Why I Started a Business in 2013

Why Li Started a Business in 2013

Today I wanted to share a bit more about why I decided to start a business on that fateful December of 2013..

That day I was just fired from my first day on my 2nd sushi waitressing job

I had about $40 in my wallet and another waitress even said “Wow you’re rich” as I was walking out the door as they decided I wasn’t the right fit.

That parking lot moment was when I decided to start my business.

I vowed that I would give my dreams of starting a business my best shot, since now I had absolutely nothing to lose.

Reason #1: I was a terrible employee

Yep, the truth hurts but the real reason was that I had gone through about 7 jobs in the years since I graduated from Berkeley

and it was clear that although I can do a great job on my own, I was not a great employee and I was not great at taking orders.

Reason #2: I love my free time

Even when I was working as a library hall monitor during college, one of my favorite times was ALWAYS when they decided they had overstaffed, they sent me home, I could stay home and work on my eBook (which is what I pretty much do nowadays, working at home on my computer which I LOVE as an introvert)

During my senior year of college I would always try to get Fridays off as every senior, but I learned to LOVE that I could schedule my free time.

Reason #3: I had to honor my dreams

One of the biggest dreams I had since I was 18 years old was starting my own business.

So I didn’t start a business until I turned 23

That meant 5 years of KIND OF living by the sidelines

5 years of watching my mentors succeed and wishing I could be like them too

5 years of saying that I was too young, too female, too Asian (now I catch myself when I BS myself)

5 years of WAITING

and instead of seeing being fired as something that “if only that hadn’t happened I would be successful” as my family had said, I saw it as a springboard into more.

In 2014 my new year’s resolution was to succeed for 1 year in business.

And because I actually made myself honor what I promised myself 1 year ago, it made it happen.

Reason #4: My life wasn’t going in the right direction

I have had 2 major turning points in my life–in 2010 when I had a huge fiasco about changing my major from architecture to urban studies, and in 2013 when I was fired and decided to start a business

Having been through major depressive episodes in my life (I don’t believe in depression, only believe when your life is not in alignment your body will wake you up), I realized that it wasn’t any of the medication my psychiatrist prescribed but that I wasn’t living my LIFE.

That was a huge wake up call and I decided to change course.

Reason #5: I saw the effects of hating your job

Without naming names I’m sure we all know that one person who always says how much they hate their job…and having been someone who lived through that I realized that no matter how much you hated it, you can always change it.

I saw when people hated their job, there was no joy in their eyes, no enthusiasm, no thirst for life.

And we all know what it’s like, and hell I’ve been that type of person too, and I never want to go back to that.

I decided that if my life sucked so badly then why not try to get better instead of repeating the same thing, year after year?

Reason #6: I wanted to make more money

And of course, we measure business success by making money, and the society that I am in measures financial wealth by that as well

Having been someone who was broke before, I will be the first to tell you that the people who say money doesn’t matter have had the luxury of never having to worry about it

Because it absolutely changes lives.

When you’re in a job, the best way to make more money is by getting a raise, which only comes when someone else agrees

I decided..fuck that, I’m going to be the one giving myself raises

Reason #7: I wanted to solve a problem I had

I moved to the US in 2000, without knowing any English and it was HARD to learn a new language and adjust to a new environment

I remember how difficult it was to become a successful immigrant and I wanted to see how I can help other people

Of course the first business I started was teaching ESL and teaching Chinese and shortly after I helped one of my Persian clients get a pharmacy tech job at CVS after 2 years of not having a job.

Then I realized that my experience could help others and that’s why I started The Successful Immigrant LLC.

Reason #8: I wanted to be cool

There is no doubt in my mind that online entrepreneurship is the wave of the future.

If I had stayed in China, I would not even be able to access Facebook, Youtube, hell, one of my Chinese clients can’t even access my trainings if she didn’t have a VPN that went through the firewall!

I saw so many successful entrepreneurs lift themselves up from their bootstraps and I was glad to see their example.

Yes I had some jealousy but then I realized that it was they who inspired me to be better and I turned that negative energy into inspirational energy and even bought their programs because I knew that I could learn a lot from them.

Reason #9: I wanted to see the world

Back in 2012, I took a solo backpacking trip in Thailand and I remember one of the Japanese chefs telling me:” I work 6 months in heaven and 6 months in hell”

It was a radical concept to me at the time, I had dismissed world travel as something that I would only have time to do if I had retired or had a travel job.

I saw all of these entrepreneurs being able to take off whenever they want, travel to Europe and Asia without a care and I realized that I wanted a bit of that.

and I did not want to deal with more people face to face as a travel agent, so I decided the best course was to go to become an entrepreneur

Reason #10: It’s in my DNA

Even though I have never met my paternal grandfather who passed away a few years after I was born, I started thinking about his legacy.

He started a restaurant in Hong Kong which is still in operation today, I have been to the restaurant that is still managed by my uncles and I started to think about my legacy.

It’s funny how many lawyers and doctors absolutely urge their children to do well in school because why?

Because they can’t pass it on.

Whereas with a business, you can pass it on in the future and it can live for generations and generations.

I am a pretty vain person and do want to be famous even after I’m dead, so what better reason to start something that I will be remembered for forever?

I hope that by reading my story you can see what is possible for you as well

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p.s.: Why did you or why do you want to start a business? Hit reply, I’d love to read your answers!