Yesterday I watched this video on YouTube about this guy who was 25 years old and drives an Audi R8. It was titled something like "how am I 25 and I can afford an R8". In the video he went on to describe how he runs his own company and he left his career to be an entrepreneur. I found this very interesting and relatable (minus the R8). He has definitely done a great job with his life so far, but it lead me to think of all the times in my life, and especially in the last few months since I quite my job, that people have assumed the life of an entrepreneur is driving around in an R8 at 25, and taking off every afternoon to play golf.
I thought this would be a good time to give you guys an update of how its been going over the last few months since I left the bank (it's been about 6 months now). I got some really good feedback on my first post, and no hate mail to date. When I say some, I mean like 4 people have said they liked it, but if thats 4 people who I can reach, then I'm happy. So let's try it again!
In the few months leading up to me deciding to leave my job, things were all good, I was living off my day job's salary and not taking anything, and I mean, anything, from GymShack. I was driving my C350 Mercedes Coupe, (remember I live in the USA and it is NOT a 300K car here), and paying my bills on time every month. When I left work, I was done for the day!
Then the day came for me to leave. I knew that GymShack would not grow if I didn't 100% commit to making it grow, and I needed to put every piece of effort I had into making it better. At the same time, my career at the bank would not grow if I was splitting my time between work and my own business. This is a picture of me on my last day of work at the bank, giving a nice "PEACE OUT" sign!
So what happened next? The first few months were just shock, shock that I didn't have a salary anymore, that I couldn't relay on my bank job to pay my car payment and support my family, it was now 100% on me, and only me. To survive, I needed to grow, and fast! And to grow, I needed to get to work!
A few things I did right away was think about how I can have an impact on the company the most, how can I make the experience better for my customers, so that they tell their friends, and they themselves want to come back to purchase from me again. One of the first things you may have noticed is the GymShack chat! On the lower left corner of the screen there is either a "contact us" or a "chat with us" button if we are online. We are the first, and let me say again the FIRST and only supplement company in Singapore to offer live chat to our customers. It is not 24 hours, but it is on most Singapore nights, which is USA mornings. Most of the time, it is me on the other end! Although sometimes I use another name so I'm not ridiculed for something! This allows me to talk to you, my customers, anytime! I have learned so much just by being on the other end of this. Things like: How can I make the order process more clear? and What products are people really looking for? Because of this we have brought in new products, new flavours, made the checkout process easier, our delivery process more transparent, and some other general tweaks to make the site and our service better. Great move Mike, great move. So for you guys out there, definitely check out this option and let us know what you think! It just might be me on the other end!
Ok, back to running the business and dealing with my new life. It became very apparent that I needed to change my lifestyle if I wanted this whole working for myself thing, to work. I immediately traded in my Mercedes for a Honda, I almost cried, I love cars, and we (my wife and I) cut out ALL other things in our lives that we didn't need. Every dollar I took from the business, was one that could have helped it grow.
So sad to see you go :(
At least I can fit a lot of boxes of protein!
When I was at the bank, I could leave at 6PM and be done for the day, I could go home and relax, (or rather, work on GymShack), but my day was over in terms of my job. When I left I thought, "What am I going to do with all my spare time?? I can't possibly fill it with GymShack work?". Oh, how I was wrong. I work more now then I ever did in my life. This is the most demanding job I have EVER had, and on top of that I have to worry about being able to take out enough at the end of the month to may my bills. The stress is over bearing and the rewards are slim. I do get to stay home with my wife every day, but I work from the time I get up, until the time I go to bed, If I could only find a way to work while I sleep I think I could be at least 30% more productive. I have sacrificed stability for the hope of a more fulfilled life.
I remember I used to take coffee breaks at the bank, not because I wanted coffee, but because I wanted my day to end faster, and the 15 minutes it would take was 15 minutes less that I had to sit at my desk. Now, somedays, I forget to eat lunch. My wife literally needs to remind me. I look down at my clock at 6pm and don't think, "Great! Time to end work" but instead, "Oh My God, it's already 6! I'm not done yet!" Then I eat dinner with my wife, and I try to avoid spending the night on my laptop or phone.
I once had an email from an angry customer after I raised some prices on products. He said something along the lines that I was a money hungry company only interested in profits and not concerned with maintaining my commitment to the customers. Maybe that same person is reading this article, I don't know. All I can say to that is, I'm just trying to feed my family.
There are times when I get discouraged, days even, weeks, but then there are those days. Those days when I remember the coffee breaks, I remember staring at excel screens with more rows then you can imagine, thinking to myself, what value will this create in this life? On these days all I can see is the future of GymShack. The future of a company who's sole purpose is to provide people all over the world, starting with Singapore of course, with some of the best sports nutrition supplements on the planet, while also supporting my family now, and my future family to come.
This is where my motivation comes from, to create a better life for my family. And in a lot of ways, the same motivation that we all search for in the gym, to be a better, stronger person tomorrow then we are today.
All I can say is thanks to my loyal customers who have bee there from the beginning, to my new customers that find us and have the confidence to give us a try, and especially to my beautiful, supportive wife, who sees me through all of the hard days and long nights on my laptop. Without her support, I would not have had the courage to leave the bank in the first place.
To all of you out there who have a dream, whether it's to work for yourself, get a new job, or increase your bench by 10lbs, I say go for it! But don't expect it to be easy, don't expect that life will hand you your success. You must earn it, and only you can make it happen. Once you get there, and someday you will get there if your determined enough, remember those coffee breaks in your life, and never go back.
Until next time.
Owner and Founder
(Writing this post on my deck, drinking a GymShack Whey protein shake!)
If you all have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below.