My Struggle Of Starting Up A Side Hustle And The Lesson From Queen Ant

It was 1:50AM Singapore time.

I’ve just completed tweaking my poster design, event proposal, Facebook ad design as well as setting up the Eventbrite page for the upcoming Health Workshop me and “Andy” dream of organising…and I’m starting to doze off.

Oh, FYI, I sucked at designing and anything that has to do with art. But, being low in cash and the fact that I really want to make this happen, somebody has to do it.

I can’t afford any external services right now. It really feels shitty.

I got no room for errors. Money and time is at stake, but Andy and me really wanted to make this happen.

We looked at each other just now during a short meeting and said “Let’s just do with what we have”

The Ugly Side Of Starting Up A Business

If you’re talented in something and you create a business around it, I’d say you’re a genius and on your way to be successful.

But sadly, when it comes to being self-employed, you will never be good enough at all the things required to be a successful and a sustainable entrepreneur.

You can be a great artist and a designer but if you’re not good at marketing and pitching sales then your products will just lay dormant in your room collecting dust.

The opposite applies as well. A great marketer and a salesperson is of no use if the product doesn’t reflect what the salesperson is pitching.

“This product gives you a quick recovery from hangover. You can drink all you want. Even when you have work tomorrow. All you have to do is drink a bottle of this product and, no hangovers at all!”

The next day you found yourself half-awake in the living room face down on the floor, totally drenched with sweat and the obvious stench of hard liquor.

So, the product doesn’t really work huh?

Successful Entrepreneurs Never Work Alone (but sometimes they have to)

Seriously, I can’t think of a way an entrepreneur or self-employed person can ever earn “enough” money by doing everything on his own.

You can, but you’ll just die a slow death.

Like really. The amount of effort and time you need to learn so many skills is just counter-productive.

This is where I believe working smart is best practiced.

What’s the phrase again…”If you want to something work alone and if you want to be successful work as a team”

Ok, I found the proverb.

Go far..Work together. How?

I’d say the best skills an entrepreneur can ever, will ever and certainly MUST have is the skill to empower people.

The skill to make people follow you and work “with” you.

That is so much valuable than any other skills in this world.

But, what if really, you just have no one around you that would be committed to help you?

I say, the least painful way to do this, even though it is slow, is to be like a queen ant.

Entrepreneurs Are Like Queen Ants

Imagine, having a group of different people doing all sorts of work for you like the Majestic Queen ant “passively” resting in her chamber being fed 24/7 by her loyal servants until it’s time for her to pass on her duty to other Junior Queens.

But did she got that passive system running straight away?

Picture Source


She risked her life going into the wild, into the open space where we humans can just “pfft” her to death and many other animals and predators are lusting to taste her royalty exquisite flesh.

Even after she manages to find a dark and safe place to build her empire, she still needs to ensure her few foundlings grow up alive and healthy.

If you ever tried to build an ant farm from scratch…’s as haaaard.

Persevere and Build The Foundations First

Take the queen ant as a good example, she made sure that she finds the perfect spot to lay her eggs.

Then she waited and waited, no toilet breaks, no lunch or dinner breaks, until there were afew ant workers up and about before she can either move to a new location or before she could finally focus on what she does best - lay eggs and feed.

Okay, maybe not that to that extent of starving ourselves, but you get the point.

We need a strong foundation. A solid base and system to ensure things don’t fall hard and get destroyed permanently when things go wrong.

With a strong foundation, we can still build the blocks back. Without them, we will get lost and confused.

Imagine having your house destroyed by a huge rampaging tornado and after surviving the storm you had no where to go for shelter and all the other carpenters and architects died during the storm.

Now you have no choice except to rebuild your house. But, you don’t know how to at all. It’s just near impossible.

Learning and Building From Scratch

I’m building my foundation two to three blocks at a time. I’ve failed a few times over the past 2 years.

Money and time were lost. Not as easy thing to go through. Family and friends were involved. Self-worth and dignity was affected.

Challenges after challenges kept pulling me back.

While I didn’t go through bankruptcy, I understood the pain of losing a whole stack of money you’ve worked hard to earn…Gone..Just like that.

I felt like being alone and felt like severing every relationship I have because of the failure I am and the fear that no one will understand me.

But I braved on..

The thought of living the way I’ve been living is more depressing than going through those ordeals.

In Conclusion..

I need to finish what I’ve started.

Thanks for reading. If you like this article, do heart it on. I’d hope more people would be inspired to start doing what they love!

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