Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Where does your passion lies?

Quite interestingly, more people likes to talk to me, ever since I started to set up my own company. Maybe to some people, I am quite a rare breed because I gave up a decent and stable job to pursue my dreams and passions. Maybe to them, I am doing something that they had long wanted to do but do not dare to take that first step. Thus, it would be intriguing for them to watch closely how I fared, or failed.

One interesting thing I noticed when speaking to people who wanted to startup their own company is that, they rarely talk about their passion, let alone their vision. Most just wanted to be a boss. Any kind of business, as long as they are the boss. To them, becoming a boss is merely a way of breaking the salary ceiling to achieve financial freedom. Just a means to an end. The means doesn’t matter much, at least not as much as the ends, that is, achieving financial freedom.

The same goes for some existing business owners, and venture capitalists. I once had a chat with a business associate. I told him about the financial strains during my early days of startup, and how I believed that having passion in what you do is important to an entrepreneur. He didn’t quite agree with me, as he himself didn’t have any passion in the businesses that he involved, except for the passion towards earning more money.

What exactly is passion, one might ask? Just imagine you strike a lottery one day, or inherited a large sum of money from some distant relative. You have the money to buy everything you desired, to tour around the world, and still have enough money left to support you and your family up to two hundred years old. What would you do next?

If you are a software developer, would you continue to write software? Or would you uninstall every single compiler and IDE on your computer?

If you are a writer, would you continue to write your novels? Or would you just stop writing because writing is just a tool for earning money?

If you are a chef, would you continue to explore new flavours or methods of cooking? Or would you stop cooking because cooking is never your passion?

In an ideal world, people would pursue their passion and earn their keep while fulfilling their potential. In a pragmatic world, people earn their keep while doing something that is probably neither their passion, nor fulfilling to them, so that they can pursue their passion after work, or after they retired, or never.

Think about your passion. Think about what you really want to do.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I got a new office!

I had been looking for an office for the past few weeks. Ever since I moved out of my first office in the year 2006, I had been a mobile entrepreneur in the sense that I did not have a fixed place of work. I would always carried my laptop with me, and did my work in either some café, or in the library, or any places with aircon, internet access, and preferably a/c power supply.

The mobile office concept suits me well since the bulk of my work can be done on a laptop. However, now that I am starting to expand my operation a little, I feel that it is about time to get a new (small) office.

The reasons why I wanted to get a new office:

1. To have a fixed place to hold meetings with my sales people. Although I could hold meetings in some café, but it would be very dependent on how crowded the café was. Moreover, I would like to have some privacy when having meetings with my colleagues.

2. To have more freedom in managing my time. If I worked in some café or libraries, I would have to be restricted by their opening hours.

3. Better facilities. By having my own office, I would be able to do printing/ scanning/ copying/ faxing, as well as having reference materials or books to refer to.

4. Better focus. Having my own office would allow me to have better concentration on my work, compared to working in a café where there are people walking in and out all the time.

5. Place to store my inventory. Right now, my bedroom is filled with my inventory, and in one or two weeks time there will be tens of thousands of brochures coming in. I needed some place to store all these things and cleared the space of my bedroom.

6. Place to meet customers. Most of the time, I would offer to meet customers at their site. But sometimes, some customers would suggest to come to my office, probably due to their own office under renovation, or they themselves are also using home office. At times like this, I would have to suggest to meetup at some café. Now with my own office, I would be able to have more choices on where to meet the customers.

However, since the property prices in Singapore are still very high, right now I can only afford to have a tiny office. This new office that I have now is about 3 times smaller than my first office. It is about 5 to 6 times smaller than the laboratory which I worked in during my last job as an employee.

But to me, this is a new milestone. My first step towards expansion.

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