During my decades-long entrepreneurial journey, I have met numerous struggling entrepreneurs and many times, I have wondered – ‘Why have these people become entrepreneurs?’, ‘What is their driving force?’, ‘Are they being honest to their inner self?’ or ‘Is it just out of sheer peer pressure?’
As an angel investor in the past, I asked all the entrepreneurs I met and mentored, “Why are you trying to become an entrepreneur?” The responses that I almost invariably got were:
If you too are in it for any of the above reasons, you could possibly not be more wrong; as was I. In the late 90s, I was enjoying a successful career at McKinsey, but I was intrigued by many of my friends and colleagues leaving the firm to start their own companies. Highly motivated to do the same, I decided to move on and founded my first startup. This startup was, however, a royal disaster.
But, why should any startup fail, after all the ideation, research, funding and planning? When I started looking for answers, I realized that often we fail to understand that the main motivation behind starting a new company has to be a higher purpose. It calls for an inner awareness that drives us to do something bigger than our own self.
I have not come across many entrepreneurs who say they want to ‘solve a problem’ or ‘make lives better’ or ‘disrupt industries’. However, there are some entrepreneurs who think on these lines and ultimately create ‘Unicorns’. These are the people who know their own passions, dreams, capabilities and their true inner calling – the ones who are self-aware and thus, successful.
So, to find true success and happiness, do what your own gut tells you to and not what others are doing. Refashioning the French poet, Anatole France’s words I believe ‘If 50 million people do a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing!’ If you ‘want’ to become an entrepreneur, first reach out to your inner voice and if it tells you the same, you better go and do whatever it takes to be one.