February 18, 2009

Comfort Zone

I had an interesting conversation the other day with an old friend. The last time I saw him was on his wedding day nearly 10 years ago. He was of a different faculty when I was taking my law degree but he was living with one of my batch. We do share stories and ambitions together as that particular bachelor pad was lived by high achiever. I was the slacker who was living at another unit but they loved my company as I always have business ideas which I loved sharing with them. When cyber cafe was a new concept (this was between 1994 to 1998 after all), I had this idea where people can surf and watch television and play games all at this cool places where there is a real bar and such. Someone beat us to it a few years later and cyber cafe becomes redundant as cheap netbooks and broadbands are the norm nowadays.

He came to my office that day to ask about certain legal matters and we ended up having lunch. During lunch, I asked him on how he came to be what he is now. He was a Teaching English As Second Language graduate who is usually tied up with the government for several years as they are fully sponsored by Malaysian Ministry of Education. It seems that he never became a teacher, paid what he owed the government, became a lecturer but stayed in his hometown somewhere on the East Coast of Malaysia which is considered the rural Malaysia. It is so rural, going there would be like going back to nature and I love the particular state for it's islands and beaches.

He told me about a friend of his who tried convincing him to quit his job and moved to Kuala Lumpur in 2004. He was asked by his parents to keep teaching where his parents are still staying and although he longed for the adventure, he decided to let his ambition go. In 2007, after hearing of the success of his friend business and after heart to heart talk with his parents and wife, he decided to quit his teaching job and went into business. That business is providing security services to condominiums and buildings which seems to be making quite a lot of money as there are a lot of demand for it in Malaysia nowadays. Other than this, he also opened up another company with another friend developing an IT platform for businesses and with another friend he is planting chillies, which are also in high demand. 

As he was still gaining his footing, he is actually the ultimate entrepeneur who I did once aspire to be. As we talked and talked I realised he was me when I started my legal firm. I was still looking for a foothold then, not really knowing what to do and was willing to take on any challenge whatever the cost, either monetarily, personally or how it will affect me socially. I think I burnt quite a few thousands in a few pipe dream schemes and not to mention various manhour as I invested in basically ideas I thought can make a few bucks. Even when I opened up the legal firm, I was following a few entrepeneur themselves who did not really make it in their business. But, I learnt to value this experience as I still think entrepeneurship need a risk appetite not all can stomach.

I did say to him, I am now in a comfort zone which I know is not as safe as I would like it to be. My firm has been running quite smoothly for years now and there are still a few bookorders which we are waiting to fulfill. We have the trust of a few select clients and we know they are quite strong in their sales. I have good staff and good technology which I hope can weather the impending economic storm. That is where I am wrong in my assumption and my planning. As an entrepeneur, I must always look for new business which may or may not be in line with my current business. I must always look for new revenue and take calculated risk on new venture. Personally, for the past two years, the two blogs I have is my only new achievement. The books I have started and my post graduate studies are still in progress (and I don't even take them both seriously enough).

I think I need new motivation and new friends to motivate me. Or maybe an old friend who turns up suddenly who may have (or not) an idea or two to share...


TOLANIC.com said...

i like this article =)

elaine said...

Very Interesting article. Wonder what future holds for me after my graduation this April.

Harmony said...

Ah sometimes it need a stroke of opportunity too.

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