Time flies… 1st of April just went by and it marked the 11th year that I’ve set out my journey as an entrepreneur. Looking back, the past 11 years really seemed to have gone by in a flash. What was a deliberate decision to become an entrepreneur 11 years ago, ended up myself being an accidental boss. From an initial modest one-man operation, now I have a company with a 11 staff.
After my graduation from NTU, I started working as an engineer in a factory of a MNC in 1996. After one good year, the company was struck by the Asian Financial Crisis and like many factories, we went into cost-cutting mode. Many friends and colleagues were let go in different phases. Through the years after financial crisis, the company was looking for ways to cut manufacturing costs. The end result was outsourcing most of the process of assembly of printed-circuit boards to sub-contractors (sub-con)… in another country. Eventually, in year 2000, all the printed-circuit assembly lines were shut down and everyone were retrenched.
During the period, when we have been told that we would be retrenched, we had months of advance notice as we had to perform technology transfer to the sub-contractor. The company encouraged us to seek new job during that period and allowed us to go for job interviews during office hours if opportunity arises. Many of my colleagues managed to get a new job during the period, some were even recruited by the local sub-contractor.
For me, I didn’t send my resume to any job application. I was 28 then and just gotten married. If I had applied for a job, it was most likely a similar job, being an engineer in a factory. At that time, I realised the cost of production in Singapore has been increasing and we weren’t able to compete with the emerging low cost manufacturing hubs in China. Even if I had secured a job as an engineer in a factory then, I was concerned that 10 years later, when I was 38, the cycle would repeat and at that age, it would be near impossible for me to compete for a job, if possible at all. I guess, the adage of during a crisis, is when opportunities appear holds true (危机).
With that thought, I decided to become an entrepreneur and venture forth with the idea that I had when I was preparing for my own wedding – to start a wedding portal, SingaporeBrides.com. I started without any business plan and with no thoughts of securing any venture capital. The idea was supposedly small enough to be done on my own. It was planned to be a one-person company.
Looking back, I can’t help but marveled at my own youthful rashness and ignorance. Without giving much consideration and detailed planning, armed myself with just an idea, I jumped into the dark abyss of entrepreneurship.
On my last day, 1st of April, of year 2000, SingaporeBrides.com was launched. Even though I knew that it was April Fool’s Day, when many people would be joking and pulling pranks on each other, there I was, in all seriousness, I took my first step and become an entrepreneur. Poetic irony, isn’t it?
Always the rebel… I hijacked the company email addresses and mass mailed everyone in the factory bidding everyone farewell and also announced my launch of SingaporeBrides.com. I wondered how many took me seriously then since it was 1st April.
While we are celebrating our 11th year, I can’t help but feel nostalgic. A rush of past memories just came flooding back. So what do you do when you feel nostalgic? Start a blog, of course! :p
I hope to use this blog to chronicle my past, present and future.
This is my journey… 11 years… and counting…
Scissor Sisters – Fire With Fire