Last week, I paid rent for the first time in a year and a half. I had paid rent (and for most of the time, a mortgage) for over 15 years prior to this. However, this payment felt different. This payment was made with money I earned as a full time entrepreneur.
I didn’t plan on living in my parents place for over a year and a half, but the circumstances worked out well. There are many ways where the Asian/Asian American culture hinders entrepreneurship (I’ve even started a support group called EntreAsians), but there are also ways where it helps. As in many other cultures, unconditional love of family is huge. My parents didn’t charge me rent, and probably would be borderline offended if I had offered to pay. They only allowed me to treat them dinners a few times, and only after I convinced them it was just a small amount. My time back in my home town and in my parent’s guest room allowed me to reduce my burn rate to almost zero as I struggled to create a business capable of supporting me.
I also had an unexpected bonus: A week after I returned to my hometown, my sister took me out to dinner to tell me she and my brother in law were expecting. It would be my parent’s first grandkid! I had never seen my parents literally jump for joy before. Grandma and grandpa happily volunteered to babysit, and since I was a solopreneur working from home, I had the joy of watching my little nephew grow from a newborn to a one year old… without having to change diapers. It really gave me perspective as to why I was trying to achieve a lifestyle of location and time freedom.
A couple of weeks ago, I relocated to southern California. Leaving my parents, sister, brother in law, and nephew was bittersweet as it was really nice having everyone in the same city. However, it was time for be to become an adult again at the age of 38. Last week, I moved into my new apartment. My apartment criteria were a bit unique. My first question to each apartment manager was “Is there wifi at the pool?” I wanted a place with lots of amenities and places to work from, since I would be working from home a lot. I ended up finding a place with a clubhouse, nice pool deck with tables and grills, and of course, wifi.
Previously, I would tell people I’m a pre-successful entrepreneur. Currently, I’m still far from what I would consider successful, but I would say I’ve graduated entrepreneurial high school. I feel like I’m now at step 2 of the journey, which gives me the credentials to help people who are at step 1 or step 0. I’m looking forward to doing that with EntreAsians, and expanding it to non-Asians down the road.
After I signed my lease, I called my dad to tell him the news. His response: “Do you have money?”