Melvyn Tan
October 26, 2013 — By tanmelvyn@gmail.com

Are You Still Making Excuses?

[blockquote source=”Proverbs 26:13 (NIV)“]The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!”[/blockquote] (Re)Starting Starting, or for that matter restarting, this blog took me more than three years. It was always the same rationale (or lame excuses); who would read it – doubt, do I have the skills – […]

[blockquote source=”Proverbs 26:13 (NIV)“]The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!”[/blockquote]

(Re)Starting
Starting, or for that matter restarting, this blog took me more than three years. It was always the same rationale (or lame excuses); who would read it – doubt, do I have the skills – self-doubt, will I have the time – scheduling, would I have enough content – learning and than some more, it’s gonna take too much time – priorities, what if I fail – planning.

There were just so many reasons I gave myself to not start on this blog. So, how did I overcome this huge resistance and start (re-start) this blog anyway?

Deep Sense of Frustration
There was a sense of deep frustration in me. As I reflected on the last ten years in business, I was rather upset! Because of a key decision I made early on, which now trapped me in my current situation. When I first started, I knew I had an expertise in the area of strategic management and so I decided to offer my expertise to anyone who needs it. Everything was good but then success becomes the enemy. Because now, I was maxed out, trading hours for money.

Flawed Mind-Set
Being in a pair of handcuffs that I had locked myself in, there was little room to manoeuvre. I literally setup a trap for myself! And that’s when I decided to rethink not only the business model, but also my mind-set of it.  At that moment, my mind-set was that I need to be there to deliver the value because it was only me who can do it. Hence, the level of personalization had to be at its highest. People were paying not so much for the firm’s work but for my presence. Initially this kinda stroke the ego a little. But after realizing that scalability was going to be a problem, that very same ego is now bruised.

Change of Events
Then it happened the year my daughter was born. I wanted to be with them as they grow up, to be a big part of their childhood, and so now with two kids, I would need to scale back on my assignments. However, that would mean a drop in income, unless I am able to charge more per project. Given the current circumstances facing the industry that I serve, it was not going to be the case. Or at least, based on the current mind-set, it was not going to be the case.

Design the Business Around the Lifestyle
Which again requires a shift in mind-set, to think differently.  That was when it finally dawned on me the difference between an employee and an entrepreneur! Admittedly, what I used to do was a glorified form of an employee. Instead of having to report to one boss, I had to report to numerous bosses. Instead of showing up at one work place regardless of whether value was added or not, I was turning up for work at different places, with each appearance requiring me to provide value. The glorified part refers to my own decision of how hard to work. If I chose to max out my waking hours and trading that for money, then I would be rather highly paid! However, if I set a ceiling to my working hours, then that also correlated with my earning capacity.

The part that I missed was that, at least as an employee, your company should take care of your professional development as well as provide some health-care benefits. Here, I am literally on my own. In other words, during good times when I’m overbooked in most cases, I’d hardly be able to devote any time to professional development. Besides, when it’s coming out of your own pocket, you’d be highly selective.

Hence this glorified employee status had to change. In other words, instead of designing a lifestyle around the business, it should be to design a business around the lifestyle.

Application

  • Stop, and I really mean stop, making excuses: Stop making excuses about why you should not pursue that venture. Because lions are found in jungles and they do not roam the streets.
  • Decide on the lifestyle you want: Tackle those expenses (both fixed and variable expenses).
  • Design the business around it: What are some possible income streams that could cover those expenses?  I know it is not easy. But that doesn’t mean it is not possible.  Remember, lions?

Prayer
[blockquote]Father, I thank You for blessing us abundantly in all areas of our lives; health, mind, emotions, money, and time. May we stop making excuses and be courageous in searching for the best way to do the work that really engages us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.[/blockquote]