Adapting the Life of An Entrepreneur

I come from an academic family; my dad is a lecturer, my grandma used to be a head of primary school. Then I study engineering. These two environments I have lived in is not that related to the world of entrepreneurship. Now I currently study in EIT ICT Labs Master School, where they offer a combination of both entrepreneurship and ICT. I can't say that I chose the wrong program, because I have been so fond of entrepreneurship since back then: I joined entrepreneurship society in my previous uni, been selling this and that, founded a web design company with my friends, and finally went to see and attend an entrepreneurship workshop at the heart of ICT business of the world. And I really love it; it's a wonderful world where your ideas get to be realized. If someone asks whether I want to be an entrepreneur, yes I do--I do want to spend some time of my life as an entrepreneur. But I must say that I still don't have everything that it takes to be an entrepreneur--I am still adapting.

I am taking Human-Computer Interaction and Design as my major. I found that there is a similarity between the life of a designer and an entrepreneur: talking to users. This challenge, somehow, I do not face in my previous study. I was quite annoyed at first--it's a waste of time and energy, why can't we just figure out the problem on our own?? But then I learn the biggest lesson: we (entrepreneurs, designer, and basically everyone!) are not always right. We always fall in love with our idea. And in a user-centered system design or an ideal soon-to-be-established business, this is not healthy. We need to listen to users and customers, and to accept if our ideas must be killed.

So this part of 'talking to people', is the thing I am still adapting to. I used to go to entrepreneurship meetings or bump into entrepreneur-kind-of-people and I got irritated very much: they talk way too much. I am the kind of person who is never been able to dominate a conversation, but then these people I meet are people like that. When I came home after these meetings, I used to always get so upset and lost some self esteem. Do I really want to go with this?

I always remember how my mom hates talking to entrepreneur-kind-of-people who according to her they are just talking useless things and after some time, they think they have established a good connection to you, they will take some advantage of you. Now for the sake of my courses here, I often find myself going out to a dinner just to talk to user/customer. Now this is how it feels becoming something you or your loved ones hate. (Lesson learned: don't hate anything! except if its absolutely bad)

I don't know why my family have bad image about entrepreneurs. But I see this as a requirement to become something better than what is already there. If people have a hesitation that entrepreneurs will rip you off, keep a pure intention. You want to hear the problems they are facing, get a better understanding of the problem, not forcing them to buy our idea. Even though it is called 'talking to users/customers', it is actually a time when we need to listen more than to talk. Business is about money, but most of the time it is more than just money, right?

So, we--designer and entrepreneurs--cannot do things without everyone else. We need your love too 🙂

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