Entrepreneurship is a Skillset as well as a Mindset.

Every week, I write an article to share my learning or discovery during my startup journey. Here is the link to my reasons for penning these articles for myself and for many others like me.

Today I was a bundle of nerves in anticipation of feedback for my newly published Udemy course and the Product idea.

After spending a few weeks on my idea, now it is time for it to say “Hello World” to gauge the product-market fit.

I spent a few days checking whether I could technically build the product. Then, I checked a few existing technical solutions I could integrate with my product to provide the desired functionality.

After doing this initial study, now I need an actual developer who can create a web application that can take the input from end-users — call the API services of 3rd party- process the output — share the output with end-users.

I decided to reach out to the technical people in my inner circle of friends and LinkedIn contacts to check if they were willing to work with me on this idea. I knew a few friends and acquaintances who had shown interest in working on a product idea with me.

My first preference and thus the first contact was my old friend. He is working as a full-time employee. He had shared with me repeatedly that he wanted to work on a side hustle to get a secondary source of income. He is working as a solution architect. Whenever I asked him which technology he was working on, he used to reply —” whichever technology you want me to work with.

I found this reply weird. How can he master every technology?
But as I have known him for more than ten years, I find him a reliable person. Also, he has been looking to start a side hustle. All these attributes make him a preferable choice for me to collaborate. But, unfortunately, these were just my thoughts.

I reached out to him and explained the product that I had been building. I asked if he was interested in managing the technical side of this product. I had already shortlisted the technical solution and agreed to share the mockup screens and the code snippets with him.

But in the middle of this conversation, I could feel I had made a mistake in reaching out to him. He showed some skepticism about the viability of my product idea. However, my concern about his unsuitability is not related to this skepticism. Instead, I was open to his critical evaluation and encouraged him to spend more time trying to find loopholes to kill my product idea. It would help me in getting another unbiased opinion and can help me recheck the product-market fit.

The reason I was having doubts about my decision to connect with my friend was not because of his skepticism but his state of remaining in the status quo.

I could relate to his behavior very well, as I had been in the same state. I used to crib about my job all the time in my earlier days. But I never did anything to change the situation. I always thought of doing something other than the regular job but never took one step in that direction.

In this state of mind, when we cannot muster the courage to change our environment, we tend to be critical of all the people trying to fulfill their dreams. These people look to be in a state of turmoil and messy compared to our stationary but stagnant state. Looking at their state of utter chaos makes us even more fearful of making changes. Hence we generate a few more excuses for not changing our environment.

I felt that my friend was also behaving the same way I had lived earlier.
I also felt that it is never a good idea to talk to someone who was never inclined to be in the entrepreneur’s shoes. My friend had been working on his other side hustles like the stock market and freelancing. But this business requires less setup effort than starting something from scratch.

In my opinion, entrepreneurship is a skillset as well as a mindset, that needs to be continuously nurtured. I was wrong to expect my friend to become an entrepreneur when he had never shared such a dream with me earlier.

As I had already initiated this conversation with my friend, I felt it challenging to end it abruptly. So I promised to share the mockups and the documentation of my work on that product. It would help him evaluate the technical solution and understand the product.

I told him that after his analysis, he could let me know, If he feels connected with the product and if he is interested in working with me or not. I almost knew his answer but still wanted to give respectful closure to our conversation.

I shared all the product documents today. Within a few hours, he came up with some research that I had already done. Probably he did not understand my product completely, or maybe he was in a hurry to close this conversation.

Anyways, I patiently answered all his points and explained more about my unique market proposition.

After a few back-and-forth WhatsApp messages, he finally wished me good luck with a thumbs-up emoji 👍. I think both of us heaved a sigh of relief that, eventually, this conversation had ended.

My learnings from this incident:

  • Entrepreneurship is a skillset and mindset that needs to be continuously nurtured by learning and doing
  • Carefully Evaluate the eligibility of your friends for your startups. Check if your temperaments matches or not. As in this case, I already knew that my friend was a risk-averse person with a pessimist outlook. It does not match my perspective.
  • Everyone who wants to do a Side-Hustle might not want to plunge into entrepreneurship. Instead, they might be happy to play it small and build more safety around their lives.
  • Be Courageous to talk about your product idea and handle all the skepticism. Consider it as your training ground for pitches to future investors. An inspirational quote landed in my inbox today, which looks apt to my day’s situation.

“Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily.”

Wishing you a great week and hope you successfully handle others’ skepticism with your enthusiasm this week.

The next article will be published at weekly intervals. If you like my article please give me a follow 😇 or simply send me some claps and feedback.

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Anju Aggarwal

Anju Aggarwal

A budding entrepreneur journalling her in-progress startup journey. Expertise in Products, projects & Process management in the IT domain.