start-upI have been a part of multiple start-ups over the past 4 years. Started my career with, where I was an integral part of the organization in taking the company from an idea to first 100K users. Later joined ZipDial, a Bangalore based user engagement platform as the first hire. And there I gathered an ample amount of experience being a product manager and then moved into enterprise sales and then handled marketing during my final months.

It’s been about a year that I left my job and started working on my start-up – a platform to help consumers make better buying decisions. In the past 1 year, I have learned a lot and seen a lot of ups and downs. Here I am outlining four key things to keep in mind for students looking to start up. I have learned these the hard way through my experience, and I hope it helps you save some precious time and resources.

#1. Why?

Before you get into building your own start-up, it’s important to answer a lot of “WHYs” that will define your new environment. Everything from “why you want to do this?” to “why will someone invest in you?” to “why will someone use your product or service?”. A lot of questions won’t have straight forward answers but the quest to those answers is important. If you have multiple answers to one question, then you probably need to dig deeper until you can focus yourself on one goal and one reason.

#2. Ambitions

A lot of 20 somethings, like me, get attracted towards money and the glamour that we come to know about through the media. While all that does motivate a lot of us, 6 months into running your own gig, you will realize how trivial money or short term fame is. You must understand the bigger ambitions that are there to fulfill. The sooner that happens, the better.

#3. People

People are the key to making a good organization. The team you build and the people that surround you even outside of the organization have a vital role to play in how fast you move and in which direction. Getting good people to work with you and retaining them is one of the biggest challenges than an entrepreneur faces. A good entrepreneur should keep a close eye on what will keep the team motivated and work towards that, so that they stick around for longer. If the team is built, the team will build the rest of it.

#4. Discipline

Your self-discipline is going to define how far you can go. When you can build a process with discipline, you can control the environment around the work. With time you will learn to delegate work that you have mastered, that is when you will get on to doing bigger things. If you are not disciplined, you will get stuck in doing everyday trivial tasks, indefinitely.

People looking at entrepreneurship as a career option should note that it is a way of life, not limited to earning a living. You shouldn’t even be thinking of a work-life balance because if you are actually passionate about what you are building, there will be no line demarcating work and life.

If you are thinking of starting up, remember, it’s not a cake-walk. It is going to be long. The key is to not to give up. Keep running. You only fail when you stop.

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