As an entrepreneur, several things must be kept in check to ensure a smooth sailing of a startup venture. Naiyya Saggi, co-founder, The Good Glamm Group; Priya Mohan, partner, Venture Highway; and Radhika Gupta, MD & CEO, Edelweiss AMC discussed various aspects one needs to focus on while building one’s own business, at FinancialExpress.com’s ‘Manage Your Money’. The discussion encompassed various factors, including financial planning, moonlighting, and the significance of domain expertise.
Watch full conversation: Personal Finance for Startup Entrepreneurs
Moonlighting as an entrepreneur
Planning to build a startup requires 100 per cent attention of the founder; dividing focus to maintain a steady income while starting your own business is unfair to your career and your journey, said Rahdika Gupta. “Moonlighting is not a very good thing. You’re doing neither justice to your career as an employee or to your journey as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is a 24×7 thing. Managing a career alongside is tough. Take the plunge when you are ready but don’t be unfair,” she said.
Naiyya Saggi said there is no alternative when you are an entrepreneur. “I haven’t seen people do much moonlighting. If you are very serious about being an entrepreneur, you have to be in there-five-six hundred per cent. Therefore, it puts a certain amount of pressure on you as an individual and those dependent on you. One big aspect of being prepared to be an entrepreneur is mental readiness. I haven’t seen too many stories of founders who have been successful when you are doing a 50-50. You have to be 100 per cent or not at all.”
How important is domain expertise in building a startup, hiring people? Not very much
One need not worry too much about having the domain expertise in the same field to build a business. Radhika Gupta recalled that being in the financial sector before becoming an entrepreneur in the same field helped her. “My domain is financial services which is fairly technical in nature. So, I think the past experience really helped. But I will also tell you it is a completely different ballgame in the context of a start-up founder. You realise as a founder you will do everything. Entrepreneurship in most businesses is a lot more hustle in terms of what it demands. It is important to be self-aware and realistic,” she said.
As for hiring the right kind of people for a startup, Naiyya Saggi said, “Very early on in a venture’s journey, I think it is important to get people with very strong problem-solving intrinsics, grit and resilience. Then after reaching a certain stage, you start looking for more sectoral and technical expertise. More than a person having sector expertise they should have freshness of thinking, thought, and should be able to break down new challenges.”
How much salary should you earn as a founder?
According to Priya Mohan, one should keep their mental health and fitness a priority while deciding on how much money they take home as a founder. “Depending on the money you raise, take a salary that does not give you mental stress. Don’t nickel and dime yourself. Fitness and mental health is extremely important. When you have institutional capital, take salaries that at least take care of your basic expenses,” Priya Mohan said.