Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

Quantify This!

In Entrepreneurship on February 29, 2012 at 11:32 am

It has been a whirlwind February with all the new friends I have met and old ones I’ve caught up with, and it’s not that I’ve not been meeting people, just too busy with them to login and blog! Hahah.

Anyway, apt day today to start again, it being the last day of Feb. Today, I shall talk about Quantity vs Quality…nah.. The title’s just a way for me to remember my new friend for the week.

This budding entrepreneur reminds me of two friends rolled in one, so it was not hard to guess that we immediately hit it off. His bearing and looks reminded me of this cute lawyer friend of mine in the Uni, and the way he spoke, by uttering his words through the side of his mouth reminds me of an ECA senior whom I used to party with when we first started work (gosh, that was eons ago!)

Q is a business grad, a few years younger, and has already managed to get savvy business people interested in his business model, therefore good investors. We happened to connect through LinkedIn because he was exploring working with a PR agency to gain more ground for his business over the next two years.

The meet was fun, being more informal than business talk – we spoke about how we started out as entrepreneurs, shared about the heartaches, and the obstacles. After the meeting, we knew that we had made fast friends (fast as in fastened!) and we kept in touch over a few emails, sharing that the journey of entrepreneurship is indeed a lonely one, but we keep sane by surrounding ourselves with good friends and family.

I guess this is a choice we get to make as well. The hours may be longer, but at the same time, when it really matters, as your own boss, you could also take time off to attend to friends and family. However, it is very easy to get lost in the rat race once again, and forget why we stepped out in the first place. I constantly remind myself that I want the freedom to choose how I would like to spend my time. I like working, obviously, and often I would choose to work, to develop something and to be creative through my business, but then I also have the freedom to choose not to work on any given day and attend to the other aspects of life

That said, the first two years were tougher and now things are running smoother, so I get to enjoy more time to myself. Sometimes I ask myself if I am getting lazier because since things are so smooth, there is the tendency to go later to the office, spend whole weekends away from my comp…it sure is tough to motivate oneself to work as hard as before. I now understand what those rags to riches guys have said about starting a business – if it is not a do or die thing, it will not work. To succeed one needs a single mided focus, a motivation beyond the self, and the fear of failure so great that you can’t stop.

We all need a motivation beyond self to push ourselves to excel. What is yours?


A diamond for my sweet

In Relationships on February 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

One of the guys from the marina outing, we actually went for dinner…which unfortunate for me, I think the guy is earnest, and sincere in wanting to be different and spontaneous, but being unable to come up with any on the spur items to do, he ends up a ‘wannabe’. We trawled through dinner, a walk and even a mini exhibition of paintings. can’t say that I didn’t give the dude a chance to showcase his expressive self! Some people take time to warm up, but in this instance, the warm up took like 3 hours and by the end of it, I was bored to tears. (if you happen happen to be reading this, sorry).

Eat and Sing

In Relationships on February 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm

This friend introduces himself as I like to eat and sing, therefore my name is … (sounds like). If you come across him, that’s him!

Met at a marina barrage outing organised by the lady who claimed that she had been single for the last three years and wanted to help her friends overcome a potentially lonely Valentine’s day. At the goading of another friend who found this group online, I accompanied by sporty friend to the meet.

I would say it wasn’t as bad, as we managed to hook up with Mr eat and sing, and somehow, despite the age gap, we manage to get along. But other than that, the group was rather different from us.

If you ask me whether I will go another such outing? I would say no. I really felt the age difference this time! I need something more sedate, more attuned to my preferences, and perhaps a little classier…:( this is called getting old.

Roshing here and there!

In Entrepreneurship on February 9, 2012 at 9:42 am

An apt name for this family friend whom I have just gotten to know a little better. This year we uncovered some truths of our yearly meets. Rosh thinks that everyone was like him, a family friend, gathering at this big hideout every year to celebrate the festivities; on my part, I thought he was a second cousin! So much for thirty years of ‘knowing each other’.

Anyways, since on this journey meet to know people, I could not pass up on this chance to finally get to know him proper. So we arranged for a dinner after work (mine since he was technically on holiday from his overseas posting). I picked him up (he claims he has no issues with being picked up by a girl) and we headed off to Bark cafe for fish and chips. Too bad they didn’t have the cute student waitresses anymore! Which was my pitch to Rosh to have dinner there.

Through our fast-paced conversation, I found an inquisitive and always wandering mind. Rosh claims he learnt to cope with ADHD at a young age, which makes him a super brain (to me!) as he can compute and engross himself with three things at once. And there I was paying full attention to what he was saying only to find out that I was only taking up a third of his consciousness (damn, what it does to a girl’s ego!)

I also picked up a few tips from him on motivating an award-winning team. One that sticks to mind is what he said about staff motivation. Rosh asked what did I think fresh grads wanted in a first job. I hazarded “money” and he said no. He reasoned that a fresh grad was at their least culpable point in their lives with no financial commitments, minimal bills to pay for besides their own, and told me that they wanted “experience”. So an employer who can recognise this and give their freshmen staffthe learning and exposure that they craved for would be able to retain energetic, dynamic, young talent. Makes sense.

I decided to try this tactic on my intern who might leave us to look for another job upon her graduation two weeks down the road. It’s my first time playing the “experience is more important” tactic, but we’ll see, we’ll see. It might just work! I still think there are many other factors like reputation of the organisation, the level of curiosity of young graduates to see what else is out there, the pay differences between what we can offer and what her peers can get, but it was worth a shot.

I remember that for me, the salary was an indication of how well I was doing against my peers and it was the competitiveness in me who wanted to be able to say I was at least on par. It normally takes a job or two before we understand the importance of experience vs pay. My parents encouraged me to go for my first store management job instead of an outdoor sales job because the exposure was greater, but the decision was not too tough for me to make because the jobs offered similar salaries … or at least, the basic pay was the same. One had commissions, the other didn’t. I chose the one without commissions because I could not comprehend the final pay difference, and who looks at comm instead of basic pay right. But I am glad I took the job which offered me the chance to work directly with bosses. It formed the fundamentals of my thinking and how I conducted myself throughout the ensuing years.

I gave Rosh the honour of paying for my dinner (since i had to send him back as well! A guy needs to reclaim some pride, ya) and we bid adieu. Till we meet again, hopefully before the next lunar new year, good luck on your move back to Singapore, Rosh! (and if you are reading this, next time, cover topics you would like me to blog about..haha)