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Why building a startup isn’t for the faint of heart

Humayun Shahid Written by Humayun Shahid ·  1 min read >

The highly-romanticized startup success stories around us mask the painstaking effort that goes down in building a startup. Couple that with the eye-candy business incubation buzz and you land yourself perhaps the gravest modern-day delusion – starting up is a piece of cake.

Before you consider quitting your morning job or flushing your lifetime savings down the drain, here’s a nasty bite of reality – bringing that great idea that has recently dawned upon you to life is not going to be easy.

Are you equipped with what’s needed to take the leap of faith down the startup abyss? Here’s a quick reality check:

1) There’s an awful lot of work:

Building a company from scratch requires literally working your heart out. The work hours per work are not defined and this makes perfect sense since your startup is pushing hard to beat the clock, trying to build a product or a service and capture the market real quick. Be prepared to work more than 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

2) Startups fail, typically that is:        

A six-year long research carried out by the Wall Street Journal, published in 2012, reports that three out of four startups fail. Almost forgot, we’re talking startups that received at least $1 million in funding. You probably haven’t secured any funding yet – the odds are stacked further against you.

3) Expect Chaos:

You need to be at home with chaos. Expect things to change very rapidly, all the time. What if some top tier competitor enters the same space? What if some disruptive technology blows your startup out of the water? Keeping your nerves not only at the onset but throughout the journey is imperative. If you are not comfortable with chaos at work every day, building a company isn’t your ball game.

4) You might not make enough bucks:

Jumping on-board the startup express and building a company translates to sacrificing a decent monthly salary in return for equity in the venture. The equity doesn’t ripe up for a couple of years or even more. That’s assuming everything goes smooth. Till then, be ready for living off your savings.

Footnote: Despite this all, there still are a handsome number of folks around the world and from Pakistan that have happily ditched their day jobs in favor of building their startup. Even I myself love working as an adviser for a startup set to launch soon. It’s because the rewards clearly outweigh the risks. Choose wisely, all the best for your decision.

Image Credits: Inc.

Written by Humayun Shahid
The author spends part of his day wondering how to combine his two loves: technology and problem-solving. The rest of his time is spent teaching ICT goodness at a public sector engineering university. Connect with him on Twitter @humayunshahid Profile