When you become a business owner, you have to find ways to drastically reduce luxury spends so as to make your new professional life work. Here are the three luxuries that some friends of mine gave up to become entrepreneurs. There are things to learn from, everywhere. Read on to find your share here as well. Here’s how my friends went from living a luxury life to living luxury-lite.
Luxury life: Health club memberships
Chief editor in a health magazine, aspiring to become an entrepreneur, my friend started a pet food store. She always loved exercising and had retained a gym membership most of her life, even as a college student. Once she started working and making good money, the gym memberships became high-end health club memberships. In Indian metros, these clubs are pretty fancy, offering top-of-the-line classes and personal trainers, gourmet food, spa treatments and so on. The health club membership fees were almost the cost of a vacation to Thailand. A crazy splurge, but for my friend, it was worth it. She worked very hard as the chief editor of the health magazine, and this luxury was for apparently a health investment for her. However, when she started her own pet food store, this membership was the first thing that she had to give away to save money and pay her new employees in her start up. Be prepared to forego such luxuries when you turn your dream business idea into a real one.
How to go luxury lite here? Taking care of your health is a necessity but a high-end gym membership is not. Be the keeper of my own workout. Walking and riding a bicycle are good options when it comes to burning calories. Add a Fitbit activity tracker and it’s like having a personal trainer again. Now my friend either rides her bicycle to work or walks up. The walk helps her clear her mind and riding any vehicle requires determined focus and is almost like meditation.
My entrepreneurial dream:
I had a dream, like many others, to run my own business. After working in a very niche field in India, academic editing, I wanted to run my own academic editing business.
It’s a distinguished field with a great potential. The core offering of the business is to edit research papers for English grammar, sentence structure, technical details and so on. It’s essentially like copy editing, but much serious; because academic editing involves correcting manuscripts by eminent scientists before the manuscripts are sent to international journals for publication.
That’s what I did for a living at my previous work place. I was a Senior Academic Editor, wherein I started out by editing biotechnology manuscripts, until I became a team leader wherein I ran quality checks on the manuscripts edited by freelance editors. These freelancers were researchers, PhD students, and even doctors from the US and UK working part time as editors.
When asked an enthusiastic to-be entrepreneur, what entrepreneurship would be all about on a day-to-day basis, he said “Entrepreneurship is… about dreaming big and coming up with path-breaking ideas. It’s about going the extra mile, and taking your ideas forward.. with grit and gumption.” Entrepreneurship is definitely all of that. But you if you thought that its ‘only’ about all the jazzy and inspiring things, let me break your bubble and list three not-so-exciting tasks that most start-up entrepreneurs need to be prepared to do:
“But darling… in the end, you’ve got to be your own hero…”
Said some wise soul. And budding entrepreneurs around the world, need to keep repeating this phrase to themselves, every single day.
You ask why? Because entrepreneurship is not a fancy forbidden fruit like it’s portrayed to be. It’s a journey of a thousand miles, and a tough one at that.
You start out with an entrepreneurial dream and your one winning idea. You put the resources in place and start working toward your goals. You even hire one or two people who can walk with you in your entrepreneurial journey. You work with them, with a shared dream of success, to ensure that your idea sees the light of the day.
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it is who is going to stop me?”
said Ayn Rand. And the inner voice of many strong women battling to make their mark in the world of business probably whispered the same words. When skeptics around were busy wondering how will women manage to maintain a work-life balance, this rare breed of women entrepreneurs ploughed on to turn their ideas into money-making realities. They proved that they were more than able to not just bring up babies at home but also nurture their ideas, their other babies, into lucrative businesses.
They did not let anyone or anything stop them.
Starting your own company is one of the hardest things you can do, so it’s invaluable to get advice from other people who have done it, too. You can spend years scraping and scouring the internet hunting for the world’s top entrepreneurs so you could harvest their secrets. You want to hear their stories. How they started. How they grew. How the big hitting innovators, inventors or business people have made millions, found fame and are building their empires right now. Finding the right mentor to help you along the path to success therefore is indispensable.
Those who visited our campus in the past month know that the campus was studded with many young entrepreneurs from Europe. Most of them had come down from Spain while a few hailed from Netherlands to pursue an entrepreneurial exchange program in India. These student-entrepreneurs study a course affiliated to the Mondragon University in Spain just like our Indian students.
We had the privilege to talk to a few and indulge in a healthy exchange of views on entrepreneurship. We asked them what entrepreneurship means to each one of them and at a drop of a hat, Sara a young Spanish lady exclaimed, ‘For me, entrepreneurship is freedom!’.
If you have a dream, now is the best time to chase it. All successful entrepreneurs have a dream, and the bravado to chase it.
Dreams stem from the innate urge to do something different, to not follow the same path. Getting off the bandwagon and treading on your own created path is what an entrepreneur does best. But it all begins with a dream, a string of imagination with wings of abandon to fly with.
Come 2015, and it’s time for you to make your dreams come true. With MIDAS, your dreams will get direction and momentum to propel ahead.
People with gumption and bravado thrive on opportunities to progress, explore and push the envelope. These Entrepreneurs who aspire to reach the stars feel completely at home at MIDAS. They have every reason to! At MIDAS, the entrepreneurship spirit is nurtured and tended to.
At MIDAS, entrepreneurship is not taught, it is lived in every essence, by every aspect and in all facets. Holistic development, hands on approach and going beyond the realms of books are the pillars of entrepreneurial development.
Walk in the MIDAS hallways on any given day and one can be a witness to an action packed day. A junction of all things practical and energy packed, MIDAS is the epitome of a hands-on teaching- learning pedagogy. Chief Mentor Prof. Parag Shah and Director Academics Mr Avinash Bhavri set the stage for the upcoming weeks by infusing the right amounts of motivation and call to action. The pedagogy is explained and every nuance of the course is unfolded to the participants. The journey towards being a successful entrepreneur is imbued with an amalgamation of classroom teaching, interacting with stalwarts and going beyond the classroom walls, to places where the actual work and process happen.
Sometimes in life, especially at work, one needs to take a pause, to travel the distance. It may mean letting go of the small temptation of the low hanging fruit to eventually get the prize catch. This is what sets a straight jacketed entrepreneur apart from his ‘loose ethics’ mates.
‘Ethics’ in businesses have gained a lot of importance, almost as much the lack of it has. Ethics is the propeller for any successful entrepreneurship activity. Any venture, new or otherwise is like a rudderless boat, which goes haywire in the face of crisis. Without the correct ethics, one just fails to see the lighthouse.