The Spirit Of Entrepreneurship For Every Entrepreneur
An Afternoon Beer Session At Brewerkz
Just 2 days ago, I met up with a long time friend Gary for an afternoon beer session, to catch up and also to enjoy some nice cold beer at Brewerkz.
I remember our last meet up was around 6 months ago, when he just gotten a new job after 12 months of unemployment! Knowing him personally for over 5 years, Gary is a very laid-back and easy-going person, and being unemployed for such a long period of time has got nothing to do with any under-qualification or high expectations. It’s just that the standard of living in Singapore is just too high and if you get any jobs that does not compensate you well enough, your pay will just break even after deducting your mortgage and other expenses! So, it’s very important to get a job that fits your bill.
That was the situation Gary encountered and that’s why although he’s been very actively searching for a job, he was still unemployed. That unemployment cursed finally lifted when he got a chance to work in an accounting firm. Although this is a somewhat different trade from his previous jobs, he’s able to fit in pretty well and get himself acclimatized to the new environment and new trade. He was pretty happy then.
What Happened 6 Months Later?
When I see him 2 days ago, I got a little shock. He told me he had just quit his job and is unemployed again!!
I asked him why he left and he said he left the job because there is no job satisfaction for him and although he’s paid pretty well over there, he feels that he’s been overpaid to do a undermining job. It just don’t feel good to him.
I asked him whether he’s found another replacement job already and he says no.
“Why don’t you get one first before you quit?! At least you don’t have to go through probably another long period of unemployment again!” I exclaimed.
“I know you’ll say that, and everybody I told, including my wife, says that too…” said Gary.
He then goes on to explain that although he’s supposed to hang on to the current job while scouting for another, he’s not able to focus 100% on the job hunting and not able to attend more interviews if he’s being clocked in and out from the current company. The only way to concentrate on his job hunting is to quit his job. Period.
Though I somewhat agrees with him, I still feel that going unemployed again in this current economic situation is not really a good idea. He understands my point, and I do agree with his predicament, and so, we have another shot of the ice cold beer.
The Dream To Entrepreneurship
Gary then told me that instead of slogging for others and becoming just another statistic in the workforce, he wants to start his own business. He feels that working for others will never go far and probably will never give him the satisfaction he’s looking for. He wanted more now.
He went on to say that he admire my courage when I started my own business, and as for him, he feels that it is just a bit too late for him to start now. On one hand, he wants to be an entrepreneur to fulfill his dream, on the other hand, he needs to have a steady income to ensure minimal distraction to his current lifestyle.
Our conversation then extend to Gary’s brother. Gary told me that his brother has finally ended his 12 years of business and is currently employed as a workforce for others.
“I don’t want to be a failure like my brother, at the age of 40, he’s lost his business and now, he’s just an employee”, said Gary. “I need to start now before I get any older, and I must make sure that this business will be successful. I can’t pump in extra capital because what I’m investing into this business is all I have and I cannot lose the money because it means that I’ll lose everything. If I don’t do it now, I’m afraid I will not have enough savings later for me to do it. I cannot downgrade my current lifestyle now because I made a promise to my wife and if I don’t succeed for this business, I’ll be ridicule by her family and will be a great disappointment to her…”
I told him if worst comes to worst, just sell off his condominium and stay in a HDB flat (public housing) will do. That can save him at least S$2,000 every month. “No, I had promised my wife she’ll only be upgraded but never be downgraded. I don’t wish to disappoint her…”
Stop Dreaming And Go Get Yourself A Job
My first response to him was, “No, please forget about running your own business, you are not cut up for it!” Period.
Taken aback, Gary was very surprised with my straight answer to him and pressed on to say “If I don’t do it now, I may not have the chance or stamina to do it later, I must do it now! If I don’t, I will not be happy for the rest of my life and will live on to regret not doing it…”
I told him I can’t and I won’t stop him from venturing his own business, and if he persist to do it, I’ll definitely support him in anyway I can to ensure his success. We were pretty high in alcohol content by then, so I need to muster up some efforts to make sure my point goes through to him, and I said, very sternly and seriously to him, “… it will be a miracle if you are able to succeed in this business of yours …”
You Want To Be An Entrepreneur But…
Sensing some defiant from his defensive look, I went on to summarize his points:-
- must start a business now because age is catching up on him
- fear of not having enough stamina to pull through if business is started later
- will live to regret for his whole life if did not try it once
- entrepreneurship is a dream that he must fulfill no matter what
- working for others will not bring him anywhere
- can’t afford to lose any money for the business
- if don’t do it now, may not have enough savings to do it later
- losing your business is a form of failure
- limited capital which when loss will mean losing everything
- current lifestyle must not be disrupted or downgraded
- preferably have constant monthly income, may not be same amount but must be there every month
- fear of in-laws ridicule if business failed
- fear of disappointing wife if business failed
He nodded his head and agrees that this is what he said.
So, I look straight into his eyes and tell him again “… you can’t be and will not be an entrepreneur … Please forget about it and go look for a job… we’ll talk about it 2 years later ….”
By then, both of us was rather intoxicated and kinda hungry for dinner, so we agreed to meet up next week to have a more in depth discussion about his probable career change. Before the next meet up, I hope to finish up this post and probably gather some opinions from everyone so that Gary can have a more well-informed decision to make.
And this is why I’m writing this post on a Sunday afternoon.
My Simple Definition of Entrepreneur and Entrepreneurship
To me, an entrepreneur is a person who risks his savings and any previous job security to venture into a new project or business, with the aim of achieving many folds in terms of monetary and satisfaction award, yet with the norm of failing more than once before hitting the jackpot. Most of the time, for most of them, they never even get close to any jackpot and probably just lose everything.
Entrepreneurship is the spirit of not succumbing to any failure and being able to stand on your feet again to fight another battle, probably another losing one. The path is tough and the rewards are far from sight, but the spirit just never dies. To me, this is the essence of entrepreneurship and only when you have the spirit of entrepreneurship are you considered an entrepreneur.
You Are Not An Entrepreneur Because …
This paragraph is dedicated to Gary;
The reason I said you will not be an entrepreneur because :-
- there is no age limit when comes to entrepreneurship, so your mis-perception of time and age limit is unfounded and in fact, misleading
- when you possess the spirit of entrepreneurship, no matter you fail or succeed for your venture, you are an entrepreneur
- when you possess the spirit of entrepreneurship, you don’t need any other stamina because the fire of entrepreneurship will keep burning within you and will not burnt out so easily
- entrepreneurship is not like giving the first kiss to the girl you love, which you’ll regret if you don’t do it. There is nothing to regret if you don’t do it, cause if you can’t, it just mean you can’t and that’s it. Period.
- starting a business just because you think you’ll go nowhere when you are employed under others is not a good reason to do it. There are many wealthy and successful salaried person and they do go somewhere.
- if you can’t lose any money for this business, then better don’t start, because 80% of new startups will fail and only 20% of them will be able to survive for the first 5 years. Only when you have survived through the 6th year, you may be able to see some real profits, which again, there is no guarantee.
- an entrepreneur will not let his business venture dictates only by his savings, if there’s not enough, the entrepreneur will seek a thousand way to gather his capital to fight another battle. In fact, savings are usually saved just in case of very rainy days, and very seldom and not advisable to be used as capital.
- identifying the brother’s business failure as a failure in person is a very short-sighted and an un-entrepreneur point of view. As I’ve said, most entrepreneur fails in their business, not once, but many times, but the more they failed, the more they learn and the better they get. I don’t call it as failure, I call it another step closer to success.
- many of my business associates have failed in their business ventures, selling away their family heirloom, family-owned properties and even losing their family due to divorce and such. When comes to running a business, there’s no such thing as current lifestyle. It’ll keeping changing, hopefully for the better, but may be for the worst, and if the wife will not forgive him if the lifestyle is being downgraded, then it’ll be better for Gary not to venture. (As a sidenote, I’m acquainted with his wife and really, she seems to be a person who will stand by the husband through thick or thin, so, Gary has exaggerated this point).
- in any business, there is hardly such thing as steady income, and for any new startups, you’ll be very lucky if you can even draw any salary within the first year.
- the fear of ridicule by the in-laws and even the wife should the business fails must never be taken into consideration. You don’t need your in-laws to feed your family, and you don’t need such a wife if it really happens. If there’s a fear of losing face when you lose your business, you’ll just have to bite the bullet and move on.
So, to me, these are the spirit of entrepreneurship and these are just another part of the puzzle.
Please give your comments below as to what I should discuss with Gary when we next meet, or probably give him some advice, support or suggestions to help him made up his mind. Your opinion will be very much appreciated by Gary and me. Thank you.
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