Entrepreneurship and Gratitude. What are you thankful for?
The festive season has begun with Diwali and there is definitely that happy chill in the air (or at least the toxic fumes.) What does the word FESTIVE mean anyway? The Oxford dictionary says: “Cheerful, joyous and jovially celebratory” Wait for a moment. Let’s break that down. WHAT makes you cheerful and joyous? More importantly WHO makes you cheerful and joyous? And most importantly WHY do those things or persons (animals included / specially cats and dogs!!) make you feel that way.
I don’t know about your list and i can definitely speak for myself. I have a ridiculously long list of people, things and experiences that bring me an equally ridiculous high levels of cheer and joy. Going by those metrics, every single day should be a festival for me!! So this Diwali, i decided to acknowledge that list and put it out. Not sure if anybody would care to know or read about it. It doesn’t really matter if they do or don’t. Truth be told, you should not care about my list but should definitely care a lot about yours.
This Diwali is my Thanksgiving and here’s what i am thankful for as an Entrepreneur.
1.) Thankful for the very fact that we are still in business, 5 years after starting up, in 2011!!
( This one’s not pure luck though! Me and my team played a small role in pulling this off, i guess! ) You might have come across some random statistic on the internet that says 7 of out 10 startups go out of business within the first 3 years of starting operations. I don’t know the truth behind that statistic but i can attest to the fact that the figures are not too far off the mark. I had wound up my first startup, within a year of launch back in 2010. And i personally know of a ton of tons of entrepreneurs who have done the same (only to bounce back stronger in many cases!) This is a marathon not a sprint. It pays to be thankful and take some time off to acknowledge that you are still in the race ( because the journey is the reward in itself and not the shiny trophy that awaits at the finish line )
2.) Thankful for my 99% ultra awesome and 1% pain the the butt clients!
I bluff you not, we at Cogfree have been very lucky indeed to work with some amazing entrepreneurs. We service mostly small and medium scale businesses and hence i get to report to the founders in most cases; which in itself is a reward. There are tons to learn from each of them. And what about the 1% clients that are truly a pain in the rear end? Well, they end up suing us or we end up suing them. It’s true. Oh, it’s true. My close friends reading this will know exactly which ones i’m talking about. But there also, you get to learn a thing or two about legal notices! When the smoke clears and the dust settles, I’m thankful to the lawyers who handle all this mess like a breeze. But damn, you guys are expensive!!
3.) Thankful for My ( 110% ) mega insanely awesome team at Cogfree.
Nothing is perfect in life and neither will i claim that for my team at Cogfree. We don’t chase perfection, we chase excellence and boy, we do have an excellent team. From my early days at Cogfree, we were used to the occasional all nighters and 30 hour plus marathon brainstorming, mindmapping and strategy sessions right before the important pitches. On more occasions than i can remember, we used to walk out of the client’s building, literally like sleep deprived zombies (although that magically did not dampen our energy levels during the pitch!) By the way, we closed 90% of those pitches and I’m proud to say that we sill work with some of those clients to date. I am thankful to my team members who put in all those slog hours to get that done. They did not have to. It was not on the job description. They choose to. And i deeply appreciate that.
In fact just yesterday, one of my team members was working against the clock and around the clock, to finish a very time sensitive project. What so special about that? Everyone does that, right? Well, yesterday was Kali Puja and a bong usually has grand plans to blow up a gazliion “Tubrees”and “Chorkis” (fancy bengali colloquial names for firecrackers) as validation of a particular festive day well spent. Well, not the one at Cogfree, who was toiling her best away to get a special project completed. It was a series of video Diwali greetings for some of our selected clients. I usually never ask team members to work on a holiday but this was very time sensitive. You can’t really wish someone Happy Diwali; a few days after Diwali right? We are not big fans of Belated!!
Long story short, that kind of passion and dedication to work (with no questions asked or not even a hint of disinterest) is kind of special. Not everyone does that. And we are not EVERYONE.
If you are reading this, you know who you are and I’m deeply thankful to you for pulling off the project yesterday selflessly and to everyone else for bringing their awesomeness to work every day. Can an Entrepreneur really ask for anything more, from his team? I am deeply grateful for that to everyone who is presently in my team and also others who have been a part of Cogfree before. A lot of names. Again, you all know who you are!
4.) Thankful To everyone of you who chipped in along the journey so far (we’er just getting started!!) and helped us out in whatever way possible. Again more names than i can remember!
As a startup entrepreneur, your first few years will likely be incredibly stressful at times and sometimes you might even question your sanity! You will be working like hell and making not much of an income. Which is not a bad thing necessarily, because that’s the true test of whether you would want to pull through or throw the towel in. And in case you are bootstrapped, (Basically meaning that the business is funded from your own resources without any external VC/Angel funding) like we are, then you will be literally counting pennies in the first few years. Which is a good thing again, as that will force you to seek out maximum leverage with minimum resources.
A couple of mentions. Our very first website (not the one that is live now), which was developed before we actually had a single client was put together by a kickass developer who charged us literally a fraction of what he usually charges his clients. Images for a subsequent website was generously photographed on a pro bono basis by a very close friend of mine who is also one the best around in the business.
Thankful for these acts of generosity. Someday we shall throw a grand party exclusively for these generous souls!! Till then, here’s a high five.
5.) Thankful for the type of work that we get to do at Cogfree and the flexibility that it gives me to pursue some of my personal projects on the side. ( I talk all about it in the Video Below )
I will keep the list short. Honestly, i have many more reasons to be thankful for as an Entrepreneur but let’s leave that for another day. Here’s small animation video we did capturing the essence of our journey so far at cogfree and a rebranding we have done of late. And a song to tell you what we do and wish a very Happy Diwali to you!! Earplugs In!! Enjoy.
We Think from the Heart
We Work from the Head
We’re Creatively led
We live just once
Only one shot, We’re given
We’re Strategically Driven
C O G F R double E
Wishes you a
So give us your brief
Tell us all that you need
Let’s work out a plan
To get you the leads
Show us the problem
That we need to solve
All our heads, heart and might
We shall involve
C O G F R double E
Wishes you a
So you need a new name?
Are you starting up your game?
Maybe you’re looking to climb
Just one rung high
Let us give you a hand
Let’s spice up your brand
With Art,Copy & Design
We’re sure to blow your mind
C O G F R double E
Wishes you a