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Employee Turned Entrepreneur – Vinay Patankar

Posted Under: Entrepreneur, Our Heroes, Startup

“Our Heroes” will be looking at Vinay Patankar today. He was making $140k per year and gave that up for happiness and enjoying his work. In today’s interview let’s learn how he was able to make such a drastic change:

DD: Who are you and what kind of corporate job were you at?

VP: Vinay… From Australia, living in Canada. I have worked a few jobs including IT tech, undergrad accountant and for the 3 years before I quit as IT recruiter.

DD: What made you leave the job? When did you realize that you wanted to be an entrepreneur & why?

VP: To be honest, the initial kick for me to leave my job was the travel bug. I went backpacking around Southeast Asia for 5 weeks on my holiday from work and had so much fun, learned so much without any of the expensive clothes, my flash apartment and exclusive parties. So, I started thinking why the hell do I do it? I always knew that money was important and had always been very focused ever since a young age. I read lots, hustled lots and generally had money on the mind. But now that I had money (I was making 140k per year at 23), I realized that I wasn’t living life to the fullest.

So, I made the decision to quit my job and travel for a year as I’m only young once, and I could easily see myself getting trapped in the corporate cycle (which I saw everyday as a re-recruiter).

Once I had made that decision (8 months ahead), I started planning. This involved reading. I ended up getting my hands on a copy of the “4-hour Work Week” and my eyes opened. I was amazed at the concept of working on the internet and outsourcing. I had already made the decision to quit my job, so I thought this was the perfect time to try and build a business, too. And so, it began.

I think I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Ever since I was young, I dreamt of being a successful startup founder. I was always coming up with ideas, big and small, I just never took the leap on the big ideas…

DD: What did you do to break the corporate jail? How did you prepare for the employee to entrepreneur transition?

VP: The main thing I did to prepare for breaking the corporate jail was to make sure I had a back-up plan in case all else failed. This meant building as many relationships as possible, performing as well as I could, making sure I had references in place, and building my LinkedIn recommendations. My goal was to quit on the top. So, if it all went pear shaped I could easily go back into a decent job with a good wage. This worked well as I had many job offers after I quit. It also gave me confidence to go completely out on a limb. Knowing I could easily get a job in any country I landed in made taking the risk much more manageable.

DD: What is one resource that helped you the most?

VP: Wow… I am a readaholic/knowledge sponge, so this is really hard. But I would have to say the “4-hour  Work Week.” The book in its self wasn’t that useful, but the motivation it gave me, resources it referenced and community around it definitely helped me heaps.

DD: What do you know now that you wish if only you knew when you made the transition?

VP: Umm everything? Look, there is lots I wish I knew beforehand but you can’t know everything and trying to learn it all will just create excuses.

I want to say start outsourcing earlier…

While I have wasted time on lots of random things, if I hadn’t done all of the stuff first on my own, I wouldn’t have learned.

I will say this: I wish I knew I didn’t need lots of money or stuff to a) enjoy life and b) start a business.

I also wish I knew how important networking with other entrepreneurs was. I wish I had started a small side project PURELY so I could go to networking events and say I am staring a business and see who I ran into.

DD: What are your suggestions for aspiring entrepreneurs?

VP: The biggest tip I can give to aspiring entrepreneurs is to just do it. Take the plunge. Great leaders don’t make right decisions; they make decisions, and then, make them right. You will be amazed at what you learn, who you meet and the opportunities you will find if you just put yourself in that mindset and get started.

Next is relationships, relationships, relationships. Network on- and more importantly,– off-line. If you don’t like to network and you don’t like to meet people you should either learn how or stay at your job. It is going to be a long, depressing and probably unsuccessful journey if you try to do it alone.

Thirdly – never stop learning.

DD: How are you doing and how do you feel now?

VP: I am still at very early stages, but the horizon is bright. I am working on more projects, getting more exposure and having more fun each day. The future is uncertain, but I find that much more exciting than having a certain future!

Vinay Patankar caught the travel bug, in a good way. That got him out the corporate door and into a life of simplicity. He realized that money and materialistic things are not what makes the world go ‘round when it comes to personal happiness. Yes, he was making a lot of money (and at a young age), but that wasn’t what got him excited and renewed his zest for life. Instead, it was getting away from it all that keeps him going. Do you need help escaping the rat race? Are you tired of wanting more, but not knowing what “more” is? Join Vinay in realizing happiness by becoming an entrepreneur!

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