Thursday 23 June 2016

7 Reasons Why I Closed My Start-up

This is not a sad story, although I cannot really comment whether it is a happy one. But whatever I cannot describe I call it an interesting experience. Was it easy for me to take the decision to close? Of course not! But I am happy that I took the decision. I will tell you why.

1. “Maya” – you aren’t controlling me, please

Remember that girl/boy in college who you swooned over; who then walked away with some other friend of yours and left you in the lurch with only imagination and despair? And then you became the drunk and drug addict and lost your way? Okay, maybe you did not go that far. But something made you keep thinking about that person.

Or perhaps that favorite dress of yours which is not “wearable” anymore, but you just cannot throw it away. You can keep it for some more time. Who knows what future has in store for you. What if you suddenly become poor and you are unable to purchase new clothes? You could then wear this favorite dress of yours!

Ask a person who has to close down a startup and he will give you a million reasons why it should not be closed. What I so passionately built up for 5 years cannot be just closed? I mean, what about all the hard work and strategizing and the hundreds of cups of coffee that went into it?

Finally one day I remembered that girl in college and that shirt I did not want to throw away. I told “Maya” that she cannot control me anymore. I learnt how to let go.

2. Whoever said business is better than jobs is an idiot

This does the rounds a lot. Believe me. A lot of people are in awe of people who quit their jobs and started business. Entrepreneurship is attractive.

While I am definitely not saying that entrepreneurship is not good, I have enjoyed every bit of it for so many years, it is talked about as better than doing a job. That is where perceptions go wrong. The most common reason people give for business being better is that it gives you freedom from having a boss and you can do things your own way. What most people don’t understand is that a business is also like a job. You have a set of tasks to do and goals to achieve. Yes, the appraisal is in your hands, the better you perform the better your business results. And that is your achievement.

Entrepreneurs cannot define tasks only in one area or department. They have to have a good overview and participate in different areas of work. I have had to build the strategy to marketing and financial work as well as my core work of design and development of learning interventions. I have even worked on digital marketing, website building and cold calling. Now if you want to focus on one department or one area of work, you would probably be better off in a job with a requisite job description or perhaps be adventurous and be an independent consultant. This second part is specifically what drew me out of business and into consultancy in my core area.

3. Doesn’t matter if my peers are millionaires already

Hey, many people told me that business means you’ve got to make a lot of money, else what is the point? I said that money for me should be a by-product of my good work. I want to concentrate on my quality of work. Yes, many of my friends in jobs earn a lot compared to me and I have invested so much time, money and effort in setting up my start up. It is tough to think that I would now close down what I put everything into.

It took a little convincing for me to stop thinking that I too could have earned a lot of money in a job for all these years. The human mind it is, takes will power to control it. But neither those jobs nor the money could have helped me learn what I have learnt and they would not take me where I want to go. I am happy taking my next step. I am happy that I get to do what I decide. It is my life, and it is different from my friends.

4. I know how to accept failure and comments from wretched creatures

Have I failed in my years of running the business? Of course yes! So many endeavors and so many failures were part of the journey. There are always those extra smart ones who know-it-all and then tell you mean things about your failures. They are also always there to advise you on what “you should have done” to avoid the failures.

I remember many such people in my life. Right from the time when I was in college to the time when I was struggling to begin my career to the times when I took the decision to quit my job and start my business, there have been these creatures that turned up from nowhere to turn me off with their comments.
The best part is that they were good educators. They taught me that there would be failures and these creatures would remind you of your mistakes. They have taught me how to deal with failures and how to deal with them.

I have got so used to these wretched creatures that I keep telling others to beware of these pundits. I have learnt how to accept failures and how to deal with success too. So these creatures did not have any effect on me when I announced the closure of my start-up.

5. I was just doing monotonous work after all

This is one of the things that I loathe – monotony at work, or perhaps in anything in life. I am creative, I like changes and I like to keep moving and running at my own sweet pace. But I do not like standing still. When I began my start-up I had a lot of challenging things to do. Every day was a new day with new ideas. What happened later was that the tasks were all chalked out and the same things were to be done again and again. Send those emails, make those calls, and deliver the same training programs.

Not everything was monotonous though. Many things were interesting and drew a lot out of me in terms of creativity and effort. So I decided that I should get rid of the monotonous work and instead do only what excites me. The choice is mine, so I have taken the decision. Who cares what the world says? It is my life!

6. I started thinking about money

This was not me. Somebody had advised me that if you want to become a successful businessman you have to think about money as a major objective. But if that was not the kind of person I was, what would I do?
I realized in the last few years that my mind started moving to the “business” part of work more than the creative part. I salute and respect those entrepreneurs who love the business part, and those who like it and do it well should definitely continue with it. However, this was not my cup of tea.

When I started thinking more about the turnover and the costs and how to manage the financial part I got drawn away from all that I loved doing. It is like getting sucked into a whirlpool and I did not even realize it for quite some time. But when I did understand this part I told myself that I needed to think about this. The thinking led to the decision! Close. Do something else. Do what you love.

7. The destination is more important than the vehicles you travel in

If you don’t like “gyan” don’t read further. Because that is exactly what the next few lines may sound like. But I am honest with what I am expressing here. I believe in focusing on the destination. I have to get there. I may need only one vehicle, or multiple ones to reach there. However, what is important is that I move towards my destination. So if I am in a vehicle now that has brought me in the direction of my destination but will now turn towards another way, I have to get off and get into another one.

Just as we physically travel to some destinations, we can think of life and its goals the same way.

So there you go, you now know the 7 reasons. For me the 7th reason seems very realistic when I think of my journey. I have hopped off a vehicle and now getting into a new one. Don’t wish me luck; just delve into your life and your present vehicle right now. Do some soul searching and take responsibility for your decisions. Whatever happens, whoever says whatever, at the end of the day it is your life.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice article Sir, I agree with your points. whether it is business or job - "Maya" is the only boss of our life, and "wish" is her assistant. It may have multiple faces like job, family, Social identity etc.
I tried to find happiness, peace and harmony of mind through good career, good girlfriend, good friend etc but those are all turned out temporary happiness. Finally, I guess, I found the complete peace and happiness in between my eyebrows. Thank You

(A CA student, I probably attended your motivational speech in GMCS-1)