On selling out (or life in a corporate world)

This article is inspired by this nice musing by a former colleague Rica Facundo.

Several days ago, I was out with friends and ex-colleagues. Most of them are working as freelancers, which means they don’t need to clock-in every day to an office; they don’t have to “dress the part;” and they don’t have a boss.

What struck me was their idea of fulfilment. To them, it was using your God-given talent for something more meaningful and NOT wasting it away in some 9-to-5 job.

This got me thinking, “Does my job suck?”

A wiseman once said the best job that you have right now is the job that you HAVE RIGHT NOW. For me, when people tell you your life sucks because they feel you’re comfortable and you get to go home early and spend the evening with your kids and wife, I would politely tell them to f&&*^ o*(.

Life sucks when you don’t have a job. Life sucks when you’re always chasing the next meal. Life sucks when your kids, partner or even family are wondering why you’re always working late, but everything around you remains the same.

I am resilient. But I’m also NOT refusing every opportunity that is thrown at me. At my age, I take stock at things. I weigh them and think of my family over my own. I muse a lot these days. I think of the days when I was younger, when life was simple.

Does a corporate job suck at this time? No.

As Rica wrote in her blog, it’s all about mindset and culture. Of course, the people are quite important. People leave their jobs because of people (i.e. they hate their boss). People stay because of people.

Perhaps the next time my friends ask me if I should consider life outside of this corporate life, I would tell them it doesn’t matter what job you are doing right now, as long as you’re happy, and your NOT neglecting any people who matter to you in life.

Life is what you make it, as they say. It’s a bunch of decisions with consequences. There will be trade-offs. You choose which ones you’re willing to give up. This time, I’m happy where I am NOT because I’m working for a corporation. I am here because I’m learning from the best people who know great things that I don’t know.

Sounds cheesy, but that’s the truth. It’s just a job. It’s up to you to make it FUN and fulfilling.

Boot strapping, are you ready?

A situation in which an entrepreneur starts a company with little capital. An individual is said to be boot strapping when he or she attempts to found and build a company from personal finances or from the operating revenues of the new company. (Source: Investopedia)

Starting a company is not easy. It takes a lot of patience. Imagine pushing yourself to wake up in the morning and accomplishing stuff that you’re not even sure will fly or not. Some say the journey is the reward. Yes, I agree. But fighting the emotions of giving up and just pushing on, is just draining sometimes.

Every entrepreneur will tell you to plan for the worst. You also need a lot of support — emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. You will judge yourself everyday. You will tell yourself if you’re doing a good job or not. These are stuff that are expected. No one said it would be easy.

I learned about the word boot strapping after reading books on entrepreneurship. As defined, it is using your own resources to fund your own company–no venture capital, no angel investment. How far can you go boot strapping? Not too long. Which is why many startups will soon require additional funding.

Investopedia explains further:

Compared to using venture capital, boot strapping can be beneficial as the entrepreneur is able to maintain control over all decisions. On the downside, however, this form of financing may place unnecessary financial risk on the entrepreneur. Furthermore, boot strapping may not provide enough investment for the company to become successful at a reasonable rate.

As you can tell, boot strapping may work a while until it puts a toll on your own financials. It’s a big risk to go boot strapping early on. But this move will also show your potential partners that your putting more “skin in the game.”

What about you? What are your thoughts about boot strapping for a company your building? Is it a good idea? Is it a crazy idea?

Finding your center

It’s not easy leaving a job to pursue my aspirations of entrepreneurship. Now I know what they mean by a “roller coaster ride.” It sucks sometimes.

It has been more than a month since I decided to take a plunge. So far, there are days I wished I was back in the rat race. But there are days that I won’t give up time with my family and children. They say work and life balance is an illusion. It is up to us to decide how we want to spend our time.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I made the decision to slow down. I remember a friend of mine tell me, “Spend more time with your kids while they’re young.” When they get older, they will have less time for you. We all know this, as we have once been young.

On July 15, I would have been 4 years in my job. Looking back, those years felt longer. The challenges, the struggles, the wins, the people, and the mountains I needed to conquer–those years were precious. But all these are without meaning if you cannot find your center.

Yes, in life, we can get lost. I was lost many times. Getting buried in work or the life that I chose before, I often veer away from the important things in life: family and God. The latter is still a challenge. Work is work–it gets you by. But if you lose your center, none of these things matter: fame, glory, money, power, etc.

My wife and kids are my center in this life. Making them happy gives me peace. So sometimes I push myself at work because I thought giving them what they want will make them happy.  But TIME is what they need (sounds like a song!).

They need your time, your presence, your support, your heart, and your spirit. We see many relationships fail these days, broken families, couples who spend more time hating each other. I too had my share of problems. But if you keep reminding yourself what is your center, you will see better days.

We all wish life can be simple. Truth is, we can do it. But first, find and know your center. You may fall on the wayside. But when THAT happens, you know that someone you love will help you get back. I know, I’m slowly getting back on my feet, and making strides. I won’t make a sprint because this life is a marathon. See you all in the finish line.


How to get crowd-funding for a journalism project

ProPublica is perhaps one of the few organizations that has tested the crowd-funding waters for a creative journalism project.

In this article, the group summarizes strategies they used to raise $22,000 for a story about the internship economy in the U.S.

Using the power of social media and “traditional” media tactics, ProPublica hit its funding target!

So what is crowd-funding, and why is Kickstarter becoming the platform of choice for many initiatives worldwide?

Crowd-funding’s meaning has evolved over time. It now refers to a “collective effort of people” to fund an initiative, a project, a new product, an idea, or a start-up company. Kickstarter is a company that took crowd-sourcing to the Internet, and made it a successful business model.

In Kickstarter’s own words:

We’re a home for everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through the direct support of people like you. Since our launch in 2009, more than 4.3 million people have pledged over $676 million, funding more than 44,000 creative projects. Thousands of creative projects are raising funds on Kickstarter right now.

ProPublica is now one of growing number of creative projects using this platform to seek funding. They’ve cited several lessons they’ve picked up with this exercise. Among them is “mobilize your own readers and networks.”

As a group that has grown its network through its developmental and investigative journalism, ProPublica said it used its content, stories, and social media to generate interest in its project.

You also need a solid story to sell the idea–and some perks for donors.

Based on our experience, Kickstarter can be a great tool for creative, unique projects, but also tricky for those designed around story-driven projects. But if your newsroom has the time, resources and smart idea, it’s definitely worth an experiment.

Just imagine if a site will focus on crowd-sourcing more journalism projects. Would this work in societies where media is controlled by few, elite owners who are often sacred cows? Will this business model be able to sustain journalism in general, thereby letting go of the tried and tested advertising model?

Am sure someone has thought of this. What about you?

Other successful journalism projects funded via crowd-sourcing:

99% Invisible





Get Out of Your Comfort Zone: 8 Tips | Inc.com

You have probably heard this one many times. But in reality, it’s difficult to do.

As human beings, we tend to stay within our comfort zones. It’s peaceful and less stressful. Very few take risks, and jump into new territories to explore new opportunities.

But this article offers tips on how to take baby steps.

One of them is this:

Get a partner.

There are some things that just aren’t meant to be done alone. For over two years, I’ve had a dream to produce and present an empowering women’s conference. But it remained a dream and nothing more. Then one day my coach said to me, “that’s just not something you take on all by yourself,” and I finally got it. I needed a partner in this endeavor. Sure enough, I found someone within a week and “Make It Happen” is happening this September. It’s amazing how much fun it is to create and I am certainly stretching the limits of my comfort zone. But since I’m no longer alone in this little adventure, I still feel safe (mostly).

Is there something you want to do that just shouldn’t be done alone? Find a buddy and make it happen.

More tips from the article.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone: 8 Tips | Inc.com.

What about you, do you have any tips to share?