2016 has been a landmark year in my life; eventful and one year of learning. I left my TCS job on June 12th 2015 and was a Product Manager in a start-up I was told was co-owned by Aji Issac Mathew. Things did not work out and I resigned on 31st December 2015. Thus, on January 1st 2016 – I concentrated more on my start-up “Kolkata Bloggers” without any back up of a “job”. This year is special.
How much of a struggle is entrepreneurship?
I’m very sure you already have a pre-conceived notion. Trust me, my first year of entrepreneurship wasn’t a struggle; whatever little that was, it was a learning experience. In fact, during December, I earned as much I would have, had I been on site from TCS.
I’ve lost count of how many new people I’ve met and the number of brainstorming sessions I was a part of. I do not really think I made new friends; in fact, I believe I have lost a few really close ones.
I’ve met people who have seriously considered my ideas and got them implemented. I’ve met people who decided to copy my ideas and give me no credit. I’ve been criticised for things I had no clue I did. I kept smiling the entire year. I have a few who have guarded me and have always been by my side.
A certain Mr. Ghosh who is the CEO of a newly found bank in his speech said, “Your close friends would try to run away from you, thinking you might seek their help.” By the Almighty’s grace, I have one Arjyak and one Surya with me. They are there as my strengths. Even if I had my own brother(s), they would not be as good as they are.
There are a couple of works, where I accept I could not deliver. There are other contracts, I wish we could do more. Working independently for this one year, I realised that we all make our own mistakes. It is also on us how we learn from it, read more, work more and just proceed with life without regrets.
How confusing was it to start my own business?
Very. I knew I want to do something related to blogging, number crunching and somehow during the next two years, pursue my master in data science. But I did not exactly know what I could offer to the business. Would it be blogger engagement programmes or blog content for companies? Or would it be SEO or should I position myself as a digital marketing company? Should it be a service company or a product based company? Should I accept funding offered by companies or should I continue boot strapping? If I accept the proposal of funding or “working more closely together”, what new could I offer, how differently could I do things? How should I structure my company?
I messed up at times. I feel, I am still trying to find my feet on the ground. I realised that understanding the business, creating algorithms and strategies are way easier than getting on ground, managing the people and implementing the strategies, quality control and executing the entire thing delivering results. I had bitten more than what I could chew.
On an average, I used to work for 20 hours a day till September when I fainted while going to a client meeting. I still smiled.
What were the real struggles?
I guess my real struggle was my presumptions about people and the expectations I had set of/from them. I started understanding their priorities and how different they are from me. I felt uncle zoned at times even by people of my age. Trust became an issue as I discovered that people were there not because they love me, but because they feel they could benefit from my association. I wasn’t prepared for this.
The second biggest struggle was striking the balance between personal and professional conflicts. There were times I had meaninglessly scolded Souranil, become jittery and at times over react in front of an inappropriate audience. I started withdrawing from most conversations, not answering people, not responding to my friends who are journalists, not going to friends’ marriage or to respond to an allegation.
By God’s grace, my knowledge was never questioned.
The post wrap up:
I am proud of the KB core team that I have. This year we had the privileges of working with organisations of repute, making our own mistakes and learning from them. I feel honoured when I feel trusted by my clients and when they recommend my company to someone else. I’m learning and would keep delivering to the best of my knowledge, trying to make sense and add value to whoever I work with.