Hardships of Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is hard and I can attest. But the rewards I want for myself are more of a need than a want. Like many Jamaicans who cannot afford normal life, but better than most who have no chance. This chance, I am taking it. Because to waste opportunity is one thing I learned not to do. Slipping up in life is not a option, I may never get these chances again.

What can I say the typical 9 to 5 job does not do much for me as it concerns my expenses. I have cut my expenses so much that food is meticulously measured. I do not eat often, some days I would eat only once per day just to save money for important future use. My mother eats though but she would prefer much more than that. She is used to grand meals when my father was working. Those days are gone now.

Going through phases of sadness and worry as time chips away, the axe of poverty making its way to the end of my life. Faith in myself falters from time to time. Was I being weak, because when I see these entrepreneurs I aspire to become such as Richard Branson and Mark Cuban, I do not see no weakness only positivity.

While I was searching for information to write a new lesson on entrepreneurship for my website I found this article on depression in entrepreneurs. Realizing that I was not alone in this constant anxiety. This and a conversation with my ex-girlfriend showed me that my mental turmoil was really created by me.

Assumptions seem to prove this why many people fake it and act like it is ok, because if they were to consider it deeply, they might lose heart and kill themselves. We have to think positively until the situation changes. Only we can make our situation change. Because the thing that I tend to forget at times is that if I was not positive my motivation to change my situation would be poor.

My positivity is the reason I am pushing myself so much and so far. At the end of the day I believe I can become the greatest entrepreneur in the world and lift my country out of its dismal position by myself, no politics, no dishonesty, no criminality. Positivity keeps me running. Dreams give me goals to run to. The financial situation gives me a reminder of what I have and what I do not have, so I can plan my run.

People would ask me why bother, I ask why not. I have so much ideas and ways I can help Jamaica. Dreams I want to achieve. In a 9 to 5 job I only work, barely any grand dreams can be archived there. The country has untapped potential, I am tired of waiting for the day when my wage can pay for my living. Because that will not happen. The truth, countries raise the minimum wage to compensate for inflation and cost of living meaning by the time you get a raise you have higher expenses anyways.

Why work for people, when I can work for myself. Sit back and count money. No, those last words were serious. There are many methods of passive income such as investments, sale of digital goods, website adsense etc. Naturally, they require some initial work and a little bit of maintenance. But trust me some of these methods allow their smart originator to literally sit back and count money.

This is what I am trying to focus on for myself as the time passes. Coming this far, I have sacrificed much, but to give up now is harder now. If something does not work I try something else but the goal has not changed. To be able to take care of my family and live happily. I made my decision long ago, I cannot turn back from it. So would you give up after so long? Stay strong, also if you go through this yourself and need someone to talk to, I am available at my email, twitter or google +. Thank you for reading.


David Shaw is a certified nerd and scum of the earth. Jamaican by birth, he enjoys long walks and the simple things in life. He is also an entrepreneur, writer and graphic designer. You can follow his mundane madness on twitter @davidcs_aw

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Hardships of Entrepreneurship

Discipline-How I Walked Into It

walking in nature

People ask me how I am able to have money in my pocket and still walk a few miles, just to save the taxi or bus fare that I would have spent to go there. It baffles them to some extent, where with me I am unfazed by the idea of walking several miles, actually it has become a fun past time for me now. I do it almost all the time now, except when the distance gets around 10 miles and I have to get there early, otherwise, I putting foot to asphalt.

I would normally walk short distances when I was young in preference to getting to my destination by vehicle. So the basic tolerance for walking was already instilled in me from youth. But walking 1 mile as a youth to walking 20 miles in a tropical country like Jamaica, worst on a hungry stomach as an adult is a big leap in tolerance. The only reason this habit started was because I was broke and jobless three years back.

There were times I would forsake spending the money not knowing what tomorrow held for me. I remember a time when I had no money, I had ate nothing from the day before and had to walk to Spanish Town from Portmore (5 KM) just to get money from my father. I looked at the money pocketed it and walked back.

When I started volunteering, It was a little better, but money was low in those times still. So if I could make it, I would walk. When I had to go somewhere I had to ask myself what was more important a nice ride to my location or food on the table tomorrow, I chose food on a table.

I kept making decisions like that for a while, it was only the really long distances that would convince me to drop my stubbornness and pay for public transportation. As I walked more and more my tolerances and discipline increased hence my distances increased.

Time passed and I got a better job, I could easily afford to pay for transportation to wherever I wanted to go now. But I still walked, now at this point, I had already decided to become a entrepreneur. One thing I knew before walking into being an entrepreneur was that how I utilized my cash flow could make and break my efforts especially since I had to take care of my family on top of that. I could not waste opportunity or money.

So I did not, since I had already attained a good tolerance for walking, I kept up the discipline that I amassed so far. In time my tolerance rose until walking from Portmore to Spanish Town was not a struggle it was fun and very scenic.

Naturally, there were times I bruised the bottom of my feet. I even got bad feelings in the pit of stomach when I walked that I had to stop, but even with money in my pocket I would get back up after a while and walk on. Because that mindset was branded in me to such a level that it was harder for me to go into my pocket than walk in pain. Hell, I pretty much smiled at it.

Since I am trying to stay healthy, walking has become one of my exercise routines. So no pain no gain, I welcomed it. I would step out of my house just to walk, how far and where to….well that depends on my mood. I would walk to specific landmarks, maybe one or two, speed was not important unless I have business there. Rarely do I stop unless something happens to me, which is also rare.

I have never counted the amount of money I have saved not using public transportation. But I realized it is large and it makes me glad to know I have such control over my own behavior. Many people do not have such self-control and splurge away their resources. I did not because I know how hard I worked for it and would need it later.

Granted I am not perfect I still get lazy at times in some areas but my finances are tightly controlled by disciplined goals and behaviors to aid it.

· I walk to avoid paying for public transportation

· I do not buy food at fast food establishments or restaurants, I cook my lunch and carry it.

· I learned to cook my food and do not buy processed food that are relatively expensive and have little use value.

The areas I need to make up in would be my time management, but I am making good progress on that also. I have learned many things about discipline so let me label and expand on them below.

GROWING TOLERANCE

Thinking about it, I have come to realize that discipline and tolerance is something that grows, you cannot just get it like that. You have to practice it to amass the tolerance over some time, so when you have to call on it, it will answer. Because if I never did walking regularly, if I had no money would I walk 15 miles to go somewhere important, no I would probably say “There is no way I can go, might as well wait until I can get some money”.

While my current self would be like “No money….ok I’ll walk” Trust me, I would enjoy the walk up there.

PURPOSING YOUR DISCIPLINE WITH A GOAL

Why are you putting yourself through this? With me it was to save money, but that became kind of meaningless after a while, so i gave it a new purpose, good health. I was trying to keep my body in tip-top shape, so I took the walk as exercise. A discipline becomes more meaningful to you if you have a goal behind it. Especially an important one that you want to achieve.

LITTLE STEPS AT A TIME

One of the most important lessons I learned was the small steps logic. Many small achievements and steps are more important one big one. Why you ask? It shows a long track record of your actual progress in a certain area, this means you can see the development over a period of time. Why you think employers hire skilled or experienced workers over fresh university graduated candidates?

All university graduates have is a piece of paper which certifies knowledge in the field, but skilled and experienced workers usually come in with recommendations, vocational certificates, experiences working some important companies, achievements in important projects done with companies they worked at or with. They have a much more reliable record of their skills, because a employer can see how the applicant has developed over a period of time.

The same logic applies to discipline if I started big, I would lose heart much more easily and never complete. This why many drop out of university. If your university graduate focus on the smaller things like the projects you participated in and great things you did in university. Saying you got a degree is not an achievement, it is what you did to get the degree that would be of value to employer. I started off with short distances at first, until I could tolerate the longer distances.

Because of my record I can measure how well I have progressed and use it as motivation. “I did 2 miles this week, next week 3 miles!” You would just grow it like that. Focus on taking small leaps watch the success, before you know it you reach the big goal because you focused more dealing with the small tasks to get towards the big goal.

Discipline is something you work up to, we all have the willpower within us. So will you take that challenge and make that effort?


David Shaw is a certified nerd and scum of the earth. Jamaican by birth, he enjoys long walks and the simple things in life. He is also an entrepreneur, writer and graphic designer. You can follow his mundane madness on twitter @davidcs_aw

Discipline-How I Walked Into It

To Risk or Not To Risk

take a chance or play it safe

Risk is not one of my friends. I prefer meticulous analysis and the resourceful decision making that comes with it. I did not use to make risky decisions, most of my decisions in the past were very safe I must say. But when you have a life like mine and dreams like mine it usually helps to throw some risk into the mix.

But not many people realize that any form of risk can have one of two significant elements that if not quantified will lead to your downfall. I have learned that missing up one is not too bad but missing up both makes the risk a pointless venture and I am glad I know now. The two elements are how accurately you can measure the chances of success and the consequences of the offset outcomes. Where a disadvantage can lie if the risk is either hard to measure and the outcomes lend towards your further doom.

To illustrate risk with irrelevant outcomes I am going to use the riskiest thing on the planet, gambling. I used to gamble then I started taking it seriously and studied it, then I realized why the companies that put these lotteries still make an island load of money regardless of the fact of someone possibly winning a big jackpot and many people winning mini jackpots every day. The bets are hedged toward the house you are not suppose to win, meaning your chance is so low for the big jackpot, thousands to millions play almost no one wins (technically 70-99% of the time depending).

The lower chance games give very little money it makes no relevance, especially when you played multiple times just to win that small amount one time. You cannot cover all possible bets either by buying many slips with many different arrangements of numbers because trust me when I tell you they predicted that.

They either make the winnings so low you cannot do it more than a certain amount (then you would just be surpassing your threshold lose money even if you win) and/or increase the numbers you choose so it is like trying to decipher the matrix. Then you have to take in consideration again the fact of playing multiple times just to win one time. All the money spent before add up, you did not win you lose trust me.

That illustration was to show risk where the outcomes spell doom either way unless you have the luck of the Irish. But that risk of success is easily measured, hey it is even printed on the bet slips, the odds of you winning. What about risk you cannot measure, well such risk is more common when human beings are involved. This is why economics, which is a science, ends up being one of the most inaccurate sciences around. Because measuring human behavior accurately is like measuring the weight of some sand with a ruler.

It is not possible plain and simple, so since you cannot measure the processes and extenuating circumstances that rely heavily on humans accurately. You can only guess the outcomes, at least with the lottery you know the outcome you either win or lose. When people are involved the outcomes tend to blur between good and bad, it also depends on whom you are talking to. So the consequences tend to be just as good as they are bad. As some people value seemingly bad things as good, vice versa.

But guessing these consequences is difficult I must say due to current and changing trends in the culture, attitudes, demographic, wealth of the people and the business climate. So we use the next best thing, the past. Yup that is right folks, history is the real secret to the power of marketing professionals, economists and business leaders.

Study the past behavior and events of people and you will be able to guess more accurately how will people behave and what is most likely to happen next. Just like when there is financial uncertainty in a country the natural reaction is fear which cause people to withdraw their investments, hence stocks fall, they spend less, hence demand falls leading to lesser goods being bought, more pressure on the business as they make less money etc.

So when governments make their economic decisions it is laden in risk as people may not react and do the exact thing they are inclined to do. Like how my government of Jamaica is promoting entrepreneurship and using policies to help MSMEs (Micro-small- and medium-sized enterprises.) grow. They have not been successful due to a few reasons.

  1. Many banks and small loan businesses have been resistant to providing loans to this sector of society, their behavior really is caused by fear that the investment in an unknown starter business might not pan out well or default.

  2. There is a lack of appreciation for doing business on the legal level due to the relative cost of starting a typical brick and mortar business.

  3. Instead of many young businesses starting, mature businesses are only getting bigger because they are the ones mostly getting loans.

  4. To fill the void left in many underserved and/or costly services, many unregulated businesses have started up, some are not healthy to the populace in general (subpar products, services etc).

This is not what they planned, but it happened anyway. Looks like a domino effect, happening one after the other. Well, this has happened before in some variety in other countries in the past and currently, they could have predicted this but that does not mean they know how to change it effectively. As one method tried in one country might not work in yours, as the cultures are different and the extenuating circumstances would likely be different.

So it is both a case study on how they do it and how to apply it. Politicians then run the risk of offsetting a new problem or a current one being worsened with that policy. This is why politicians try to promote and encourage the people to push the country themselves. Rather than them getting involved, they would make law and legislation that retroactively, influence people to do certain actions. Because if it fails, it is their fault and they are removed in the next election.

Risk is around us and ahead of us, we have to try to make as much sense of it and not jump in without a lifeboat. To be honest, it might not help or it might help, regardless the more you study the risk you going into, the higher likelihood you will know it is worthless or you cannot handle it. If you can and you want, go right ahead. Good luck.


David Shaw is a certified nerd and scum of the earth. Jamaican by birth, he enjoys long walks and the simple things in life. He is also an entrepreneur, writer and graphic designer. You can follow his mundane madness on twitter @davidcs_aw

To Risk or Not To Risk

Cost of Medicine

Medicine tablets
aloisiocostalatge – https://pixabay.com/en/users/aloisiocostalatge-1202333

As I am writing this I am sick. Not sure with what yet, but I will go to a doctor to check it out soon. It is funny because It was just today that I read a news piece about Executive of a pharmaceutical company that had increased the price of a drug called Daraprim that was needed for the infection known as toxoplasmosis. This man had found himself in front of a board of politicians scrutinizing him for his supposed shady business practices.

He declined to answer questions. To make it worse, he was smiling some of the time as he was being lectured even almost giving into laughter at one point during the process.

Now I suppose if you are a normal working Joe like me this would disgust you. The pharmaceutical companies in America have been doing stuff like this for a long time. Life-saving or important drugs have exorbitant and high costs making it hard for some to pay for them. Though I do not work in the pharmaceutical industry, I am one of the many workers in the medical industry. Even though stuff like this angers me, it is kind of hard to be angry. Why?

The research of medication is expensive and legally risky. So in essence, the high prices are really used by the company to offset the original cost of making the drug or medicine. If that medicine causes too much or reprehensible damage to the individual through side effects, the company that made that medicine can get sued within an inch of its life. So many pharmaceutical companies take a very hard line to sell their drugs at the best price and appease their investors and debts.

Unfortunately, this price is good for the company not for the consumer. To make matters worse, a company can prevent any other company from making their product or distributing it using patents. Giving them a clear monopoly and easily little problem in what price they decide on especially if it is a life-saving drug and the customer has to buy, they have no other option otherwise, they might have to face the ultimate consequence. It is the perfect non-negotiable agreement.

But it goes both ways, since politicians are not completely absolved of this necessary sin. Politicians take large amounts in donations from pharmaceutical companies to protect and push their interests in that regard. Most drug pricing policies do not have a cap for how high a company can go. So you could say this event is like a demon betraying the lesser demon to the muzzle of the gun that is media.

NOTE: It is likely much of the donation money came from the sales of the drug in itself. Making it all the more unsavory so I personally take back what I said about not being angry. I should be on that count. So I cannot absolve them in the least then, right?

Anyways Jamaicans tend to have it hard when it comes to the cost of medicine, surgeries etc. But it is the way things work nowadays, I wish there was a more efficient cheaper way to these necessary evils, but what can you do?

His behavior induces little sympathy and comes off as disrespectful and the allegations are serious. I can only hope if he is as guilty as they say, he face the consequences for them. Reflectively politicians get away in these games of business and money, after all they are the government. I think it should be illegal to for any pharmaceutical company to give any sort of financial support to political parties, considering the nature of the business and the ramifications. But that is just me.

Thinking about medicine especially life-saving ones, remember the story of penicillin. The doctor named Alexander Fleming discovered the mold he would later call Penicillin. He realized it was a good anti-biotic, which was what he was searching for at the time as he was studying for solutions to influenza. After much research and test the Australian Howard Florey and Ernst Chain developed his discovery into a drug.

Now they could have easily patented it and made themselves very wealthy men because the drug Penicillin was revolutionary at a time when disease and infections were hard to curb and fight. The drug was cheap to make and powerful enough to fight off some trivial infections that were very problematic.

They actually did not and it was mass produced by the United States during the second world war. Penicillin was quickly distributed on a global level and stopped the spread of most common infections especially in Africa where the cost of medication and medical services was a major reason for the health problems in that continent.

They became world renown for their charity and hard work as scientists. As Erbst Chain said in explaining his motive for researching the fungi named penicillin:

“I became interested – immediately – in Fleming’s paper, not because I hoped to discover a miraculous drug for the treatment of bacterial infection which for some reason had been overlooked, but because I thought it had great scientific interest. In fact, if I had been working at that time in aim-directed scientific surroundings, say in the laboratory of a pharmaceutical firm, it is my belief that I would never have obtained the agreement of my bosses to proceed with my project to work with penicillin.”

I wish people were like this man more time, but the system of the times make it hard for charity and investigatory actions that this man originally did to be realized more often.


David Shaw is a certified nerd and scum of the earth. Jamaican by birth, he enjoys long walks and the simple things in life. He is also an entrepreneur, writer and graphic designer. You can follow his mundane madness on twitter @davidcs_aw

Cost of Medicine