03 Aug The Hidden story of Entrepreneurs: Iceberg Illusion
Entrepreneurial success stories would previously magnetize me and prevent me from seeing the whole picture consisting of the hard work, the failures and the moments of self-doubt.
Ernest Hemingway, an American writer believed that the deeper meaning of a story is not evident on the surface, rather it shines through implicitly. This is further explained by his iceberg concept; where success stories are the upper, easily visible surface, but the submerged, invisible surface is the hard work and failure which holds the deeper meaning.
Here’s my story of experiencing the invisible, submerged iceberg: In my 2nd year of engineering, I was on a bike ride and my bike broke down in the middle of the road. No one was available to help but thanks to my friend, we were able to fix the problem. This incident made me realize that I would not always have a friend around to help me if this ever happened again. That’s when I thought of creating an app, through which one will be able to contact the nearest garage and they will either solve it then and there itself or one can opt for a towing service. Thus, that app would help every driver or rider in distress. I pitched this idea to my dad. But guess what? My father said that the chances of succeeding with this idea were 0.01% and the result of my survey was not very good. That’s when I lost all the motivation to go ahead with the idea.
Days passed and I came across an advertisement on YouTube of an insurance company; they had started a new venture named CoCo Ride which matched my idea from months ago! I was sad because I realized that I could have succeeded in that business idea, but was simultaneously happy to know that my idea had been validated by someone else. After this, I wondered how entrepreneurs achieved so much? How did they do it? We only see the good, the rosy and the successful parts of their journey. But just like me, they must have also struggled and failed to turn their ideas into reality. That’s when I decided to interview entrepreneurs and understand what’s beneath the surface, what’s under the water, what’s the hard work they did that we didn’t see. .This was the inspiration to go and talk to four entrepreneurs and learn more about the hidden parts of their journey.
Mihika Bhanot, who is an image consultant and runs her own company named ‘Mihika Bhanot Image Consultancy’ said that, “There is a difference between interest and commitment, commitment is what makes you ready to jump back in 1000 times even if you fail whereas interest fades.” Though she never had a routine during college, she just worked at what she committed to. She remained determined and persistent with her commitments. Unlike Mihika, I never committed myself to my idea, and that’s probably why I failed.
I have never tried to seek out mentors to discuss my ideas with, perhaps this is why my app idea failed. Anna Durward is a social entrepreneur who runs ‘Little Warrior Sustainability’ and ‘Ocean ilo’ which guide individuals and communities to co-create a sustainable future. Anna’s advice was to always consult your seniors and your mentors because they possess experience which can often accelerate your success.
Tobias Wilbrink runs ‘EarthToday’ which serves to accelerate funding for land conservation on a global scale. Tobias initially started as a filmmaker; whenever he saw a cool film, he would trace the film team from the credits and ask for internships. He always wanted to learn from people who were already doing the kind of work he wanted to do in the future. His go-getter attitude taught me that I can always learn more about anything I want just by humbly asking. In order to bring my next idea to life, I need to first seek out experts to work within the concerned industry.
Kaveh Mostafavi is a social entrepreneur who runs ‘Ecocare Supply’ which promotes sustainable solutions for diminishing restaurant waste. He conveyed a crucial message for me to understand, “I am not the smartest person in the world, I am not the hardest working guy in the world, I just put pieces together that I thought needed to be done differently.” I was always convinced that for a successful business, you should have an idea that has never been thought of before, but I was wrong! Kaveh taught me that you should be smart enough to make an idea work by integrating it with existing ideas.
Through these interviews, I realized that every entrepreneur has their hidden iceberg consisting of struggles and failures. Yet, their years of struggle are hardly ever talked about. By digging deeper and uncovering the whole iceberg, I realized all my mistakes and how I should do things differently.