Friday, September 18, 2015

5 Types of people you'll surely meet when you Quit a job to Start Up

I hate categorizations and stereotypes. I do. But when I quit and entered the Startup journey, I could not help but notice a pattern in the reactions and responses I typically faced. While there were many who changed categories as my journey progressed or who changed roles depending on the situation – but largely, this is how the universe looked to me: 

     1. The Cynic – Possibly the most interesting type. Because very few will be ‘Non- Discreet’ Cynics – throwing straightforward questions like ‘Why would you quit your job? For this?’ ‘How will you make money?’ ‘You know that most businesses fail right?’ – these questions I have often heard and shrugged my shoulders at. But the interesting ones are the ‘Discreet’ variety. These guys can only by identified with their lightly thrown in statements – ‘Ya its good, maybe you needed a break from a full time corporate schedule’ (Really, Starting up is your idea of a break?!) ‘You are so lucky to have a supportive husband who would be happy to fund this risk’ (Assumptions!) and so on. My initial few months were full of these kinds – ex-colleagues, friends – near and far, some family members and random strangers. 

I thank them now for they were the ones who gave me the courage to keep going – every cynic made my resolve firmer.   

       2. The Motivator Surround yourself with them. They believe in your ability to choose the best thing for yourself and often remind you about it. These guys are the ones who will pat you gently on a low day and say ‘Just wait – good things are around the corner’. When you hesitatingly take your confusions or dilemmas about your start-up decisions, these are the ones who will actively discuss possible solutions, brainstorming with you and simply ending it with ‘This will happen – you’re doing great!’.
While I was sure of my decision, there would be days I needed re-assurance. And The Motivators were the saving grace.

      3. The Harsh but Truthful AdvisorLove or Hate but you cannot Ignore this type. These would probably be closest family members who know they can take liberties which no one else can. Theirs would be the most honest, brutal truth – when there is something they like, it will be appreciated but when there is something they disagree with, it will be vehemently spoken about.

Probably the toughest one to have around, but the most crucial link – I often reflected on the advise given during those mean sessions, and sure enough, there was nothing but truth there – because they always had my best interest at heart.

      4. The Blind SupporterMy favorite kinds. Because they love you, not just for what your business stands for, but for your spirit. These guys are good for your heart. They will most likely also be your first customers – and probably repeat customers too. They have more faith in you than you probably have in yourself – which is why the Supporter is your go-to person on a really blah day. The day you don’t want to discuss or debate ; you’re too exhausted of keeping up with all the chaos around you – that’s the day to have coffee with the Supporter.

They make the world a brighter and happier place in your startup journey.

      5. The InspiredThe small surprises of starting up. These are the younger ones or the entrepreneurial spirits tied down due to financial responsibilities. They will probably quote you in a conversation to another as an inspiration or just say ‘This is the dream, right?’ These guys are finding a reason to jump into the start-up world too but their head rules their heart. They are happy to be involved with your project, but would hardly be able to persist due to their ‘real’ jobs.
Hopefully, I could inspire atleast one person to seriously give their dreams a fair chance. 

Life is about the experiences we make and not just the money. Right?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

5 Bollywood female characters who would be part of my Start-up Team

I’m a Bollywood buff. And a feminist. Ironical, right? Almost. So as I watched my Sunday afternoon Hindi movie with family, I couldn’t help but think, wow, that lady sure would suck at a start-up. And that brought me to reflect on the women characters who would make for a fantastic start-up team….Well, atleast based on what I think and somewhat know would make a fantastic startup team :

1) Geet (Jab we Met)Dream fearlessly


For all those who know me, know that I’m a huge fan of this character. Yes she is chatty, cute,vivacious and loud, but what would make her a brilliant entrepreneur is this – She is a dreamer, a believer in taking a chance at realizing her dreams  and fearless to actually go for the kill. Business are built with dreams, hope and implementation. She represented all these – and more. Someone who listened to her gut – followed her instinct. A quality which distinguishes entrepreneurs from non-entrepreneurs – Following The Gut
2) Rani (Queen) -  Adapt and Embrace Change

Here is the protected, unambitious,unsure damsel in distress. Why would I choose her in my dream team? Well, let’s start with adaptability – Rani might be unsure, but she was willing to adapt with an open heart and an open mind. Her innocent honesty makes her so likeable (I can imagine her dealing with customers and totally nailing it!) and yet, as part of a team, she listened, adapted and moved out of her comfort zone. 
Entrepreneurship is all about pushing your boundaries – you think you got it all planned and sorted? Be sure God has other plans and there will be days you say "This cannot be true!”, “What now!’,"I cannot do this!”

3) Vidya (Kahaani)Plan and Execute Ruthlessly

This character had me bowled over from the word Go. I love her. Vidya, with a crystal clear mission, a well-thought out plan, probably rehearsed several times in her head, she takes on every challenge, every risk to reach her goal. Her confidence and will to reach her goal is fierce – and almost contagious.
As an entrepreneur, she would make a charismatic, confident and motivational leader. With her practical and planned approach, she will find the way in the toughest of times. She will keep the fire burning. Another important ingredient in my dream team – Determination and the Will to Keep Going.    

4) Shruti (Band Baaja Baraat)Stay Honest and Credible

Shruti is the quintessential entrepreneur - she knows what she’s going to do, understands her responsibilities, is practical about her plan and has a vision for her business. But for me that one quality which got her on my team – honesty. Her character wins my heart when she lets go of the ‘extra’ savings to build a credible ‘no cheating’ Shaadi Mubarak. That’s a precious quality right there – the one I would bank upon and build the foundation of the business upon. Probably this is a personal choice – what’s important to each of us – not so much a ‘must-have’ as an entrepreneur. I choose Honesty – honesty with peers, honesty with employees and honesty with customers.

5) Ananya (2 States)Believe and Stay Unapologetic

So obviously Ananya is smart - she was at an IIM,remember? And that’s enough reason for most start-ups to want her on the team. Having said that, I would find a whole lot of smart people out there, but what draws me about her is the Unapologetic attitude for being herself. Strong-headed and independent, she chooses to speak her mind to a prospective groom about dowry,without worrying  about her own chances of being accepted. She stands for her belief – not simply blinded in love – having the guts to leave when she feels cheated. Yes, Ananya would make a great start-up founder member – for there is no substitute to building a business which stands for something valuable and uncompromisable – and stays unapologetic about it.