‘I am going to be King of the Entrepreneurs’
For the uninitiated, this line is referenced from the Japanese manga One Piece, the best-selling manga in history. The story is about a boy named Monkey D. Luffy who wants to become the King of the Pirates. He gains the properties of rubber after accidentally eating a Devil Fruit. He sets out on a journey in search of the legendary treasure “One Piece”, all the while gathering crew members and figuring out stuff on the way.
The fictional world of One Piece is governed by the World Government and its military wing, the Navy. Then there are those who do not want to be controlled by the WG and turn into pirates. They travel across the seas and fight for treasures and freedom. The pirate captain who finds the One Piece is crowned with the title of the “Pirate King”.
Pirates are Entrepreneurs?
Now the pirates here are not inherently evil. They just do not want to be under the control of the WG. They usually start from nothing, gather Nakama (Japanese term for friend/crew) and set out into the sea looking to make their mark.
This is very similar to the entrepreneurs in our world. Entrepreneurs do what they do because they do not want to be under the control of some big corporation or the government. They gather a few Nakama and enter the world with their start-up looking to make a difference in the world.
I started watching One Piece when I was in the process of setting up a business of my own and realised we are basically pirates and learnt quite a few lessons from Luffy and his crew.
Lessons for Entrepreneurs from One Piece
1. Set a goal for yourself and don’t do it for the money
Luffy never set out looking to get rich. He doesn’t even keep the treasures they find. He just wants to be the King of the Pirates, which basically means to be the free-est man in the sea.
You have to set your eyes on the target and the riches follow.
2. Choose your Nakama well
They say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Have a few trusted Nakama whose goals align with yours and would take a bullet for you, knowing that you would do the same for them.
They must keep their word and be accountable for their actions. This is particularly important because when you are in a fast-paced start-up environment, a single weak link is enough to bring the whole structure crashing down.
3. Your network is your net worth.
You might be the smartest or the best in your industry, but it is only a well-connected network which will take you places. Your networking ability will be your strongest asset. They open up doors and opportunities which otherwise would have never come your way.
The secret to successful networking is to learn to give before you can receive. Keep your eyes and ears open and always be ready to help. Karma works like a charm and you’ll be rewarded with more than what you give.
4. Have a good mentor and keep learning constantly
The Pirate King is one of the strongest men in the world. Luffy started out as a rookie, but throughout the series, he is constantly learning and growing so as to be ready to take on much stronger opponents.
Your mentor should be someone who has ‘been there and done that’. Someone who has your best interests at heart.
This is particularly important because you must always be in a state of learning. You must learn and grow into the person you aspire to be.
5. Enjoy the journey
A lot of people relentlessly chase titles and goals. They feel frustrated and dejected until they reach their goals, and feel lost once they achieve them. But as the adage goes, it’s not about the destination but the journey.
Because if you are not having fun while doing it, then what is the point of it all?
Vamshi Pampari is a budding entrepreneur, who quit a career in an MNC to start his own company based in Bengaluru, India.