By Desh Deshpande
(Editor’s note: This is Part-2 of the weekly video column with philanthropist and serial entrepreneur Desh Deshpande, with excerpts from his book “On Entrepreneurship and Impact.” This column appears appear every Monday.)
BOSTON–The first million-dollar question I want to address is: Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?
Short answer: You are ready when the only option you see in front of you is that entrepreneurial dream.
Several times at my speaking engagements I get asked different variations of this question like, “I think I have a brilliant idea. Should I start a company?”
My response always is: “Don’t!”
Usually, they are not very happy to hear this kind of a response.
Honestly, I am not trying to be blunt when I respond in that fashion.
The reason for their disappointment is because there is a mismatch of expectations.
They are expecting some encouragement, a pep-talk may be.
They are expecting VALIDATION!
That rarely works.
If someone is looking for external validation to start something, there is a really good chance that they are not yet ready. When they are ready, they will know it; they won’t need someone else to endorse their quest.
Imagine a kid who got his first bicycle as a present in the evening. He wants to start riding right away. His parents tell him that it’s already late and he could ride first thing in the morning. That kid is disappointed. The entire night the kid is tossing and turning in anticipation. He just can’t wait for the next morning.
That’s the kind of anxious anticipation about launching a company that gets an entrepreneur started.
The keyword that matters most for a first-time entrepreneur: Conviction!
Conviction is important because the road ahead is not an easy one. There are going to be problems of all sizes, shapes and colors. You will witness detours, roadblocks and speed bumps more often than you anticipated. Deep conviction is what will keep you going even when you feel like giving up.
Reflect on your quest: Do you have the kind of conviction that will provide the fuel to keep you going the distance?
If yes, you are ready to embark on that entrepreneurial adventure.
(About Desh Deshpande: During his entrepreneurial career spanning over three decades, Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande has built several companies. He has injected his passion for innovation and entrepreneurship into a number of social impact initiatives in India, the USA and Canada. He has been recognized for his entrepreneurial accomplishments by many institutions including being named co-chair of President Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He currently also serves as a Life Member of the MIT corporation. He resides in Boston together with his wife, Jaishree.)