The most difficult part of being a first-time entrepreneur who has just quit a job is to get out of the “employee” mold.
Just a few days back, you were busy working in a specific role as per the KRA provided to you.
Suddenly, you are in a role where there is no clear definition of what you have to do.
Add to the above, the challenge of getting out of Employee vs Entrepreneur mindset.
What it takes to be an Entrepreneur for an Employee is the transition of mindset.
Obviously, the transition is easier said than done.
In my first venture, it took me months if not weeks to leave behind the Employee Mindset.
One fine day I was an Entrepreneur and the next day I was thinking like an Employee. The Employee vs Entrepreneur mind games were busy screwing my mind making me indecisive.
If you have to do an analysis of Employee mindset vs entrepreneur mindset you will end up creating a list which does not match at all with each other.
The challenges faced by an Entrepreneur are on a different wavelength than what an Employee faces.
My first and only job lasted approx. 1.2 years. I learned a lot in my first job. Some of the learning from the job are still a part of my daily life. I use them to relate to the employees who work for me.
So when I take a decision, I try to put myself in their boots and then decide.
Has it always helped?
Not always. I have taken some very stupid decisions by being over empathetic.
Here are few transformations first-time entrepreneurs (just out of job) need to be ready for:
The luxuries you took for granted are no more the luxuries you can afford:
The yucky coffee you threw in the dustbin nonchalantly without even thinking once about the cost is suddenly a cost you want to control.
You threw it because you didn’t like the coffee. The taste was too sweet for your taste buds.
You never gave a damn about the cost? The company was there to take care of your likes and dislikes.
The office electricity supply running around the clock even when you were not sitting on your desk or the office cab you took to travel to smallest of distance (Distances, you could have easily covered using an auto or bus) are the expenses you will want to curb.
Well. What I mentioned above are just very few examples of the luxuries we take for granted working in our over pampering MNCs.
Now imagine starting a company of your own with your personal savings (bootstrapped).
The first thing to take a hit will be the luxuries.
There will be no luxuries to splurge on. You will be always on a look out to cut office expenses and your expenses (if you are left with any money to spend on them). Don’t be surprised if the maddening e-commerce sale does not appeal to you.
You will be the Hermit away from life’s temptations with only your work to worship.
You will travel by bus-auto-metro. Every cup of coffee thrown by your Employees in the dustbin will hurt you really bad.
I won’t be surprised if you will calculate the number of cups wasted every month 🙂
And the coffee is just a tip of an iceberg. Think about the electricity cost. How I try hard to keep electricity expense in check in our office can be a case study in itself.
The transformations I mentioned above won’t happen easily.
Your pampered life will not be what it used to be.
Learn to brace up to the transformation.
Learning to be “the responsible one”:
As an Employee, you always have someone to look after your failures. You have the manager or a VP or a director there to talk to you if things go south.
Worse. If the screw up done by you is catastrophic, you can just quit the job or get kicked out of the existing job.
Sooner or later market will accept you.
When you are an entrepreneur, every failure has serious repercussions.
For a growing company or a new company, the repercussions can be catastrophic.
You end up missing your salaries. You end up missing the office rent. Worse, you might not get paid yourself for months.
There is no scope of starting a new venture so soon. And, going back to the job is a dent on your ego.
You will soon be the responsible one who has to handle mistakes of staff, clients, CA, etc, etc.
Entrepreneurs are the responsible one. You might be the most responsible employee in your company but in this job, you are responsible for a lot of things which do not come under your “KRA”.
The job responsibilities are way beyond your imagination.
From the job specific Employee to the all-rounder:
How well do you understand your taxation structure? How do you hire employees without an HR?
Have you ever done sales in your life?
How will you handle the business development team?
Please do not blame google for not giving you enough information on all this 🙂
Google has its limitations. At the end of the day, Google is just a search engine.
On a serious note, what I wrote above are just a few of the small things you are expected to do.
The heavy lifting where you have to handle the government departments, face disgruntled employees, arrange money for your startup are not even the part of the list.
Now you can’t crib and tell your boss “this is not a part of your profile”.
Mr. Entrepreneur. Everything under the sun is a part of your profile.
And this is the most difficult transformation you will have to make from being the best of the best employee to an Entrepreneur who has to know it all.
One of my startups failed because of the allergy I had with numbers. I avoided them. They made me dizzy.
Guess what? The numbers made sure I landed in a ditch with a failed startup.
This is why I keep inability to move outside comfort zone as one of the topmost reason to why startups and small businesses fail.
Swallow your ego. Get out of your comfort zone and learn the tricks of the trade before your venture sees the despicable “closed” sign.
Other than the above. You can be ready to look the other side every time you want to make an expensive purchase. The initial years of your venture won’t give you the luxury of only purchasing necessities. Luxuries are for later years.
Your family can kiss goodbye to the precious “family time”.
And you can officially change your marriage date to the date of incorporation of your company.
Do not forget. Your office is your house.
Employees are your kids and work is your wife.
The article is an extension of the answer I wrote for the question” How is it making a transition from being an entrepreneur to an employee?… on quora.
And please do not let your stupid mind confuse you with Employee vs Entrepreneur Dangal every time you have to take the tough decision of showing the door to an incompetent employee. You are running a company not a charitable organization.
You are there to feed a lot of families but if you don’t get paid for months, who will feed yours? It is a question we, the entrepreneurs forget to ask ourselves from time to time.
Before I end. Ignore the above lines 🙂
They were written on a very light note (lighter than my bank balance which now stands proudly in double digits).