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.
Bit-by-bit, I began loving the whole business model. As my work became mechanical, I started taking more interest in how the business was being run and also found out how this was a niche unexploited territory in the Indian business scene. When I read J.K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement speech, I couldn’t take the monotony of my work life anymore and had to give wings to my entrepreneurial dreams.
How I became an entrepreneur
I decided to quit my job, freelance as a writer for a while, and then figure out my entrepreneurial ambition. And freelance happily I did. I also saved enough money to sail me through my start up days. But I lacked the conviction in my business idea and the courage to take the final plunge. After a year of speculation, debating with folks and friends, I somehow gathered the courage to hire a few non-descript academic editors from the US for my editing firm called “WeCorrect services.” Yes I started one, with a simple one-page website, no partners or advisors and not even a mentor! Since no one in our country knew much about this niche business, I had no one to brainstorm my ideas and decisions with; except my previous employers, whom I couldn’t approach, since I was their competitor now.
I connected with potential clients on my own and also bagged a couple of editing jobs. I quoted low rates, and had to pay my freelance editors. I hardly had any money for myself. The clients hated the quality of our work. I couldn’t afford to hire distinguished editors. The freelance editors quit. I gave up hope. I shut WeCorrect services.
How I failed miserably
I failed as an entrepreneur. But today I realize why I failed. I never sought professional help! Although I didn’t know the right people who could mentor me, I could have sought help from an entrepreneurship development institute. And why not? Just because famous people like Bill Gates made it big without any formal entrepreneurial training, it does not mean that each of us have to. I had the resources to get formal entrepreneurial training. And I am sure it would have been worth the outcome, if I had opted for a formal entrepreneurship course like the one offered by MIDAS. Many of MIDAS alumni are successful entrepreneurs today.
I could have been one of them. I wasted a year. Time is precious in this day and age wherein before you conceive a business idea, 10 people have already started a business like that!
Don’t make the mistake that I made. Get formal entrepreneurial training while you can and save on the most precious commodity of all: time. That will help you insure and ensure success as an entrepreneur.
By a budding entrepreneur