The right thing to do..

Well, any one who knows me or have just read my previous entries would be knowing that these days I am working with Schlumberger, in Saudi Arabia. The job is great as one thing that I knew about myself for sure was that a regular office desk job will never be my cup of tea.

But for an entrepreneur a job is a JOB, no matter how exciting or thrilling it might be. Same is the case with me, but then at times I wonder, then why do I get up in the morning and head to work in obscure locations with the same enthusiasm or stay up for almost 48 hours when the job demands. I guess the reason could be that the stint with SLB is making me more sincere and dedicated towards work. I mean there are always things that you like to do but some times you have to do things that you don’t like that much but still you have to do them as thats the right thing to do. Before SLB, I never did anything which I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to study the boring and extinct theories of metal extraction, so I didn’t. Though many argued against it, but thats the way I was. But now there are no more such choices, I just have to do it, no matter how much I crib or whine but the job needs to be done. And thats making me happier because I think that was one quality that I needed to learn to move ahead. So when I head to work I don’t think “Why I have to do it” I think ” I just have to do it.”

5 Things “Fresh out of college entrepreneurs” cannot afford to miss

1)A Soulmate : Entrepreneurship is a lonely job, things are so volatile, you never know what reaction or comment can throw you into a negative wave. It is always advisable to start with a partner who is as passionate as you. But, at times it is hard to find one, so I suggest that instead of going with a lantern in your hand to find your partner, its better that you start and keep your options open. Just make sure you know how to separate the wheat from the chaff. Just dont listen to people who bog you down and keep motivating yourself. Remember your point of view and that of your peers will never match, if it would have been that way then you would have taken their advice and never started up right after college, in the first place.

2) Forget Venture Capitalists :It is very likely that you would be thinking that the VC community is right there to fund passionate dreamers like you. You will gather their email ids and mail your executive summary to them and sleep like you will be getting an appointment the next day, after all it is a $ 50 million idea. But soon you will realise that, that day never came. What went wrong?? VCs are entrepreneurs too, they have to raise funds like us and make difficult choices like us and trust me it is very hard to put your money on a rookie. SO FORGET VCs!!! Borrow from your colleagues, friends and family and build a prototype asap and circulate it in your alma mater and see the response, make corrections, and keep increasing your user base. Which is at times more important than your ‘never been done’ before idea. Just dont wait for the perfect product to be built with “n” functionalities. Take up small projects, do free lance writing,SEO, teach kids in your locality or whatever suits you to pay your monthly bills, or like in my case just pass on the dinner cheque to your girl friend.

3) Prepare an elevator pitch : You should do this on day one itself. If you have a team, great, keep every thing aside and do brainstorming on your pitch first. Your product may take months to go live but in that time you will meet people who will ask about your work and your venture. You might not meet them when your product is launched or your service is out there in market, so that first meeting is your chance of leaving a lasting impact. Even if you dont have a team, discuss your venture with your closest friends, see their reactions, keep them in mind and when you get home (or office, it is the same mostly) put it down on a whiteboard and see whether did they buy your story and if they did how much time it took you to drive the point home, if not then you have to create one. Rehearse by saying out loud. This is the best way.

4) Networking : The first thing you should do is get the visiting cards ready. Make it a point to attend all the events ,no matter how big or small, that have anything to do with your venture, you never know, may be you meet your first client there, or a hot shot VCs who wasnt even bothering to reply to your mails. A conversation is always better than an email. And dont just carry your cards, you are going there to spread them, just feel free to talk to people, make your elevator pitch and exchanging cards. You never know from where you find your first client. Follow up is even more important, dont forget to drop in an email to show that how much you appreciate the time of people you met at the function and put their email ids in a separate group and stay in touch, just dont pester them.

5) Be good and be humble : One thing that an entrepreneur can afford to have is “ego”. Never say no to anything, you should be crystal clear about what you want to get and how to get it. I mean at times, people will dictate terms to you, but as long as it is not hurting your venture you should abide by them without being hesitant. Developing relations is an art and many a times the success or failure of your venture depends as much on them as on the product/service itself. The world is getting smaller, you never know from where you get your first client, your VC, or your employee. Everyone in the entrepreneurial community has a strong network so you dont want to piss any one off. And respect people who are not entrepreneurs, not every one can do what Steve Jobs did neither can every one do what you are doing.

The Denial : Finally!!!

So, after informing Aarti, Sachin, Chirayu and my family I made it a point to inform all those people who have ever affected me be it as a friend or as a critic. Though I forgot some people whom I should have informed, I am sorry for that, but you know how absent minded I can be at times.

The purpose was to keep people close to me in the loop while taking such a big decision. I also wanted to make it a point to myself that now there was no looking back.  It was out in the open so everyone knew and most of them would come to know sooner or latrer so turning back as an option was deleted. I also included my critics or whom I have considered a critic of mine in the mail because it motivates me and pushes me the extra mile to prove them wrong.

So here is what was there in the mail. It is followed by the email that I sent to HR of Schlum.

Hi
If you are receiving this mail then you have been an important part of my life be it as a friend,foe,family or a critic.
I have denied the offer of Schlumberger.
I have always evangelised that a person should listen to his heart, by taking this big decision I have just done that. I feel that it was one of the toughest decision of my life. One such decision I took when I decided to drop an year for IIT prep and that led me to the 4 most fabulous years of my life.In college I lived my life to the fullest, learnt a lot from people around me. As my days at IIT were about to be over, numerous questions regarding my life started popping up in my heart.

I had a good job, great people around me, my future was set, to say the least. But when I started delving into it I started to unravel a lot of things. I knew that I would never be happy if I didnt follow my heart. I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, my 3 ventures which I started or tried to start in college, flopped, because I wasnt good enough. But I learnt so many important lessons, through them. Infact to be very frank, I had thought that if I didnt get a job in Schlum then I would not take any job and start my own venture. But that was very easy. God gave me a tougher decision to make, I got through Schlum; but for joining I had to sacrifice my passion. I feel that it was a true test. I thought about it a lot, before making the right decision to take the harder path. Easier path would have given me a good life in the short run but in the long run I would have been just an ordinary man leading an ordinary life in this big world without making any difference, on the other hand the harder path will have a lot of hurdles initially but if I am able to pull it off then I will raise my standards and make a difference in this world in whatever small way I can.

I am sacrificing my one passion to achieve the other,when I saw the Christ reedemer statue of Rio it was like a dream come true for me, I had already planned my shopping from my first salary like a macbook air, iphone, diesel and armani jeans, sony camcorder the list was endless. Now I know that I wont be able to any of those but I guess that is life and that is what a true test was..how much can I sacrifice to realise my dreams.

Whether the decision is right or wrong I dont know. Time will tell, atleast I would be proud of myself that I had the audacity to follow my heart when the stakes were so high.

I am working as an intern in a start up commonfloor.com and conceptualizing my own start up simultaneously, which will be in the health and fitness domain. Providing people the right kind of diet so that people can live healthy lives. The plan is in very nascent stages.
I am on a journey to discover my self and I know that I might end up losing it all, but I know I wont be defeated.

I am venturing on this path alone I hope that I would still be able to prove my critics wrong and make people I love smile and people who trust me proud.My parents dont know that I have mailed Schlum that I wont be joining them, I dont want them to know till I make it work. I know I am being a little selfish by thinking about my life.

I know that all types of questions and suggestions might be popping in your head. I respect them and I hope that you would respect mine. I welcome your suggestions and criticism.
I am also forwarding you the mail, I sent to schlum.

Best of luck !!!!
Stay in Touch!!

Dear Charmaine,
I have always believed that a person should do what really makes him happy and what his heart says him to do. I am also doing the same thing. I thank Schlumberger for making such a generous offer to me, but I would not be able to join as I have to satiate my entrepreneurial instincts.
I hope you understand and will respect my decision
Best of luck
Regards

Satya Vyas
B.Tech
IIT Roorkee