A majority of us have been raised to lead a very linear life, whether the contributing factors are cultural, familial or societal. It’s this very reason that stops most people from taking the plunge and investing in starting up their own business. It is the perceived risk of losing all of your savings on an idea that you (and only you) thought would earn you a living. It is the notion of juggling a full-time day job and starting up a new venture at the same time that seems both daunting and nigh-on impossible. The overwhelming feeling of helplessness sets in, and just like that, you’re another cog in the corporate machine, destined to play a small insignificant role in the big corporate picture for many years to come.
I, like many of my peers, was under the impression that that was the only way to live; have a stable job, a stable income, start a family, maybe go to Disneyland and then, well…I didn’t think any further than that. And for a while, that was the roadmap that I followed. That is until things got stagnant at work. At the time, I worked as a Wealth Manager at one of the regional leading financial institutions. My main job was to look after the accounts of HNWIs and royal family members. After literally years of plugging away at my job, it occurred to me that most of my clientele were entrepreneurs, some self-made, some enjoyed a few million via inheritance, but the trend was real and a huge eye-opener for me. It was then that it was decided that that needed to be my goal for the future, to be self-employed. That, and I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
Of course, wishing for something and actually doing something are two very different things. It would be very poetic if I would now tell you that I have achieved total independence, and I’m now totally self-employed. I’m not, but I am getting there. My only regret was that I didn’t start earlier. The fears that are instilled in our minds were, in many entrepreneurs’ cases, disproven once we decided that the business was ready to be take flight. In our case, the building blocks that consisted of the setup, equipment, manpower, and marketing all fell into place like they would in a perfect game of Tetris.
An example here to take note of is that obtaining funding is easier when you have both a solid idea and a source of funding. We, here in Bahrain, can make use of several different funding tools and resources, so fortunately that sorted out the setup cost (more or less). The people that made it all happen were on board from the get-go, and selecting employees that are trustworthy, hardworking and inventive was one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks we faced- it’s still a challenge to this day. The right branding also goes a long way in this region, and marketing was a cinch in our case. (Oddly enough, it was aided by political unrest that the country was going through back in 2011, but that’s a story for another time.)
My startup story might not be the same as your startup story, but once a proper vision of what you want to do materializes, it’s hard not to work towards making it happen. And that’s the best thing you could ask for.