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From 200K to 0 – Gone in 60 seconds

November 9, 2011

During a casual conversation with my partner’s wife she asked me a question which kind of made me thinking. The question was “Why do two guys (me and my partner) who are making more than 200K+ combined quit their jobs and start something (going to zero)”

I tried to put the same question across different social boards – linkedin, Facebook etc and tried to get an answer about “Are entrepreneurs masochists”. Given the tremendous pain they go through, the amount of sacrifices they make (both physical and mental), the kind of uncertainty they face and also not only they go through this pain but also their immediate family also face the same music. This boils to the fact that why someone goes through all these for the light at the end of the tunnel.
1) Are entrepreneurs simply driven by monetary gains?
2) Do they clam for bragging rights?
3) Are they like the cry babies who want attention all the time?
Over the past 4 months I have had sleepless nights and still do about not hitting revenue numbers, not being able to satisfy customers and not being able to get into strategic partners nor come up with earth shattering products. Never did I worry about profits – I do worry about them but more from a point of what are the ways of building revenue thereby building a company and thereby profits. Also as with any startup in the very beginning one will come up with many obstacles and pains that the monetary part (at least from a startup point of view) is not lucrative when compared with that of existing jobs. So I feel that monetary gains is definitely not the criteria that would drive entrepreneurs – how else can one explain successful serial entrepreneurs
To an extent man is egoist – he/she wants others to praise them and notice them. An entrepreneur is a homo-sapien and definitely would like a little serving of bragging rights. But most of the entrepreneurs after having achieved that success would become humble (my experience) because of the ups and downs they go through to make it happen. Also I feel that entrepreneurs earned it because of the same reason – they made it happen in the toughest of the environments. Also I would rather term this as mentoring than bragging rights – successful entrepreneurs want to guide budding entrepreneurs like me to avoid certain routes and strategies that they fell for.
I read an article about CEO’s being babies – they want attention all the time, they make a mess of things and wants other to clean it up. Entrepreneurs on the other hand want less attention to themselves and focus more on executing their ideas. Entrepreneurship is all about execution and hence the third point of center of attention becomes an oxymoron.
So what drives entrepreneurs, based on my experience
1) Passion to build something and be known for it. When the rest of the world said that it cannot be done, being passionate and to the extent of being stubborn trying it out and making it happen.
2) If you ask a mother the fun of motherhood – going through 9 months of agony and birth pain, the same kind of a feeling an entrepreneur also will have. When his/her idea/product goes through those execution pains and finds acceptance from customers, the same kind of an euphoria an entrepreneur goes through.
3) The rush of taking split second decisions, the analysis that goes in understanding various aspects of company building, ability to take charge of one’s destiny and so and so forth. All these are some genuine reasons one takes up this path.
Believe me over the past 4 months I have come across so many instances where I was asking a simple question – is it worth it. I think the experience by itself is worth it and the satisfaction I get from this is very hard to explain
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