Why I left my $100,000 job

Jes , , , 21 Comments

I will start off 2018 with an in-depth post.

Many of you know that I quit my regional sales job to start my own business at SnackFirst. What I have not mentioned is why I feel that it is the right move, instead of accepting another job offer or go for more interviews. Yes, it was mainly due to my boss who asked me to shut up but I could have found another similar job. It was hard for me to explain my decisions clearly at that time but in retrospect, it was mainly due to these reasons:

Will I fall?


1) Quality of time
Travelling regional was fun, not just zooming around airports and hotel rooms, but meeting people of different cultures and understanding their style of doing business. It helps if the place is exotic and yet I can travel for free. The best part was exploring the cities on my own but usually it was after work and the free time on my own was pretty short.  Besides that, the flight time is not part of working hours. I would definitely have to waste my weekends if I have to take a longer flight. Staying alone in the hotel rooms is not fun at night too. It's liberating to have a few days off on your own but travel too frequent and you will feel lonelier than ever.

My job requires me to travel around 50% of the time. Some months, I got used to the hotel beds more than my own bed, my nights were not spent with the people I love. I watched videos of my daughter's progress and development and see more of my colleagues than my family. I realised I am sacrificing quality time with my loved ones in pursuit of more money, so I know there will definitely be regrets later on in life - For missing out on the important things.

I needed to change this.

Starting my business is not a walk in the park either. Your schedule is up to you to manage so of course, it's gonna be packed with activities that could improve business. Things like cold calls, going door-to-door, giving out flyers, doing bazaars and thinking of new ways to improve your operations, all of them require your attention. My luggage for travelling was actually converted to a luggage full of snacks for me to lug to bazaars! It was busier to be my own boss, there is never enough time. Some days, I worked till 2am to fulfill orders. There are never-ending things to do, which I think is good. At least I got to arrange my own schedule and spend time with her during her waking moments.

I rather invest more time with my family. 

Lonely baggage, lonely travels
2) Following my heart
Seeing how my boss flies more than 75% of the time is not enviable at all. He is fully committed to work and has little time for other things. His children are all grown up and his wife also travels a lot. Thanks to technology, he also has lots of night calls and teleconferences even when he was home. Within 5 years time, it is likely I can get promoted to his position.

Yet I have no desire to be like him at all.

It's not just him and the company but the same throughout the industry. I used to want a travelling job so as to satisfy my curiosity and see how high I can climb the corporate ladder. It seems there is only one way to go, which is up. The higher I climb, the more hours I have to put in, the more frequent I have to travel. I spoke to many of my competitors and all of them always lament about the travelling. It's like a dreaded idea even though people working at desk bound jobs envy us.

The entrepreneurial seed is a dangerous thought that will throw your life into disarray
I want to travel but to have time to really explore the country. I think a few years doing regional sales is enough. Although there are still many countries I have not been to, home is now where I want to be. Family is who I hope to share these memories with. I guess I could find a non-travelling job but it does not excite me at all after the entrepreneurial seed has been planted. I know I have just got to try and now is a good time with a reasonable amount of savings.

YOLO does not mean you have to keep exploring and trying new things.

I think it is also knowing what your priorities are and following your heart accordingly.

3)  Autonomy
The bigger the company, the more I realise I would never have a chance to really steer things my way. There will always be bosses, shareholders, owners that dictate the decision. Maybe in 10 more years I could get to a point where I can be more of a decision maker but how many 10 years do I have. People of different generations think that we have no loyalty to a job, but only looking for more money.

However, I think the one key component that Generation Y people is looking for is autonomy.

I can give discounts or set whatever price I want and this gives me instant satisfaction. The room to make decisions and not have to answer to anyone. Life is busy but it is also very productive. I do not have to wait until the clock counts down to 5pm or act like I am being productive. Most of the time, some employees are just thinking about what to eat for lunch or what to do after work. A handful of people just want a job for the pay and only do the bare minimum so the sense of ownership in a job is not there.

From thinking of a company name, to designing a logo, inventing taglines, coming up with marketing campaigns and setting prices. It's a super steep learning curve and you have either got to start from scratch and learn yourself or pay someone and be dependent on them forever. I make decisions and you can see instant results. It's a heavy responsibility but definitely one with limitless options to explore.

I can finally make decisions.

Trying to shape my own future
4) Challenge
There are so many questions popping up in my mind, about money, marketing schemes, price strategy, operations work flow and they will never stop coming. It's worrying when I can't make ends meet. There are days where I think my business will fail in time to come, that my model is not viable and that we have no unique selling point. How can I compete in this saturated market? How can I ever hope to succeed?

Yes I cannot deny there are dark days, but they are days after which I am driven by a force to not accept defeat, to try to conquer and do my best. Even if it fails, I can proudly say that I have done everything and learnt everything there is to learn. With the skills set, I am confident I can move on to another business or job, no problem at all.

The initial challenge is to make ends meet while doing a business that does not give any salary. How do I hang on to my goal when I have no money? How long I can keep doing so?

The challenge is not to try and build a million dollar business or create a disruptive technology. No, that will intimidate even the most determined entrepreneur. Step by step, I hope to first get $1000 revenue, then to get $10,000 revenue, and then just to make ends meet. My target is to be able to receive a salary of $2,000 a month and still continue with my business. It's really damn difficult and I am not sure how I can get there, but I know one day I will. Definitely.

This challenge spurs me on, keeps me eager to work every day.

Some signs dropping from the sky might help
5) Happiness
I remember when I started doing sales, I found it so hard to convince people. However, it was fun for me because the conversion was usually immediate and directly caused by me. I recall a customer who kept giving me the cold shoulder so I kept talking to him about non-work issues and he eventually opened up. It was difficult, yet I was happy because I was learning, I was forcing myself to be the best I could be. Since I become another sales manager in a large corporation, gone are the days of such learning. Indeed I learnt different set of skills where I have to manage people but the customers are always the same, I just have to give good price and support. I don't get to do a lot of sales calls, which is the part I like about the job and I don't get to dictate prices and strategy. After 2 years, things got stagnant and comfortable. I was always doing the same things and negotiating the same products. It got to a point where I knew I would be doing the same things for the next 10 years even with a different company.

I recovered the joy of doing sales when I started doing my own business. No doubt I got rejections in many more folds than when I was working for people, but the rewards were also magnified greatly. It got to a point where I was packing samples and selling things at the bazaar and yet, I have never been happier. The mundane things did not bother me because I wanted to do them, not because I have to do it and that is the difference. I was motivated by success created by my very own hands and not by working for corporations who rewards me with more work and money.

There comes a time where even more money will not give you happiness, that is the law of diminishing returns. Now, I would like to sacrifice money to give me more time, and ultimately happiness.

I am happier than ever.

A definite leap of faith
I have always been thinking of starting up my own business but it was always the same excuses, no business idea, no opportunity, fear of risk. Well, opportunities don't drop on my lap. I have to create my own and I know I am taking the right step. My end goal in life is to be my own boss and carving my own niche so I am heading in the right direction.

Not everyone is suitable or want to do their own business. In the end, I admit there are jobs and bosses that are great, which is why there are people who stay in a job for 20 or 30 years.

It's just not me.

________________________________________________________________________________________________
Like me on Facebook to follow me on my entrepreneurial journey.

Jes

If you have benefited from this post, support our first business venture at snackfirst.com or like us on Facebook!

21 comments:

  1. Bad boss may be just the trigger to re-align your work life

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Uncle CW,

      Definitely, it's a good push in the right direction :)

      Delete
  2. Hi Jes,

    Congratulations on heading towards your intended direction. I'm glad reading that :)
    On the other hand, you've promoted to your own boss now !! On a hindsight, it might also mean more work on your hand but the beauty is that you get to have your own plans.

    Thinking back, I used to have a similar stint of owning an online business years ago. But unfortunately, mine died off :(

    I continue to support your decision onto taking the entrepreneurial route, shifting from the left to the right quadrant :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sleepydevil,

      Thank you for the encouragement! More like unemployed now haha :P

      Well, perhaps you were not ready previously, persistence is actually an important factor in doing business. Thank you, do remember your support and lend me money when time comes, lol!

      Delete
  3. Bravo!

    i always admire people who dare to be their own boss for whatever reason doesn't matter.

    Because it takes a lot of Grit, Guts & Gumption.

    i only dare to put some money in the stock markets and pretend i am part owner of a business (What laughable, nonsensical imagination)?

    All the best to you & your business.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Temperament,

      As usual, you are very supportive. Please admire me when my business is stable and I have a regular income. Hopefully won't run out of money in the meantime :)

      Buying stocks definitely makes you a part owner, not pretending at all! You have to evaluate so many factors, and probably knows the big picture better than many employees. To be able to earn money from stocks is not laughable at all, it's the best job to have if you can do it.

      Appreciate the boost in confidence and happy new year to you!

      Delete
  4. Hi Jes,

    You have made a very brave decision and the reasons you gave definitely makes leaving your job worth it! Quality time with your love ones and happiness are simply priceless.

    All the best for your business!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi KPO,

      You have the same thinking as me, which is why you approve of my actions! However, the risk is indeed magnified tremendously so hope this decision pays off in the long run.

      Thanks for dropping by and appreciate the kind words :)

      Delete
  5. Congrats for being your own boss

    starlight

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Starlight,

      Thank you for dropping by and the well wishes! Hope you have a good year too!

      Delete
  6. Hi Jes,

    I think this is a great post.
    Just want to say that sometimes, circumstances shape how we decide more than we think (they will).
    I basically started off early in my career being stationed overseas. I reckon that it is more liberating than travelling a lot for work. But still the loneliness bites.
    Now with a family (with two young kids), I don't think I have the emotional strength to be stationed overseas.

    When I see people whom I know who does a lot of travelling for work or being stationed overseas - with big salary - I do not really envy them.

    I have also tried e-commerce via Amazon FBA.
    Basically there is always this part you can't control... you do all the steps, but what if customers don't bite? It is not like a job whereby work just come to you every day, every week....
    Yes I can spend on advertising, but doing it the wrong way, would make the business unsustainable. It is a lot of try and error...

    Well, I am sure at this point of time, your current decision will offer you the least regret in the future (to quote Jeff Bezos' Regret minimization framework).

    apenquotes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Apenquotes,

      You are right! I used to think I would want to climb the corporate ladder. Now I think time is more important than money. Well you have been there, done that so you know travelling a lot is not glamourous at all. People got to try to find out if it's suitable for them.

      That's the fun of business, isn't it? If there is no sales, I take a look at my prices vs my competitors, my marketing strategies and see if I can do any promotion to gain awareness. If all things fail, perhaps Amazon might just be the wrong platform. I used to charge delivery fees but when I removed it, sales started climbing. I am always surprised how a tweak in strategy results in instant sales! Keep on trying is the key, I think.

      That's true, that's the most important, to live without regrets. I have a family of entrepreneurs which is why I got great encouragement to do so. Lucky me! :)

      Thanks for sharing, really appreciate it!

      Delete
  7. I think it takes some guts to leave your "comfort zone" and strike it out yourself.
    All the best in your business venture!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kate,

      Thank you very much! Yep, it's a small step but at least I started the journey. Definitely scary seeing the bank account decreasing for the first time in my life :P

      Delete
  8. Dear Jes,
    I think you did the right thing to start your own business.I also started my job doing cold calling, door knocking and roadshows. To me it was rather challenging when I see people around me earning higher salary doing their 9 to 5 jobs without need to worry about work after knocking off, or even doing more successfully than me by doing the same thing as me because they are more extroverted or more connections. I remembered starting the day calling my friend and he told me 'wrong number’. But I have learnt to trust God and really run my own race. Despite having much sleepless nights I did not give up and I learn from my mistakes...I still feel the same anxiety when speaking to new people but I learn to feel the fear and do it anyway!

    I have clients whom are regional sales directors who travel very often. As a person who loves to travel, I do still secretly envy their job; but like what you have shared, they also told me the same thing about travelling- stressful and tired.

    I am glad to hear that you are happy with this new business venture, and I wish you success and may God grant you the desires of your heart!

    and yes, if I happen to passby Depot Lane, I will definitely dropby to say hi and buy a few snacks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelvin,

      Thanks for your sharing and for reaching out to chat. Actually, the best perk of being an employee is to be able to slack, take leave and switch off the mind completely. Glad you persisted and got through your initial anxiety, sales is definitely an essential part in every job and business.

      Well, probably you can try regional sales, it was really fun initially. I might still be working the job if it's a different boss or company because I like the role itself. Thus, I know I have a fallback if my business does not takes off but in the meantime, I hope to keep trying and enjoy my flexible hours!

      Oh dear, Depot Lane is just a rented office and there are no snacks there. Don't drop by there, but anytime you can say hi to me on facebook! :D

      Delete
  9. Jiayou ! I am sure you will do well !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi LYCBF.

      Woah, thanks for dropping by and giving me the well wishes! Jiayou in your investing journey too :)

      Delete
  10. Hello Jes! Jiayou!
    I agree.. before marriage, it is all about pushing the limits and climbing as high as possible. After awhile you realise the higher you climb, the more invested you are in your role and job.
    It is not easy to step away from such a high paying job but really, there is more to life than what money can bring.
    There is happiness in simplicity as well (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shuzhen,

      You are right, happiness is the most important. More money might not give me more happiness at this stage of my life which is why I turn to 'getting' more time instead. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and looking forward to meeting with you soon :D

      Delete
  11. I feel happy for you as I read the post! I'm way back in the ladder so I'm still just following in your footsteps running the rat race day in day out.

    This morning, I pass by the pantry and saw 1 of my customer service auntie enjoying her packet beehoon and mobile surfing till 9am, for that moment I really envied her, thinking how nice if I didn't have to push myself everyday...

    ReplyDelete