How society discourages an Indian from starting up

I meet a lot of people who want to start up, but something is stopping them. It is society. Society is not a single person but it is the collective thought process of all the people around you.
When you say that you want to pursue your graduation in arts and humanities, everyone around probably looks at you like you are a failure in life. If you are among the top ten performers in your class, everyone is shocked to hear that you are considering a career in Arts.Beta, agar engineering/medicine nahi lena toh commerce he kar lo”. (If you don’t want to opt for engineering or medicine, then at least study commerce).
The same things happen to entrepreneurs, as starting up is a risky career move with 90 per cent probability of failure. When a guy from a middle-class family considers leaving his job to start a company, people think it is career suicide.
When I decided to leave my job to start up, everyone discouraged me. They couldn’t understand why a married person with a baby is leaving his cushy job for a startup. This was an argument that often cropped up when they noticed my startup was not making any profits. But I had to convince only one person: my wife. I did that; she trusted my intuition and I became a full-time startup guy.

Most potential entrepreneurs never start a business because society is very


Advice against starting up after graduation

A fresh graduate from college wants to start up, but his girlfriend or parents are more concerned about a secure future. If the guy gets placed during campus recruitment, they may insist he takes up the offer. They may say, “You have your whole life to try your hand at starting up. First, earn some money for a couple of years and save. Then you will have industry experience and initial capital for your startup.”
But guess what happens? This guy will never start a company. His industry experience is useless for his startup because most of the companies provide services to foreign production companies with minimum exposure to innovation or business insights for a fresher. This guy will not save enough to feel confident about leaving the job. He is now caught in a vicious circle of annual raises and promotions until it is too late for him to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.
Fresh graduates have the least obligation and minimum monthly expense. They have the capability of taking the biggest risk of their life but it is difficult to say no to the first job offer and more difficult to convince family and friends.
A few brave youngsters take the wise decision of starting up just after graduation. They became more successful than their peers in the long run. (If you know such people then introduce me to them in the comments)

The stigma of the right age for marriage in India

There exists a distinct set of life process you need to follow in any Indian society you live in.
It goes something like this-
0–17 School
17–21 College- Engineering Or Medical
21–25 Either do a job or prepare for IAS/GATE/CAT/GRE etc.
25 Get Married
25 years 9 months Have kids
26–60 Raise your kids, Provide them education… Oh sorry… School education and help them to live the same exact life you lived.
That’s it.
“If you are turning 30 and still not married, something is wrong with you.” This is the curse of being happily unmarried in India. Many people get married when they are 27 or 28 just because of the pressure from society. Parents, relatives, friends, and relatives of relatives are all concerned about your marriage.
No one wants to understand what you want to achieve in your life. It’s a common response to your startup dream: Beta, shaadi k baad bhi toh apni company khol sakte ho.” (You can start your company even after the marriage). They pretend like they do not know that expenses will shoot up after marriage. The poor guy may never get the courage to take the risk of starting up.
One of my colleagues got a brilliant idea for a startup when I was still working. I offered him help and asked him to start building the product. He said, Nahi abhi toh ghar wale ladki dhoond rahe hain shaadi k liye. Abhi job chod doonga toh shaadi nahi ho payegi.” (“I am looking for a girl to get married to. If I quit my job now, the wedding cannot happen”).
He is now married and employed, but still, fosters dreams of starting up.

Burden of EMI of dream house/flat

People tend to get obsessed with ‘my dream house’ mentality. It is a hype created by builders and banks. People are willing to take 80 per cent loan from the bank after paying 20 per cent down payment to the builder. They are willing to work for next 15-20 years so that they can pay a big chunk of their salary to banks.
When I was working for a company, owning a flat used to be the topic of discussion at the dinner table. People told me: “Buy a flat now or regret later,” but I was sure of starting up one day. 
Our parents, friends and the financial system force feed the mentality to own a house as soon as possible ignoring the fact that our risk taking capability becomes zero that way. Would you take a risk of leaving your job if you have to pay an EMI of Rs 50,000 every month? Most probably not.

Torture at Family Gatherings

If you are an entrepreneur who is barely making any profit from his startup, then you can understand what happens with startup guys at family gatherings. Everyone wants to know when your company will start making money. They judge you as if you are without employment of any kind and don’t hesitate to offer you advice on joining a company. They even compare you with their sons, daughters, nephews and nieces who have done MBAs and landed high paying jobs. They boast of trips their kids are making to foreign countries at company expense. They even say things like, Maine to pehle he kaha tha! Yeh software yaha nahi bikega (I warned you that this software will not sell in this area),
They can’t look at the potential of your innovative idea as they may not know what starting up is all about. People who advise you to join Microsoft forget that that company, too, began as a startup. Their kids will spend their entire life in some consulting or software firm without any big achievement other than a couple of team awards.

Then what’s the way out?

Show them your attitude. That’s what an entrepreneur carries with her/him all the time. Speak with confidence and tell them that you will be successful one day. What you want for your life needs to be clear only to you. Do not let others decide your path.

Where we lack in terms of promoting a startup culture in India: 

Sadly, in the Indian scenario, the students’ goal is to be hired to build someone else’s dream!!

The real problem is that our bright minds are busy dreaming and preparing for a job at Google, Microsoft, Facebook etc. Just have a look on Quora itself, how many Indian students want to prepare for Google/FB right from the 1st year and don’t even bother to look at their own interests.

Although the US is vast, the majority of the tech startups are concentrated around the silicon valley. In the Silicon Valley, the best companies, entrepreneurs, and investors are all in one place. It feels like a campus. Everything you do, from the morning run to the coffee run, is a networking opportunity. This ecosystem of participants together creates a very fertile ground for the creation of new ventures, one or two of these take off to become the next Google or Facebook.

However, Indian startup scene is scattered. We have Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Pune all competing for a small pie. We do not have the Sand Hill Road. Some VCs are in Mumbai, some in Bangalore and some in Delhi. If not all, the big ones at least need to be in the neighborhood of the IITs and the IIMs. Such type of culture is of immense value for early stage startups otherwise before they even take-off they will run out of money and shut down.

Here in India, its hard to find Angel investors in the first place. Those who call themselves as Angels have a very different attitude than the ones in the Valley. Friends and Families rarely understand the idea behind the startup. They will flatly tell you – I really don’t get this startup. Just tell me if I invest ‘x’, how much will I get after 12-24 months and what is the guarantee? Well, they are not wrong but such Math doesn’t work with startups, you know that!

In a nutshell, to promote a startup culture here in India we need to gather the right few thousand people(Angels, VCs, universities, employers, lawyers, nerds etc) at one place living at a driving distance from each other.

FYI, Indian educated workforce forms a sizable chunk of the valley. We just need some strong iconoclasts to have a vibrant startup scene in India.

Reference: Yourstory.com

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