“Start-up”. The word has always generated a sense of excitement in people. We’ve heard all the success stories, be it Facebook, Google, Instagram, Uber, Snapchat or the numerous others. However, people were always skeptical. For every successful startup there are at least a thousand failures. While that’s definitely true, and it’s helped me be cautious and realistic while working on my own start-up (which I hope to launch later this year), over the past few years it is becoming more acceptable to leave your job to start your own company or to even work for a start-up instead of a more reputed and established company.

Considering start-ups typically offer very small salaries, little to no stability and no assurance of success, what makes them so attractive to work for?

The opportunity cost of choosing to work for a start-up is definitely high, but people have begun choosing passion over stability. Encouraged by recent successes in the startup world, an increasingly large number of people are willing to take the plunge and do something that they’re passionate about, even if doesn’t provide them the same financial security and benefits as other jobs could have. Arman Sood, a recent graduate from the Jindal Global Law School, decided to not take up a cushy law firm job but instead opted to work for an edu-tech start-up called Embibe. He explains the passion over stability debate perfectly when he says “It’s chaotic, it’s unstructured, it’s ‘chilled out’ and there’s a huge emphasis on learning on the go.” A lot of people over all age groups are getting attracted to the fact that there’s no real structure, and no one is worrying about the way you get dressed or the way you do the work. All that matters is that the work gets done.

India has so much untapped potential, which hasn’t been able to come to the fore because people have always been scared of taking risks. People used to be worried about what their friends and family would think and say. However all of this is finally changing, and we’re beginning to see results in a relatively short time. Flipkart, Ola, Snapdeal are just a few examples of Indian start-ups that have flourished in the recent past. People are finally demonstrating confidence in themselves and this is increasing their willingness to take risks. Entrepreneurs, who have been successful in the past are becoming angel investors or even serial entrepreneurs, and are investing their time and money in to the start-up ecosystem. With a population of a billion people and a booming start-up culture, investors find India to be a place where their money can earn rich returns. India is finally seeking the opportunity and extracting benefits out of its demographic dividend.

The startup scene exudes excitement. A company that was nobody last month will raise a million dollars next month. The youth has the energy to drive forth what they think will make a greater contribution to society, and start-ups are all about solving the simple problems faced by millions of people everyday and about improving the life of the masses. It does not matter whether an idea has been replicated, or benchmarked against another. As long as it is solving a problem and making the experience of a consumer more complete, there is a high chance it will succeed. This is a major driving force for a lot of entrepreneurs. Ishita Matharu is the founder of Mechenex, a start-up that assists with automobile assistance. When asked about her motivation behind the idea was, she said “I wanted to solve one problem that I was facing, because I knew that I would be solving a problem that a million others were facing.”

A start-up usually comprises of a few people, in similar positions, whether they have left cushy jobs or joined straight out of university. What’s common between them all is that they all believe in the idea and were willing to take a huge risk to implement and execute this idea. Perhaps that is what keeps the community together. It comprises of people who are willing to take a leap. This has made starting a company easier because there is a community of people that understand what others are going through. People can finally reach out to the resources around them, be it investors, start-up support groups or even online help that a few years ago may not have been present, or would have made them feel like they were in it alone. This community helps people take the plunge and venture into the exciting, but less taken road of start-ups. It is much easier if you are caught up in the electric excitement of the scene where everyone is ambitious to make it happen, where everyone has accepted the terrible odds, but has not been bogged down by doubters.

While start-ups are definitely providing an attractive alternative to the more conventional jobs, people aren’t running to drop out of school or colleges just yet. Being educated and having a degree is still important for start-ups, as well as for the future in case a foray into the startup world doesn’t work out. It is however, interesting to see that a large number of people are starting companies while still in school, primarily based on the fact that while you’re in school the level of risk is a lot lower than it is when you leave a job to work on your own start-up.

Having said that, we have learnt that nothing you learn in school can ever prepare you for starting your own company and the challenges you face along the way. What we need is a mushrooming of innovative start-ups and an enabling ecosystem that supports them. This will have a multiplicative effect on job generation and value creation. After all, for every job that an established enterprise can offer, a start-up entrepreneur can create fifteen more!

(Mishaal Nathani is a 20 year old Law Student and budding and passionate entrepreneur. He hopes to launch his first start-up, a talent launching company, later this year).

(Nihaar Kuthiala is 20 year old student at Lady Shri Ram College and is a passionate and driven start-up enthusiast spending her past few summers having worked with a few upcoming start-ups).