By Awais Imran:
Taking up entrepreneurship shortly after graduating comes with its fair share of pros and cons. It is quite risky: you are potentially sacrificing years of reliable, stable career growth in exchange for the chance of experiencing incredible personal, career and financial growth.
I personally have adopted the middle path: like my peers, I am working full-time for a US-based startup. Unlike most of my peers, however, I work on my own startup at nights and on weekends. At PriceOye.pk, we’re building a shopping intelligence service which helps consumers make great buying decisions – starting with mobile phone price comparisons. It’s a hectic lifestyle, but I’m really enjoying the benefits of both career paths in one go.
I’ve learned a lot over the past year. Today, I’d like to share some of these learnings with you, in the hopes that it will help you become a better professional:
Take risks: All the magic happens when you start working outside your comfort zone. This is where you face your fears by taking risks both big and small. Most will not work out as you had imagined, but you will learn and grow immensely having taken them. Mistakes teach you lessons which push you in the right direction. And the few risks that do work out? These will propel your startup to the next level.
So, I actively encourage you to take risks and not be afraid of making mistakes. The knowledge you gain from them will only push you faster towards your goals!
Be very patient: It takes years to build and sell great products. When you get into the startups game, understand that nothing – not even Rome – was built in a day. Keep building your product, keep forming partnerships, and keep growing your platform. One day, several years from now, you will be considered an “overnight success” by the public when your startup goes mainstream.
In my network, the most successful entrepreneurs are those who have remained patient and kept slugging through the mud for several years until their relentless persistence paid off.
Keep meeting people: Remember that your network is your net worth. Keep finding and meeting new people who interest you – not just for immediately getting something out of them. It’s a highly rewarding experience where you learn about entirely new concepts, understand different perspectives, and get inspiration for your next goals.
Some of my greatest learning experiences have come from directly meeting people above me on my chosen ladder of success. Do you want to become a successful blogger? Find one, and take them out for a coffee. Listen to their story. Their struggles. Their successes. They will equip you with the tools required for success. I’ve found this activity to be as fulfilling as travelling to a new country.
Ignore feedback: I know it’s difficult to hear people poke holes in on your startup, but you should actively listen to and implement good feedback. This is especially important for B2C startups whose products are to be used by millions of people. In the process of building them, it’s easy to forget how others use your product since you are naturally always seeing things from your own perspective.
Care about what people say: Entrepreneurship is not a socially accepted career choice in major parts of the world. You will hear extended family members, friends and more tell you to work in a multi-national company. Pay no heed to such people. These are the same folks who go out of their way to show-off their connection to you when you succeed.
You only need your family and close friend’s support. Don’t let that support system go!
Building but not shipping: A huge number of entrepreneurs remain stuck in the building phase. In the pursuit of perfection, they keep iterating on their product until it becomes too late and you’re replaced by something else. Don’t be afraid of an imperfect launch; you will only learn from it, and get better. Be afraid of being rendered irrelevant!