The happiness in the pursuit.
About 4 years ago I was over working corporate and wanted to do more with my career. I was really keen in utilizing my studies and pursuing a career in Marketing and start applying to hundreds of roles, attending interviews after interviews just to be told my CV wasn’t what they were looking for. So I thought, why don’t I just combine my passion for creative and business and start my own thing? So with $150 I started Saibu no Akuma, a lifestyle brand focused on re-building identities. I never saw that business as a business, but more so an opportunity for me to create a practical resume that I could show what I know, and what I’ve learnt. So with a rule of spending a maximum of 10 hours per week on the business, 4 years on we now have a team of 5 and have been recognized as a leading brand within our industry and have been featured across national TV, newspapers and countless blogs.
We may not be huge, but the lessons I learnt in running this business has helped me land my dream job within a fast growing start up called Weploy, where I’m able to utilize my learnings on a larger scale, whilst really creating impact for our clients. And throughout the journey, I kept getting asked how the hell did you manage to do that whilst working full time, competing and teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and courting the most amazing girl in the world?
It’s important to say that this isn’t a bible to follow, this is just the 3 main things that I found worked for me. There are a thousand different impact points that contribute to this but for the purpose of not writing an essay I’ve tried to keep it down to 3 simple points that really helped me get to where I am today;
1. Utilize technology
Technology when used right, can dramatically streamline processes and tasks. But with that being said, it does take an investment to learn. A great example is book keeping. Managing the books manually is an extremely timely exercise and not to say a boring one too (sorry book keepers!) if book keeping isn’t your thing. So I utilized MYOB to automate this task which allowed me to cut down my book keeping time from 10 hours to about 30 minutes per week.
2. Invest in human resources
In the early stages, there was only my partner Paul, myself and occasionally my fiancé Ly. So I had to ask myself a question, do I spend 10 hours doing something I hated like data entry, or do I spend 10 hours doing what I love. The answer was simple. I accepted the fact that I didn’t know it all, far from it, and outsourced what I could.
As a business owner, you always have the choice on what to spend your time on. It’s all about working smarter, not harder. So whilst bringing on the most amazing team in the world, I often hired temps to come in and do our cumbersome administrative tasks so that we could continue growing as a business and not live under a pile of s*** we didn’t want to do.
3. Being efficient isn’t enough. You must be efficient and effective
It’s easy to get caught up in being “efficient” and run 20 different apps for productivity and efficiency but it quickly becomes counter productive and you’re just spending time trying to organize your lists. So I kept it simple and lived and died by my trello list. I only put what I felt were tasks that needed to be done onto my list, and having 3 categories (to do, doing, done) I was able to focus less on trying to stay focused and instead powered through the work I’d set myself at the start of each month.
I’ll leave this on one last point. Being a business owner is hard, and it’s extremely hard to do it without a solid crew around you. It’s easy to go into your own world but one thing that I always remembered was a mentor of mine said; “ask and you’ll often be surprised at what you receive”. There’s always help around, network, connect and share insights. As sometimes people get too caught up in the pursuit of happiness and forget about the happiness in pursuit.