Friday, 20 May 2016

Beware of Those Entrepreneurship Ads

Quite a few ads leveraging the idea of entrepreneurship are on air these days. One ad shows a girl, who after fighting with her parents, opens a tattoo shop. The other shows a person resigning from his job to start his own business. When his boss asks him to think again about resigning, a “car” fuels confidence in him and he decides to go ahead with his idea.

One should be beware of such shallow ads. While starting your own business does entail some degree of struggle, it doesn't mean you have to pit the world against you to succeed. Indeed, your chances of success are greater if your family and friends are with you. Being rebellious is easy; any idiot can be. What requires skill is how to strike balance between family, society, ambition, and so on. But for some reason, the so-called rebel stories get a lot of attention in the media. Don't be carried away by them.

As to the second ad, you really don't need to quit a well-paying job to “chase your dreams.” Anything you want to do can be done part time, at a small scale. Once you really start to get successful, you can pursue the idea full time. No sweat. For employees, it's always a good idea to start their personal venture part time. In this way, you can reduce the risk.

Mind you, entrepreneurship is no cakewalk. Your chances of failure are much higher than your chances of success. If it's your first shot, most likely you will fail. Failure can really devastate you if you don't have a support system in place. A job, family support, money—all these are support systems. Also, while starting something, avoid committing a lot of resources, especially money. Start small, work hard, and see if it works. If it doesn't, never mind. You can try again.

Like any ad, the only good that ads riding on the entrepreneurship theme do is not for you but for their marketers. You are better off ignoring them.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

What Works on the Street (and in Real Life)

There are numerous stock-market success formulas. Those who are successful at stock investing tend to tell us their formulas for success, but not many of us are able to replicate them. Take Warren Buffett for example. Half the world is crazy about his ideas, which is obvious, given the huge fortune he has amassed. But how many can actually boast of accumulating that sort of wealth? I haven't heard of many. Peter Lynch visited companies before investing in them. How many investors can do that? The fact remains that what wins in the stock market (and in real life) is originality. People who get successful are those who have something new to offer and say. Copycats seldom get successful or famous. 

I am not suggesting that you shouldn't take inspiration from the successful. By all means, reading about and learning from the successful is essential. Even when you start, you may like to take the tested path, yet the tested path isn't enough if your goal is to get really successful. You will need to devise something new, something that works for you. It doesn't matter if others can't replicate it or find it altogether crappy. If something works, it works, and that's more than enough. When you get successful, there will be many who get inspired from your formula and follow it. That's exactly what happened with Warren Buffett, and, for that matter, with any other successful personality,

How do you evolve something new? You can't become a star the day you begin. The key is experimenting. Learn, experiment, observe, and try again. Once you spend time doing something, you naturally develop insights that are alien to an outsider. Once you have these insights, you can cast them into a methodology. If the methodology works (for you, of course), you have just developed a success secret and you will eventually know what actually works on the Street.