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What Does It Take to Give Shape to a Startup Dream?

Every startup goes through a birthing process. It all starts when you conceive a brilliant idea and you decide that your dream is worth enough to renounce your current job and engagements. Sounds pretty easy, right?

Reality check — the first big step is to give shape to your dreams. And that is a massive leap of faith. It takes more than superior self-confidence to give up everything you are doing including quitting your day job to pursue your startup dreams.

Here are a few things you should expect if you are planning on making the transition –

  1. Your family and friends are going to think you have lost your marbles. You may have to brave a few interventions to make them realize that you know what you are doing.
  2. Your not-so-close friends are probably going to stop hanging out with you on weekends because you won’t be having too many of those.
  • Your bank balance will permanently look as barren as the Kalahari and you need to get used to it for at least a couple of years (if you are lucky, months) till your venture takes shape.
  1. You will always be on edge. You will be taking upwards of 20 calls per day to find and sign up investors and getting a team together to chase your dreams of success.
  2. You will need to forget 8 hour long sleeps and weekend naps. Instead, you will be squeezing in power naps in between investor meetings and briefing sessions.

Well, these are the 5 primary things that will happen to you once you quit your day job and plunge into the world of startups and self-employment. But keeping the endless rewards in mind and the pleasure of owning your own enterprise should be enough to keep you going further. And this is exactly when the next 5 questions will hit you:

  1. Are you ready for the load of social pressure coming your way?

We are assuming that you have had a pretty normal bunch of friends who believe in the security of regular jobs and parents who were happy with your current state of employment. If that’s the case, you have a nightmare of social interactions waiting for you. Forget sweet compliments on promotions, invites to office parties and the regular sunny Facebook posts. You will be bombed with questions about your future plans and current state of finances even before you can take time to assemble your startup plans.

The key is to care less about what people think and get going with your life the way you dreamt of it.

  1. Do you even have time for relationships?

This may sound like a rude awakening call, but even before you think about renouncing all worldly pleasures you may want to consider your current state of relationships. And by that we don’t just mean your SO. We also mean your friends, office colleagues, extended family and college buddies. If you have a supportive SO that’s a blessing, because you may just need someone you can count on when going gets tough.

According to many who have experienced it first hand, your mind will look like Santa’s workshop before Christmas and no one except you will have any idea about the chaos inside. If you value your friends, family and SO enough then it is better to come clean about your possible lack of time and emotional commitment for anything other than work in near future.

  • Where will the money come from?

If you have scrimped enough during your working days then it may be a saving grace. We have seen prospective start up owners go 2 days straight without food simply because they had no money in their pockets. Your future may hold glorious feasts in their coffers, but today is what you should be worrying about.

When you are about to start a new business there are immense number of hidden costs including lawyer fees, accountant needs, maxed out credit cards, broken phones and cracked LCDs that will drive you nuts. The last few months before your cash drains out are especially difficult since you will feel the sensation of going broke without anyone to fall back on for the first time.

You may be tempted to get high interest business loans from credit sources, but that always comes at a steep price. Most of these unsecured loan providers who deal with startups and fresh business ventures have extremely unpleasant ways of extracting monthly payments. Debt consolidation loans are a breath of fresh air during these trying times where almost all banks and credit unions seem to be out to get you. These consolidation loan providers can help you coalesce all existing loans and pay them off with a new loan amount. The loan itself comes at a very low interest rate and can be paid off over a period of 1-5 years.

Success and money are a given with good business ideas, but every business has a latent growth phase where the economy is imperceptibly slow. In short, success comes slowly but the cash burns before you can blink. So if you have startup plans, start saving right now!

  1. What is your definition of success?

For some success is waking up every morning to mimosas in a beach shack getting ready for a Thai massage, while for others it is as little as having money to enjoy a chilled beer with friends every evening. But, how do you define success? You will hear a lot of jabbering about journeys, paths and the end. But to us, all three matter equally. None of them can be weighed without the other. If you do not survive the journey to success how can you ever taste it?

Successful businessmen never came from money and neither did they have millions of dollars of investments in the beginning. It has always been the small decisions they have made along the way that have earned them the attention, respect and reliance. They are definitely not one in a million. Even you can be one of them, if you make the right calls from the beginning. Each small milestone can be defined as success. The key is to not become complacent. You need to keep challenging yourself with new goals and new numbers to keep your business growing.

 

  1. Are you ready to bid farewell to relaxation?

Forget sleeping, you won’t even have time for family dinners. Entrepreneurs are a crazy breed of super evolved human beings who give up 40 hours a week of work to work 80+ hours a week. You start out by thinking that you are the master of your own time and you can eat, sleep and watch reruns of your favorite shows whenever you want to, but in reality, you will hardly get time to shower and eat breakfast before you head out.

Caffeine always helps, but only till you are excited enough to forego your sleep for new clientele. The journey towards your startup success will be long and you need to give enough importance to rest and relaxation to keep your noggin functioning. Don’t get us wrong, we are not asking you to give in to laziness. That is nothing but cyanide for new business owners. We are just asking you to squeeze in powernaps whenever you can and cut down on burning the midnight oil.

Once you set out to make your startup dream a reality you will be faced with a lot of challenges from people and circumstances. The biggest challenges will come from within where you will keep asking these questions to yourself over and over again. But always remember, you are not alone. There are millions of other entrepreneurs out there who have given up their daily security of life for the thrill of doing something unique.

Success does not come easy. It claims your night’s sleep, a few extra pounds and most of than not, your cash before hitting you with the jackpot. If you are already set out to achieve your dream but you feel stuck in a rut, we urge you to hang on. You started out because you wanted to offer something different to your target customer and we think a little more planning can solve a huge chuck of your problem right now.

Before you give up you need to look for the problem instead of just giving up and wondering if you should go back to your old job. If possible, hire a fresh pair of eyes to look into the matter and offer fresh analysis. You might need the help of an accountant or a lawyer or a marketing expert from time to time (and we know that costs a lot of money), but don’t let that deter you from the ultimate success.

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