Before you start a company, you better read this: It’s going to be really, really hard. So you got to believe in your vision, in the problem you want to solve, because it won’t make sense any other way

Before you start a company, you better read this

By Jeffrey Yuwono

It’s going to be really, really hard. So you got to believe in your vision, in the problem you want to solve, because it won’t make sense any other way

So you are in school and want to be an entrepreneur. I was there too in 2007 after graduating with an MBA from Stanford University. My first start-up failed. The second one made money. And now I’m on my third riding the roller coaster that is entrepreneurship.

Before you take that leap, here’s my advice: It’s going to be really, really hard. So you got to believe in your vision, in the problem you want to solve, because it won’t make sense any other way.

Your stock has never been higher with your brand new, shiny university degree. You’ve graduated from a top school and full of promise. You’ve done no wrong. Your friends envy you and your parents respect you.

That will change if you do a start-up. Ninety per cent of start-ups fail and yours will probably be in that group; those are the odds, bet on it. So after years of working harder than you’ve ever worked before, and earning less hourly than you could have at McDonald’s, your company will probably close. You would have done wrong. Your friends will look at you differently and your parents will worry and nag.

Also Read: “Thou shall have balls & not business ideas”

Meanwhile, that annoying first class honours student who played it safe and joined a bank would be earning a six figure income. He’s driving an Audi, eating in posh places like Andre’s, clubbing at Mink and dating that super-hot girl. He’s got the kind of brand name experience on his resume that’s a springboard to anywhere else. (He could easily be a she; reverse as desired.)

This is the price you pay if you do a start-up, and it’s real no matter how sexily the media dresses up entrepreneurship. The only way this cost makes sense is if you believe in your vision; to the point where it doesn’t even matter if you fail while pursuing it – the act of trying is enough.

I am just about the laziest guy in the world when it comes to going out. I hate faraway places; I want to eat and drink, attend cool events and do things that are close by. The problem is I never know what’s happening in the neighbourhoods I live in and work at. I’m sure I can find the info if I look hard enough on Google or Facebook or Timeout… but who has time for that? Thus Feecha, my start-up, was born: it’s the best way to see what’s happening in a location. We do that by gathering content from newspapers, magazines, blogs and other apps and organizing them around neighbourhoods. Think of Feecha as a Flipboard for Tiong Bahru, a Flipboard for Holland Village, and so on.

Also Read: Who you build a company with is as important as what you’re working on

The point is that you have to solve a problem you care about. Otherwise, the hours, the doubts, the persistent lack of money, the decisions that proved wrong, the friend you recruited who turned out poisonous…all those things will wear on you. You must believe in what you do, otherwise the price is too steep.

So you want to be an entrepreneur. Are you ready?

Note from the author: This article was meant for a school magazine but it was rejected for being too negative, so I’m posting it here — a salute to those of you who know how hard it is to be an entrepreneur, and cautionary counsel to everyone else thinking about starting up.

The views expressed here are of the author, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them

e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested to share your point of view, please send us an email to writers[at]e27[dot]co


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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