How to “sell a startup” to your family?

All of us know how hard it is to hire for a young company. While there’s a lot of “selling” and “buying” that needs to happen between a company and the right candidates; In India, there’s another challenge – Family, as we know it.

Confused? Sell hard (IMG credit:

Oh, did you not know that WebEngage is an Indian company? Well, now, you do 🙂

I keep saying this – at WebEngage, we are assholes when it comes to hiring. It is really really difficult to impress us. And, I mean it. That said, when we like someone, alongside “selling” ourselves, we try to make an offer that the guy cannot resist. We do a great job with these. In most cases, the candidate is sold on and willing to join. But wait. Here comes in the family.

Yes, the same family in which we are born, brought up and taught all things nice. I have come across several stories of how hard the family resisted an individual’s decision of joining a startup. We have been the victims of this, several times. The reasons that have been cited are multi-faceted – from job security to marriage. Huh!

Here are a few tips for people willing to work for startups on how to overcome this problem –

  1. Take charge of your life. Please. Work makes up for more than 50% of our lives. Let’s face it. First, be sure that you want to live a dream. Then, pursue it. Tell your family that your grey cells, heart, mind, balls etc have all grown in size since you were born. Make them understand that you can take decisions for yourself. If you can’t do this, you are NOT startup ready.
  2. Be sure of how much you want to make in cash before the startup fails or succeeds. If a startup can afford to pay you at market rates or above, tell your family that you are capable enough to find another job if the startup fails (which is most likely the case). If you have any doubt about the fact that finding a job would be difficult if the startup doesn’t succeed, don’t go to your family yet – you are NOT startup ready.
  3. If you are not married, find out for how long can you live the life of a bachelor. Extend it as much as possible. Show your family the bigger picture. If you are Adam, tell them that gone are the days when working in Infosys or TCS would fetch huge dowries. Startups are the new thing. Guys working there not only become millionaires in a few years  (don’t share the actual numbers with them yet) but they also get nice dowries. If you are Eve, its simple – tell your family that coolest dudes (to marry) work at startups, rest is just bullshit.

I have experienced this – If you want something badly, you’ll get it. Make it bad. Real bad.

All the best.

Latest Comments

  1. Karina Rook says:

    Hi Avlesh,
    Great post, I think fear holds us back from so many things in life.
    I am from the other side, the wife of a start-up founder, and I think my recent guest post has some interesting parallels to yours.
    I am so proud of my cool geek!

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