A lesson I learned the hard way trying to find a business idea. A time when I was once lost, broken and confused.
Ironic? But, It’s true. Seth Godin said that, Jeff Goins implemented what he said and it hit me hard.
“Don’t build a business because you want freedom. Build a business because you want to run a business.”- Seth Godin
I Just Want To Make More Money, That’s All
I believe for those who do their job with the mindset of “It’s just a job to feed the family” will know that it is not the best motivation.
Choosing to do things for money has its pros and cons.
The cons usually outweigh the pros when we found out that we really hate everyone, every corner of the office and everything about that job, even the vending machine don’t work properly.
Same thing in doing businesses.
I know people who do business because they want extra cash. Yes, definitely some got it right and they do get extra cash every month and I’m jealous of them.
For most cases, they might not be earning any money at all.
How I’m Always Attracted To Shiny Things
I’ve been through a few situations where I found a business model that looks good and promising, and all I need is to put in some money.
I thought I will “eventually” figure out how to make money out of it, whether I like or believe in the business model or not.
Well, it doesn’t work that way huh?
Because of that mindset I end up with losses instead of getting all of those promises that the business model “promised”.
I ended up jumping between different types of business ideas and models and couldn’t decide which one to focus on.
I’d welcome every opportunity that comes knocking on my door because I always thought that successful people never put down any business offer, so they say.
Until, I realized I was biting more than I could chew and I was already suffocating.
I came to a close of giving everything up.
So, what went wrong?
Was it me, was it the business model?
This is what I really think the problem was.
No Ideas + No Skills + No Experience = Loss Of Money,Time and Energy
Do you know how important it is to really know what you want to do for the rest of your life and what you’re really good at or at least you would like to be good at???
If you have no ideas to start off with and you have no experience, chances are you will lose a lot of money, time and energy.
2 years ago, I had no business ideas, no business knowledge and worst, no business experience at all.
But, I really..really wanted to earn more money and be “Free”.
I want to travel a lot and have a nice house and big cars.
I didn’t care what type of job or tasks I needed to do as long as it is halal and pays a lot.
During that time, I kept searching for ideas on the internet. Tried it out for a few days and weeks.
Things like affiliate marketing, bitcoins, binary trading, stock trading, online survey, and well, none of them were successful. In fact, I lost money along the way.
I never gave up then. I’m sure that I’ll find something that resonates with my soul.
I tried asking people in my network for advice and suggestions.
My friends who have profitable sideline business suggested to me about bringing over products from overseas and I could sell them at a higher price.
I tried, and again, to me it was troublesome and the profit margin were small for the amount of work I had to put in.
Well, basically because I didn’t like the process to begin with.
Then, I fell into the trap of a being inexperienced and desperate.
I started investing on many schemes and “investors and mentors” who said they could help me get rich and achieve my goals.
I just have to follow their systems. That’s all.
Am I rich now?
Your Passion and Goals First, Then Talk About Money
Find Your Passion,Work On It, Be Good At It and Don’t Get Distracted By Anything Else
Too many people who wants to start a sideline are unsure of what they should do when all they need is to ask themselves is what do they believe in and what would they not mind doing after their full-time job ends.
Basically, the big question is, “What kind of problem do you think you don’t mind finding solutions for. That you don’t mind working extra hours to find that solution. That you don’t mind sacrificing your rest time and even family time and you don’t mind doing it after your 8 hour job?”
Because, when your work has ended, you barely have energy or motivation to do anything. Unless, you really love to do it.
That is what I believe in. Stop chasing after cash as a way to motivate yourself.
Do things that empowers you and make you feel good in the inside. You know, that feeling when you give?
Giving makes you happy, not money.
When I worked on getting money, I feel stressed, overwhelmed and unhappy most of the time.
Because I might think that I’m willing to do anything to earn cash, but I have to be realistic and honest to myself.
My feelings can’t lie and my mind can’t just adapt to things that I dislike doing.
It does take a toll on your overall well-being when you force yourself to do things you don’t like and I’m a fan of living healthy and balanced life, so that is something I must avoid at all cost.
If it is pulling you down, stop doing it.
“Don’t work 8 hours for a company and not work on your goals. You’re not tired, You’re uninspired”- Gary Vaynerchuk
Stop Listening To The Wrong Type Of People
I don’t believe when people say that you must not listen to what others are saying totally because there are people out there who has the knowledge and wisdom that might help you grow your business.
For example, I know a few marketing experts who helped me develop my copywriting skills and a event management expert who teach me the right way to plan and execute ideas.
But of course, there will be people who try to pull you away from what you are building.
These are the blood-sucking leech and the deadly angler fish.
They will do their best to bring you down, sucking your every bits of positive energy or the latter, they will sweet talk you to help them move their business without you realising it.
Choose who you let into your network carefully because for what I’ve been through, I could have avoided many conflicts and loss of money.
Sticking To What I Believe In
As what I have stated in my blog, I’m a fitness enthusiast.
What kind of business model I believe in?
I proudly say I believe in Precision Nutrition system where they provide online based coaching that helps people lose weight and improve their strength.
I believe in the conventional business model with a mix of network marketing in the back end.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not focus recruiting people to be my down line as my main business model.
So, anything that tries to distract me even though it may sound as tempting and “would work better” will never get in my way now.
It took me two years to lay down these firm believes.
While I may not be enjoying the fruits of success yet, I do feel happier and confident to go around and tell people what I’m doing as my sideline.
Have you found the things you believe in?
It was 1:50AM Singapore time.
I’ve just completed tweaking my poster design, event proposal, Facebook ad design as well as setting up the Eventbrite page for the upcoming Health Workshop me and “Andy” dream of organising…and I’m starting to doze off.
Oh, FYI, I sucked at designing and anything that has to do with art. But, being low in cash and the fact that I really want to make this happen, somebody has to do it.
I can’t afford any external services right now. It really feels shitty.
I got no room for errors. Money and time is at stake, but Andy and me really wanted to make this happen.
We looked at each other just now during a short meeting and said “Let’s just do this..do with what we have”
The Ugly Side Of Starting Up A Business
If you’re talented in something and you create a business around it, I’d say you’re a genius.
But sadly, when it comes to being self-employed, you will never be good enough at all the things required to be a successful and a sustainable entrepreneur.
You can be a great artist and a designer but if you’re not good at marketing and pitching sales then your products will just lay dormant in your room collecting dust.
The opposite applies as well. A great marketer and a salesperson is of no use if the product doesn’t reflect what the salesperson is pitching.
“This product gives you a quick recovery from hangover. You can drink all you want. Even when you have work tomorrow. All you have to do is drink a bottle of this product and, no hangovers at all!”
The next day you found yourself half-awake in the living room face down on the floor, totally drenched with sweat and the obvious stench of hard liquor.
So, the product doesn’t really work huh?
Successful Entrepreneurs Never Work Alone (but sometimes they have to)
Seriously, I can’t think of a way an entrepreneur or self-employed person can ever earn “enough” money by doing everything on his own.
You could, but you’ll just suffer a slow painful progress in loneliness.
Like really. The amount of effort and time you need to learn so many skills is just counter-productive and inhumane.
This is where I believe working smart is best practiced.
What’s the phrase again…”If you want to something work alone and if you want to be successful work as a team”
Ok, I found the proverb.
Go far..Work together. How?
I’d say the best skills an entrepreneur can ever, will ever and certainly MUST have is the skill to empower people.
The skill to make people follow you and work “with” you. That is so much valuable than any other skills in this world.
But, what if really, you just have no one around you that would be committed to help you?
I say, the least painful way to do this, even though it is slow, is to be like a queen ant.
Entrepreneurs Are Like Queen Ants
Imagine, having a group of different people doing all sorts of work for you like the Majestic Queen ant “passively” resting in her chamber being fed 24/7 by her loyal servants until it’s time for her to pass on her duty to other Junior Queens.
But did she got that passive system running straight away?
She risked her life going into the wild, into the open space where we humans can just “pfft” her to death and many other animals and predators are lusting to taste her royalty exquisite flesh.
Even after she manages to find a dark and safe place to build her empire, she still needs to ensure her few foundlings grow up alive and healthy.
If you ever tried to build an ant farm from scratch…..it’s as haaaard.
Take the queen ant as a good example, she made sure that she finds the perfect spot to lay her eggs.
Then she waited and waited, no toilet breaks, no lunch or dinner breaks, until there were a few ant workers up and about before she can either move to a new location or before she could finally focus on what she does best - lay eggs and feed.
Okay, maybe not that to that extent of starving ourselves, but you get the point.
We need a strong foundation. A solid base and system to ensure things don’t fall hard and get destroyed permanently when things go wrong.
With a strong foundation, we can still build the blocks back. Without them, we will get lost and confused.
Imagine having your house destroyed by a huge rampaging tornado and after surviving the storm you had no where to go for shelter and all the other carpenters and architects died during the storm.
Now you have no choice except to rebuild your house. But, you don’t know how to at all. It’s just near impossible.
Learning and Building From Scratch
I’m building my foundation two to three blocks at a time. I’ve failed a few times over the past 2 years.
Money and time were lost. Not an easy thing to go through. Family and friends were involved. Self-worth and dignity was affected.
Challenges after challenges kept pulling me back.
While I didn’t go through bankruptcy, I understood the pain of losing a whole stack of money you’ve worked hard to earn…Gone..Just like that.
I felt like being alone and felt like severing every relationship I have because of the failure I am and the fear that no one will understand me.
But I braved on..
The thought of living the way I’ve been living is more depressing than going through those ordeals.
I need to finish what I’ve started.
I kept quiet. My mind was in a whirl. I was lying on my bed for sometime now. Staring at the ceiling in my room, thinking about the one question that got me into this confusing and gloomy state.
“Zaid. You have to have a Big WHY for you to be successful in what you are doing right now, in fact in life itself. So, what is your Why?” She explained calmly.
Funny huh, by now most of us have heard this question millions of time and heard about it when successful people talks about it often during their talks and shows.
I’m not sure about you, but a millionaire I know personally came face to face with me and asked me that question when I told her, “I wanna be successful, I wanna be financially free, I hate the way I am living right now. It’s tiring, draining, not fulfilling at all.”
And she smiled, looking at me with that hopeful glare as if she saw a spark of determination in my eyes. So, I guess she wanted to test me out. She wanted to know how willing and how determined I was.
She asked “Why?”
I stood there speechless for a moment. In fact, it was quite long.
Not An Easy Question
Yes, I was speechless because at that time, I didn’t expect her to ask me that. I expected her to say something like “That’s good. Keep it up. This is what you should be doing……”
But, it ended up with me feeling so annoyed at myself because I felt like a fool, like an amateur (Weell. I am still).
Then again, that was what exactly I needed.
A slap in the face. A realization. Self-awareness.
Why do I bother going through even more painful experience when I am in my comfort zone?
Why should I even risk being bankrupt at all and end up losing all of my family and friend’s trust forever?
Scary huh when you think about it.
The Night That I Barely Slept
It got me thinking, thinking long and hard. I rolled over to the left and right and still couldn’t fall asleep.
Until, I figured out something that is important in my life.
I’ve been living a life following other people’s dreams. I’ve been following my ex Teachers and schoolmates advice all this while on how to live my life and that is why..I feel this sense of lack of fulfillment, this boredom and the need to do something else.
That was how late it was by then.
Finally, I realise what I’ve been loving and yearning to do for the rest of my life. A calling, you’d say.
I’ve always love to write and speak to inspire, to teach, to guide, and to share my experience, my stories, my opinions.
I’ve always love the hustle of working out and sweating in the gym. I’d love to get a chance to help others to enjoy working out too.
I’d love to get involved with organizing events that would help people solve their problems as well.
In The End, Not A Regret, But A Life Experience
In the end, I chose to try to test the new waters. I’m taking courses in fitness and nutrition coaching, learning how to plan and conduct events and workshops, all while working full-time.
Sometimes I still do get questions from wary people. Questions that would once again shake my determination. “Zaid..Why?”
I’d say the same things I just did above.
Because this is what making me feel alive:).
I hope in 2–3 years time, whatever the results may be, I would still say “I will not regret choosing this path”
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