Ep 1: How to Pick Yourself Up After 16,000 People Talk You Down – Alex Loh from Aviary & Co

How to Pick Yourself Up After 16,000 People Talk You Down – Alex Loh from Aviary & Co

Imagine this. You’ve held series of successful events, build a team, gathered a following, grew a brand. And then, you decided to hold this huge event – a marathon with 16,000 pax – thinking it’s going to hit a home run. But things go the complete opposite. Today, our guest will share his unfiltered experience on just that.

Our guest, Alex, is the founder of Aviary & Co., a solo consultant company in the sports and wellness business space. He was also the co-founder of the now infamous Yolo Run, the one that have a lot of media backlash. And he will share his painful experience in his entrepreneurship journey, some of his lowest moments and how he overcame it.

As someone who has been an employee and an entrepreneur, Alex shares his perspectives on their difference and why he chose to be an entrepreneur. And while people tend to be more risk-averse and less entrepreneurial as they get older, he provided a different view to it. He also shared how he grows his network to fit his entrepreneurial purpose. And what advice would he give to someone who wants to be an entrepreneur?

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podcast Transcript

Alex: My biggest entrepreneur shit, right, was actually hiding in the toilet and crying, right. Actually, I wasn’t crying, I was like bawling and wailing my eyes off, right.

Reggie: If you felt like you have disappointed someone, felt like you really want to restart or maybe, like, you know, just halt, even stop. Imagine this, you have a series of successful events, like, small little events and you have gathered a following, grew a brand and gathered a team, and then, you are planning this huge event, this 16,000 pax and marathon thinking they’re going to hit a home run, got to fly into success, things turn up flat and you have a huge media backlash. The entrepreneur for today, Alex is a founder of Aviary & Co., a solo consultant company in the sports and wellness business space. He was the co-founder of the now infamous Yolo Run, like, the one that have a lot of media backlash. Right, so, I’m very touched that he is willing to come on to talk about this part that is very scarring. It’s been a painful journey on this entrepreneurship journey. He does not talk about this anywhere else, so, welcome back to entrepreneur shit show. 

Alex: So, this was in 2017, so, I mentioned earlier about the events management company that I was running with a business partner and the event that we had was 15,000 participants, I had to find the toilet that was furthest away from the action. You just imagine 15,000 people on the ground, and I don’t know, maybe 50% or 70%, maybe even 90% of them were unhappy about the way things were being run, and really don’t know where to put my face. Yeah, so, I had to still, you know, try to make sure things were alright, you know. There was certain areas of scope that we’re was supposed to do on the day itself, so, I just needed to manage those areas on my own. There were other areas that other ICs, as well as my ex-business partner was already managing, so, had to leave them to do it, as long as I can manage myself. But the worst thing was, of course I was the face of the brand, I was the face of the event. So, everyone was looking at me, like, you know, this is the guy, you know, when can I take a gunnysack put it over him and hit him until he, you know? Yeah, it was a terrible, right. I really, and you know, sometimes when you plan it as much as you can and you know, shit still happens and when shit happens, you really just need to just wing it, right. Because there’s nothing else you can do already at that point, right. So, how do you make sure that you still let the event run properly, as much, as properly as it can, given the disaster of the situation and don’t just disappear, you know, the worst would be like, oh shit, this has nothing to do with me, then I just disappear, and never turn up again, right. So, being responsible for that, I think, especially on the ground being responsible for the team, being responsible to the people that actually signed up to come for the event.

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Reggie: Yeah. And it’s a huge event. And everybody kind of knows this event. Is it okay to namedrop the event? 

Alex: Yeah, I mean, it was, so, I’m co-founder of the infamous Yolo Run, right, 2017 had a lot of negative backlash, a lot of daily papers were actually even talking about it, you know, they were trying to call me for an interview, for a quote and whatever, and you know, a lot of online publications, Mothership, you know, I don’t know, I can’t, all of them. Yeah, they were also talking about how this was the worst run event of the year, everyone. It was so well anticipated but it was really badly run, right. Yeah, so, I mean, the route was short, the water points were insufficient, not enough cups, baggage collection was long, some people claimed they lost items because the baggage wasn’t well arranged. Yeah, the security queue was long, you know, if you went out, it took you forever to come back in. So, because of all of this, started late and didn’t start on time. Yeah, so, everything, one thing snowball to next, I mean, with events, if you don’t follow on the clock, on the dot and not enough allowance, there is enough allowance given, but even then, allowance was not enough to cover for all the bad things that happen, right. So, yeah, so, it was terrible. It was really terrible. I mean, I look back on it and I cringe, right. And, like, oh my goodness, you know, how did I survive that ordeal? And in fact, even up to today, if you ask me to do an event, I’m going to tell you, I don’t think I want to do an event, right. Because there’s too much at stake, and I’d rather work on a strategy or maybe do the marketing or do the business development or whatever. But with the event specific, that’s something that I would not want to, if I can. Yeah, I mean, maybe small-scale events, as part of an activation, possible, but not a massive scale event with 15,000 people, right. Maybe 1, 2000 is still okay, but yeah. So that’s, but I mean, learning experience for sure, right. I know so much more about the events management. I know so much more about events planning. If I were to engage an external vendor to do something like that, for me, at least I would know all the blind spots and whatever else I needed to be looking out for, or making sure that they do so that you know, it doesn’t screw up the way that it did. Yeah. 

Reggie: And how did you end up in the washroom, wailing?

Alex:  Well, so at that point is like, okay, I don’t have anything to do right now, you know, I need to vent off some emotions and vent of some frustration, and I was looking for the furthermost corner where nobody would hear me, nobody would see me, and I just disappeared for that. I don’t know, it seemed like forever, but it could have been just five minutes. But yeah, and I remember, I just sitting down at a toilet bowl and, you know, with my hands to my face and just crying and crying and like, you know, and of course, I don’t know how long I did it, maybe 1 minute, 2 minutes. I was really letting it go, it was really, like, that sort of crying where you [gasping], you know. It wasn’t, like, [crying], it was really, like, loss, don’t know what to do. We were literally lost, you don’t know what to do, there’s nobody else that can help you, right? You’re the only one that can help yourself, right, and then I think maybe it was for a minute or two, maybe five minutes at most, and okay, come on, Alex, pick yourself up, you know, you got to get back there and finish the event. You know, all these people are there at least, I mean, those that are enjoying themselves, let them continue to enjoy themselves. Those people that have issues or whatever, we deal with it after the event, right. So, yeah, then I went back and of course pretended, like, nothing happened and just went to finish the event. I mean, we started early because, you know, with an event like that, to flag off, I think it was at 5.30am or something like that at 6.30am. So, I think I was there from, like, 5.00am and it was only till lunch or after lunch, right, that everything was packing up and over. Yeah, then it was at that point, it was, like, okay, what’s the aftermath of all of this, and that’s of course when everything went out of control. It went worse than what I expected, it was even worse than during the event itself, right. Because they were like thousands of people online saying, we want a refund, and we can’t of refund, right. Because with the revenue that’s collected, it was used to purchase the t-shirts, purchased the medals and purchase all of those things, right. And there was also operating costs. So, that definitely was something that was out of the question that we were going to do, yeah, and it was really how do we mitigate, right. And then of course it was also fault finding, right, so where were the bottlenecks that happened? Who were the assholes or the fuckers that didn’t do their job, right? Such that, we ended up in the situation that we were in, so, it was investigating, it was trying to find out, at the same time, it was managing the media backlash right. Everything was snowballing, I mean, I had to shut down my social media accounts, you know, because people were actually trying to flame me and hunt me down. And, I mean, to the 1% that said, $50, you know, why can’t you refund $50? But if it’s 10000 people that wants the $50 refund is going to be impossible, right. We would go totally bust, and we were already not in a very good state, right. So, yeah, this was like, I think it was even worse for me because the year 2017 was when I brought the event to Thailand, Hong Kong, KL (Kuala Lumpur) and in each city we had about 4,000 people participating, and the events were well done, and no profit, but no loss, right. And we were all gearing up, or I was looking forward to the end of the year, where, okay, we’re going to have this 15,000 people event and yeah, we’re going to end the year with a bang, right. And then, the next year we’re going to include maybe another two or three cities, and YOLO Run is going to be famous, right? Yeah. It was a really famous, but then it became infamous, right. And then, yeah, so, that was what I was looking forward to. So, it was an even greater blow because all my plans, all my expectations and everything that I was hoping for literally just disappeared, like, vanish, right. And it got worse, right. And along the way with the investigations also, I discovered that there were certain discrepancies, you know, with the way that my business partner or ex business partner was dealing with matters. And actually, you know, all of these red flags happened along the year already. But I did not take heed to the red flags, and I was looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel. Yeah, end of with a big bang, 15,000 people, and none of this will matter, right. Yeah, but you know, showed through the cracks. And I think, divine intervention, probably telling me that, Alex, you know, I don’t think this is for you, I’m going to just let you fail one major jialat (serious) time, so, you can just walk away and don’t want to get involved in this anymore, right. So, I don’t think that if the disaster, I think that if the disaster didn’t happen, I might still have been saying, okay, let’s try again one more year. You get what I mean?

Reggie: I know what you mean . The cut would be not so clear. 

Alex: Yes. It needed for something to be as bad as it did for, me to wake up my idea and then just walk away. Yeah, so, as much as there were friends and family that, were going through this entire year’s process with me, part of me were saying, I think, you know, something is not right, you know perhaps you should consider or reconsider, you know, it’s not too late, but I said no, you know, I want to finish this year. Well, but then, disaster happened and I think, yeah, divine intervention and I think I’m in a good space now. I don’t know how things would have been if the disaster didn’t happen, but doesn’t matter, right. It happened for a reason. I firmly believe that things like that happen for a reason. And yeah, so I’m happy where I am right now. Starting on my entrepreneurship journey again, as a solo-preneur, right. So, yeah, that’s my entrepreneur shit story. 

Reggie: Cool stuff, yeah. Thanks for sharing. I don’t think that was, I don’t think that’s easy to share. I mean, I could feel it.

Alex:  I think actually there’s more to it, right, which I think I would just share. So, my ex-business partner was actually an ex-student of mine, right, I mentioned that, you know, I was a physical education teacher and to some extent I was his mentor. And, I could not believe that there were certain character flaws that were not evident, in the many formative years that I had spent with him, to have suddenly shown through being a business partner. I think that the fact of having felt manipulated, having trusting, and yet it coming to the way that it came, I think, that perhaps was a greater emotional blow to me, then the fact that, you know, my reputation is ruined and all of these things that I build up for, I mean, of course, financially, all of that, I put in quite a lot into the business, but I think it was the loss of trust and the feeling of having been manipulated and lied to, right. And at most points, I always thought that, yeah, maybe is he doesn’t know, maybe it’s a white lie, maybe it’s a communication issue, you know? So, I was always giving a reason for somebody not performing, or somebody not coming clean on certain things, right. And, the famous replying was always don’t worry, bro, I got it settled. 

Reggie: I always very scared when people tell me. Don’t worry, bro. 

Alex: Don’t fucking bro me, you know.

Reggie: Don’t bro, get your shit done, bro.

Alex: Yeah. So, now anybody telling me, don’t worry, bro. And you have to go fuck yourself. 

Reggie: I double worry. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. What’s going on? 

Alex: Yeah. So, that, I mean, and I think that perhaps it was too trusting, you know, and sometimes I second guess myself, I doubt myself, and I said that, if only I had said, you don’t, don’t worry, bro, me, tell me exactly. If I had done that, maybe all of this wouldn’t have happened. So, at sometimes I blame myself, right. And I think that it was my fault that I did not nip it in the bud before it happened the way it did, but at the same time, and sometimes I even, you know, say that maybe he just didn’t know, right. Yeah, but I think that’s not important, coming to this point, right. I think that we’ve all moved on, and the fact is that the business  would not have been able to flourish given the fact that, there were all of these character flaws anyway, right? So, I mean, I believe that, you know, as a business owner, whether you’re an entrepreneur, MNCs, SMEs, whatever, self-employed, character is important, so, you need to have integrity. If you engage a person’s service, you need to pay, right. If you purchase a product you have to pay, I mean, we are all in this service product sector, right. We’re all trying to earn a living here and having the mentality of, if I don’t do it to him, somebody will do it to me. That’s not the right mentality because I believe in the more you give, the more you get, right? So, value is not aligned, right. So, I would say that it’s just values not aligned, which I didn’t see earlier along the way, but it took a disaster for me to realize it. And yeah, I mean, I put off family planning for one year, so, because of the 2017 stressfulness of running all the events. So, 2018 was when I decided to, or end 2017 was when I decided to walk away and start family planning. And I mean, I have a 2 year old girl now, so no regrets, right. I mean, everything happened for a reason. I cannot say that enough, yeah.

Reggie: And I think like what you said that was the past, right, it’s already past, and you’re in a much better place now, you know, but at the moment it’s probably quite a thing, right. Like, how do you manage to tight through that period? You know, most people post venture is going to be quite shitty, but then yours was like, you know, disaster, post disaster, right? How do you manage that time with yourself? 

Alex: I think a lot of it was, still, you know, doubting or could I have prevented it earlier in the first place? But at the same time, it was also managing all the backlash, right. And it was also trying to get out of the business as quickly or as smoothly as possible. 

Reggie: How was that like? Not many people get out of such a big thing, so, yeah. 

Alex: Yeah, so I think it was a case of my ex-business partner believing in the brand that we had created, and he was very happy to take a larger share of whatever we had built. So, that was something that   it was hard for me to let go of as well, right. But I was thinking more long-term, right . I want to start a family, I don’t want to add additional stress to the people around me and the trauma of, you know, that experience, was really, really, I don’t know what. So, I’ve been through a divorce once before, right. I’m in my second marriage and I compare it to my divorce first divorce period, right, where it was very, very difficult time. Yeah, so, I think coming out of it was, definitely support from friends and family, right? I mean, I think something like that is important, but also when we talk about support, you know, it’s not just a warm body being there when you, is really about talking to somebody, talking about things like, yeah. Is it my fault? You know, should I have done that? Should I have done? So, all this in hindsight kind of things, it doesn’t matter, talk about it, you know, just get it off your chest. And, you know, so then the more you talk about it, the more you realized that, yeah, there wasn’t anything that it could have been done, right. And thinking on hindsight, doesn’t exactly give you exact situation that you might be in because the other party might have reacted differently, right. So, it’s not a good reflection, but still, I think it’s important to speak about things like that and having the right support system, I think, was important. I really wanted to, so it was a, I’m going to find a job, right. I want to be an employee, right. 

Reggie: Yeah. I know that feeling, I have enough of all this. I’m going to work for someone. Yeah. Okay. 

Alex: Going to be an employee, right. Let me not think about running my own business for a while. Two, three months after, yeah, that’s when a head hunter called me for a role at Core Collective and yeah, it was quite a difficult interview process, but I managed to clear it. So, I think, that was a good God sent. 

Reggie: Yeah. But how was the difference, like for you? You know, running your own business and then, you know, switching over? I know you switched in and out, many times, right. But how is it different? You know, because some entrepreneurs find very hard to work for other people, you know, but you sound like it’s okay, yeah. I will just work for other people when I have something to do, then I come out, you know? So how do you see it? The whole entrepreneurship and being employed kind of difference? 

Alex: I saw it more, not so much as a different role that I play as an entrepreneur versus an employee. I saw it more as this is an, a new, exciting thing. So, I think what motivates and drives me is something new, something exciting, problem solving, coming up with new initiatives, building a team from scratch. And it didn’t matter to me whether or not, I was doing it for myself or for an employer. Of course, there were issues, like, you know, you need to follow certain rules of the company, of the boss. But not difficult to, I mean, you just need a little bit more discipline. That is not a laissez-faire where you do your own thing, right?  

Reggie: And then why do you still then come out and do your own thing now? So, okay to work, then like, come on and do your own thing again. 

Alex: Well, I think that, you know, with every entrepreneur or solo-preneur, whatever Having your own time and your own space is something that you appreciate, you know, you can start working anytime you want. Of course, you know, now with working from home and, you know remote working, it could also be possible for an employee but being owned boss or being an entrepreneur, it gives you the opportunity to plan your own milestones to plan your own schedule. And it was a life stage for me, right, because with the birth of my daughter, that was the reason why I wanted to get back into entrepreneurship because I was working 14, 16-hour days. And I didn’t want to continue working that sort of hours when my girl is born. So, yeah, the only, or the best solution to that was to do my own thing.

Reggie: I think, the most interesting part is, you know, you saying that, oh, because of my daughter, that’s why I decided to become entrepreneur again, right. Because I think, you know, what most people would perceive as you grow older, as you set up a family, you are more risk adverse. People would enjoy the whole, okay, I got a job, I got income. Why do you see it in this other way? 

Alex: Good question, right. Reggie, I think that, I know, and I recognize that the starting phase would always be tougher because you will need a certain amount of runway to be able to get to a certain revenue, which would match up to being a full-time employee. But with the support of my wife, we understood that, okay, we can financially be able to do it over, a 12-month period, for example, right? So, it’s like giving myself that window, and once that window is hit, right, then the revenue is actually exponential, it’s not capped. So, that is one of the thoughts, but really, it’s also thinking who might want to hire me at this point, given my seniority, given my remuneration package expectation, and who is going to give me that sort of flexibility that I want to be able to spend with my daughter, anytime that I want. So, the reality is that nobody, right. So, then the only way is to carve something out for myself, which is actually the key driving reason. And the other point that I mentioned of longer-term projection, I think that comes as a secondary. The primary reason is really that I can make my own future for myself because nobody out there is going to give me what I want. So, if I have a checklist of five things, these are the things that I want, which employer can give that to me? And no employer can check those five boxes then, is me choosing the employer versus the employer choosing me, right. And because of that, but me being my own boss allows me to check all those boxes. So, obviously I would want to do my own thing, but not saying that everyone should think of it.

Reggie: Because is not a walk in the park. 

Alex: Exactly, right. So, it’s not a walk in the park, you need to of course have that self-awareness, how strong is your network, right? Do you know the right people? Do you have enough savings in your bank account to sustain, right ? Do you have the support from family? Do you at least have a business idea that people are willing to pay money for already? So, if all of these works, then there is no reason why anyone who has that entrepreneurial spirit or entrepreneurial mind, to take that step. Of course, you can’t just sit on your ass all day and spend time with my daughter and expect that, you know, business is going to come in. Yeah.

Reggie: I mean, I see a lot of that, right. But it’s cute, it’s a family thing. Yeah, but I really want to double down on the whole, like, you know, mid age kind of thing, because you’ve done a lot of things. You’ve worked for different people, you’ve done your own thing, you’ve worked overseas, all these kinds of stuff, right. Do you feel, like, the way you handle ventures now and the way you handle ventures when you were younger, what is the kind of, some significant differences. 

Alex: I think there’s always, knowing that I’m not young anymore, right. So, it’s like, this is my final burst of energy, give it all I’ve got, that kind of mindset, but you know, if you think about it really, I’m only 41, I still have more than half of my life to live, right. So, I could be 60 and I could be still doing the same thing, and I have 20, 30, more years of my life to live. So, yes, I think it’s very relative, yes, we might feel that way, but maybe when you asked me this question, when I’m 50 or 60, if I’m starting another venture, I might see exactly the same thing, right. And if you asked me when I was 30 compared to when you’re asking me when I was 20, right, it would be different as well. So relative, yeah, I think it, now that you’ve mentioned it, doesn’t really matter, right. Because   if you’ve got that why, right, if you’ve got the purpose and you know what you want to do it, and you know how you want it to be able to Influence more people with what you want to do on your why, then it doesn’t matter at which stage it happens. Of course, the stuff I already mentioned earlier, which is you need to get the support, you can’t just decide to do it, and your wife, you know, or your family or people that you’re around with think that you’re crazy, right. 

Reggie: I think, no matter what age, people always think I’m crazy if you are an entrepreneur. Siao (crazy), this guy, right. Trying to do his own thing. 

Alex: So, getting that support, I think is important and understanding your specific value that you can bring or gift to the community, right, that you are a part of. I think that is the value, right. And if you know that you can do that, then just do it. Yeah, it doesn’t matter how old you are. Yeah. 

Reggie: But that is very much on the values ideological way of looking at things, what about from an execution front? Do you feel you do it differently now?

Alex: Right, right. Okay, I mean for sure, right. Because that’s why they always say the wise old man, right? The more years you have, the more failures that you’ve had, or the more people that you’ve met, the more stories that you’ve listened to, the more you’re able to apply it to yourself. So, for sure, right. A lot more cautious, a lot more mindful. 

Reggie: Are there certain things that you do differently now? You know, like maybe when you’re younger, you just go only, you just go, right. Then, what about when you’re now revisiting, I mean, your 5th, 4th, 10th venture. 

Alex: Okay. In younger days, probably just chiong (rush) only, because you can afford, your 48 hours not sleeping, you know, 72 hours, not sleeping or whatever. But working smarter, right, having blocking out specific time that I want to do specific things, for example, needing to end work by a certain time, so that I can have dinner with my family, that sort of thing. Whereas in my younger days, things like that are not important, right? So, I think, I’m doing things more intentionally, I think, if there’s a word to use would be doing things more intentionally and because of that, it is more efficient, it is more productive and you save energy, save time, you save resources. So, yeah, wisdom from many failed ventures as well as some successful ones. 

Reggie: Correct me if I’m wrong, okay. It feels like, you know, that you went from, like this kind of big venture. And now it’s like, okay, I just want to do this on my own, and just kind of make it work, right. Do you, because the counter view will be like, oh, we start small, and then we grow, grow over the years, we do bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, right. Do you feel that it is because of some reason that you’re afraid to, like, aim for the big thing, and you’re just kind of doing this thing or? 

Alex: Not entirely so. Because I’m not familiar with, you know, raising capital, doing big thing, kind of businesses or startups. I believe in being cashflow positive and growing slow, right. My projection or my idea of Aviary & Co. is to grow a team and actually to go global as well. So, I have plans to grow the business, but perhaps the plans are more conservative. And I don’t have to answer to investors or partners who want it to grow by a certain date, right. So, I’m controlling it in my own time, and at some point, if I realized that, that’s not what I want to do, then I still can, not do it, right. But of course, the idea is that, yes, I want to grow it, I want to have a global audience, I even want to grow the company to be in other cities or countries, right. And yeah, so, I don’t think that it is going from big to small, I think now it’s perhaps learning from all the big dreamy ideas and visions and realizing that, okay, let’s just start small, and then work our way from small up, right? 

Reggie: You did say about how your network is very important in this process, because from what I’m hearing, because it’s a one-man show and because it’s in consultancy, it’s a lot of, you know, network driven business, right. So, how do you then, you know, grow this network of yours? 

Alex: I think the network has developed or grown organically from the different roles I have played in the different businesses that I’ve been in. And not losing touch of that, I think when people suddenly realized that, hey, you’re doing something else again, they are genuinely excited. They’re genuinely interested. Hey, you know what you’re doing? Let me see how I can help you, right? Because the people want to help you, I mean, if you’re not a douchebag, you’re not somebody that, you know has done them wrong at any point, you know, and being as authentic as you have been in your relationships, then why wouldn’t somebody want to just catch up with you, right? And yeah, so I think, that to me is the network, but of course, network is nothing, if the relationships that were established along the way were not genuine, right. And I think, I guess, now I realize it. But of course, when you make friends, you don’t realize, I must make this an authentic friendship, right. You know, you don’t realize it, but now 20 years down the road, I realize that, yeah. And all of those were good relationships. And because of that, it’s almost like saying you sow the seeds 20 years ago and you know, now these people are still in your network and still your friends and they are actually going to be able to help you with whatever business that you are starting.

Reggie: Yeah, and I mean, research has shown that as entrepreneurs grow older, the success rate gets higher and higher and higher, right. Is the problem, why a lot of startups, since, like, they are all organized by young people, because young people try more, right. That’s kind of where we’re coming from also, right. But I think at the end of the day, I just have one question to ask you, it’s like, why do you use to do what you do? Right, after so many things, you travel everywhere, do all these things, try all these different sectors. Why do you still do it? 

Alex: I think that, you know, being an entrepreneur right now, it’s full of premier. It’s the most meaningful thing to do for yourself, right. I don’t think that, any company or employer will be able to give you exactly what you want and what you need. Whereas if you were to be doing something on your own, then you are in control and you dictate your future. I think that for me probably is the most compelling reason why I’m in entrepreneurship and why I’ve started this solopreneur journey. So, being in control and dictating the future that I set for myself. There are things that you can control and there are things that you cannot control, so, being able to understand that is also important because seeing this as a sweeping statement, you know, I dictate my future. They would be, like. This guy siao (is crazy), dictate his own future, right. You know, move with the time and, you know, understand the market, you know, know what is trending, what is not, and you need to do your homework. So, I’m happy. I think that entrepreneurship so far has given me the most happiness because I really enjoy what I’m doing, not so much about the control of time, but more, so much that, just being in the zone and being in the moment, doing what I’m doing, and this is happening maybe 80%, 90% of the time that I’m doing my own thing. But if I were working for an employer, maybe 50%. Or a 40% very 偷笑 (considered it lucky) already, right? So, do you want 40% happiness or you want 80% happiness? Go and choose, and so, I mean, all this relates to, you know, happiness, leads to less stress, leads to, let you live longer, you know, don’t have all these aliments. I mean, all that is research backed, but at the end of the day, what’s your happiness? And for me, I think entrepreneurship, as much as the ups and downs, if you were to average it out, I think the happiness level is actually higher compared to if I were employed. Yeah. 

Reggie: Thank you. Thanks for sharing 

Alex: My pleasure. My pleasure.

Reggie: So, I think Alex brought a very interesting perspective, I mean, it’s not easy for someone to, honestly, for a middle-aged guy to talk about. you know, his younger days struggles in a business and, you know, it’s interesting that he’s willing to come on and be that vulnerable and talk about his challenges. I think that is a very real, and we all realize that, you know, regardless of at which stage of our life as an entrepreneur, you know, we face very similar challenges, but we can take things differently because over the years we will learn different tools and grow our mindsets and, you know, be able to handle struggles in a wiser fashion, probably old wise men, right. That kind of discussion. But at the end of the day, I believe it goes a little bit beyond just, like, why you do what you do, but really becoming better as an entrepreneur. There are certain skill sets involved, right. And based on what he shared, I think that was very interesting, especially from this like, middle age, you know, as more entrepreneurs sort of fall out because there’s an apex, right. As people get older, they tend not to be entrepreneurial, but he provided a different view to it. So, I thought that was pretty cool. And I hope you learned something useful. So, since you stay all the way here, I think Alex has something extra for you.

 Last question, all right, last question. So, if someone wants to participate in this entrepreneurship thing, right? Like, I mean, you’ve shared a lot, but what is something that if a new person wants to join, or maybe a middle-aged person, first time entrepreneur, what advice would you give them?

Alex: I think at the end of the day, they need to ask themselves why? I mean, that’s important, right? So, why do you want to be an entrepreneur, right? Is it because you think that going to, you’re going to be the next unicorn? And you know, I mean, is that the right reason? Maybe for him it is, but he needs to know it, such that somewhere along the way, if he doesn’t make it, he’s not going to like fall out and cry and feel like he’s been a failure all his life, right. So, knowing why you’re doing something prepares you for the long run. So, that’s my biggest piece of advice , because if you don’t identify that why, then you’re going to lose steam along the way, right. And you don’t want that to happen because, you know, like, what you say middle age, this guy is in his thirties, forties, he does it for two years and then after that, he goes back to trying to find employment and it might not happen so well for him or her. Yeah. 

Reggie: Cool. Thanks.

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