Yesterday, I moved myself out my apartment as my lease was up. It had been exactly one year since paying rent for the first time. It gave me a chance to reflect upon life as a full time entrepreneur for the past year.
Last year, when I first moved in, I was making some revenue, but it was still pretty tight. Now I’ve saved up money from my corporate days, but I really didn’t want to touch savings if I could help it. Since I had gotten rid of almost all of my belongings when I moved back home to Milwaukee, I had to go through the process of buying all the little things like pots, pans, silverware, salt, pepper, TV’s, desks, shelves, etc. again. These things start to add up pretty quickly. It was great being on my own again, but I was also starting to feel just how much it costs just to exist (especially in California!).
On Saturday January 21, we had our second ever EntreAsians retreat in Orange County, CA! It was a great crowd, ranging from wantrepreneurs to semipreneurs to new full time entrepreneurs. We had students, recent graduates, and young looking older people!
Thanks to Rebecca Okamoto of Evoke.pro for teaching entrepreneurs how to pitch, Emily Liu and Kim Matsudaira for telling us about Dragonfruit Media (and making us all crave Malaysian food from one of your videos), and Farzana Nayani for informing us about minority business certifications.
I wrote this post last September, but didn’t publish it because it was too soon at the time and the emotions were too raw. I found it again while looking through my notes, and it corresponded to someone asking me “when’s the last time your cried?” After four months, I feel a little more comfortable sharing this.
This past weekend, I attended the Thrive: Make Money Matter conference in San Diego. I’ve come up with a list of things and my top 3 actionable takeaways:
- I got to meet Michael O’Neal, host of the Solopreneur Podcast. He was a great guy to chat with, I told him I wanted to be the Solopreneur Hour/Smart Passive Income/etc. for Asian Americans with EntreAsians. He said he liked that name better than Asianpreneur and introduced me to another Asian podcaster and entrepreneur.
- It was so humbling to meet so many successful entrepreneurs, but also very encouraging to me to see the ones who were still struggling to even start, and ones that were so very unhappy with their current corporate job. It made me feel good about about being one of them who actually left the corporate world but also motivated me to help them get to my point and beyond.
- I almost ran over Pat Flynn in the hallway. I wish I had, because then I could’ve stopped and got a selfie with him!
- Malcolm Gladwell take note: I feel like the average height of the big shots at this conference were shorter than average. Michael O’Neal, Pat Flynn, Tai Lopez, even Cole Hatter were my height or shorter. In the book Outliers it showed taller people were paid more in the corporate world. I’d like to think in this world, physical image is less important than results.
- The people at this conference were much less “linear” than the people I’m used to being around. They’re hustlers, fly by the seat of the pants, think outside the box types. Which can be good, but can also be annoying. Speakers wouldn’t follow a script and ramble for an hour, it was never close to being on schedule, lunch wasn’t long enough, and they would do last minute ideas. The staff and volunteers no doubt had to scramble like crazy to implement some of Cole’s last minute ideas… I would find him hard to work with. That said, give credit where it’s due… they pulled off a great conference. It’s probably just that I sit somewhere in between corporate stiff and all-over-the-place entrepreneur.
- Pencils of Promise, the charity the event was benefitting, has a great model. For each $25,000 you raise, a school is built. You get your name on the plaque. It gives people a very concrete goal with concrete results.
Top 3 Actionable Takeaways:
1. Make Money Matter. What it means to me: Get EntreAsians going as a purpose driven business.
“Make Money Matter” was the theme of the event. Since we’re all entrepreneurs or want to be, we need to make money. But why not bake a cause into the business model to make the world better? Cole Hatter created the event in honor of two of his friends who passed away too young, to help others achieve their goals and help the world become a better place. The classic example is Tom’s shoes, which donates a pair of shoes for every shoe purchased. For me, this is EntreAsians, which helps Asian Americans find fulfillment through entrepreneurship.