What Do I Want to Keep in This Garden?

When I was working on music in the Bay Area, I realized that being a musician wasn’t what I expected. There was a Facebook post on my feed from my fraternity brother saying that his roommate left early on a lease. I responded to his post, and at a blink of an eye, I was living in Hawaii.

Before living in Hawaii, I was always hesitant to trust people. I was conditioned to be cautious of others, which is the protocol for growing up in an urban environment. That perspective slowly withered away the longer I stayed in Hawaii. People were just genuinely nice without any sort of mixed incentive. This allowed me to open up more and inspired my new and not yet discovered business adventure.

This perspective has taught me a lot about the patience of letting your business practices grow. I took on a full-time job when I first moved here. It granted me a lot of tools to learn about business optimization, but then I was suddenly let go a few weeks before my wedding. The event was an abrupt and devastating hurdle to conquer. Even up to now, I still confront the complicated emotions associated with being let go from a job. I’ve learned how to separate feelings from experience and listen to my natural inclination to experience variety. It allowed me to build a new “garden” which would ultimately be the foundation for my business.

When visiting the Bay Area, my dad shared with me that he somehow grew a pineapple in San Jose, CA. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. It didn’t grow as big as it could’ve in a different environment but it still grew. Photo Credit: D. Ramos

If we’re looking at the analogy of the garden, it takes a lot of work to prune things without letting weeds grow. I knew that my knowledge of business optimization was something valuable, so instead of interviewing for another company, I decided to offer my services directly to customers.

At the first phase of my business, I was prepping the soil and planting all of these seeds. I was networking with different companies and building relationships, and those connections led to my first customers. Being a business consultant is valuable to the community, but that, of course, will come with some challenges. I have always been good about talking to people, but that doesn’t always convert into customers. Problems don’t necessarily mean that you’ve been letting weeds take over. It helps you discern which elements work for you, and to make sure you’re taking care of the plants that are taking care of you.

My business is now growing to a point where I have to decide what I want to keep in this garden. It’s going to be hard work taking out all of the weeds and taking care of the plants that need my attention. What will always remain in my business is integrity and empathy. I’m proud to say I’ve integrated those two values from my upbringing. Everyone’s time deserves to be valued.

There was never a set of instructions on how to conduct a business. I now understand how business owners make decisions, but that journey took a lot of risks and a lot of trust. Those challenges are what helped me build this garden, and I’ve learned to engineer a garden where all of the plants in it get to share the sun.

East Meets West 2019

Thanks to everyone who has been making this event happen.

As I’m relaxing on a Saturday night after a couple of days of working with awesome people, I wanted to share my experience with East Meets West 2019.

If this event is something new to you, the best way I can describe it is bringing in a pool of different types of people: innovators, investors, leaders, and entrepreneurs. The reason for the gathering of these people from Asia to the US? To share their perspectives and expertise in hopes to solve the world’s challenges.

I was fortunate to be a part of the Hands In Helping Out (HIHO) crew. For this event, we were tasked to take care of registration. It was nice to see some familiar faces on our check-in list and I always enjoy hanging out with my HIHO peeps.

Lucky me, I got to attend a good chunk of the panels during downtime and I did my best to soak up as much information as I can. Here are a couple key takeaways:

  • Rebecca Lynn from Canvas VC shared that it’s never too late to do what you want.
  • Margot Shmorak from Hostfully said, “do things that are not related,” and she emphasized that’s remarkably valuable if you end up becoming a leader. Also, never be ashamed of asking for help.

I found some really good value in a surprising panel. Listening to Max Holloway give his analysis on the future of sports, more specifically UFC was inspirational. The basic concept he bestowed upon the panel attendees is this: You need to have a personal brand to have people trust you and it’s not easy. He compared it to being a fighter, having to practice control and master your art.

Being a champion isn’t all about the flash and the glamour. Glad to hear Max Holloway talk about how there are responsibilities to being a champion. It’s up to you how you want to brand yourself.

There were tons of ideas exchanged throughout the event and Hawaii is probably one of the best places to do it because of the unique environment and challenges. To me, every interaction I had with everyone I made connections with is data to analyze and material to work with to solve big or even small problems.

If you attended, what did you learn? Let’s talk story, would love to chat with you and see what we can do to solve problems.