Entrepreneurship was a practical solution to the daily stresses encountered in the corporate world. With technology revolutionising every industry, what does it take to become an entrepreneur?
It was horrendous being employed.
Three jobs in three years, plus a tonne of weight on. The signs were there. Yet, I turned a blind eye.
No longer active, I was confined to the office chair ten hours a day, five days a week.
No longer mindful, I binged on junk food every office pantry could offer.
No longer energetic, I slept my weekends away.
As a result, my body ached a lot. I was sluggish, insecure and very unhappy. My skin broke out into pimples. I was snappy towards my loved ones. I relied on Teh C Peng (iced tea with condensed milk) to power me through the days. It was not a pretty sight.
Then, I quit my job and became an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship was a practical decision. Either dive into the great unknown, or sink back into an office chair. Everyone I knew could succeed as an employee. Clearly, I was never a lucky bird. I had to make entrepreneurship work for me.
1. Google everything.
Google opens us to a world of solutions. What I didn’t know, I googled. If it wasn’t there, I asked a real person. This made me resourceful, engaged and intelligent. I became a problem solver. Curious to know what the public thinks of a taboo topic, I searched for the next private networking session to attend. If I had to craft questions for a high-profile interviewee, I looked up their name to find a good story angle.
These days, information is transparent. Keying in a single search term often leads to a string of unexpected discoveries, online and offline. Connecting with different people, reading articles and watching videos, learning becomes an interactive journey. It’s fascinating! I get answers with Google.
2. Be vulnerable.
At age 29, running a business is a mean feat. The world expects a young, Asian female to perform like a 35 year old professional. When employment has failed me thrice, I am more determined to make things work.
However, it is daunting to face highly experienced professionals in the industry. Still in my 20s, how do I figure out who I am, while maintaining a consistent approach? How does one balance strength with elegance, exude maturity, yet maintaining a youthful outlook?
Along the way, I found honest conversations a necessity. We live in a small world, as Singapore lacks critical mass due to the size of our country. Staying true to my vulnerable self got me the help I needed along the way.
3. Personify your business.
Over the years, I have come to appreciate that memorable brand stories come from creating a persona for the business. Often, we are caught up with running the day to day. Automated, robotic responses to enquiries, hitting X number of emailers on a monthly basis become common measures of success. It is easy to forget what identity the brand should embody.
As business owners, we have to constantly remind ourselves to slow down and think about who we are. Pause, reflect, be patient. Take a moment to walk away from it all. Tinker around with a few things. Process everything over a glass of wine. Find that personality that people will remember you for!
“At age 29, running a business is a mean feat. The world expects a young, Asian female to perform like a 35 year old professional. When employment has failed me thrice, I am more determined to make things work.”
4. Self-care first.
The best part of entrepreneurship is making self-care a priority. As an employee, I always put others’ needs before mine. Now, I am in the driver’s seat. To remain in tip top condition, I have to take care of myself in order to be well.
Staying active, I schedule workouts. Listening to the aches and pains in my body, I make time to stretch. Keeping a steady posture, I stand tall even when I feel defeated. Tuning into my gut feels help me figure out what’s wrong. It could be a twitching eyelid or an odd sneeze, I never want to shrug these signs off again. These help me focus on the right things which enhance the business.
“Cherish your yesterday, throw yourself into today and dream about tomorrow. Explore what terrifies you. Indulge in what thrills you. Let your imagination run wild.” – Collective Hub
5. Resources for reference
If it helps, these resources got me through the first three years of becoming an entrepreneur. I hope they come in handy for you too!
- Strala Yoga gets your body strong, long and lean, your mind elevated, connected and switched on. Find out more in an interview I did with Tara Stiles.
- The Minimalists is for those looking for something more substantial than compulsory consumption and the broken American Dream.
- Collective Hub is the ultimate guide to making an impact. It’s constant vision is to uplift and empower people to live their fullest lives.
- SUCCESS Magazine is for readers who understand and value the fact that they are responsible for their own development, income and success as they define it.
ShuQi is Editor-in-Chief at Doyenne.sg, an online magazine operating in a saturated media market. Cutting through the clutter, it produces honest, intellectual content with a minimalistic aesthetic and focus on Asia. Doyenne.sg is a subsidiary of Q Communications, committed to quality execution since May 2014.