I remember that when I was starting my career I had a plan: I wanted to start my own business one day. But I told myself that I needed to work for a large corporation for at least 5 years to get the necessary work experience. I also told myself that I needed to work my way into a high-level management position, that way I could take advantage of the corporate training that comes with being an executive. Since I was going to start a business in China, I kept telling myself that I needed a Chinese partner, then I would need to establish some “guanxi” (connections), and even join investor circles because everyone knows you can’t even dare to think about starting a business if you don’t have investment, and so on.
After one year, I finally managed to get a position with a foreign corporation. I was so excited. I was on my way. I walked into a huge office that took up 3 entire floors of a large office building; everything was orderly, they had big meeting rooms with comfortable chairs for executives to sit in, people busy on the phones, and the bustling sounds of paper shuffling and computers typing away. I looked around and thought confidently that it wouldn’t be too long before I got into my management position. My boss took me on business trips around China, she allowed me to attend training at the Headquarters in Shanghai, and I even got to sit in on various meetings and business meals with executives.
Something important was missing though. I wasn’t being given any serious responsibility, and I wasn’t involved in any decision making. I realized that I was just a spectator, watching others play the game. It seemed to me when you join a company, they first put you on the bench so you can watch other people play the game. You are stuck in that position; you repeat one thing for 2-3 years, only to get promoted to do another thing for 3 years. At the rate I was learning things at my job it would be not 5 but 50 years before I learned everything I needed to start my own business.
By the time one feels you have learned enough, you’re old and exhausted. I realized that by that time, I might not have the energy to do all the running around that it takes to start a company. My dream felt further and further away…
There I was, standing at a crossroads, very confused about my future, and on the wrong side of my twenties. I wanted to start my own company, but I still felt I didn’t have all the knowledge and experience I needed to start.
Even after a year, I began to feel that my time was dwindling, I recognized my excuses for what they were, threw caution to the wind, and decided to start my own business. I decided to be an entrepreneur. It was less certain, offered even less stability, but I knew that during this period of time I would learn a lot, be it from success or failure.
In the 2 years since my fiancé and I started our own business I feel I’ve learned more than some people would have in 20 years working at their corporate jobs. The decision to take that leap into the unknown was the hardest part of this process. Over the past two years we’ve created a cartoon brand called ALBA, and most importantly we’ve grown, learned and developed ourselves in the people we wanted to be throughout this process.
A little bit about what we’ve created:
ALBA is an acronym for “Life isn’t fun without A Little Bit Apparel”. The pun is very intended, and any Monthy-Python fan would get it. Life really isn’t fun without taking on a little “peril”. No one that ever achieved greatness has ever done so without taking the risk need to be great. Many people never reach their potential for happiness and greatness because they’re too afraid to make the leap of faith to do what they love.
ALBA was created with one purpose in mind, and that is to stress the importance of doing what one likes doing and making an effort to enjoy life. Therefore, our mission is through our comics and cartoons to encourage people to dream their own dreams, and then take the necessary risk to achieve them. We strive to raise awareness of the need to cultivate a risk taking mentality “seize the day” while you are young, be yourself, dare to dream the impossible and put your youth, passion, and energy toward achieving your dreams, as opposed to the traditional mentality of conforming to tradition and avoiding risk, seeking stability, pleasing others and never being yourself.