Calling All Student Entrepreneurs: Tell Us About Your Startup

We learn from Failure!

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Feb 3, 2014

“Starting your very first venture is like falling in first love. When you feel you are in love, you definitely go frantic; your emotional strokes beat you for some unknown reasons. You become passionate for the thing that made you biased to a horizon and even when you do not know what next! Your decisions get one sided. Even, sometimes, you forget its consequences! My personal experience says, in most cases starting a new venture brings the same passion, bias and recklessness for an entrepreneur similar to that of a lover. But, we shouldn't be incalculably biased to our confidence, rather we should keep our emotion under control and be realistic while making any ideas happen”

Failure

When I was in my final year of undergrad studies, in 2011, I thought of starting up a tech based literary collective. Before that, I would write on national newspapers and web-blogs and my peers would inspire me to continue writing. At the same time, some crazy thoughts on writing, with frantic zeal, were producing in my cerebral cortex and were stimulating me to write. I continued writing in my personal blog. Some of my friends and peers would also write in their own blogs and newspapers and I would make talks on writing. Once, I thought it would be great if we write together. Since it’s easy to write, publish and reach the readers in online, I chose website for publishing articles. Thus, I myself started thinking of building up a writer community on the web. I knew it would be a challenging job. However, I started! But it was not a fairly tale that It could happen by itself or by a genie!

Firstly, I talked to some of my friends and seniors, and they pledged me to write for my community. Since I was thinking of a web based medium I had to talk with a tech freak-guy to help me in developing and operating my website. He also told me to help all the way and reminded me the initial cost and charge for the development and operation of the website. I was ready for that investment. But, till then, I had no idea on such websites’ business model and could not calculate how to trade off the cost. Somehow I had known there is somewhat advertising opportunity in the web milieu. I could understand an advertisement based revenue model can never be a substantial model for a venture’s survival. However, I persuaded me that advertisement will bring an amount of money necessary to meet up the cost. I wanted to launch the literary website and never tried to think of its revenue model. But, I didn't know the things rightfully about some conditions of the web like continuous development cost, server failure risks and Hacking risks. More clearly I was totally ignorant of this world. I would only make posts of my articles. However, as I said it was like my first love I persuaded me saying ‘Let’s go and see what happens’.

I starting writing weekly and the contributors were doing so. We continued for two months. By this time, I talked to some more contributors who were willing to write for the website. I approached to some advertisers and they were proved enthusiastic as well. Once, I found that the web site is down, the server has fallen. I contacted with the wed developer and he answered me this is out of his control. This continued for a month. I blamed my misfortune. One month later the website started again. By this time advertisement contracts gone out of my touch. But, again I started searching for the advertisers.  We also continued writing. After a few months later, I talked with some advertisers.  They suggested me to change the look of the website. I knocked the web-developer. He was busy with another project and couldn't manage time to change the look. I found he was skeptical. He did not find my contract profitable. Since I couldn't show any changes in my website, the clients went away.

My writers’ panel was expecting incentives from me but I couldn't manage. I did not plan for massive investment for this venture. So I did not ask help from any investor. I requested the writers to write here just to sustain the community thinking this as a non-profit venture. Gradually they stopped writing; some of them started writing in the mainstream media where they would get a good remuneration. Later, I thought I would run the website alone. But, at the end of my undergrad final I become busy with my internship program. I couldn't manage time to write. The readers no more come here as no new articles are posted.

Once, I thought I should leave this project ASAP because I realized that I was spending personal time and savings behind something which has no visible return rather it was creating social pressure as people were asking me about its future. Eventually, I just failed to stand up a venture. It was sort of failure of my first love!

But I have to say it bought me some very interesting lessons, as we all know nothing goes unpaid. I have learnt some interesting things that I will definitely avoid in my next venture. What I will do next is:

  1. I will make good plan before making the leap
  2. I will design a concrete and realistic business model
  3. If I have no ‘pure expertise’ on a field, I won’t start over a new venture on that field.
  4. I will be more conscious while selecting the third parties (I won’t forget it ever).
  5.  I will keep my team lean so that I can manage it easily.

"There is no failure unless you stop trying.  Whether you fail in your first venture or not, keep trying. Start a new one and remember to love the venture like your first love. Just, try to stay away from the emotional-frauds and be careful of everything that surrounds you.  If you think it’s not working or can guess same things are going to happen as earlier, try to match the experiences. And, even if you fail to learn from your earlier mistakes or from the earlier dealings which were out of your control, ask for help from someone experienced. You should not make the mistakes over again and again. Remember, you need to survive and ‘survival of the fittest’! Take notes on your mistakes, so that you can review later. Be happy with what you have."


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