I’ve been meaning to blog about self-compassion but since I was busy building a briefcase pc, developing a platform in a startup, managing finances, and hustling in trading I feel overwhelmed. I want to share with women how I manage to balance life and stay happy living on my own terms. My hope is that it will empower you to build yourself and to have a strong financial foundation for your future.
Before I give you a life hack advice, I think that it’s important that I share my career and personal background with you. Before I can afford a rental apartment near the golf course in Singapore, the staycations on weekends, and financing a tech startup I’ve been working for the last 15 years (yes, I’m not that young! Haha). I was raised by a father who is a CPA and a university professor for Ph.D. students in Finance. He gave me tough love that I didn’t ask for! Lol Kidding. I remember I was 11 years old and we were hanging out on the balcony he said to me once, “when you grow up I don’t want you to be a dependent woman to your husband. You must look after yourself.” At that time I didn’t understand what he means and I was confused but as I get older I learned that my father wants me to be an independent and strong woman that I am today.
However, to be a strong and independent woman I experienced odd jobs, failures, difficulties, and confusion for many years. Whilst I was waiting for my student pass to be approved in Singapore I decided to work during the summer. At age 14, I worked at Brewing Point Café at Tierra Pura Homes where I make a latte for rich neighbours in Manila. I was also a cashier and kitchen cleaner at the same time. The salary was small but I learned a lot.
I admit that I don’t like the restaurant industry because it requires hard labour, oopps . At 18, I worked at McDonald’s and I flipped burgers. I spent my paycheck to upgrade my dormitory room, I buy myself a movie ticket (I didn’t date those days), I get a nice set of skincare products and send some extra money to my younger sister.
After university, I dreamed of moving to New York after watching the movie of Sex and The City. I was a big fan of Jessica Parker’s fashion and style. I also imagined finding my Mr. Big in NYC haha. I always have a thing for a professional, gentleman, well-spoken, and charismatic man like Mr. Big of Sex and the City movie. I had enough series and movies Jessica Parker so I moved to NYC in 2008 and I lived in a tiny apartment working in an odd job to sustain myself in the US. Certainly, I didn’t have all the professional skills my employer is looking for but I have a positive attitude and work ethic so I manage to finish the contract.
During my stay in NYC, I learned how to run a business, how to respond to work pressure, and I also learned how to manage finances. I quit my job and I reunited with my partner at that time and we moved to Sydney near Bondi beach. Living in Australia has taught me a lot of things such as spray tanning to achieve a bronzy skin tone before I have a trip to the beach. I’ve never thought of myself one day I will have a big adventure with a smart, hot, and surfer boyfriend.
It didn’t work out well because he was very strict to me and I hate curfews. I also love social media and he was against posting anything on the Internet (sad we didn’t have #couplegoals photos, lol). He was not supportive of my plans in life instead he believes his ideas are better than mine. I decided to call it quits because I can’t tolerate being emotionally abused. If I share an idea of how I believe we can work things out, he will not validate it.
I dreamt of running my own firm whether it is a legal or venture capital. I also imagined writing my blog full time but since I’m a late bloomer in blogging and I considered myself not popular, it is hard for me to imagine I can support myself financially through blogging. I disregard the idea of being a full-time blogger and I focus on upgrading my skills through higher education in LL.B and MBA.
Despite that I was no longer with my ex, we were still communicating, he has changed a lot, we were still in good terms and he offered help in my studies. There was one time that he paid my school fees in the final year, he stocked groceries in my kitchen, he takes care of me, and he was super proud and excited I will graduate. However, despite the reconciliation attempts in the end it didn’t work out because I still can’t imagine being with someone controlling and has a swing mood. It simply won’t work to me as I just simply need a partner who validates my feelings and makes me feel I am enough.
Fast forward, having my own business allowed me to enjoy the little things and to have a luxury time to blog whenever I can. I learned that you can grow without a partner and you can definitely be happy living on your own terms.
FOR ASPIRING STARTUP FOUNDERS
I always believe that what makes a startup successful is not just based on big ideas and skills. You need to know if you’re solving the right problems and if you’re solving it with the right team. When you have it both right, execute the plan before someone else does.
If you have ideas start making a plan and create a timeline. You don’t need a perfect business plan with 10-pages to show off to your potential investors. What you really need to kick start is a good business model and validates it with a partner that you can trust. Then take baby steps on how to execute it.
When you build an MVP and have little traction, it will be easy for you to approach an investor. Investors do not invest in ideas alone they invest in people.
FOR STARTUPS WANT TO WORK REMOTELY
Certainly, I am not the right person to advise about remote jobs for startups because I’m not as an adventurer as other startup founders. I also look at the factors of legal and financial stability. I’ve rather stay safe and operate my business than to take huge risks and exhaust my savings for an adventure.
I’ve learned recently there are many countries that are open to digital nomads. One can be a resident of a Caribbean country for a minimum of $20,000 residential expenses per year. I think the $20K in a year in the Caribbean sounds too good to be true but you will only find out once you create a realistic financial plan and live according to what you can afford.
IMPORTANT SKILLS ANYONE SHOULD HAVE IN RUNNING A STARTUP
There are many skills requirements to run a startup but based on my experience apart from technology innovation, startups must have growth hackers, content creation, customer advocacy, and skills in pitch to raise investment for the company. Without growth, understanding in marketing, and the ability to fund a company the business will not survive.
STARTUPS MUST KNOW HOW TO BALANCE WORK & LIFE
Every startup founder I know is a hustler, workaholic, and stressful. I don’t believe that to burn yourself in a co-working space will make your business scalable faster than anyone. You must play to your strengths and don’t try and be all things to all people. Prioritize your time, have a break and have a set of working hours, and stick to them.
When I was not looking after myself and I was burned out, it affected my relationship with people because I was crabby and stress. That’s when I realized I need to step back, find a time to relax and make my workspace work for me.
Enjoying the sunshine in Singapore is my favourite.
I’m an advocate to dress and look nice as a courtesy to people I am meeting in business. I believe that if I let all the stress get into me, I will only share the negative energy with people. Negative vibe in closing a deal is a bad luck in Chinese hence, I always try to manage my stress and stay glammed whenever I can. haha
Whenever I have the chance I booked a staycation package in Singapore to unwind. My favourite hotels are in the CBD area so I can have food delivery available 24-hours. Plus, I like window shopping at Orchard, and meeting friends for dinner before I crash in bed to take a long nap.
Where’s my next adventure? Honestly, I really don’t know depends on my financial capacity to afford a relocation. To operate a business during a pandemic is challenging what more to relocate to a totally new place with no assurance of financial and legal stability. I guess I will see how it goes. Stay tuned!
I believe that when you practice self-compassion it nurtures your soul. Have a good weekend ahead!