Adsense header

5 myths about entrepreneurship (part 3 of 3)

Slide 12: What Is In For Me?
Now that I bursted all the myths and bubbles, why am I still running a business?  Other than I like to torture myself, here are some of the reasons.

What is in for me in entrepreneurship

Lots of Learning:
If you love to learn, this is where all the learning is.  As OffGamers grew, I noticed that none of the partners have any knowledge in financials and I decided to attend the CFA course.  Even though I didn't pass the exam, I learnt enough about financials.  I also learnt more about law and trademark after we received the first lawyer letter.

Entrepreneurship expose you to all areas of business, not just a very narrow scope as an employee in MNC.

Lots of Challenges:
Economy outlook, GST, currency, haze, etc, are all challenges.  If you don't like challenge, please stay away from entrepreneurship.

Self Discovery:
I figured that everything that didn't work in the company or business can be reflected back to me.  For example, when we can't hit sales target in Gapture, it reflects back to me not liking to sell, which goes deeper into I am afraid of wasting others' time, which then leads to my lack of acknowledgement of myself.

Roller Coster - Up's & Down's:
Entrepreneurship is the biggest roller coster ever, if you like roller coster.

Meeting People:
I get to meet people from all walks of life.

Building Culture:
I did some soul searching when running Gapture and I found out that what I wanted to do is actually to build a company that embodies all the values that I want in the country.  Core values in Gapture are Simplicity, Measurability, Integrity, Thirst of Learning and Excellence.

At Gapture, we don't care what race, religion and sexual orientation is our employee.  I requested our HR to drop the religion and race columns (which are very common in all forms in Malaysia) from our interview form.  We only ask that you perform as per job description and achieve your KPI.  We ask for excellence!

I wanted to build an excellent company that Malaysians are proud of, a role model for other companies, one that can inspire others to follow suit and bring excellence to the country.

I don't like the corruption culture in the country and I decided that Gapture is going to walk away from any business if there is a need for corruption.  This is not an easy choice as there is many businesses and companies out there operate in that manner.

Now, when you finally get to start your company, what values do you want to instil in it?  Out of all things that you have been complaining about the country, are you going to make a difference in your company?

Slide 13:
This is my favourite video about entrepreneurship.

5 myths about entrepreneurship (part 1 of 3)
5 myths about entrepreneurship (part 2 of 3)

5 myths about entrepreneurship (part 2 of 3)

Slide 7: Myth #1 - I Will Have Flexible Time
For the first 5 years of OffGamers, I don't remember taking any vacation and all partners worked through most of the public holidays.  My phone is next to me when I go to bed, as OffGamers is an online store running 24/7.  Good thing about online store is that we have orders and sales coming in even when we are sleeping, bad thing is that there are also complaints and issues coming in 24/7.

It took us about 7 years and 120 pax later, to be able to work 9 to 5, and have annual leaves like other employees.

“Entrepreneurship is working hard for 40 hours per week so that you can save enough to start a business and work 60 hours per week.”  I can't seem to find the author of the quote.

Myth about getting super rich in entrepreneurship

Slide 8: Myth #2 - I Will be Super Rich
I am still getting less pay than my first job as a programmer in USA.  Most business owners pay themselves very low as most profit are put back into growing their business.  Grabcar and Uber drivers make more money than me.

OffGamers makes 30 million revenue a year but my wife and I are still counting the number of nights that we can afford to eat out.

Entrepreneurs don't usually get super rich until they sell their companies.  Building a company that is sell-able is another topic altogether.

Slide 9: Myth #3 - I Just Need to Hire Someone To Do The Jobs that I Don’t Like
I was a programmer, indeed a very good programmer.  I can sit in front of a computer whole day.  I am not really a people person.  When I was in university, I always think that if I do start a business, I will be the behind-the-scene parter and get another partner to be the CEO or the front facing one.

Just like in Gapture, when I first started it, I thought that I could hire a sales manager to take care of the sales, as I don't like to sell.  However, that didn't work.  Sales target was not being hit and eventually I decided to jump in and start doing sales.

The worst task that I have done was actually picking up rotten rat from the staircase.  Why do I want to do that as you may ask.  I did that because there were only 2~3 of us and no one has the title or job description that says "pick up the rotten rat" so by default I am the one doing it.

"Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable" as previous speaker, Victor Phang from iTalent Management, pointed out, is how I overcame my public speaking fear.

Another point about hiring is that many entrepreneurs think that they can just pay a salary and hire whoever they want.

Some of the best-hires I have recruited took 1 to 2 years "courting process" and most of the time salary is not the main issue.  Entrepreneurs should ask themselves, "why do someone want to be led by me?"

Slide 10: Myth #4 - I am the BOSS
I thought I was the BOSS after owning a business, until I meet the clients, then I realized that they are the bosses.  After closing the sales and when it is time to deliver, I realized that the employees are the bosses because if they leave then, I will not be able to deliver what I promised to the clients.  Of course, when it come to tax paying and GST, I realized that the tax authority is the boss as they get a cut of every profit.

At the end, I really wonder who is the BOSS.

Slide 11: Myth #5 - There is a Destination Called SUCCESS
You may have heard this a lot, "It is easy for him because he has made it.  He has made his first pot of gold."

I don't believe there is a destination called success and everything is smooth sailing after that.  Entrepreneurship is a journey with up's and down's, successes and failures along the way.

After closing a big deal, I could be on top of the world, thinking that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.  Moments later, a key personnel would tell me that he or she is resigning, and I will be at the bottom of the valley, thinking what is the problem with me or the company that we can't retain talents and when would this cycle end.

Entrepreneurship is the biggest roller coaster ride ever.

5 myths about entrepreneurship (part 1 of 3)
5 myths about entrepreneurship (part 3 of 3)

5 myths about entrepreneurship (part 1 of 3)

I was invited by UCSI University in Malaysia to give a talk on entrepreneurship in their inaugural SEE (Student Entrepreneurial Experience) Conference.

I put together the following slides for the event.

Here are the notes of the slides and I noticed that I have missed some of them during the talk.

Slide 1
Cover page:
UCSI University Student Entrepreneurial Experience Conference 2015
Five MYTHS about Entrepreneurship
Stanley Chee

Slide 2
A recent photo of me and my wife in Tblisi, Georgia. She started a new business importing naturally semi-sweet wine from Georgia to Malaysia.

Slide 3
Many businesses that I am involved in, also illustrated my fair share of successes and failures in businesses.

I now run a digital marketing agency, Gapture.  Gapture is a certified Google Partner and I am a certified Google regional trainer.

UPDATE (2019-07-10): I have exited Gapture in October 2018.

Slide 4 & 5
At peak, OffGamers - an online store serving gamers worldwide, one of the businesses that I co-founded with two other partners, employed 180 people in three offices, across Malaysia and China.  Also, that was me in the red circle, with much more hair.  That is one of the things that entrepreneurship did to me.

Entrepreneurship show of hands taking challenges

Slide 6
I asked the audience, "By show of hands, how many of you here is already an entrepreneur, or would like to become one?"  Around 70% of the crowd raised their hands.

I then asked, "How many of you are willing and like to take challenges?"  60% of the crowd still have their hands up.

Then I challenged them, "How many of you, are willing to take a challenge on the stage now?"  Only 10% left with their hands up.

First I asked those that are here in Student Entrepreneurial Experience conference why are they here wasting their afternoon if they don't intend to be an entrepreneur.  Are they here to just watch others being one?

Second, I asked those that want to become an entrepreneur but don't like to take challenges what are they thinking?  Challenges are the only thing guaranteed in entrepreneurship.

Third, I asked those that said that they like challenges and willing to take it, what happened when I asked them to take the challenge on the stage now?  5 out of 6 of them dropped their hands.  I asked those who dropped their hands to think about what were the reasons or excuses they gave themselves for not taking the challenge.

Some of you like to be entrepreneurs, because your friends are entrepreneurs or you think it is a trendy thing to do.  A lot of you may think that you have what it takes to become one.  But when it actually boils down to the actual hard work, long working hours, sleepless night, no more time for boy friend or girl friend, or even family, how many of you are still willing to do it?  For how long are you willing to do it?

5 myths about entrepreneurship (part 2 of 3)
5 myths about entrepreneurship (part 3 of 3)

Popular Posts