The Cult of the Startup

Most of the time, I’m a very abrasive person. I challenge people on their ideas and thoughts as to why they would want to do certain things and talking about startups is definitely something that most people would want to avoid when talking to me. Some might misconstrue my prods to be that I’m against the ideas of startups and prefer the comfort and safety of the corporate world. If that were the case, I would not have started my career working for 2 startups and left a stable, comfortable job to find something else that would align closer to what I was passionate about.

If anything, I’m all in favor of people taking control of their own lives and do something that they are passionate about. So why then do I contradict my own personal beliefs by what some would call tearing their walls down? With this post, let me explain a few of the reasons why I am hesitant to support others when they say they want to do a startup.

You’re doing it for the money.

My belief that for a startup to be successful, your purpose of opening your own business should be to become a solution to a problem. When we hear about those great entrepreneurs that started out from nothing and are now multi-millionaires, we tend to glamorize the fact that they dropped out of school and just made it big with their one idea. But we rarely talk about the problems that they were trying to solve or overcome. There is a clear before and after to when they became successful. Before Mark Zuckerberg came along with Facebook, there was Friendster. But Friendster didn’t have the image sharing, group connections or interactions that Facebook has and today we don’t even talk about Friendster anymore. Before Jack Ma, there wasn’t news of any form of worldwide online marketplace from China. But today, Alibaba is making waves and competing with many countries own marketplaces with their prices and availability of goods.

So if your goal is to make money, while I’m sure it’s possible. But if what you’re doing is just taking something that is already in the market and do the exact same thing but this time be your own boss, you won’t make it far. And speaking of bosses.

You want to become your own boss.

If you asked yourself honestly, as to why you want to leave your job to create your own startup. It’s not because the pay sucks, or that the work benefits aren’t good. It’s because you dislike the way the boss treats people. And 8 times out of 10, every company will have either a manager or a boss that you feel is going to treat you that way. So what is your plan? You’re going to perpetuate the cycle by starting your own business and treat your future employees the same way.

We’ve had enough of bosses to last 3 lifetimes. We need more leaders. People who will nurture, encourage and mould others to be better and through them go on to impact more people’s lives. Want to know why most bosses act like bosses? It’s because they were taught by their own bosses to treat people as they were treated. Ruled by fear, afraid to do greater things because of mistakes and talked down to. Maybe most people don’t understand the difference and if you don’t then you shouldn’t be starting a business because especially in today’s climate, your employees will start leaving you the same way you left your old workplace.

You want to have more time to yourself.

Want to know what passionate people lack? It’s time. Every minute, every waking moment is devoted to what they are passionate about. While you don’t have to be stuck in your office for your 9-5 job, building your own startup means allocating that free time that you now have thinking about where to get the money to sustain your business, how to adapt to changing trends and managing the people who will be working for you and guess what? That also means less time actually doing what you’re passionate about.

While not a common occurrence, we see people become less satisfied once they have achieved success, choosing to quit and venture out to new territory. You can only be so invested into something for so long before you need to take a break. But how long do you think you would be able to take a break if you were in charge of making most if not all of the decisions? Would you even want to relinquish control, if it was something you grew from your own blood, sweat and tears?

In the end, I don’t wish to deter people from their dreams. But I’ve seen and heard enough talk about startups that have either withered on the vine or have not been able to sustain themselves. It’s becoming easier than ever to launch a startup but it’s also just as easy to fail. So I would like people to steel their resolve instead of wanting a quick fix to their day to day dissatisfaction and lose everything. I would love for nothing but to see others succeed in following their dreams, I don’t want it to be a half-hearted stumble but a confident step towards them.