Lessons From My Entrepreneurial Journey

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August 2015
A few years prior to starting Kellogg, alum Kartik Wahi '10, quit his job at a multi-billion dollar electrical business in India to join his family business. It was here that he learned his first lessons on entrepreneurship from his father. He led a diversification initiative and setup an offshoot of their business in the consumer & industrial luminaries industry. He managed to grow this into a profitable business in 2 years and continues his involvement in an advisory role to date. Soon after graduating from Kellogg, Kartik and his classmate Soumitra Mishra '10 co-founded Claro Energy and embarked on an entrepreneurial journey. Almost 5 years after they started out, Claro Energy is fundamentally changing the way farmers irrigate their fields in India by deploying solar power to run water pumps. He and his enterprise was featured in a series in Business Standard, a leading business daily in India:

Part I: This was supposed to be a one-off piece, when I was first invited to share my experiences as a startup entrepreneur -- mostly lessons learnt along the journey. When I sat down to write, I was flooded with thoughts of so many experiences that taught me so much, way more than I had imagined. The mind was flush with memories of phases of endurance, patience, hardships, despair, hope, resilience, jealously, celebration, and much more. I figured there was so much to write and we decided to make this a series of articles over a 4-week period. In that moment, I also for the first time took stock and realised that this has been no easy journey. From extreme despair to being absolutely ecstatic, the swings were pretty wild on most days. Despite all the hardships and irrespective of the degree of success of the venture (we would consider ourselves a moderate success), the journey can be immensely fulfilling as it has been for us. Learnings have been immense. Starting today, I'll share a lesson or two every week, with the hope that some of you contemplating entrepreneurship can make that journey more joyful and fulfilling.
The first step is the hardest
The first thing that I learnt about entrepreneurship was that it is actually the first step that is the hardest; taking that leap of faith! To quit whatever else that you are doing, and to dive into this world of uncertainty. Most people I meet these days have a desire to be an entrepreneur buried deep down somewhere. Eventually, it gets to choosing between a low risk, steady cash flow corporate life and a highly volatile life with uncertain cash flows as an entrepreneur. Most people at best just keep delaying this decision and often never really go for it.

I come from a family of entrepreneurs. Every generation in my family ...

  • Read the rest of this article at Business Standard - click here.
  • Read the second installment of this article at Business Standard - click here.
  • View their Claro Energy Corporate Video - click here.