If someone asked me 5 years ago to imagine myself as an entrepreneur, I would either laugh at the thought or consider it my worst nightmare. While I played entrepreneurial roles throughout my career, never in my wildest dream did I imagine being a starter-upper. It was so far outside the cone of my vision that “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” had more chances of happening than entrepreneurship for me back then.
3 years later, I did start up.
Ironically, the seeds of my start up were sown when I was writing my resume to apply for jobs. This was the first time I was ever writing one in a career that spanned over a decade. How I got this far without a resume is something some would call plain luck. My resume was unusual. It swung from a degree in architecture to 12 odd years in the world of media & communication, with no hesitation. I wondered if someone would find value in a resume that seems so disconnected. Value enough to hire me. But before I could find out I had struck upon my start up idea.
I started up to connect the dots in my disconnected professional life. I wanted to find out why my education didn’t translate into a career and why my career took off despite any relevant qualification. I started up to ask myself questions many often face but seldom find answers to - are we truly interested in what we do? Do we love doing it? Or are we doing it because that’s what our education led us to do?
8 out of 10 people you meet may say that given a choice they would have been happier picking a different career path. Why did they pick a career path they were clearly not happy with? What influenced these choices and what can we do to ensure our children don’t suffer choices like these?
I started up because I questioned the way we made the most important decisions of our lives. I questioned our motivation for choosing our career path and how we evaluated our success along the way. I started up not because I wanted to start-up. I started up because I found meaning in my questions. And the only way I would find answers was if I went looking for them.
Call it my idealistic view, but unlike the new wave in entrepreneurship that sets you up on a wild goose chase for funding, I believe starting up has to mean something. It has to make a difference. It must innovate and create an impact at a large scale. It has to touch lives. Bring on a revolution, even. That’s what start-up icons once stood for. And that’s what I wanted to stand for when I started up.
I don’t see my start up as a business. I see it as the “mission of life” and the mission of my life is to help parents and children with their decision-making – and do it in a way that is smarter, interest-focused and translates into happier more fulfilled lives.
Is that one lofty goal I have set myself up for? Of course it is. But chasing this wild start up dream doesn’t seem that uncharacteristic to the reluctant entrepreneur in me anymore. It has purpose. It has meaning. And it can make a difference.
Will I succeed? Who knows!
Will I sustain? Time will tell!
Will I regret? Never in my wildest dream!