10 Lessons I Learned Working In A Start-up during my college

As a college kid when you enter this big real world, you realize that there is a lot to learn and experience. In this blog, I have covered some minute details about my journey that are usually ignored.

No Glamor Show:

I won’t lie but like any other college kid, I thought start-ups were about VC Funding, raising investment, getting covered by ‘YourStory’, setting up a team, burning the midnight oil and building something extraordinary that might just change the world. But yes, I was wrong. There is much more that goes into it. There is a big bad world filled with anxiety, uncertainity, fear and self-doubts that no one talks about. The big famous start-ups that we see around us are just like a river with sparkling water flowing but there are brooks that are always ignored that lead to that river.

Persistence. Focus. Patience. Stability.

Setting a strong foundation:

A strong start-up needs a strong foundation. It’s easy to get blinded by the glamor of the start-ups and believe in big dreams and endless possibilities. I realized that even though start-ups give you a huge platform to experiment, learn and grow it is very important that they set the realistic expectations and throw you back to reality every now and then.

Realistic Expectations. Right Focus . One Direction.

What’s your vision?:

A lot of us, still ignore the power of vision .Why are we doing what we are doing? Business models might pivot, the product might fail, partners might drop out but the only thing that will keep you going is the reason you started it. I dropped out of the start-up because my reasons weren’t clear and my vision wasn’t aligned and that’s what stopped me from going ahead. And that’s alright because I am now much more clearer about things I am doing.

One Vision. One Goal.

Communication is the ultimate cure:

While working in the start-up I realized the importance of communication to solve issues. Most people won’t talk about it but issues crop up in every team – the only way to solve them is to talk about them. A lot of issues go ignored and are then pilled up. We are humans and we are bound to feel different things- negative and positive. A lot of times, we prefer to keep quiet or ignore but to create a healthy environment, it is necessary to talk, fight , argue and debate. And repeat until the problem is solved. Giving up on communication isn’t a healthy practice and only leads to grudges and misunderstandings. A lot of worlds problems will be solved if we just sit down, talk and find solutions or even vent out our true feelings.

Fighting Sometimes is healthy. Communicating is healthy.

The Liberty To Make Mistakes

I agree that there are targets that we need to reach and customers we need to acquire but we all started this journey to solve a problem, learn and grow, right? The biggest learning opportunity a start-up can give you is the liberty to make mistakes. This prevents us from following the conventions, experimenting with new systems and maybe even embarrassing ourselves sometimes. And It’s okay because at the end of the day- the team will stand up for you and help you correct those mistakes.

PS: A lot of life changing inventions were made by mistake – chocolate chip cookies, potato chips ,penicillin , LSD and even some important people (HeHe).

Make Mistakes. Fall. Embarrass Yourself.

Focus on your strength not weakness

I have an introvert personality and I am proud of it. In this extrovert world, I am repeatedly told that I need to be a certain way to achieve success. But I believe that focusing on my strength can lead me to places I deserve to be in. A lot of people might doubt you and tell you that you are ‘not capable’ of making into the world of entrepreneurship or even climbing the corporate/start-up ladder because you are not a certain way that the society expects you to be or you do not have a certain ‘skill set’. I fought through all of these beliefs, external and internal doubts and started focusing on my strengths. Phew. It was a tough journey but I am able to conquer it.

This is not only a personal journey but a team journey too- as a team, we must recognize the strength of each member and focus on just that.

Believe In Yourself When No One Else Does

Setting up processes:

Everything becomes easier once a process is set and figuring out the process is the most lengthy but the most important task. Be it acquiring the customers or something as simple as updating the blog – every task can be broken into smaller steps. And it’s important to give enough time for experimentation to figure out the right process to do something and then scale it.

Porcesses. Steps. Productivity.

Networking helps you gain a new perspective

While working with a start-up, I got a chance to meet a lot of people and this added a lot to my growth. Start-ups give you a chance to represent yourself and create your own persona and this opportunity is best utilized when meeting new people. A lot of times we get too busy in our own world that we are blinded by the work that we do. Interacting with people outside the company and attending start-up meets and greets always helped me gain a new perspective to problems faced at work.

Network. Network. Network.

Getting too involved:

It so happens that our undying passion for our work makes us addicts. I am not debating if being a workaholic is a good or a bad thing. All I am saying is that there is the world that exists beyond minting money, beyond building something world-changing, beyond solving problems and that world is also beautiful. I am someone who would get too involved and attached to my work and a lot of times I would go the extra-mile and spend extra hours in office even when it wasn’t needed. I learned an important lesson of appreciating and caring for small things in life. It was a great feeling when my friends would wait for me to return from office and would not make plans without me even though a lot of times I would just say no. They would even clean my room when I didn’t have time and manage the house without complaining . I was the happiest when they’d visit my office to give me small surprises.

Throughout my journey, I went through a massive ‘growing up’ phase- I met different kinds of people, some were A-holes and some were amazing , I went through different emotions which I didn’t even know existed within me, it was a time of self-exploration and growth and what I learned is invaluable. Some hard and some wonderful lessons.

Over and Out. 🙂

I am 21 . A dreamer. You can find me sitting in coffee shops in Delhi, sipping a cup of tea. A sucker for good stories and interesting people. I believe every person you meet has a little role to play in your life. Looking forward to hear stories of hustlers , ‘think different kinds’, who love to break conventions and most importantly can add some good value 🙂

If you have something to say you can catch me at ashmeeta@hustleindia.com .

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