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.
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)