Disclaimer: If you're American, a feminist, politically sensitive, and never lived or travelled long term abroad, you will be offended by this post. So "reader discretion" is advised :)
Opinion vs. Experience
I haven't lived in the US for 4 years, so I've changed and evolved since living abroad.
I know, some of you may think "people don't change" well I have.
Anyone can have an opinion, shaped by what they read and watch, by where they live and who their friends are.
But then, there are experiences, which can be very rewarding and expands one's perspective.
Nationality trumps Ethnicity/Race
Most of my life I was labelled as "African-American" or "person of colour" and "woman of colour."
Once I left the US, I was just "American" and it was absolutely refreshing.
In Israel, I was as an American.
In Thailand, I was foreigner and an American.
In China, I was an American.
In Germany, Finland, Korea, Japan,
Singapore and the other countries I've travelled to,
I was an American.
Americans abroad have a lot in common, moreso than they would recognise while living in the US.
Because abroad a lot of divisions like race, class, religion, region, love of sport teams, politics are not as important as nationality.
You have an American passport, you speak English, you're an American.
So for 4 years, I was just an American woman, starting a business in a foreign land.
Now that I'm back in the US, I feel that people are trying to "put back in the box" of "African American" and "woman of colour," terms I really don't understand.
Especially "woman of colour" why do people in the US need to categorise non-white woman???
I want to be clear: I'm an American woman.
Simple as that.
In my experience some cultures are more open to criticism and/or tolerant of free speech than others.
Now on a spectrum, of the most "blunt," "frank," and honest people I've met in the context how open they are to sharing their political, religious, and world views are:
Israelis, Germans, Finnish, French, Hong Kongese, and Dutch people.
However, I would say Israelis are the most straight-forward people I know (not a bad thing, it's actually nice when you know where you stand with someone) and they are very open becoming your friends, but with Germans, Finnish, and French people, they are more reserved to creating friendships.
On the other side of the spectrum, people that I've met who are more private or reserved are Thais, Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese.
Given the laws in Thailand and China, I do understand why people don't **openly** criticise or talk about the government, religious views, or share their opinions on current events;
but in the context of sharing thoughts when it comes to your appearance: weight, people are not afraid to tell you that you're fat.
Quick story, my first teaching job as a high school English teacher, some of my students and teachers used to remark how "chubby" and "fat" one of my students were. And to be respectful I asked one of my colleagues why was it okay for students and teachers to, what I understood as, "make fun" of our fat student.
She explained, if someone calls you fat, or points out that you've gained weight, it's not to be mean.
It's out of love and concern that "Why have you let yourself go?" "Don't you want to get married one day?" "Being unattractive is a poor reflection on your family " "How will you get a good job?"
At first it was hard to understand, but I do embrace it now, because if I really care about someone, I'm going to tell them they've gained weight.....and how can I help them get healthier.
So where do Americans fall in this spectrum?
American society has made it hard for people to embrace and/or accept constructive criticism, for all political spectrums (liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, etc.), so the solutions for a long time has been not to openly talk about political and religious views.
Also, in regards to religion, many people are NOT educated about Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Confucius, and Taoism;
even further many people have never met or interacted with people from different parts of the world.
Thus, many Americans live in a bubble.
And, culturally Americans believe: "American is number 1," "America is the most advanced society in the world," "America is the best!" "America has the best schools in the world"
Many countries are patriotic, and that's okay.
But, I've noticed, even with other American expats I've talked with, Americans don't like to have their world views challenged or disrupted.
Essentially, many are content with the bubble they live it.
Which is very sad.
So being back home, it's been very hard talking with family, friends, and strangers (I really don't mind talking with strangers).
Individualist vs. Group Culture
Americans are very individualistic, culturally, economically, and socially. Versus, in the "East" Asia and Middle East, it's very "group" culturally, economically, and socially.
What do I mean?
For example, in the US, when you're 18, you are legally considered an adult, many people move out of the home to study, work, and get a place of their own.
Whereas in say, Thailand, or Asia in general, many young people live at home until their married.
Some will study abroad, continue their university studies, work abroad, and depending on their social class, will live on their parent's property.
Individualistic vs. group culture has it's pro's and con's.
I would say pro's for individualistic: independence in thoughts and ideas, especially in regards to academic achievement and innovation. The con's are selfishness, hubris, and lack of empathy for others that are poor and struggling.
Example: the "American Dream" praises the individualistic culture, and highlights the few individuals that achieved success, and blames those that tried and failed to be successful that they are lazy and not working hard enough.
Pro's for group culture, are effort and support for many to be successful, especially if you analyse the "economic miracle" of Asian Tiger countries such as South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. The con's are in the classrooms, students struggle to think and work independently.
Example: When I was teaching my high school students I introduced weekly homework assignments, and some students didn't do the homework. So I made a rule, that if one person in the class didn't do the homework, everyone will be responsible. This strategy worked for a while, until I discovered many were just copying each other (cheating/copying is very prevalent in schools).
The extremes of "group" and "individualism" are definitely influenced by the economic and political system, of a country. So even in Western countries, like Finland, or Israel, though they are capitalist, they have many generous social welfare programs to help the society as a whole.
Whereas in the US, it's very capitalist, and one example is I received better healthcare as a **student** in Israel, than I received my whole entire life living under my parents insurance plan in the US.
There are many flaws in capitalist, socialist, and communist economies, but I believe that it's very sad that profit is put before health, education, and family well-being of a population.
Dating & Marriage
Okay, you've gotten this far. And this will be short, because I want to dedicate a whole blog to this subject.
Feminism, specifically in the US, only works for upper-class and wealthy women who have economic security, quality options of men to date and marry, and control over their time.
Feminists in, Finland, Israel, and even China, have the social benefits from their societies that support families, education, independence, and have higher standards for men when it comes to dating and marriage.
Ex) A man in China wants to get married? He must have a car, a house, good job, to prove to his bride's family that he can provide a create a family of his own. Men that don't meet these standards, will most likely be bachelors for life and not continue their family name (bring shame to their family, so men are motivated to work hard and continue their family name).
Ex) In Israel, if a couple, (Jewish, Palestinian, Bedouin, Christian) is struggling to have children, the state will help pay for In-Vitro
Ex) Finland has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world, the state provides "baby boxes" to every mother (married or not) so every child born has an equal start in life, mothers and fathers get paid maternity and paternity leave, childcare is subsidised, and a lot more benefits.
In America, not having generous social programs, or men meeting standards to be able to support a family is one of the primary differences that sets American feminists apart.
My observations: some controversial points
Many American women have low-standards when it comes to dating and marriage.
Many American women have lost their feminine energy...and looks.
Many American women are angry.
Many American women believe that their education, job, and materials makes them attractive.
Some American feminists want to be better if not replace men...
And it's not their fault.
Because feminism has really lied to a lot of women.
Demographically, there is not enough college-educated men for every college educated woman, and for religious women who want to marry within their faith, there simply is not enough religious men.
As for my observations with American men:
Dating apps have cheapened sex, so men don't feel the need to commit.
Divorce rates and lack of courts supporting father's have left men not wanting to get married and start a family.
Men may feel that they are not needed anymore, because "the future is female" women work, earn their own money, own their own homes, etc.
So many men don't know where they fit in society anymore.
In my next post I will go more in-depth explaining my observations of the dating and marriage scene in the US.
It definitely will point out some hard truths :)
If you've lived abroad and returned back home, what has been your experience?
Please share in the comment section below.
As always, thank you for reading!
Disclaimer: I can't write a universal perspective of what it means to be a successful entrepreneur, let alone in a foreign land, because everyone has a different experience, and journey. But there are some hard truths that I discovered in my journey, that I share on my blog that upset a few people.
I'm back in the US, living at home, and I want to continue the discussion from my last post about the 3 types of entrepreneurs I've met.
If you haven't read it, read it HERE.
Why People Disagree?
Now I expected disagreement, because not everyone neatly fits into those 3 categories.
And I recognise I have limited experience as an entrepreneur, in a foreign land, because I'm not married, I don't have children, I'm heterosexual, and I've never worked in the corporate world.
However, people are certainly uncomfortable reading about social class, wealth, and how their private relationships and wealth influences their success.
What is wrong with analysing your supportive network, and admitting how people and wealth contribute to your success?
Because even the most successful entrepreneurs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerburg, give credit to their spouses, family, friends, employees, teachers, and mentors who have helped them along the way.
The essential point of my last blog post was that no one can do it alone.
Everyone gets some kind of help.
Family Dynamics & Sacrifices
So who am I to make such provoking comments about wealth, marriage, and career choices?
Well, here's a little family background.
I'm the youngest of four girls, my parents are separated, and I've moved about 11 times throughout my childhood.
Raised primarily by my mother, I grew up with my whole entire extended family: aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.
All near by to help and be an example in my life.
When my sister got married and had children, she and husband lived in my mom's home and eventually moved to a nearby town so we could help.
In the USA there is no paid maternity leave (few exceptions), so after 6 weeks of unpaid maternity leave my sister went back to work, and my older sister and I did "night shifts" and baby-sitting her newborn.
Growing up, I didn't realise my mom was an entrepreneur, as she's done various small projects and jobs to support herself and our family.
She's a great cook and always wanted to open a restaurant, but never had the capital, network, or spousal support to start her own business.
But that never stopped her from selling food, and being the supportive and loving mother who always had a room to spare, cooked a yummy meal for friends and family, and sharing her wisdom for me to live a better life than she had.
I know people don't like to talk about social class, but I will say my family's socio-economic background is working-class poor.
What made my childhood not too terrible, despite times of hardships, was growing up with extended family who pulled resources together.
My childhood dream was to be a gymnast and compete in the 2016 Olympics.
But gymnastics is an expensive and time consuming sport (I did it for 2 years in high school), that my parents couldn't fully invest in.
I couldn't be a professional gymnast, or ballerina,
so I opted to fulfil my other dream,
During my studies I had opportunities going on class field trips, study abroad in Europe (Greece, Italy, and France) with People to People International in high school, study French for a summer in Quebec, Canada in university, and for graduate school go off to Israel for grad school (and road trip through Europe on my break).
During my secondary education, my mom worked as a live-in hospice care-giver in another city, for about 3 years.
And as a teenager, I missed her dearly, but her job provided enough income for my sisters and I to have a better life.
Life is not easy in the USA if you're working-class poor (especially if you're a single mother, and a "minority"), but having my extended family members;
and living in a society that says its a meritocracy (but the US has class and racial divides, that people also don't like to talk about) has shaped my perspective of what it takes to be successful.
I used to joke with my former partner about being a good "house-girlfriend" (quick note, he did most of the cooking, didn't mind cleaning, and we went grocery shopping together on the weekends).
Since we didn't hire a maid (very affordable option in Bangkok), I was responsible for thoroughly cleaning our home, and any time we had a maintenance problem I was responsible to make arrangements to get things fixed.
I managed of our social lives, made sure we maintained a healthy lifestyle, and created a warm, stress-free, and happy home.
I had no problem managing our home while building my startup, because we were a team, he supports my ambitions and I supported his career.
Teachers Play a Big Role
My experience as a teacher, first teaching high school students then nursery students, also shaped my perspective of what it takes to be successful.
Many of my high school students had parents that owned a business(es), and many were raised by extended family, nannies, or lived alone (during the week) so my co-teachers and I played an active role beyond their studies.
For my nursery students, most were Japanese, and the mothers were all stay-at-home moms (nothing wrong with that), my other students Thai and European, had working mothers and/or nannies (again, nothing wrong with that) I was responsible for teaching my students reading and other skills such as:
How to put on their shoes, how to count with their fingers, how to use a fork and knife, following directions, how to play nicely, saying "please and thank you," patience, etc.
These are skills many people learn from their teachers (of course parents do as well, but in school most of the basic skills are learned).
Teaching is a rewarding job, as teachers teach life skills that people and society often take for granted.
Time is a Limited Resource
What I learned from being a "house girlfriend" (and care giver to my niece and nephew) and teacher has given me an insight to doing the "invisible work" (household chores and childcare that don't have economic value) **some** entrepreneurs don't do, and/or simply outsource.
Consider how much time you save when you hire a maid to clean your condo 2-3 times a week.
Consider the time you save when you have a spouse stay at home, manage the house and do all the child care, while you work 60+ hours a week and travel for business.
Consider the time you save when you hire a nanny (full time or part time) or (extended family) to take care of your children so you can focus on your business (no judgements, it's a choice).
Consider the time and freedom you have, if you're single and child-free, to focus on your career.
Consider the advantage you have (also risky if things don't work out), if you're a male entrepreneur by marrying a local woman, to be your business partner and/or stay at home wife/mom.
Lastly, if you're of a privilege background, please don't take it as an attack on your character, but if you've never had to worry about basic necessities (housing, food, paying student loans, etc.);
your entrepreneurial journey is simply not the same as someone who comes from a lower class background (nothing wrong with that).
I understand that being an entrepreneur is not easy.
But, there needs to be more honesty in the startup community about how our personal lives and wealth influence can influence an entrepreneurs success.
Key word **influence** not define, as many entrepreneurs have "made it," to the top, but they are exceptions, not the rule.
Money Makes a Difference
I left out one key factor in my last post, aside from having a supportive partner I have an Angel investor.
Why did I leave that out?
Because, I want to save this part of my journey for the book that I'm currently working on.
But before my investment I used money from my humble teaching salary and lived off the income from selling products (this is before I met and lived with my former partner).
I did all my designs, used very basic packaging, and attempted to make my own scents.
Now, at some point as an entrepreneur you need to build a team, and improve the quality of your product/service.
So you can scale.
And to scale you need money.
Commercialisation of Fundraising
I will say, to people in the startup ecosystem: leaders, Angels, VC's, organiser, and successful entrepreneurs, we need to be more honest about fundraising in the SE Asia.
People are happy to give advice, share their stories, and encourage startups to join incubators and accelerator program that are "popping up" all over SE Asia;
Every other month there is some kind of tech summits, road-shows, and pitching competition;
but when it comes down to investing and fundraising seed, or Series A, B, C, D & E, people don't honestly talk about how difficult it is for a startup to secure outside investment.
And the unicorns that do receive investment from 500 Startups, Sequoia, Ant Financial, Tencent, Tamasek investments;
started their startup using their own money and/or money from their network.
No One Owes Me Anything
Many entrepreneurs I know (and read about), use money from their personal saving, and fundraise from their family, friends and professional network.
Maybe I need to do "more homework" on fund-raising, or be in the right spaces to meet and pitch my idea to Angel's and VC's;
But if you've followed my journey, I've been in "the right spaces," I have a good product, I blog (wrote for Techsauce 2017 and other BKK tech events);
I have customers, and my idea is "disruptive" and has a tech component.
And all I've been able to get from the startup ecosystem is advice and invitations to write and attend more tech events.
Maybe it's me.
Maybe cosmetics is not interesting to Angels and VC's,
maybe I need to add more tech or some AI component to my startup,
but what I do know is that I have better luck fundraising outside of Asia.
And I don't have to attend tech and startup events to meet an investor (I met my Angel investor at a Halloween party).
I'm not giving up on the SE Asia startup ecosystem, but I'm taking a new strategy to build and scale my startup.
Hence why left Bangkok (temporarily) and returned home to fundraise and write my story.
Stay tuned for my post about my reverse culture shock being back in the US (oh, be prepared to get mad, especially if you're American, and a feminist)
If you still disagree with my perspective, feel free to write a comment down below!
Thank you for reading :)
Disclaimer: What I write is based on my experience and observations of 4 years living and travelling in Asia. Some of my comments may come across as sexist and may be uncomfortable to accept. Plus, people don't like to talk about their privileges (ex: wealth) when it comes to their success, so prepare :)
My Current Situation
I'm going home. I didn't plan to go home until Thanksgiving. But, I'm out of options of supporting myself and my startup. So I'll be in the US for a few months.
As for my incredible job opportunity, as a Community Manager at an accelerator, the bureaucracy of hiring a foreigner in Thailand (for every foreigner a company must have 4 Thai's, unless it has a BOI), is too costly.
Am I disappointed?
Yes, because it would have been the perfect job.
But, this experience has taught me I'm a valuable asset in the local startup ecosystem and at home I could use my expertise of the startup ecosystem in Asia to find another job.
However, the greatest lesson I've learned living as an entrepreneur in Thailand is that
there're only 3 ways to be an entrepreneur in a foreign land.
3 Ways to be a Successful Entrepreneur
1. You come from a privilege family with money and connections
2. You worked in a lucrative industry (ex: finance), can fund and live off your savings and fundraise from your network
3. You're smart enough to marry or have a partner that can compliment your ambitions
** Or a combination of all 1 & 2, 2 & 3, or all three**
I really believe people down play these realities.
I've met a few successful single people, but the people I've met that are married, partnered, or come from a family with money, they are in a whole different stratosphere.
I've lived in Bangkok for about 3 years. The first 6 months living in Bangkok I was doing okay, I made 35K THB per month, which included free housing (in a great location, the CBD).
I started selling hair products so I had extra income, I could afford to go to yoga, I cooked at home to save money, and managed to travel a bit.
You know what made a world of a difference?
Being in a relationship...with someone that was able to compliment my ambitions.
My Last Relationship
My former-partner is a Data Scientist, very well educated, from Finland (men cook, clean, respect women, family life balance is practiced, quite the socialist utopia.
He already lived in Thailand for 2 years, and we shared similar values (vegetarian, staying healthy, etc.).
Being in a relationship, I had more security, I had someone to share my ideas with, get technical advice/help.
And if something were to tragically happened I had someone to take care of me (and for him the same, we supported each other equally).
As for my startup, I could afford to take more risks and invest energy in my business. Hence, quitting my job, working full-time on my startup, lived in a comfortable condo in a great location, travel, and social capital.
I was in that stratosphere, a place people don't talk about.
To take risks, is a privilege. If you don't have a safety net (money or a partner/spouse), you cannot take risks. Simple as that.
My Relationship Experience:
Before I moved to Thailand, I was living in Israel, and within the first week, I had a boyfriend (it's quite a cute story how we met, but I'll save that for another post), my experience would have been completely different if I was single.
My then boyfriend, we met as Master's students at Haifa University, he had a caravan (we did a road trip from Haifa to Eilat, and another regional road trip from Turkey to Germany).
He's was a German-Jew making aliyah (I won't get into the politics of that, but there are privileges), he was already living in Israel (so he had a network I could tap into), and very supportive of my ambitions.
So my overall experience in Israel I was able to travel, meet all types of people I would've never if I was single.
It was a very equal relationship, he was well educated, and it was much easier for me to adjust to living in a new country.
So when I moved to Asia, I knew I had to have a boyfriend while I build my startup.
My Advice to Female Entrepreneurs
As a female entrepreneur my advice is to date smart.
And when I say date smart, date someone who's professionally and emotionally supportive, well-educated, someone that comes from an equal society (or understand equal partnership).
Someone that shares your values, someone that works in a lucrative industry (tech, finance) has a steady job (to balance your hectic schedule).
And don't see your femininity as a disadvantage (It may be sexist, to say but people are more likely to do business with a woman that is well-groomed, slim, and more feminine).
My Observation of Male Entrepreneurs
Almost 90% of the male entrepreneurs I've met while living and travelling in Asia are married to local women.
Women are the backbones of a society so this partnership enables them to have a deeper understand of the culture, politics, language, social cues, and idiosyncrasies of a society they want to build a business in).
This is very smart.
Because their wives are their business partners and/or more than happy to stay-at-home (I have no problem with that)
Thus, male entrepreneurs can focus and work 80+ hour weeks and travel extensively (while their wives/partners manage the household).
And they have their in-laws to help if they have children or need further support, it's basically a win-win (if the marriage is solid).
And looking at other successful male entrepreneurs such as, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, Larry Page, Richard Branson, Jack Ma, etc. are all married, and to brilliant women.
Even difficult but brilliant men like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, were married.
Marriage is good for business.
Why don't people talk more about this?
My Observations of Female Entrepreneurs
Women on the other hand, especially building a business in a foreign land do NOT have the same advantages: marrying a local (especially 10+ years their junior).
And reap the benefits like male entrepreneurs.
As I've said in my last post, If you're going to do business in a foreign land...marry a foreigner:
Men can go to any country, find a wife, who most likely will learn his language, and they build a business together, as she can help him navigate the local bureaucracy of starting a business.
Women cannot do business like men (Feminist really need to understand the work place or "good o'l boys club/network only benefits men and won't change, even though #Metoo is gaining traction).
(The only way to for real change is women start their own businesses and networks and create a work place that is flexible with motherhood and family life).
Unless a female entrepreneur finds a local that grew up in the West, she will still face obstacles (and fierce competition from local women in terms of dating),
And when it comes to starting a family and having children (inheritance, citizenship, identity and religion of the child) can be tricky if the mother is foreigner married to a local.
Local Female Entrepreneurs
Thai, Chinese, Korean, and Singaporean female entrepreneurs I've met are mostly western educated, from upper-middle class to wealthy families, or grew up in the West.
They are almost always are in relationships or married to western men (who worked in lucrative industries, and are also well-educated).
Only date western-educated local men (from their same social class or wealthy families)
Or remain single (because options for quality men are simple slim to none).
I can confidently say women date within their class or "marry up", we don't do well "dating or marrying down." (and for those that do, there's resentment).
And the few foreign women that do marry locals, are literally unicorns (I've met one, but they have no children and her husband is very westernised and comes from a upper-middle class family).
From what I've observed, local Thai men are too shy to talk with Western women, are happy to "play around," but will almost never introduce a foreign woman to their family.
These are challenges women have to face.
And if women are already married and come to Thailand, it will be a test to their marriage (moving to any foreign country is a strain on any relationship).
Thailand is quite a paradise for men (Thai women are beautiful, slim, and aren't generally feminist).
And Ive met foreign female entrepreneurs that have come to Thailand married, then end up divorced, as their husbands either cheated or left them.
I've read and heard of tragic stories of companies moving whole families with a generous package: pay for international school fees, housing, international moving fees, etc., and some men, unfortunately leave their families for a local woman.
Or single men that come to work in the tech sector, just completely lose it, as they may have been "5's" at home, and instantly feel like "10's" in Thailand (nothing wrong with that, I believe everyone should find happiness).
With the plethora of attention from women, get mixed up with bar girls, etc (if you're really interested in this topic, go on Reddit).
So women have these types of risks, single or married, when living, working, and building a business in Thailand.
What will I do at Home?
So, I'm single (at the moment), I'm going home.
Since I no longer have a support system here in Bangkok, as my partner and I are no longer together (we are genuine friends, once your friends with a Finn your friends for life), I have to go home.
I'm not going back to teaching...in Thailand (the wages here are simply too low especially with housing not included).
Working in an international school takes too much of my time (I respect teachers and the profession, but I don't want to be a teacher).
And I don't come from a family with money, or worked in a lucrative career where I can bootstrap and live off my savings.
But all hope is not lost!
And I'm NOT giving up.
Just need to re-strategize how I will build my startup.
Going back home, is an opportunity for me to re-connect with the startup ecosystem (Silicon Valley), fundraise money for my startup.
And perhaps write a book.....
And then return back to Thailand...with more money :)
So, friends I'll definitely be back in Asia.
Thank you everyone that has been following me through my journey.
Share you're thoughts about my dating observations in the comment section. For a long time I wanted to write about dating and relationships, but afraid people would be upset.
I'm back in Bangkok. I no longer live in Sukhumvit, and moved back to Sathorn, my old neighbourhood. I'm living in a hostel, starting all over. How did I get here? Is all hope lost? Not exactly. Because this time, I'm starting over on my own terms.
Three years ago, when I first came to Bangkok, it was supposed to be temporary. I wasn't supposed to stay longer than 2 weeks, as I was planning to return to teach English in China. But the longer I stayed, I fell in love with Bangkok, from the food, ease of getting around the city with the Sky Train, and a lot of people speak English.
So, I decided to stay in Bangkok, found a teaching job that provided housing (rare). Since leaving the US, I've travelled alone, and moving to Bangkok, I didn't know anyone, I wasn't familiar with neighbourhoods like Sukhumvit, Sathon, vegan places, yoga/reform Pilates spots, or how to go about finding a condo. So I lived in my hostel for about 3 weeks, which gave me enough time to find a teaching job and settled in Sathorn.
Now, if you've followed my blog I've shared my adventures in Israel, China, US, and most recently Korea. Everything I've been through, despite the challenges and success, I've believe it has made me more resilient, more focused, and determined to build my startup.
The last 2 weeks have been very stressful. It may look like a "care fee lifestyle" from the outside and what I share on my social media, but there are many depressing and days were I feel like simply giving up. Questioning if this path worth all the sacrifices.
And yes, I've made major sacrifices (as everyone does when building a career), but for entrepreneurs, building a business from scratch...in a foreign country (and not having a local partner), with few resources (not coming from family money, or a lucrative career), is very difficult.
So, when I returned back to Bangkok from my month long adventure in Korea, I had 2 choices. To return back to teaching English, or go find work that is in the startup ecosystem while managing my startup part-time. It would be easier to do the former, as teaching gives stability and it's easier to find a teaching job. However, I chose the latter, I applied for a job position as a Community Manager at an accelerator program.
I chose to go for the latter, a big risk, because there was no guarantee that I would get the job, but I've taken many risks, and I decided to invest my energy and time to be a key player in the Bangkok/regional startup ecosystem, than safely go back to teaching.
And you know what? I got the job as a Community Manager (more exciting news to come), and I found a condo in Sathorn (so expensive out here!). I still have a way to go before I build a new home base, but I'm very excited.
Along this journey, I've learned my optimism, stubbornness, flexibility (I'm an aquarius), faith, and community has enabled me to go through some of the most "darkest hours" of being an entrepreneur.
Thank you friends, family, readers for your support as I'm taking a new direction in my life.