There are countless reasons why people decide at a certain moment in their lives to start their own business. Some see a good business opportunity, others feel challenged by several issues. They may have an education and set of skills but cannot find employment.
Mine? I have to flashback why I say “Yes” to become an entrepreneur during my 20ish.
Pandemic pushed me to
I started my career in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, the place where people dream for a better life. I’m used to the slow phase of the countryside, so I’ll be honest Jakarta is not for me then at the end of 2019 I packed my bag and moved to Bali.
As you know Covid-19 starts around February/April 2020, I am one of the people who got laid off from the company that I’ve been working for 6 months. It was a huge shock for a person who always plans her steps. I have no idea where I should go because most of the companies aren’t hiring during the pandemic. I’ve applied to a thousand companies, but none of them have a response or if I’m not mistaken some answers but I just didn’t meet their requirements.
Frustrated? Of course yes, what do you expect? After wishing for a beautiful life on the Island of God, then God sends you to hell.
My circle empower me
I got several remote jobs with low-medium salaries, enough to pay the rent and daily meals. So, good bye cafes and all fancy entertainment. During the pandemic I lived with 2 friends and my boyfriend, we all tried to push the rent as low as we could, so sharing a house would be the best choice.
Because we shared the same story during the pandemic, we started to find a solution together. In early 2020 we came up with Teal Estate. But, before that we know that we need to survive because how can you start a company if you don’t know what’s for dinner the next day. We put aside the ideas and become employees in some companies. Me and my boyfriend shared our bank account, because that’s the best choice during these situations.
After a few experience and the money is enough for our emergency fund, which to be honest it’s only cover for 3–4 months, we start Teal Estate. My boyfriend ran it first, and not long after me and my friend joined him. We start it from scratch, no fancy paid marketing, we just dig for clients on facebook community. I still remember, we message every person that is looking for a villa for monthly rental, sometimes we get replies but most of the time get ignored.
I admire the consistency of our super small team, they keep doing it everyday, day and night. There was a time when we only received IDR 2.5 million and we shared it with the three of us. Then we share foods in the fridge, we cook for lunch and dinner and share. It was sad but warmful, if we go back and remember the best madness of our finances.
I realise, sooner or later I have to start my own
We get our first big deal at the end of 2020. We used to share IDR 2,5–5 million for the three of us, then we had to share around IDR 300–400 million for the three of us. It was huge, remember how hard it is to get a penny during the pandemic.
We grow our business, legalise the company, hire 1–4 employees to help us with some work. But still, our company is still a baby, we have to manage most of the strategy. My boyfriend and my friend still have to manage the sales and I move to the back office.
Along the way, as Teal Estate has enough monthly reserves, we switch our product from monthly and yearly rental to leasehold and freehold. To close this type of deal isn’t fast as month/yearly rental. One deal can take 1–3 months, sometimes it will take 5 months if our clients are still outside Indonesia. During this shift we almost collapsed, because the monthly reserve is getting lower and lower during the slow process of deal.
But the best thing about having a small team is you can discuss your problem and everyone is there to help not leave. We limit our marketing expenses, so we don’t have to cut the employee salary. Slowly but surely, each of us starts to show some progress, one by one our clients start to show progress too. Monthly reserves are safe for now, even if they are not enough for a long period of time, but we don’t have to cut employees to survive.
Life as Entrepreneur don’t make you rich in one night
As you read my story, the journey as a business owner is like an everyday roller coaster ride. I always freak out when our sales are slower, I am haunted by the responsibilities for other people’s lives. Our team is not originally from Bali. Imagine if our company collapses and they have to go back to their own hometown after investing to come to Bali for good. I couldn’t imagine if it happens and I don’t want it to happen.
Am I rich now? Jesus Christ, No.
Sometimes my employee salary is higher than mine and another co-founder. But the three of us are good at allocating our money when we receive a huge deal. I can say, now we can eat lunch at the restaurant and go on a 3–5 days vacation.
Are we financially free? Nope, not yet but that’s the goal before 40ish.
Even though this journey is tough, I am grateful that I am smarter than before on financial management. I am grateful to be surrounded by loyal and dedicated people, I am grateful for become so brave to try different kind of businesses beside Teal Estate. I am grateful to know that I can live with 3 million a month for two people. I am grateful because God brought me to this stage of life where I know how hard it is to get a penny.
So, Become a Young Age Entrepreneur: Can I?
I can say, I will never know if I’m not jump into it. I will never know that there are people that will help me during the madness, and I will never know that I’m capable of working on my commitment and consistency.