Sep 18th, 2008.
You might have forgotten - this is the day Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. The world came to know about Sub Prime Derivatives and economies around the world started collapsing one after the other.
And this is the day I started my journey as an Entrepreneur.
And just like that I have travelled 5 years of my life.
If I look back - was it easy, was it fun, what did I learn? - let me take one at a time.
Was it easy?
Hell No. I am totally out of my comfort zone. I hate talking to strangers, hate small talk, I am an introvert to the core. But I was pushed to deal with prospects, vendors, investors, partners - day in and day out.
I have to sell - and have to speak a lot - to strangers. I have tricked myself into enjoying this but inwardly I prefer the comfort of a keyboard and a good Editor.
I have to speak in Hindi ( thank you for nothing Tamil politicians ).
I have to say No ( mostly fancy requirements or things which I know will set them up for a failure ) and have to defend it while saying an Yes would have been easy
For the most part I had to manage an economic downturn within the family. And dealt with shifting from Bangalore to Mumbai - and have to deal with expenses of various kinds with a thin wallet.
Zero vacations. In fact I dread vacations - when anyone core in the team takes off, I become the backup by default.
I work 7 days a week. Continuously till my brain melts, and I force myself to take half a day off.
Even though the above looks like Cribs - each one has its own upside to it.
Initially the economic downturn was hard - having been spoilt being on a double income household - but we got smarter, and learnt to maximise on any luxuries we indulged. I started valuing money and quality of service more. Realised "less" is actually "more".
Speaking and interacting with strangers - I learn a lot from each and every one of them. My Hindi has got better - ( passed Madhyama just in border - other than that knew hindi only from watching movies ).
Was it fun?
Of course. The first year was fantastic - I call it the honeymoon period - could do whatever I felt like developing - not many customers, not many competitors.
There is always a kick I get when a new customer signs up - its very intoxicating. Each win is a culmination of lot of effort and thought - and years of planning and execution. Little things which have gone into making a well rounded product and service culminates in a sale. And if the customer picks us after a thorough evaluation - its doubly satisfying. This is much like the runners high - which cannot really be described unless you experience it.
Small nice perks - Can go for a hair cut when the crowd is less on a weekday. Am there for my kid whenever he has a performance or an event.
Did I learn anything?
Lots. Much like the equivalent of a Double MBA.
The last 5 years has been an all round growth for me.
I started running and meditating to become sane. The chatter in my head - always scheming, reacting to angry customer calls or analysing long past it had subsided - all started giving me sleepless nights. I found that as I ran more and meditated more I became calmer and could handle crisis situations better.
I crunched a truck load of books on various subjects - marketing to project management to business.
I might have never picked up these books - and would have remained confined to technology or philosophy. There is an ocean of ideas out there waiting to be harvested.
I have created my own theory on Sales - drawn from various books and my experience through trial and error.
I met an interesting gentleman during one of my sales meetings - and he put me onto a spiritual journey by suggesting a few good books.
So thats my brief round up.
This is very much a journey to be experienced from within. I have started writing a book ( with some spice of course ) on my spare time - you can read it all some day!
Don't know where the next 5 years will take me. But I am sure of a few things -
I can handle it.
It will not be easy.
And it will be fun :)
See you in 2018.