Week in Review: The pain they go through …

  • Not enough done to highlight the struggles of entrepreneurs
  • An injustice to those willing to walk through walls to achieve their dreams

Week in Review: The pain they go through …ONE of the things we do not highlight too much when we profile entrepreneurs is the pain that they go through in trying to realise their dreams. Every entrepreneur goes through the pain barrier, be it psychological, emotional or financial.
 
At the back of my mind however, I do wonder how many exaggerate that pain. It becomes something of a badge of honour to be able to demonstrate how much one had to go through in building their startup.
 
So, because I do not really know how much of it is true and what is exaggerated, I tend to leave that part out, or just gloss over it. Perhaps that is doing a disservice to them.  I should just let you readers decide if the stories are exaggerated. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with that.
 
This pain entrepreneurs go through was vividly brought home to me when I had coffee with Raymond Chee of Rapid Cloud International yesterday. You can read his story here, but he was sharing how tough the entire listing experience was and how he just had to work so much harder as he was soon going to be responsible for meeting yearly financial targets.
 
That stress caused him to faint, not once but three times in the run-up to his listing, which happened last week! I did not ask him how many times he fainted in the years he was building up the business!
 
I could relate to what he had went through as I myself had a period of a few months late last year where I would feel light-headed and needed to steady myself. Of course, you do not share these things with family or co-founders because the former will tell you to quit, while the latter may just end up fainting before you do!
 
I know of at least three entrepreneurs whose marriages went bust because of the single-minded focus they had on building the business. The founder of one hot startup in the early 2000s in Kuala Lumpur told me he ruined his health too, not just his marriage. Brutal.
 
Sometimes that pain entrepreneurs go through is shared by their spouses too. Just a few days ago, an entrepreneur told me that his wife took a higher paying job in a neighbouring country so that she could better support him as he went about building his startup. Naturally, the kids will follow the mother.
 
Fortunately it is not too far away and he tries to visit every weekend. But that’s tough too, right?
 
The support of our spouses is absolutely critical but is never highlighted. In fact, the first piece of advice I received was, “Make sure your wife is behind you in your decision.”
 
This came from a wise person who was not the founder but was brought into a startup as CEO back in the 2000s to help the founder build the business. He did. The company was eventually sold to a brick-and-mortar giant in Singapore.
 
Finally, I love this comment – “Geez, where do I start?” – from Bob Chua, CEO of The Pulse Group when I asked him what the hardest part of being an entrepreneur.
 
So, when you next meet an entrepreneur, even if you do not think much about what he is trying to build, at least know that the person is literally willing to walk through walls to bring his dream to fruition.
 
For those of you who enjoy the DNA-TeAM Disrupt sessions, it’s next week on Aug 28 with the topic ‘Getting Your Foot in the Door.’ Do RSVP to book your seat and let’s exchange war stories if you are coming for it.
 
Also, from this week I will highlight the top stories of the week on DNA [see Editor's Picks below]. We have actually been doing this since May 2012 when we launched. The idea behind this is simple enough. We all share one common pain point: We are all ‘time poor.’
 
Highlighting what we think are the top stories of the week can help you zoom in to the most interesting stories of the week.
 
Last week I started flagging the most popular story of the week as defined by the story most read. This week our article on digital cable broadcaster Asian Business Network (ABN) takes the honours.
 
As a leading media commentator told me yesterday, consumers have no loyalty to their pay TV operator (I guess that would be Astro, for Malaysia) and will be happy to switch as soon as they have a better option.
 
Perhaps that’s why the story resonated well with readers.
 
Have a good weekend ahead.
 
Editor’s Picks:

‘Everybody is watching us’ – ABN head honcho

RCI banks on South-East Asia to fuel expansion 

Retailers need to better leverage mobile opportunities
 
Malaysia’s SSO industry must shift focus from cost to growth

As online shopping trend rises, so do related cyber-threats
 
Microsoft Malaysia MD: Not here to clean up, but to build on
 
VirtualMalaysia.com morphs into social travel portal
 
 
Previous Instalments:

Week in Review: Is listing the end or the beginning?
 
Week in Review: It’s ALL about execution
 
Week in Review: What’s driving Syed Mokhtar’s telco interest?
 
Week in Review: Tip my turban to Singapore’s startups
 
Week in Review: Making the most of what we have
  
 
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