Dare I Take the Plunge?
OK. I admit it. I’m a coward.
I write for an entrepreneurship blog. I espouse the virtues of owning one’s own business, and encourage others to take up the challenge and venture into the big wide unknown. Yet I can’t find the courage to leave my – somewhat – secure job in the corporate world, and do my own thang.
It’s not like I don’t have a business idea. I do. It’s no mere idyllic day-dreaming either – I’ve put together a rough business plan, contacted the right people, and even registered a company and domain name. But when push comes to shove, I freeze.
What’s holding me back? Let’s see:
1. Financial commitments – I’m getting married at the end of this year. Paying for a wedding and a flat will essentially wipe out any savings I’ve accrued over the years. So how do I afford the capital investment into my business?
2. Fear of failure – If venture capitalism is a high-risk, high-reward business, then starting a business is high-risk and the rewards are uncertain. Failure is the key to success, you say. But can I really afford failure, especially in a society like ours? We’ve been taught since young – at home and at school – that failure is to be avoided like the plague.
3. Social standing – Be prepared to lose my friends – or those whom I thought were my friends. One altruism shared by founder and chairman of Shareinvestor Holdings, Dr. Michael Leong, author of Be An Entrepreneur, rings true. He says that people, when they were in a big company, “could open doors easily. Now (as an entrepreneur) he finds it impossible even to get meetings with prospective clients”. He was right – when I freelanced as an editor/business development manager for a small magazine, I’d be lucky if people bothered to reply to emails or pick up my calls.
This also holds true outside of business. Most Singaporeans think that you’re crazy not to want to work in a big-name multinational company. In their minds, entrepreneur = unemployed.
Hence I admire the courage of those who have dared to take the plunge. Now if only I can convince myself to do the same.
Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.