It was a spring night in the year of 2015 - I was still getting used to the dynamics of Tezpur University but today was a day of celebration. Yesterday, on a Saturday, we had successfully organized the first initiative of CRY - Tezpur University Volunteer Chapter. Today, we had successfully broadcasted our first online radio show for the Tezpur University fraternity.
My senior and mentor took me and my friend to the hostel roof and it was time to discuss 'What next?'. Celebration, for us, was not laying back and indulging in the reveries of life. We were always about moving forward. After successfully completing two of our goals for the semester, it was time for the next initiative. We were not stopping. That was the moment when my senior shared his entrepreneurial idea with us - and that was the moment when the word meant something more to me than a trick word for a SpellBee competition. I was an entrepreneur. The three of us, invincible, everything was possible, right?
No. Not so fast.
My senior graduated and went out to pursue a research fellowship. Communication broke down, the venture took a side seat and eventually, it was done. We were done. Six months in and we were failed entrepreneurs. Failure in entrepreneurship is much glorified - to be honest, it does not feel so glorious at all. When you look at what could have been and what eventually is, it is hard to feel optimistic about the future.
This was my first stint with entrepreneurship. It was not much, but the one thing that stuck with me was the phrase - I am an entrepreneur.
My second stint got me really involved in the venture - we were about to make things happen. We had a team, we were grinding through. Unfavorable circumstances, a location which was not ideal? It does not matter when the dream is putting a utopian tinge on everything you see. It was time for me to graduate - and yet again, things broke down. The team disintegrated, I became a part of another startup in its nascent stage and what about my own ideas? Well, they took a back seat.
Another failure? It did feel like one. Circumstances could not survive another tectonic shift and here I was, going further this time (and falling from a greater height). Yet - I am an entrepreneur.
My third stint led to me being a promoter of the startup I joined. A director, a majority shareholder of an incorporated company. What could go wrong? Well, many things. The team dynamics could worsen, some members could leave, stakeholders could give a vote of no confidence, prospective customers could reject you outright, the project might suddenly feel unviable. It all could happen, and then, another tectonic shift - being moved out of the incubator which was your home for a year.
Another failure and this one was a fall from the penthouse. This time, when you see the people you failed, you know you failed. It will stick with you and there is nothing glorious about it.
From that night in 2015 to this one in 2020, the rollercoaster ride never stopped. More accurately, I never let it stop. Through it all, the one phrase that stuck - I am an entrepreneur. And today, I am an entrepreneur.
There are a lot of things you learn, technicalities you come to appreciate but at the end of the day, for some of us, it is that one phrase which matters - I am an entrepreneur. And this will not change.