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Take the Plunge!

Does your heart threaten to pop out of your mouth when a friend suggests bungee-jumping, does your head swim when you see the hero leap off a skyscraper in a movie or have you gone a step further and already done some sky-diving?

Are bungee jumping & sky-diving your preferred forms of recreation or would you prefer something like a movie or just stay at home and read a good book? How you respond to the above activities speaks about your risk-taking ability.

Entrepreneurship is akin to the adventures cited above – it’s like jumping off the edge of a tall building in total darkness! You aren’t aware how far you need to go to reach safe ground, you don’t know when you would get there and at what speed – you aren’t even sure when to deploy the parachute to avoid getting hurt! Doesn’t that sound like a lot of fun?

Of course, there are people who thrive on the rush derived from such acts … many of them live among us and are often referred to by the term Entrepreneurs; many of them set out with an idea – one can safely assume that they have some kind of plan about where they wish to reach, but when and in what shape they would get there is not for them to know! That’s what risk is about; it’s not for the faint-hearted!

Recently I was offered a job – I had quit ventured out on my own in January 2008; up and down is a nice way of describing how it has been since then. Don’t ask me to elaborate on the highs and the lows. So it was tempting to grab the bait and settle for a steady income. My wife said, “What’s there to think about? Take the offer without a second thought and build a nest-egg before you chase those hare-brained schemes of yours!” You can see that I had built a lot of equity for my venture.

Well, without giving it a second thought I decided to pursue a bit more of “leaping-off-cliffs-in-the-dark”!

If you are the type who wishes to be sure where every next step is going to be placed its best that you join the Government or take on a quiet job in a Public Sector Undertaking.

If your aim is a bit higher and you aspire for a bit more from life then there are a wide variety of options in the Private Sector – from IT to Banking, Finance & Insurance to Manufacturing. The risk here is higher than in the case of a Government job because you can be transferred, fired and your company can go under – but you have the safety net of a salary at the end of the month, barring a few exceptions.

And then there is entrepreneurship – for the out and out adrenalin freaks, who think they are alive only when they feel their innards being wrenched out of the body, every living moment. They survive on the buzz, or the high provided by the uncertainty of the situation.

But that said, entrepreneurship is for the brave, the confident and the self-assured. It takes a lot of courage and belief in oneself to be able to take on such a scheme. It means you are willing to bet everything on the success of your product or project.

Hari, a former colleague and friend, who is into the fourth year as entrepreneur (heading his own Training & Development venture) had this to say when I quizzed him on the subject:

“I am a compulsive risk-taker and an impulsive person. I am the “throw all caution to the winds” types! But in return I will experience bigger upsides in life – I wouldn’t get that if I were employed. Whatever I am worth I was already getting paid for; but I wanted more and for that I am willing to do more and do it differently.”

Hari nailed it when he said – “Don’t play it safe and don’t wait to feather your nest!”

He thinks there is still some distance to be covered before he can say for sure that the project is on a firm footing, but he is enjoying the ride thoroughly. Occasionally he worries about being the sole bread-winner of his family, but that does not stop him from pushing further ahead with confidence.

Such thoughts have no place in head of the risk – taker … he is busy searching for the next skyscraper!

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  1. April 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Lovely and crisp read. And describes so much of me in my present form of “incubating entrepreneur”! 🙂

    • JayadevM
      April 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Hi, Biks!

      Glad that the article rang a bell … do share your experiences as an entrepreneur … it can benefit others too.

      Thank you for the support.

    April 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Enjoyed reading it..Jayadev..It helps me to think along what I want..

    • JayadevM
      April 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm

      Hi Girish,

      All the best & thanks for reading!

  3. April 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Hey…..I like that….makes us look like some kinda romantics….i could live with that image of me…he he

    • JayadevM
      April 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      Hi Hari,

      Glad you liked it.

      Yes, entrepreneurs have their softer side too … it’s not just ambition, drive and fierce determination; there is flesh, blood and a heart in there too! 🙂

  4. April 17, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Enjoyed reading this Jayadev. Very motivating. I really wish a few of us had the guts to take risks in life instead of playing it safe all the time. It’s so easy to envy the people who take the chance and make it in their lives . Definitely a lot to learn from such people.

    • JayadevM
      April 17, 2012 at 6:44 pm


      Am glad you enjoyed reading it and found the message uplifting.

      Another friend had read the article and commented that employment has it’s pluses too – just that entrepreneurship gives greater freedom. While I agree with him we simply can’t ignore the magic of people achieving seemingly impossible dreams propelled just by the power of their determination and belief. That’s a compelling drama that leaves the rest of us envious and awestruck. You are right about that.

      Thank you for the appreciation.

  5. April 18, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I see the connection between risk-takers and entrepreneurs for sure.

    My husband had entrepreneurial stints before his current career.
    And will get back to it in once he is done with the present engagements.

    And he is a sky-diver, mountain-climber, sails the seas.

    You hit the nail on the head, JD.

    • JayadevM
      April 18, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Wow! I wish Srikanth the very best and would love to hear about his success.

      And its good to get validation for the concept. Thanks for reading.

  6. April 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Thank you Jayadev for the deep and condensed , thought provoking logical explanation of the unexplainable risk taking mentality and its invisible power that gives true meaning and purpose to life.

    Looking forward to your next one……

    • JayadevM
      April 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Hi Sheeb,

      Good to hear from you – I am happy that you have subscribed to my page on Facebook.

      Am glad that you enjoyed reading the piece and found value in it.

      Do visit and share your thoughts again.

  7. Jamy
    April 19, 2012 at 8:02 am

    You have to be supremely confident and street-smart to be a successful entrepreneur. Taking risks becomes easier from there on, even the so-called calculated risks!

    • JayadevM
      April 19, 2012 at 8:42 am

      Right … 2 very important traits of an entrepreneur.

  8. April 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Jay..I read your article and the ensuing comments.
    It is not about Employee vs Entrepreneurs.You will not remain entrepreneur too long if you don’t get the right team to work with you ‘euphemistically employees’.
    Entrepreneurship is a paradigm shift in the discipline of general or routine established practice.Once you establish your own company,it becomes routine.In a recent interview to ‘Business Insider’ NYU Professor Ashwadh Damodaran cites reason for dumping all the Apple shares he had been buying since 1997,neither because it has lost any value nor it has peaked.The reason was ‘intrinsic value investing vs momentum investing,put simply.In his own words,
    “Once stocks become a momentum play, intrinsic value goes out the window,”

    (Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/finance-guru-damodaran-dumped-apple-2012-4#ixzz1sUWwGtzp)

    The entrepreneurial zeal is to keep the intrinsic value of his or her idea intact.For this, you may have to get out of the strait jacket of an established order and this was the success of Steve Jobs beside his other traits..
    I will narrate three situation that made profound and not so profound experience in the last 10 days of my life.

    I hail from Jaipur and come April when my son’s school closes for annual vacation,we go and spend few days with our folks there.
    This time was no diffrent except that,I had this germ in me that I want to go on trekking,and off I went much to the chagrin and dismay of my wife and others.Went to Rishikesh,Rudraprayag,Chopta and Tunganath.I was alone and it was lonely but the sheer
    vastness of the mountain and beauty of Alakananda and Mandakini rivers had a profound effect on my frayed nerves.I could not have asked for a better diversion.

    And then,my current business partner was having doubts about our business plan and wished to leave or dissociate springing a surprise to me.This sudden turn of event left me with
    lot of turmoil,biggest worry was to keep the customer’s confidence in us,and then came a young guy,left his previous company to get out of the routine where he felt the intrinsic value is eroded and joined me,it saved me a potential disaster but I also got a better person who will inspire me at times.

    Third was my wife’s decision to create an online retail mail order catalogue for home furnishing ,exclusive prints and fabrics from Rajasthan.There are so many retail stores,starting from upmarket,Anokhi,Fabindia and many such to those ‘cut piece stores; near your market, but there is still space for those niche portfolio which you think can bring ‘intrinsic value’ to your concept.

    I think that surmises the debate.

    • JayadevM
      April 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      Hi Sunil

      There is so much substance in your response … it adds tremendous value to the main article.

      While I spoke about the risk-taking element of entrepreneurship you went beyond that and defined some of the foundational concepts – on the why and when one should think about becoming a entrepreneur.

      Wonderful! I have benefited from it and others reading it would feel the same way.

      That link is useful reading too

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