Why am I an entrepreneur
I guess I was an entrepreneur since my schools days, while in school I used to write comic books. Super hero comic books. I had my own characters, I would write the stories, and draw the comics although the readership was limited to my class mates, I guess that was my first entrepreneur venture. As a kid you are full of energy and kids want some way to use the energy. Most kids spend it playing cricket or video games. We did not have any neighbours back then and certainly no video games so my energy found a creative vent in the form of comics creation. It was more of a hobby but it was different than what all of my friends were doing.
After college I started my professional career. I am a computer programmer by profession. Why I chose this profession? Cause my mom wanted me to learn computers and one of my cousins had been in this field and had shifted to US. I did not have any Greencard dreams but I guess my mother certainly did (She still has!). So because of her insistence I landed at NIIT center just to enquire about basic computer courses and the counselor sold me and my dad on a 3 year programming course! I didn’t really enjoy it for the first couple of semesters until I started learning Visual Basic. Learning VB was really fun because our faculty was a good programmer herself and she would give us assignments which were not in the book. I learnt to find my way through and started enjoying the programming challenges. By the time I finished the NIIT course and my graduation, I was game on the career I’d choose. From the original batch of 30 odd students in that course, I am the only one who is in the IT field today and I still enjoy the programming!
So I joined a small company as a programmer and then went on to join Mastek – a large IT company. Soon I got frustrated at Mastek. In the small company I knew how things worked, I knew how I could get projects from freelancing sites and earn a good side income. I joined Mastek hoping I would get some insights into how things worked at a large concern. CMM level 5 was a big deal then. I got frustrated at Mastek because everything was done by the book and by the rule. My frustration grew over the fact that they were paying engineers more than me because they had the BE degree and I was a mere BCom. That I had experience of 1.5 years on Microsoft technologies did not really matter. I figured this difference will remain throughout my career. And even before I had joined Mastek I had decided I am gonna have my own company someday. (During my first job interview my boss had asked me where do you see yourself five years from now and I had replied – “I see myself running a company like you!”) Getting a degree like MBA only for career progression didn’t really appeal to me cause I figured I could do some more useful things in that time. So I started mulling the option of starting on my own.
I knew I could get freelance project from sites like eLance and RentACoder and I thought I can employ a few programmers who would write the code and I can have a business! I started bidding and soon landed a project that was matching my annual pay at Mastek! That was the moment, I put in my papers at Mastek and started hunting for programmers to employ. I found some ex-programmers from my previous employer who were willing to join me. I had spare computers at home from one of my earlier venture – a computer coaching class – that came in handy. And thus I became an entrepreneur. I stared from a spare room in my home, put computers and recruited three programmers.
Its been five years since I started my own company. I have a team of 8 people now and we work from an office. I haven’t grown the business much in the past five years. But considering that I did not take any partner or any outside investment, I guess I have done well. My initial investment in business was about Rs. 2,00,000. From then to here. Without any help, on my own I guess that’s an achievement!
Most of all entrepreneurship gives me freedom and a sense of ownership and fame! I can come to office anytime I want. I work from home, often at night. The best part – I work on things that I like the most! I am a programmer and I love writing new programmes. Being an entrepreneurs I can work on my pet project during the day time! At work and still get paid for it ;) I have launched several products under the brand of my company which started as my pet projects and there are tons of semi finished products lying on my computer.
Another motivating factor behind me being an entrepreneur is fame. Since childhood I have liked being in the limelight, and being the center of attraction. If I creating a ground breaking software for a large company or even small company its that company and its founders who are going to get the recognition. Ratan Tata gets credit for creating Tata Nano, Bill Gates steals the show for Windows, Narayan Murthy gets the accolades for Infosys scaling new heights. If I work for another entrepreneur, he will get the fame for my hard work. If I work for myself, the fame would be mine! I am not coy about it! I want to get recognised for my hard work. I want to see my photo on the first page of some newspapers somewhere down the line. I can achieve that only by working for myself and not for someone else.
And money is of course a motivating factor. If I manage to build a successful business I will reap huge dividends. And I will get recognised too! Its a gamble for sure – entrepreneurship is fraught with risks and sacrifices have to me made. But I am in the game for name, fame and money. I don’t mind if it comes a bit late. Better late than never! And I am sure I will achieve what I am set out to achieve.