Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Why I'm Not An Entrepreneur

For years now, I've had numerous discussions with friends and family about the possibility of setting up my own business, no matter how small. Prospects have ranged from my own software consulting firm to a food stall in an MRT station. None of these ideas never push through. Aside from general risk-aversion and not being confident in the ideas, there's a few factors that in my mind are significant obstacles towards starting a new business for me.

Government red tape and paperwork

I have a friend who manages a small business for his family, as he's often ranting about the situation here in the Philippines, about how there's always a lot of filing requirements, many of which don't make sense and are seemingly designed to make it easier for unscrupulous employees to bilk you for money. A direct quote: "It is literally easier to cheat on taxes and filing requirements via connections/bribery than it is to make a good faith effort to follow regulations." This is not something I would want to deal with.

Hiring other people

A while back I was discussing with someone the prospect of setting up a food stall franchise somewhere. They offered an affordable package and assistance, but I balked at the idea that I would have to find and hire someone to man the stall myself. I have enough trouble delegating my work to other people when I'm in a team of competent engineers. I find the idea of entrusting an entire store or stall in which I invested hard-earned money unnerving. I'm not sure I'd be able to properly identify someone trustworthy enough that I can leave them alone to handle such things.

Marketing and Sales

With my background as an engineer, I'm not too fond of marketing and sales. However, I have spent the last couple of years working with a small startup, where I had a lot more visibility into the overall business process, so I guess I have a slightly better appreciation of marketing and sales now.ย These skills are largely focused on manipulating humans, whereas my own skillset is largely focused on manipulating computers. It doesn't help that a lot of marketing techniques and sales methods feel very "scummy" to me, like clickbait ads and so on. I know these can be done well and in ways that conform with my own personal code of honour, but still, in my head these skills constitute "black arts" and "necessary evils."ย 

All of these are hurdles I'd have to overcome if I ever really want to start a business. That, or I'd have to find business partners willing to handle all this drudge work for me so that I can focus on the parts I enjoy -- engineering and problem solving and implementation. Until then, I'll have to content myself with working as an independent consultant.

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Last modified at: Jan. 17, 2021, 4:57 a.m.. Source file

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