Entrepreneurship

Moving to a Foreign Country, and Starting a Business

Today I met up with a guy who runs his own digital marketing agency in Hong Kong, and as I started explaining the usual 'Who we are and what we do', he stopped me and asked: 

"Wait ... Did you come here alone to do this thing?"

"Yes. I guess I did.", I said. 

At this point, normally people would exclaim an obligatory "Oh wow you're so brave what were you thinking? Do you know anyone here?!" and I'd politely laugh it off. 

In the MTR ride back to my office, I started thinking about the past 2 months in Hong Kong. I came here with a total of two friends in my "friendbase" that I knew in Hong Kong. Fell sick twice. Cried once. Had many instances of crippling self-doubt - 'oh my God who do I think I am to succeed in this foreign place, I'm not Jack flippin' Ma.'. 

But if I could turn back time to the first moment I blurted out my idea of OpenMinds™ Hong Kong to Jan and Daryll ... Would I really, really still do this?

The answer is a 'Fuck yes'. 

If I'd REALLY took my time to consider all the 'Pros and Cons of moving to a foreign country to start a business from scratch', I guess I'd have considered the loneliness, financial instability and risk involved... Which may have led me to pulling out of the idea. 

Yes, sometimes I'm so scared I feel my limbs going weak. My best friend just delivered her first child and I can't be with her. I miss Malaysia so much it hurts.

But doing this in Hong Kong has brought out the best in me. 

The experience has tested my belief in my partners, my core principles and brought me back to the essence of who I am: stubborn as hell and as resilient as a cockroach. I scramble to find inspiration - daily - and every rejection is adding on layers to my skin, building me up to be impenetrable.

Reject me! Say no to my proposals! Talk shit about me - 'Eliza really is a party girl by nature and cannot lead' - and I really can't wait to prove you wrong. :D

Being here has also helped me refine my belief in the concept of Patience. Rome wasn't built in a day - and a new startup from KL is not going to be an overnight success in a foreign country. 

One of the biggest things I've learned in Hong Kong is that motivation, drive and inspiration does not magically appear out of thin air. You have to crave it, look for it and CHOOSE it. 

On "choosing inspiration":

These days, I spend half an hour before bedtime watching inspirational videos by Gary Vaynerchuk or on TED to feed myself some positivity and end my day with the right mindset. It's a small lifestyle change, really, but the effects are huge. ;)

If you feel like you're in a rut or "lost in a foreign land" (metaphorically!), you're not alone. Make a choice to be the best freakin' version of yourself. If you really need a listening ear, email me - let's talk. :)