Advice

iMahal Interview Series: Rahul Roy
August 22, 2002

iMahal: What advice would you give to entrepreneurs?

Roy: First of all, there are two types of entrepreneurs. One type of entrepreneur is the person who is born to be an entrepreneur. The second type is the person who, after gaining experience and receiving mentoring, can become an entrepreneur. But a key quality is the ability to take calculated risks. They need confidence to do this.

If a person does not have confidence in himself to take calculated risks, then he should not become an entrepreneur. I can take losses and I can still have a smile on my face; I know I will soon have new gains to offset those losses. I am always a believer that you can come back. You may not get to the same level of success the next time, but that’s okay because at least you’re making a living and that’s all you should care for. And once you feel that your physical body is not yours, that you are just renting it from God the almighty, you then have the healthy attitude that whatever I am going to make here is not permanent. So, once you have that in the back of your mind, you’re not going to worry so much about the level of your success.

..Can I be an entrepreneur?..you have to be very honest..

People should understand that if they are likely to get stressed, hyper, or emotional about everyday work, then maybe they shouldn’t be entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs cannot be forced; it’s a natural process. So one has to do a self-analysis to figure out, “Can I be an entrepreneur? If my mind and my body and my capabilities can’t be converted into an entrepreneurial spirit, then maybe not.” You can’t be biased when doing this self-analysis; you have to be very honest. And when you make mistakes you have got to be committed to not making them again in the future.

And once you become an entrepreneur you should not measure yourself only by the market value of your assets. I hate that. I have some friends who thought this way about themselves until their Exodus stock tanked. You should never count on paper value. To me real financial wealth is only tangible assets.

Once you are successful, you should not let it change you. Unfortunately some people begin to feel they are great; they become snobs and intimidating to others, even to their friends.

I could not do this with my friends. My friends stay the same, whether fortunes are up or down for me or for them. If they do become jealous of my success, we will overcome that and stay friends. When I bought a big house it became obvious to me that certain friends became envious. I told them, “You don’t have to compete with me; let me help you.” I think it is good to become a leader of my network of friends. I want to make them feel important and take their advice.