Six Habits of Highly Effective Start-Up Entrepreneurs


Six Habits of Highly Effective Start-Up Entrepreneurs

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

If you’re a millennial, the three magic words aren’t “I love you” or even “Netflix and chill?” They’re “I’m an entrepreneur”. Everyone, from the guy who developed an app to the Instagram model who is #bootygoals, uses these three magic words. Why not? It’s the only glamorous portion of an otherwise dreary fuckin’ existence, and they know it. Every entrepreneur had a job at some point, and when they were in it, they thought, “Why am I doing this for pennies when I can make millions from my skills?” So they quit, and set up their own companies… and now they’re broke.

To those of you who still have jobs (lucky you) and want a peek into this world, here’s some excellent advice from young entrepreneurs:

Buzzwords are everything

It’s statistically accurate that 63.61 per cent of all start-ups currently are engaged in “fintech”. Why is this? Because anyone with anything to do with finance, technology, software, or even farming knows that just saying the word “fintech” makes VC firms go weak in the knees. Such is the lingo of the entrepreneur. You aren’t self-funded, you’re bootstrapped. You haven’t changed your plan, you’ve pivoted. You don’t invite a speaker to an event, you have a “fireside chat” and hope no one asks, “Who wants to sit by the fire in an Indian summer?”

Thinking is hard work

Everyone with a start-up tells you they’re “so busy”. This is true, but only in the broadest sense of the word. When an entrepreneur is busy it’s because they’re thinking about abstract things, like “What will happen if I use a new hashtag this week?” Thinking about these things is hard. So they’ll take a nap to refresh. Then they’ll think about it some more, and call it a day.

Let’s talk about rejection, baby

If an entrepreneur is upset at being rejected by a potential customer, you know it’s their first week. Post this, as the rejections pile up, you will quickly transform into one of two types of entrepreneur: the optimist (who will smile at the rejecter and make a mental note to pursue him again in a month) or the egomaniac (who will mentally say Jaa bey, main beer hoon behn****).

No wonder the entrepreneur likes to congregate with other entrepreneurs in the evening, where they can all complain about employees, customers and the world.

You will be the definition of “urban poor”

Gone are the days you’d casually drop a few thousand on some food and drink. Your favourite way to socialise is now at home. While chilling at home is usually infinitely better than being outside (no matter what the circumstances), your friends are starting to get a little tired of having to call Deepak Wines before every social scene and eat cold Chinese food which you’ll make them clean up.

Walk the line

Most start-ups have anywhere between one and ten employees. The entrepreneur is an employee, or at least pretends to be, for the sake of “equality”. This brings the responsibility of being constantly positive in a place where, on most days, things are going very, very badly. The entrepreneur has to walk the thin line between aggressive and encouraging, because there’s no HR manager to handle recruiting, and losing an employee means adding one more thing to the to-do list which is already long enough to hang yourself with.

Insanity is the new normal

You’re happy, you’re sad. You’re aggressive, you’re submissive. You hate the world. No, you hate yourself. Imagine PMS-ing, but all month and 24×7. You can’t get away from thinking about work and you come home to think about work some more. Know that dream where suddenly you’re naked? Well this time you’re pitching to a potential customer and you’re naked. You wake up terrorised and then feel stupid for being naked at a client meeting even though you know it was a dream. You wake your partner up and they curse you, but mostly they curse themselves for being with you. You fight with them because you can’t fight with anyone else. The next day you try to make it up to them by buying them a KitKat because it’s all you can afford right now.  

No wonder the entrepreneur likes to congregate with other entrepreneurs in the evening, where they can all complain about employees, customers and the world; followed by an hour of each person talking over every other person about how his business idea is the best.