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Supplement your ideas with freelancing

Entrepreneurship is tough. A number of factors make it tough.

Financial requirements
As founders we have complete faith in our ideas. After all, if we do not believe in ourselves who will? There has to be those few like us who are foolish enough to blindly trust and try out new ideas, take that leap of faith to get to the next level. But we tend to be too optimistic with our business plans, marketing plans and financial plans. This makes us underestimate the run-way needed for personal financial sustainability.

To keep up the stamina, to not lose faith in the idea when funds are running low and revenues from customers are heavily discounted is barely manageable. When to this is added the daily personal expenses, changed life-style of living, personal commitments and day in and day out seeing money flowing out of the bank account but not into it.. no wonder a number of entrepreneurs give up half way.

Work and work pattern changes
The work pattern also changes in entrepreneurship. A number of people I have met have told me how startups are good place to work in since we get to do all sorts of work. But what I say is, that is the major problem. When you have worked in a corporate where the day-to-day run-of-the-mill tasks such as network availability, workstation problems, internet availability and so on are already taken care of you are plunged into an environment where such problems come to the fore and has to be fixed immediately else it means loss of precious productivity.

Yet this is not the major work pattern change that affects us, especially when we are technically oriented. It is a given fact that customers are not going to sign up immediately. We need to work towards building trust, especially given that we are suggesting new ideas. Provide one information at a time, compare, contrast, develop the relationship, ensure trust is formed before we can get a customer to take a leap along with us to implement the new idea. This means there are going to be a number of days when we are not doing any of the interesting problem solving, solution building, patent filing, new idea job. But the tedious job of creating brochures, writing up technical write ups for the idea, writing word documents, creating PDF files, creating websites, creating logos, meeting marketing folks, sales and so on.

This is a huge change from the corporate job where we get filtered problem solving, suggesting new ideas, creating POCs kind of job where all others tedious jobs are taken care by others. I find this work pattern change is the one most challenging problems in entrepreneurship. Agreed it is fun in the beginning, but when it goes beyond a few months, It takes us to a place where we are starved for trying out new things, learn new things, spend time trying out new technologies that are coming out. While in the corporate job there is time to do all this stuff as a part of the paid job, here we are so caught up in our own ideas, promoting it and thinking only about it that we tend to forget the variety that we had when we were just doing a job.

But, does it need be this? Can’t entrepreneurship be fun? Isn’t it because of this impression of “having fun while creating our own company” that made us start out here in the first place? So why give up on the fun things to create something new? Why not enjoy the journey? Yes, we cannot work in full-time jobs to supplement our finances, this means we give only part of our attention to our own company which is obviously not correct. But why not switch places? Why not do freelancing to sustain finances, keep in touch with the new ideas that are coming in and execute projects to still have a sense of accomplishment.

This search for supplementing finances and keeping in touch with the industry is what lead me to search for a good freelancing site. This lead me to Toptal. While other sites just let anyone enter and bid for a project, toptal is the only one that ensured that only the top talent is filtered. This definitely means that the kind of projects that we can get to execute here is going to be of the calibre required to keep up with new technologies. This is surely a worth checking out.

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