I sold my startup in a large multi-million dollar transaction making me a Millionaire at 26. Here are the lessons I learned in the journey:
1. Focus on giving rather than taking: I see many people wanting to earn millions but not making any effort. Look, money is just a measure of the benefit that you've done for others. So focus on creating benefit/value for others rather than chasing money. If you help others solve their problems, they will surely pay you and you will end up making money.
2. Take care of your team members and they'll take care of your business: You can never succeed alone. You will have investors, advisors, and most importantly, team members who will give you 9 precious hours of their life, every single day to help you achieve your goals. You should take good care of them so that those 9 hours that they spend for you, they do it with their full heart and soul.
3. Focus on customers rather than chasing investors: So many young founders chase investors. At my startup, we completely were customer-funded. Our customers used our product and got benefits, and in return they paid us. So, we never had the need to go out in the market and ask for money. Investors will chase you if you have paying customers.
4. Get Cofounders who have a complementary skillset but a similar vision: My cofounder Harshita and I are completely opposite. I look at the business side, she looks at Product and Engineering. I am an extrovert, she is an introvert. I love to think about the big picture, she is great at finer details. I love to be active on Social Media as the face of the company, she has to spend considerable effort to write a simple post on LinkedIn. But, that's exactly what is helping is move the company. If it was 2 people like me, we would have gambled the company. If it was 2 people like Harshita, the company would have never even started. Striking the right balance is the key.
5. Think big and take risks: Imagine a 21-year-old guy who comes from a family that earns less than Rs. 10 lakhs a year and gets a US package of Rs. 1 crores per year and an Indian package of Rs. 47 lakhs per year. Imagine that guy telling his parents - "I will not go for any of these job offers, but rather start something of my own. I have no clue what I will do, but I want to give it a try." Yes, that was me. Can you take such risks? In any such risky situation, there is the downside and the upside. Many people focus on the downside. Millionaires focus on the upside.
6. You can earn more money but you can't earn more time: You can earn as much money as possible, but the time once gone is gone forever. So, utilize it wisely. Don't waste it. Manage it properly. Focus on the high-impact activities and delegate/drop the rest.
7. Be a learning machine and read a lot: I spend several hours of my day in learning. I read books, I listen to podcasts, I read articles, I consume startup news and whatnot. I try my best to keep myself updated on the ongoing market trends, technologies, etc. That's how I am able to take better decisions.
8. Think big, Act small: I see so many people spending infinite time just thinking and not executing at all. Don't be like that. Have big dreams, but then find out what is the smallest step that you can do today, to reach a step closer to your dreams. If you want to earn millions of dollars, you have to start earning $100 today!