Yes I know, the tittle does sound like Buzz Feed.
1. Grass isn’t greener on the other side, in fact, there is no grass.
Just mud, and a lot of late nights.
The idea of quitting your job, jumping on to the entrepreneur ship and sail to the “promised” island of big fortune is very very sweetening.
I was never a person who dreamt to build a multi-million company, well, it might have crossed my mind but I know, behind the success was sweat and blood, and those aren’t fun. Before I quit, I was doing Shoe Mo part-time, in the mean time trying to catch up with my planned marketing career path. That was tough— sunlighting during the day and moonlighting during the night, constant lamb on your desk, laptop screen flicking at late nights. Yet I found out that after quitting my full time job to focus on Shoe Mo, it’s even harder.
I feel alone (my co-founder hasn’t joined full time yet), I feel the burden of everyday no-name tasks together with the big goals to achieve, who would do financial projections and would also fix the broken lock in the office. I guess it’s me and also me(at the moment).
I wanted to stop. Wouldn’t it be much less headache if I continue to pursuit my career, working from 9-5 and have more time enjoying life? I wouldn’t thought of giving up my own new business until I put both of my feet into it, how ironic is that? Well, it happened, and I know it would happen again.
2. My temper gets better, and worse, but I’m fully aware when I’m getting a temper.
I’m known for my hot head and short-temper, it would not get any better after all this. But I’m glad that I realized when it’s okay to let go of your temper and when it’s not wise to mess things up. I learnt it hard way, both personal life and business life. I would say I become much much more chill than I used to be, and I know it’s a big personal improvement.
Even so, I’m still pretty much suffering from refraining myself, so I keep telling myself emotions are just feedbacks, they are not the solution. Running a team base on emotions is the first mistake to make.
3. Decisions should be made with sufficient data.
When you’re hands on to your business operation, it is extremely to make decisions based on small incidents, because it’s easy to rationalize it. Well, everyone wants to improve things, and improving starting from the smallest things — which I totally agree. Yet, in such a starting phase, we wouldn’t afford to improve everything, prioritizing is key. And how do we know which to prioritize? Based on data. Survey, finance statement, feedbacks, records. I wouldn’t change my whole operation model because 1 or 2 customer made a bad review on it, in fact I carry on customer feedback survey to justify the problem, to understand how bad the situation was, and then we prioritize and take actions.
4. Everyone has role to play. Someone has to be not nice.
I used to wonder how society works. Creator, builder, innovator, motivator, maker, facilitator, connector. It’s mesmerizing. Like looking at a bunch of ants busy doing the job they are destined to do, probably they are not even aware of it.
One significant thing I realized is that most of the time people want to be perceived as nice and amiable by everyone they meet. “He/she’s a nice guy/girl” probably the most soothing compliment everyone wants to hear about themselves. The more educated we are, the more “polite” and “mind-our-own-business” we tend to be. More often than not, we avoid confrontation and speak up for what we believe. We don’t want to be blatant. We avoid awkwardness. But business is blatant and full of awkward moments, lots of mistakes to be addressed, lots of deals to be shamelessly asked for.
I and Jack always have to play good cop bad cop all the time, and I always get the bad guy role to play (ugh). And I got used to it. Having my bad cop hat with me all the time, in case someone has to speak up for righteousness.
5. Not everyone is a suitable one, let them go.
When Shoe Mo was super small and just started, we appreciate all the help we can have, we have early batch of employees that join us since the very beginning. We hope them to be the team pillars when we grow stronger and bigger.
But not all is suitable or ready to move on to the next level, when we grow bigger, having more outlets, some staff won’t keep up with the workload, some split out to run their own similar business, some cheated the shop money. We have learnt a lot, in a hard way but as Jack said, we find it out the sooner the better.
Onwards and Upwards,