“Startups aren’t for everyone.”
I’ve written this considerably in this blog. (very prominently here)
We’ve also heard it uttered by every other entrepreneur, it seems, right?
“Entrepreneur you say? Well, ho ho ho! You have to have a unique skill set: a combination of cast-iron will, uber-magnetic charisma, the ability to laugh in fear’s face, and space-age technical skills. Oh, and you need to be stupendously lucky.”
(I guess in a way, talk like this validates what we’ve done and makes us feel good about ourselves a bit)
Lately, however, I’m starting to feel differently.
I think startups are for everyone.
Before you hurl tomatoes at me (especially existing entrepreneurs :), do hear me out…
Defining What a “Startup” Is
Obviously, I’m not talking just about the Googles, Apples, Facebooks, or even the Jollibees and Mang Inasals of the world. Not everyone will build startups like that (believe it or not, not everyone wants to).
One paradigm to take is that being a startup founder is all about independence and the quest for it.
It’s about not needing a corporation to survive on salary. It means having the ability to build something which enables you to not only pursue a dream, but also to stand on your own two feet.
Under this definition, small micropreneur ventures who are able to eke out a living ARE startups. Fulltime freelancers who reside on Odesk and Elance? Yep, startups.
That small hotdog stand sideline business you manage to give you extra cash apart from your corporate salary?
It’s a startup if you plan on quitting your day job someday to commit to it. It’s mere sideline if its got no ambition.
Armed with this broader definition, startups are still the small, small minority.
Do witness the vast majority of fresh graduates enter corporate year after year after year.
I believe things are starting to change though. (related blogpost here)
Everyone NEEDS to realize – the perfect storm is here!
This is something I want to shout out with a country-wide megaphone.
I really believe that if one WANTS and DESIRES to, ANYONE can harness his natural talents and passions into a business which earns enough money to pay his monthly bills.
The perfect storm for doing this is now out there.
For one, information is free and flowing.
ALL the resources on how to build a startup and be independent is available online.
You want to build a skill? There are FREE courses to be found on the web. High quality.
I know a doctor-turned-cake designer who started her new career viewing youtube clips and then just applying her natural talent.
There are meetups and courses galore, both free and affordable, for hundreds of different interests and topics. You just need to use this thing called Google.
Moreover, the other barriers to putting up a business are just falling like the rain.
Wanna build a website? You can do it for free.
Need to reach people? Social media allows you to reach thousands like never before.
Need a market for your skills? Odesk, Elance, 199jobs, and Freelancer are available at a click. (you will join a growing, great number of pinoys)
The necessary infrastructure for startup success is THERE and ripe for the taking.
You just need to bring something unique and special to the table.
“But I don’t think I have something unique and special…”
This is where my belief structure comes in.
I think God made each and every person unique and special. Every person HAS something compelling to offer – enough to make (at least) a decent living out of.
If we add these elements then:
Uniqueness + Infrastructure = Startup Potential
I think there is an entrepreneur in each of us.
What’s stopping the 99% of us in pursuing this?
Information gap, Fear, and The Dip.
Will cover these on part 2!
3 thoughts on “Why Startups ARE For Everyone, part 1”
I also wanted to share. Having dreams and putting into your dream note book is a good idea. But when I explained that I was already doing that and nothing was happening – she told me that it’s not enough to just put them there and see it everyday. Set Timelines! Without timelines all you have are just wishful thinking:) So if you’re someone wanting to jump the plunge and quit your job, set your timelines. whether it be a year or 5 years, or mere months, just set your timelines!
I remember when I was starting, I would schedule ALL my weekend mornings to coffee talks with potential co-founders. After talking to dozens of people over a good couple of months – I finally found 2 of them.
I still have that original powerpoint presentation (man it looks ugly)!
Waking up for those weekends after a week’s worth of corporate work wasn’t an easy thing.
But the point is, the dreaming has to be disciplined. And you’re right, those timelines are crucial.
Now we know why JGL OpenCoffee is scheduled on weekends 🙂 I love the format of OpenCoffee, which is very upfront and very quick talks. I just sometimes feel (I’m quite introverted) it’s a bit intimidating to speak to so many people about your idea. For those who haven’t attended an Open Coffee, I highly suggest going even if you are afraid to speak. The crowd are good natured and as long as you take the advice / criticisms of other people well, there is no harm is sharing your idea. Also, an idea is an idea until it is implemented. If you love your idea, you will do it. Just like Mark Zuckerberg did when he invented facebook.