Don’t be Too Hard on Yourself


I was listening to a podcast during my commute today and I came across this quote:

Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s a mindset that you can become easily trapped in.You’re grinding, trying to make something work, make something out of nothing, so have some pride in that and not be too hard on yourself.

That’s when I realized I’ve been pretty overworked lately. I’ve been focusing more on the fear of failure rather than trying my best and this has guilt-tripped me to work even harder, resulting in a spiral down to negativity.

Trust yourself. There is no right decisions but the cool thing is, the minute you make a decision, there is progress and that’s the best decision.

Starting up is already hard enough. There’s no need to make it or imagine it to be harder. I’m reminded that it is a privilege to be creating and working on an idea so I ought to do it willingly & happily. 🙂

1 Jan 2015

*3 mins read*

I realized I haven’t been writing as often as I like to be. I’m a post  behind my scheduled start-of-the-month post. Still, better late than never.

With the help of a very diligent intern, Melinda, and an experienced Startup guy from the valley, Bertram, we’ve managed to sail through December, bringing in some more revenue.

Before diving straight into the business, I would like to talk about people. Somehow aving a couple of people on board meant delegating work more than doing it all on my own. I was mentally tired from engaging so many people at one go, switching mindsets between marketing to product to sales to different people at once. Managing people hasn;t been easier.

Going the extra mile

So how did Melinda end up with BoxGreen? It all started when I received an email at 1:11am on a weekday from an 2nd year college student wanting to intern at BoxGreen. So I thought, firstly, the person must be really determined (or crazy) to be emailing at such an ungodly hour. Secondly, she seems to be pretty eager to learn about the subscription box business and is going to the valley herself for an exchange program at a later date so it may be pretty relavent. Lastly, I usually get a consistent amount resumes flowing in everyday since we have some posting from. But I found most of the applications to be a mass job spam exercise and I’ve also read a fair amount of resumes that was addressed to another company. So for if someone made the effort to mail me personally, I usually make it a point to follow up since they have gone the extra mile to hunt me down. (I think this generally applies to all forms of applications.)

Melinda joined the team has helped out a lot on the social media part, mainly by scheduling post and engaging our instagram crowd. With her help, we managed to reach out to a small network of bloggers to spread the word on BoxGreen.

Back to the thing the spurred me to write this post, Bertram, who used to work in a valley for a YC backed company AnyPerk, shared an article about products management.

The platform today is equally strong on perks and the Sales side. And if the business side is already up and to the right, can the product make it go up-er?

3 takeaways

1. A sales driven approach at a business may have a higher chance of survival than a product driven one

2. It is better to fail fast and know that the business doesn’t scale at an early stage than too late (a.k.a getting funded too early)

3. It is okay to focus on tech heavily later getting the numbers, but remember it has to scale with tech

I did some further googling and found out the company actually changed their course and pivoted SIX times before founding AnyPerk.

Back to BoxGreen, we are at the point where our MVP is over and our growth has sorta flat-lined without advertising. The hardest thing is not about getting the 1st customer/user, but it’s more like going from 100-1000 paying customers that’s hard. We have just started experimenting with ads and finding out our cost per acquisition (i.e online marketing jargons about how much advertising cost is needed to get a customer to buy your products)

My hypothesis as of now is:

Our customers are not converting because our web experience is bad

A few things to improve on.

  • Paypal checkout is clunky
  • Landing page is kinda ugly looking (Need a better hero banner)
  • We need better photos
  • Our web is not sophisticated enough and our sites are all over the place (distracting customers)
  • Snack page is not in our main site
  • Blog/community site is not on our main site
  • Ecommerce function is situated on Shopify
  • We don’t collect enough email leads
  • There is no reason to come back to the site because you can’t rate review or learn more about trying to snack healthy

So we are putting more efforts into our site and hustle as hard as we can for the next 2 months.

The question remains, can we scale this business to the rest of the asian cities, just like how we imagined?