


Entrepreneurship is like a roller coaster where it is lots of fun but at times it is scary too and that too for a reason. To me entrepreneurs are go getters or at least they try to achieve something in life and the reason for different people to jump on this bandwagon is different. Whatever be the reason behind this one thing is for sure that is valid for all of us – entrepreneurship is about creating value and if customers see that then you are golden.

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