It was the day after a backstreet boys concert in Singapore. We were in a fancy cafe in a lane somewhere. This was our second cafe hop after lunch. In front of us, truffle topped fries and waffle with strawberry compote. “I want to own something just like this”, one of us said, I’ve forgotten who. “Me too, but I would like to have a second floor as a community center”.
I had been wanting to start a co-working space for a while. I had an unused space on my failing gym business. My first. I’ve attended a short course on entrepreneurship at UBD which I ditched half-way because I was too broke to pay the rest of the semester fee. Ofcourse, I’ve told everyone a different version of the story.
A friend of mine coincidentally was opening a strength training gym, “The Base”. I took the chance and sold my gym equipment to them. Anything I couldn’t sell, I store on the space I rented on the shop next-door.
At about the same time, another friend approached me to start a project that we’ve planned out earlier that year. Everything seems about right, we need an office space, which I have now. But we wouldn’t be able to afford it ourselves. That’s when I revisited the idea of a coworking space and actually launched it. forming what became, “The Post”.
We had a project in mind, many projects in fact, and was about to hire two interns. But when the first left us after just two days. We shifted gear and decided to focus on promoting the post. Instagram campaign, cold-calls, direct messaging everyone. We build our audience so quickly that from the outside, it looks like we’re into something. Not more than two months later, we were super burnt out.
Inspired by a cyber security course I attended. And partially fueled by embarrassment of failing a second business. I deleted all my social media accounts. ALL, except for The Post’s instagram account. It is then when I reflected. All this years, I have been living for the future. What do I get in return, a measly amount. My passion brings out more unhappiness to me than my day job I was trying to escape.
The me I found was not the person I truly am. It is not that I hate people. But it was not intrinsic for me to smile everytime I show people the post. It was tiring, I had to become another person. So I pulled the plug.
Everything fell in place that I felt like The Post was IT. It wasn’t. It could’ve, but that route would defy my nature.
5 years ago, the CEO I was working for, who I was fond of was kicked out from the company. He was supportive of my goals and I could do the things I love and be praised and rewarded for it. After he left, I felt something infront of me snatched. and I felt out of control of the situation. I became depressed and seeked to do whatever it takes to leave reality. I started pulling crazy stunts. Met people who changed my perception on life. This was good. But what wasn’t good what the extremism. The thinking that I have “found” myself when all I was becoming was one of them.
When I started The Post and started meeting more entrepreneurs. I began to realise that I was off. I was chasing something I wasn’t meant (or want) to be chasing. I started to see what’s behind people’s mask. Their struggle. Their wished. When I met my ex CEO in singapore (where he now lived) he was as bitter as me. I saw a reflection of myself in everyone. I’ve focused on the wrong things, listened to the wrong (not bad) advise and gave out incorrect advices to people.
I was a mess. The worst part is. I met many opinionated people who are never wrong. And I’ve realised, no one truly knows anything.
I don’t want this to be an excuse for my failure. But at the same time, I do not want to hide. I’ve listened to my wife’s advice. Be the good, honest person she knows that I am. That person I locked in my closet. He’s not cool. He’s not as likeable. Not validated.
At this moment of writing, I have $35K debt for this business venture. One of the lesson that I learn is that I often think that I’m an exception, a special case. Because that’s who most successful entrepreneur are. There’s a hall filled with a thousand people now. All entreprenuers but the successful one, a few. The exceptions. I am not one of them. At least not now. and that’s okay,
I’m doing myself a great diservice by letting myself be changed by extrinsic force. I should’nt have to live for the future. I can live now, I can be myself, and I can choose to be happy.