It’s a quarter to 9 now. I just got back from the beach waiting for a beer session. Today has been fun kayaking for hours exploring some snorkeling spots ourselves and free-dive to search for turtles. More than these activities, I am writing to celebrate the goal that I set 3 years ago right before I ventured into the business. Though it came a year later than my plan, I think I still made it and it’s important to celebrate this. No, I am not bragging about what I have attained, I have no intention to do that at all. I am, however, especially happy and excited to share that 3 years ago, I set a goal to attain a free and easy lifestyle, to be able to take leave as I like, to be able to work on computer from anywhere and to have a team to take care of the operation. I wanted a paycheck to have my necessary expenses covered (housing, car and daily expenses) with a little overflow to travel and explore the world. I want to celebrate this very moment that I’ve made it, and I hope this blog is able to encourage you to celebrate your success too.
See how detailed and how average my goal was. Compared to the lavish lifestyle and really filthy rich (which is one of my ultimate goals), the goal I set 3 years ago is simple but uncommon to many. To aim for an free and easy lifestyle at this age seems to be non-mainstream goal. I admit as I started running the business, I became greedy, I wanted more (I still want), but I think we owe ourselves some credits, so important that these credits tell us we should take a pause and pad on our shoulder and tell us we are good. We made it.
We grow up being taught that keep pushing the boundaries is a good attitude to have towards life. We are taught that we should keep raising the bar because that’s we should strive for better living standard. While all these are good practices to have, I realised that many of us are trying too hard that it hurts. We never get contended. We are programmed to be reaching new height after another that it eventually breaks us up internally. How irony things work.
My plan was to get what I wanted in two years time, but hey, 2 years for a business is really short. It’s just about the time you start to know the game, people start to know you, things start to work out, you become mature. Then a year later, here I am, proudly acknowledging what I have gotten.
In this 3 years of running Pott Glasses, I am lucky to have met a lot of great business people. People of the same age like Eddie, Joddess, Mandy, Jodie, Roger, EJ, Bryan, Johnson and so many more who are doing much better than me in the business. Then my mastermind group, Julius, Sereen, LeeChin, Ryan, Larry, who have more experience in business than me and guided me. Not to mention the excitement to meet the legendary Beer Factory founder Kent Chua and Sakura Crystal and ever growing Makan Culture founder Alex who have achieved great height in business at the young age. How can I forget Fax and Wee Kiat!
These people open my eyes to the world of business. They show me there’s no limit to possibilities and they inspire me to set higher goal and to put me out of my comfort zone. I am so prepared to expand the business this year. I am so excited to bring Pott Glasses to another height with my business partner Hong. But before anything, I would like to share what I have experienced so far.
One of the articles that got me kicked start my business journey is “How quitting my corporate job for my startup dream f*cked up my life”. I would read it every now and then. It feels very relatable every time I read about it, if not more. Long story short, he wrote about his struggles and eventually made it after 2 years (that is also why I set 2 years). And if you read about it, the author also mentioned that he’s at the beach when he blogged that. I actually envisioned myself to be in similar setup and yes, I made it, so literally.
In these 3 years, if there’s one struggle that I always face and hardly get resolved, that would be the mental struggle. Mental struggle haunts me on how incompetent I am compared to my peers, compared to my competitors and this breeds the intention of giving up. Peers in MNC are making good money, setting up family and entering another stage of life. Me on the other side paying rental, not giving anything to family, reinvesting the money to the business and bank account went back to square one. Then the number of competitors grew tremendously in 2016, seeing glasses shop opened after one another, and the big players started their price war game. Then another one came out with another marketing trick. All these just were so good at breaking my mental strength. Insecurity kicked in bringing her friend, insomnia along to accompany me for countless nights and became a regular companion. Halfway through I got steered away the initial goal, wanted to try out more things, and even gotten an offer from VC. Many dilemmas that I had to fight through, I had to answer to myself; And I couldn't tell if I had missed a boat or the decision was made right.
I sometimes had to turn to alcohol (don’t feel like covering the fact and make running business a glamorous thing so I prefer to tell the truth). This negative spiral could’ve grown out of control but thankfully I started to learn to take control of the mind. Thankfully good news and sales came in in time. Thankfully exercise does release endorphins to steer me back to think positively. Thankfully all the kind words from friends (Sijing especially you) help to regain the faith. So here I am now to share and hope to encourage you to give yourself more credits on all the work that you’ve done. It may not be perfect yet, but hey look how far you have come along, hey you have achieved one of your goals. Oh yes, one more thing. Every one has their own set of success. Some want work life balance, some want tonnes of money, and maybe some are like me still exploring. Let’s focus more on ourselves rather than letting others to define. Meanwhile I have already gotten what’s next on my list. Definitely going all in for expansion and building my team. Let’s enjoy the moment now.