The Focus Dilemma

That’s one piece of advice I am sure you have been given many times by successful entrepreneurs and in many business books- stay focus.

I am saying it’s good or bad advice but allow me to elaborate a bit on that advice. Telling someone to focus is like telling someone to work hard. It’s a very vague advice and can potentially do more harm than good. Why is that so?

From the point of the recipient, the well-intended advice of working hard can be interpreted as unless you are willing to work your ass off, there’s no chance you will succeed. Unfortunately, you can be working hard your thus far but you might just not be achieving the results that you want.

Yet, there’s nothing wrong with working hard. Every successful entrepreneurs I personally know truly worked very hard, especially in the beginning phases of their ventures. To put things in context, by successful I mean the venture is making profits and the company’s culture is healthy with a team of great people working together to grow the company. However, the critical difference here is not just working hard but rather what are you working hard on?

You can work hard in ensuring every one in your company washes their hands after using the bathroom but that would hardly create any positive impact in your company’s bottom line.

Therein lies the most important piece of puzzle that you must figure out. You may have the talents, perseverance, discipline and even the passionate drive to succeed. But if you are working on the wrong stuffs, you will only be ‘rewarded’ with the results you don’t want.

Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Slow down or even stop whatever you are doing just to gain clarity. You cannot see very clearly with all that noise that’s constantly seeking your attention 24/7. Re-calibrate your compass and regroup your soldiers.

Speed is important but speed in the wrong direction can sometimes be fatal.

January 18th, 2017|Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

Chart of Purpose

Was listening to a podcast on AoC a few days back where the host Jordan Harbinger was Jeff Goins, author of The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do.

In their conversation, I discovered something that could be very useful for that million dollar question, “What should I do with my life?”

Jeff shared with the listeners the following chart which I’ve reproduced it visually here.

What Should You Do with Your Life
The chart is not the ultimatum of your life’s purpose but it’s a very useful tool for anyone to start narrowing down their choices in life. It’s a top-down approach, where you select a few activities in each different circles and see how well each of these activities overlaps each other.

For instance, if you love to repair VHS tapes (if you actually know what that is) and you are very good at it, you might find yourself in tough spot because there’s simply not much demand for VHS tapes anymore.

I would strongly recommend you to listen to the podcast. It’s only a few minutes.

Good luck in finding your calling!

December 14th, 2016|Productivity|0 Comments

This versus That

Ever since we started setting up e-commerce stores 6 years ago, we’ve been using OpenCart – one of the most popular open-source shopping cart systems. And the more we use OpenCart, the better we get at maximizing the features it has to offer. We also realized some of the stuff that OpenCart doesn’t do very well.

And then it comes to a point where you start evangelizing the product you use. Because you now understand the products much better, you become more attached to it. Which is a good thing, in my opinion.

However, it only becomes not-so-good when you start to spend time trying to convince someone who’s using Shopify or Magento (both of these are also shopping cart systems) on why OpenCart is superior than theirs. It’s like the whole Android vs Apple thing. Pointless. A solid profitable e-commerce business depends not just on the shopping cart system, but a lot of other factors as well. You need a good selection of products, photography skills, copy writing skills,  inventory system etc.

Just a few minutes ago, out of curiosity, I attempted to setup my first WordPress-based Woo Commerce store. I am actually quite impressed with the whole setup process. There’s a lot of things I think Woo Commerce has got it right. Of course the Woo Commerce team knows what they are doing- they got bought over by WordPress and I don’t remember any other theme or plugin developer who got to that status.

So, instead of cheer leading for just one particular product, your perspective will be expanded much more when you attempt to solve a problem with a variety of other solutions. Sometimes, this also forces you to look at the problem from a different angle, which you’ve never thought possible. Let the fanboys fight among themselves.

It’s what you ultimately produce that really matters.

November 26th, 2016|E-Commerce, Entrepreneurship, OpenCart|0 Comments

Not Good Enough

We can never be good enough. The bar gets higher all the time.

The moment I published a post or submitted the final draft for a product description, I always get that annoying feeling that there are better ways to write it. Each time we sent the product catalog to print, I always felt that I could have spend a few more minutes fine tuning it (there’s surely a better font for the title!).

They say you are your own harshest critics. Of course, you should always set high standards for your work. The quality and outcome of your work speaks a lot about you and your values.

But don’t let that paralyze and hinder you from starting a new project.

The key is to make sure the next version is always better than the last one.

November 25th, 2016|Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

Experts are Dangerous

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Experts connotes superiority and credibility. When the source of information comes from expert, we are very inclined to believe them, even more so when the expert’s last name is followed by a long list of credentials

And we would be foolish to question the experts. They’ve gone through so much trouble to produce the facts that you are reading now- extensive research, long period of observation and funded heavily by well-established corporations

Only problem is we don’t often get to evaluate or read about these experiments, or at least it’s not explained in a way that it’s easy for the average Joe to understand.

When in doubt, we always take the expert’s word for it. Even Mum could sometimes be wrong.

November 24th, 2016|Daily Observations|0 Comments