5 Critical Startup Lessons
What I learned about moving to a foreign country and founding a bikini startup.
Ever wanted to move across the world and start your life all over? I’ve done this several times. I went from living and working in one tropical paradise to another: from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Sao Paulo, Brazil… By the time I got back to Malaysia, I’d had enough of the slew of corporate careers I’d experienced. I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
It seems clear to me that the more diverse your experience and the less straightforward your path, the greater the exposure and insight that you will pick up along the way. Just going through the experience of that bungee jump you foolishly agreed to in New Zealand, or that moon party in Thailand you can barely remember, can somehow lead to something productive that gives back to the world. Rather than connect dots A-to-B, the more dots you gain, and the more that leave the boundaries of the page, the less linear and predictable –and therefore more special and intricate– the final drawing will be. And, who knows, those extra dots may even help you earn a nice living in the process.
As soon as I landed in Brazil, I was in love — and not just with the beautiful Brazilian men. I took to the Brazilian beach culture as if I was born to just lie on the sand and look fabulous in bikinis. Brazilian-style bikinis are not only the most beautiful bikinis that I’ve ever laid my eyes on, but they’re made to attract attention. I remember going home for Christmas with a bag full of Brazilian bikinis for friends, and they all loved them. But being a bikini Santa was not enough. I had a masterplan to become a bikini tycoon!
So far, it made sense and was a pretty straightforward way of matching the dots. However, there was one obstacle that I would have to overcome. Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country, with the majority of the population being practising Muslims. So starting a bikini business, and a Brazilian bikini business no less, would likely ruffle some feathers. That’s why I called my company Fit Rebel.
Here are the five most important lessons I’ve learned about how to start a successful company: