Entrepreneur: From a Daughter’s Perspective

Do all entrepreneurs and their families have to sacrifice a part of their lives to attain success and a secure future?

He was 24 years old, young and energetic, ready to leave India to pursue MBA in the US. Married by then, his wife was not willing to leave behind her parents to accompany him. Since she was his first priority, he stayed back without thinking about what next? Having sacrificed his proposed career path, he had to earn a living and started to work in his father-in-law’s entrepreneurial venture. An unexpected delay regarding a financial transaction caused a false rumor which spread like wildfire amongst other family members, who did not leave any stone unturned in making false statements about this issue, and this made him resign from that company.

Having faced difficulties early in his professional life, the desire to achieve something big and silence his critics motivated him to build his own empire. Being young and fresh from college, he along with his friends had planned of many entrepreneurship ventures. It was time to put them into action and he got in touch with his friends to execute them. Liked minded people joined hands and started the venture they dreamt of during their college days. Aware of his honesty, sincerity and hard work, his father-in-law (with whom he worked earlier) gave a small capital to start off. Entrepreneurs have the ability to convince people about the potential of their idea and they end up achieving their goal. This has happened to him in the form a raw material supplier who was ready to supply material in bulk for them to start the initial production. There were many other logistics (suitable machinery, suitable people to work with the machinery and so on) they managed to look at, and finally delivered their first set of finished goods. Building this contact, and sticking to the deadline, made them get a few more offers. There were also times when they did not get back money from their customers, and under this loss, they still continued to move on and survived.

Meanwhile, on the family front, he had his first daughter, growing up, not seeing her father, for most of the nights, before she fell asleep. Not able to attend the school functions where she participated in dancing, singing and arts, and won awards, only to show off to her dad, but he was busy in his shed, earning bread to feed his family. Throughout her entire schooling, such thoughts existed in her mind and she never understood why her dad could not spend time with her, while her friends’ dads came out for every other occasion. The daughter was not mature enough to realize that her father was working hard to set up a secure future for the family.

After getting into a formidable position after his initial years of struggle and sacrifice , the father realized that he missed his daughter’s childhood and wanted to make up for it and was spending most of the time at home (during which his business grew and also his daughter’s friends circle grew). The daughter on the other hand grew older and failed to realize that her dad was trying to give back that time.

The unrelenting persistence to build a friendly relation with his daughter helped her realize that, being an entrepreneur; her father worked hard and also sacrificed many things for her well-being. He gave her all the freedom in terms of education or anything for that matter. He never said a NO for anything she asked for. Irrespective of having the necessary finances or not, she was never aware of the struggle as she grew up.

I, being the daughter of this entrepreneur, my father’s journey, taught me that whatever position one might be in, one should never give up and never expect any sympathy for the state which you are in. I also realized that in order to succeed one has to instill a “what next” attitude given any situation. My father always mentions that he is a light in the dark cave showing me the path, but that, the light will not always be there, and I still have to figure out my path. He instilled in me that, it is not all education that is required to live in this world today, and it is all about communication skills and people’s skills which do not come through securing high grades, but only through experience. Integrity is a great part of him, and he has never treaded any path which could give him quick cash, and being his daughter, I have them incorporated within me. Whatever he does, is to enjoy the satisfaction that comes out of it and not for the material benefits is what he implies to me. Success should not go to one’s head and one should always stay grounded during all times proves that he is a self-made man.

I feel do all entrepreneurs have this kind of attitude towards life? Never say NO, face all, and jump to grab all opportunities. My grandfather, even at the age of 75 is still expanding on his business. I am not sure who is going to look after it in the future, but when he said he is doing it for his satisfaction, that is where my father has drawn even more inspiration.

And I being a part of this awesome entrepreneurial family, every day is an inspiration for me!

But in spite of my father, inculcating within me, the essentials for a successful entrepreneur, we both agree that, he has missed a part of my childhood, and I have missed him during my childhood.

This post was written by a graduate student in the Mechanical Engineering department, Carnegie Mellon University. This young woman hopes that she can reach up to that level where she can take up her dad’s empire!

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