Julia: Why did I want to set up my own business? Other children dream of being princesses or firemen; I dreamt of having my own company before I was 30.
I did – at 29. The exhilaration of the first client; the first cheque into the company account and the first compliment were super. But, working till 2.00am to get a mail-shot out, eating take-aways for a week because I have no time to cook, always looking at the bottom line and wondering if I can pay the rent, were rather daunting.
Perhaps the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur is being “alone”. Of course, there are lots of people around all the time, but I am either the paymaster or the supplier. No matter how well my staff, my clients and I interact, I’m still “alone”. Mixing with other entrepreneurs is a great antidote to this feeling of aloneness.
I am inspired by their stories and their enthusiasm, which never seems to wane. They bounce right back no matter what struggles they have encountered. There’s always a sparkle in their eye and a spring in their walk.
I wonder – do I inspire others sometimes? Do my eyes sparkle when a client says, “You’re the best”? I do hope so!
Hoi Yee: Am I running away or am I heading towards something? Is it because I hate my job or am I a true blue entrepreneur? These were insecurity attacks that invaded my thoughts every day for months prior to my resignation from my last job; the last job where I worked for someone else.
My job in that blue-chip company was stifling. Already in my mid-30’s, I had energy and arrogance to spare. I knew for a year that I had to leave. Eventually, I set the date when I would resign. My husband and I started organizing our business plan. The bank financing came easily (to my great surprise), the creation of the company on paper was finalized, and the first staff member was confirmed to start a month later. I couldn’t listen to my insecurities anymore. Everything was in place and I just had to do it – I had to resign.
I had planned “The Day”, but had not expected my superior to disappear from the office in the afternoon. I even called my husband to hold off any celebrations that he’d planned because the boss was not around to accept my resignation. Somehow, I had to stick to my deadline so I submitted the letter to the head secretary, practically ordering her to stamp it with that day’s date. My heart was trying to thump its way out of my rib cage.
I was in a state of major meltdown not knowing how people at work would react. This worrying was a way of distracting myself from the daunting task of translating our business ideas into a functioning, financially viable operation that would both fulfill my ambitions and pay the mortgage.
When I arrived home, I was so proud to announce that I had resigned as promised. My husband surprised me with a delicious gourmet dinner, and whipped out the chilled champagne saying, “I knew you would do it.”
It has been five exciting years since that momentous day, and all I can say is, “Why didn’t I do it sooner?”