Quite frankly, entrepreneurship was NOT a part of original life plan! I just wanted to be a musician– but I realized that the likelihood of me “getting discovered”, get a smashing record deal, and all that fun stuff… Was very likely not going to happen for a very long time.
So I had to think of a backup plan– something that’d allow me to control my own schedule and make my own living with.
That’s when the idea of entrepreneurship sparked up, and when it did, I dove right in without any hesitation. I was 19.
I began to read up on every single articles, books that I could find. I began to download every single freebies that I could find. I began to follow a lot of successful online business figures. And when I was told to do something, I did it.
I was told to work 70+ hours a week. And focus. So I did that.
I was told to spend HOURS in Craigslist, Upwork etc, while charging extremely “competitively”. I did that.
I was told to do X, Y and Z. So I did.
ANNNNND….. Guess how much I made in that first quarter of business?
$29. (Yah… You can bet that some of my friends mocked me a bit– like I was working all the time and only made $29?!)
I felt crushed. I looked around, and felt even more miserable. It seemed as if I was the only one spending time, money in trying to make this all work. Was there something wrong with me? My mind went off into those endless trains of “maybe”s with the thoughts such as, “maybe I’m too stupid”, “maybe I’m not smart enough” etc. And I hated myself for not having enough academic brains to be able to get A+ average, and land great internships like most of my friends were.
My first year of business was endless cycle of those “maybe” thoughts, and feeling inadequate.
And eventually, I just stopped trying. It didn’t feel like it was all worth it.
So I gave up both my musical aspirations and entrepreneurship– I just wanted to stop chasing the impossible.
I went back to trying to do the regular university student thing. And in the process, I somehow landed a part-time corporate gig as a project administrative support at a non-profit. I kept on thinking in my head, “I won’t be able to do this entrepreneurship ever again. And probably not music either…”. And I decided to just settle with my new reality.
But who would’ve ever thought that my new reality, which involved one of the best corporate jobs that someone my age could ever ask for, would show me the way BACK to entrepreneurship? And music?
I was exposed to all sorts of theories and methodologies from all disciplines of operations (management information system, project management, management science, human resources, process management etc) and all the tools and processes involved in managing multi 6-figure projects. As well, I got to learn what needs to happen in order for an organization to run efficiently, as well as its projects.
I learned how different projects, and an organization as a whole, can operate and execute its projects in the most streamlined, and the most efficient way– and especially in a way to do it without breaking bank, without hiring an army of people and under huge time crunch. (#NonProfitProblems)
That’s when I realized… The whole “not working hard enough”, “not serious enough”, “not smart enough”.. The whole MAYBE and NOT ENOUGH thing? That was just all a ducking BS.
It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with my intelligence, work ethic etc. It was just that I had no idea how to run a business efficiently. At all.
I absorbed all these information from my job and my operations courses. Then, I transitioned into starting my own communications consulting firm, and spent countless hours to apply these principles in operating my own business.
Streamlining everything through workflows and processes. Picking up on tech once again. Automating as many things as possible. Outsourcing. Delegating. And rinsing and repeat that process.
That was the only solution I could think of- so that I can go through my undergrad (20-30 hours a week), keep my commitments as a musician (10 hours a week), work my corporate job (20 hours a week), stop telling my friends or family off because I’m working, run my business without losing my sanity during leftover hours, AND start making money.
I stopped having burn-outs. I no longer felt overwhelmed. I stopped spending so much money and time as a whole. I started having much more time in my hands, to a point where my friends were asking how I’m always so available.
I made peace with the friends I told off because I was so busy (we’re very close to this day). My family stopped feeling that they were being neglected. I even started doing better in school, in my corporate gig (they gave me a 25% raise), and even in my music career (my audience following doubled in 7 months on Instagram even though I was on it only 15 minutes a day).
Having a streamlined and automated business ecosystem changed everything. It saved my financial situation. My business. And it made my life much less stressful.