By Paul Yung

At a recent Business Academy we organised in Penang, a young leader, let’s call her Sally, shared with me her fear of wasting her time in direct sales. She was offered a job but opted to turn it down to build her PM-International business full time. She wondered if this was the right decision and was worried about the opportunity loss from not taking the job.

Anyone who has wanted to start their own business would have had these thoughts. What if I don’t make it? I would be so humiliated. Would I have wasted my time, energy and relationships? What if I had taken the job instead?

This was my reply to Sally. Firstly, congratulations. It takes guts to leap full time into entrepreneurship. My advice in this situation is to get your feet wet with part time entrepreneurship first, build it as a side hustle to the point that you can make enough to cover your living expenses, then take the leap when you have developed a strategy to bring your business to the next level with more time on your hands.

The reality is, you may not like what you are doing, or the company you are associated with. You may not be familiar with the products, or the business model. You do not need the extra financial pressure on your shoulders whilst you are learning the ropes. Take the part time business building, as a discovery process of finding out if it’s a right fit for you. My best advice here is to attack your part time business with a full-time mentality. Be curious and tenacious.

Secondly, entrepreneurship is a steep learning curve. In Sally’s case as a direct selling distributor, there is no 9 to 5. It’s all the time. You control your hours, which is both liberating and daunting.

Aside from time management skills, you also need to learn about leadership, sales, managing customers, organizing events, overcoming objections, approaching prospects, public speaking, onboarding new recruits, emotional intelligence, and much more.

If you join the right direct sales company, and a team with a proven system, you will learn these skills and more, while you earn. You don’t need all these skills to succeed. We have lots of distributors who have become incredibly successful with only one or two of the above, but you do need a plan and a mentor.

Let’s say you tried for 3 years, and it didn’t work out. Firstly, be kind to yourself, it’s ok that it didn’t work out. At least you tried. How many people can genuinely say that?

Then, have the self-awareness to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and understand what you love and hate to do. Nobody is good at everything. Lean on your strengths to bring value to your next company. Say you ran your home baking business for 3 years and it doesn’t work out. You learnt that you love marketing your cakes on social media, making reels, highlights, and posts, but you aren’t detailed-oriented and struggle with the administration portion of things, like invoicing customers, keeping your accounts up to date and collating receipts for your purchases. Great! Lean into your strength in social media marketing in your next role.

What I’m trying to say is, I believe that there will be no loss in dabbling in entrepreneurship. Even if your venture didn’t work out, you will never start from scratch, you start from experience. Personally, I love hiring people who have entrepreneurship experience. The mindset, teachability, maturity and perspective they have brings incredible value and diversity to the team.

If you have a desire to give entrepreneurship a go, I say, go for it. We’re all afraid of failing, but, what if it works? What if, what you do has a ripple effect that empowers hundreds or thousands of others? What if, you succeed?

Sally is building her PM International business to becoming a full-time distributor, and I respect her courage, tenacity, and ambition. Personally, I would regret all the things I didn’t do, instead of those that I did. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, and experiences are what add color and texture. You got this.