Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lone Ranger or Gang of Four?

It had been almost a year since I went into self employment. Though I haven’t succeeded in becoming a “Big Boss”, but I sure am glad still surviving and continue planting the seeds for future growth.

When I left my job, the push factor is the job had become too easy with nothing much to do, and the company isn’t progressing, thus I stayed stagnant together with her as well. Though I enjoyed the free time to take on various adventures on my own, but it just doesn’t feels right for the long term. The pull factor? Guess I gave up hope on the company and hoping to try something more exciting and worth my time and effort. Thus I began the journey of a Lone Ranger.

Being a Lone Ranger is pretty exciting; as I could chase any dreams or implements any idea which I thought is good. Basically I have the full control and no bureaucracy, and no communication barriers as there is only me alone. I would say productivity could practically peak at 100%, if I did work hard all the time. Too bad reality isn’t that ideal, as sometimes I become lazy and slack. But the whole process is fun and exciting, but worrisome nevertheless. I still have to find ways to get some business and pay for my living, besides working on my fun and exciting pet projects which I wouldn’t be able to cash in anytime soon. Basically I am earning far less than employment, but what makes me made such an illogical choice? Perhaps to buy a dream and proving one day I could stand on my own feet without the need to wait for a monthly salary.

When I was young, I used to think of starting some kind of business and become super rich. After having tried running a business or being self employed, now I think being able to survive and live a comfortable life on my own effort is rewarding enough. Now I have the most respect for everyone who is running a business, and even tried running a business before. It is difficult and challenging, and can be damn uncertain most of the time.

Life of a Lone Ranger is all mighty powerful with lots of freedom, but absolute power shall corrupt as well. Personally I think I am slacking too much, taking my own sweet time and giving myself too much excuses. Perhaps I lack some discipline, or I could blame it on the environment. Nevertheless, it is something I try to fix all the time – fixing myself.

Soon after I meet up with an old friend who offered me a partnership to join his startup. The idea sounds tempting, as he has the business and the idea of having partners sounded refreshing (I know the fact the good and suitable partners are indeed very hard to come by). I like him as a good person, and I trust him. He offered me a small allowance, a business platform, a healthy pipeline, a group of talents and business contacts. The idea sounds great, so I decide to give it a one month try to evaluate the situation.

After more than a month of rushing and crazy work, I kinda get a feel of the business. I think the company has the potential to grow further, and we have people of different talent and expertise to fuel the business. I am pretty sure the business will grow into a multimillion dollar business within 3 to 5 years. Though the partnership might work out and worth trying, but I wasn’t feeling very happy. It is all very logical, where I don’t feel the excitement or passion or happiness running the business. It’s all about work, delivering one thing at a time, working on a system which eventually might succeed. Another thing is I am loosing my freedom and have go back to into a almost full time office working life, with all the traffic jam and office attire coming back. I know it’s quite a luxury, but loosing that is quite demoralizing at times.

I am unhappy, why? Perhaps I sacrifice my Lone Ranger ability to have full control and run the business the exact way I would like to run it. Now I have to ensure power sharing, taking in other people’s idea which I might not totally agree with. Sacrifices have to be made: where I have to let go of something, and have something else to gain. I do really feel happier and more comfortable being a Lone Ranger, though earning less, but I believe I might eventually make it at the end. I feel like leaving the gang and turn back into the almighty Lone Ranger.

I told my friend what I felt, where he didn’t actually persuaded me to stay but share his thoughts with me. Basically, partnership is all about making compromises for a greater course. When different people are working together, it is impossible for them to have the same thoughts and style, thus there shall always be conflict and disagreement. The rule of thumb is if someone is contributing higher than his irritation level, we could actually compromise as it has more good than bad. As long as we are working very hard towards the same target in the end, we could compromise in between and ignore the small irritation. The path and intermediate approach might be different across individual.

Most business is based on a long trail of ground works, where we could have started planting seeds years ago before the first deal landed. The business platform offered to me is based on years of hard work, and we are slowly reaping the fruit now.

The almighty Lone Ranger might just be mighty in the eye of himself, as he might end up being to egoistic and not able to work with others. There is a limitation on how much a single person could actually work on, and shall soon reach a stage of stagnation. A Lone Ranger can’t really work alone, as he needs to depend on others as well for the business contacts and sales channel. I could produce the goods, but I need someone to help me sell it. There are many smart and successful Lone Rangers around, but they all face the problem of stagnation and difficult to work with. Perhaps the almighty Lone Ranger always command others to follow their way, as there are not willing to make compromises. It’s okay for you to be dumbest people on Earth, as long as everyone is willing and wanted to work with you.

Between an Almighty Lone Ranger and Compromising Gang of Four, which should be the path I would embark next? Each has its own issues, and nothing could be perfect. I hope I can compromise and put my heart all in to make the delivery. No matter what I choose, it shall be a choice with no regrets. In 3 more years by the age of 30, I need to create a stable income stream and fulfilled my dream of a big travel plan to the happiest place, and complete a milestone of my life.

How to learn to compromise and let go at times? That is another long and irritating journey, haha.

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