Staying Focused, Staying Motivated As People, Places, Family Changes Around You

In china business by Michael Michelini9 Comments

Those who have spent any time in China have heard the term “Jia You” (means “Add oil” literally, but really means, keep going, don’t give up), and I am sure those Chinese who read the title of this blog post will be saying the same thing.

Joining Chinaccelerator has been the right move – fast track + structure for my newest Startup, Weibo Agent. I was looking forward to the “getting away” from the grind and focus on building a startup and a great product.

We headed out for GOAT (geeks on a train), and were told toward the beginning of the program (Aug 1) – the team was all shocked. It was an amazing trip, but it took us out of the office + away from building the product. Also couldn’t take everyone on the trip (had to leave loyal assistant, Amy behind in Dalian).

To add to this, I had a “secret” family gathering in hawaii (I’m not allowed to blog about it, per my family’s request), which I was told about on August 4th – and would be the week directly after the Geeks on a train trip (last week).

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a man whose life is on the road. I had wanted this 3 months in Dalian to be “prison”, focusing on the product and the startup.

And its not just focus for me, its focus for the team! Weibo Agent sponsored Doug’s Chinese business visa from Hong Kong and he was in Dalian for 30 days only. Also, Gabree was only able to stay in Dalian for the month of August as her family is down in Shenzhen.

August was a month for all of us to work together, and I am just recovering from an intense 2 weeks of Geeks on a Train and a “family event” in Hawaii.

September is here, and I am ready to rock! But unfortunately, Doug had to return to Hong Kong for his visa run, and Gabree is headed to Shenzhen now.

Even with all the technology and internet tools there are today, nothing beats working in the same room, face to face. We will deal with it.

This is part of a startup, staying focused, staying positive.

I am learning more and more, its not about the work I do, its about the “aura”. I have to be the captain of the ship. I cannot show any frustration, any weakness, any disbelief.

Its easy to start something – it is freaking hard to execute, to follow through! To stick with it, day in, and day out. Ride the rollercoaster of emotions, of team issues, or personal issues, unexpected or expected. For anyone who claims they don’t have these, I find that hard to believe.

The Quick Family event was hard – It was nice to make an unexpected trip to Hawaii to see my family, but honestly it was so rushed, and so fast, that it happened and was over before I knew it happened. And it made me a bit homesick. Mixed emotions to be quite honest, and I don’t think its the sunburn or the jetlag….its just the realization that this is the life I live- a struggling entrepreneur in a foreign country. Alone. Just wondering if this will be the rest of my life, overseas, away from family.

The moving from Shenzhen to Dalian – I keep getting more and more friends back in Shenzhen checking up on me. I will be back in November, but they are saying that is such a long time. Not a big deal, but something that is getting to me, each day I talk to more people.

The rotation of people, teams – I am a hyper networker, and I do enjoy meeting new people all the time, from all kinds of backgrounds and enthnicities, but sometimes its nice to get to spend time with the same kind of people on a regular basis.

The power struggle in teams – fighting for budgets, for titles, for roles, for responsibility, for attention. It is normal, dealing with people. Dealing with groups. In a new startup its amplified even more, and I try my best to be fair, but also ensure the risk/reward ratio is properly weighed in as well.

It is something anyone who envies a startup entrepreneur has to think about. For all those awesome PR blasts you read in techcrunch, there is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears involved. We have to embrace resistance.

Just venting a bit. Documenting, feels good to put it on paper. I AM STILL 100% committed, will rock this program, and will not give up!

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  1. Go for it bro!

    Shit man, times are tough here at the moment.
    Relaunching freelancing career after some time “going corporate” as our
    HK entrepreneurial buddies would say 😉

    I’ve been talking up launching an NPO since January. Inspired by every time I hit the bottom. Until the first user is advantaged by it though, it’s just something I’ve said but haven’t followed through with…

    now 10 years since leaving Australia for the ongoing
    adventure/self-discovery. Similar to you, there’s been highs and lows.
    Uncertain where “home” is or if it’s even needed…

    But I must
    admit, being caught in an expensive cost of living in the 3rd world is
    making me homesick to have a cheap lifestyle in the 1st world 😛

    The country/location, etc, I’ve learned is secondary though to what you’re doing at the time and your environmental conditions.

    I feel we share a kind of nomadic spirit, including the suffering which just needs to be worked through.

    I think I’m seeing the appeal of China for you after this Philippines stint…..

    I have a feeling our next meetup will be in a completely new country than before… JPN/AUS somewhat likely candidates after here, but you know as well as I do things can change quickly 🙂

    1. thanks Leon,
      yes, we didnt pick this road in life because it was the easy way to live
      i tweeted a few days ago ths –quote —

      most men die at 25 but we dont bury them until they are 70 – ben franklin
      most people give up too easily, or give up just when something big is going to hit. its about going that extra mile when everyone else has thrown in the towel.

      good to hear you are still keeping up with the ngo business in manila – hope they are appreciating your efforts.

      would love to meet you in japan, or australia. i did a 17 hour layover in korea and was able to explore a bit. so many places in this world to see, look foward to catching you in one new country.

  2. it’s really cool of you to keep sharing your experience. still learning from you, man. you’ve accomplished so much already it feels silly to say i think you’ll “make it big” one day…. all the positive vibes from brazil!

    1. hey Rafael,

      thanks for reading and commenting, means a lot to me. i still think of our work in szteam and the startup events in shenzhen, i get a daily email of what i did on foursquare last year and the first bootup weekend was this time last year….. wow that feels like so much longer ago.

      ill keep on blogging and sharing brotha. thanks for your support and hope to meet you one day in brazil, that iis a very interesting market i have no experience at all in.

  3. Let’s stay focused and motivated, cuz there’s no other way!

  4. I used to think that “jiayou” was Chinese words of encouragement.

    Then I realised it’s the first instruction in every Chinese recipe.

  5. Hi Mike, great post. My favourite quote ” its not about the work I do, its about the “aura”. I have to be the
    captain of the ship. I cannot show any frustration, any weakness, any
    disbelief.” And that is the most difficult part because most of the time, we just have faith but we have no clue of being right or wrong.. and we have to inspire people. This is the distortion field of reality and entrepreneur have to have it to succeed.

    Living away from home, away from confort is an Odyssee, it makes you find yourself in a world where most people get satisfied of just surviving day after day. As a leader you have to know better, know where you come from, your pains and why you do what you do.

    You have the spirit so I have no doubt that you’ll make it. And you know what they say:” You havent fail as long as you havent give up”. Add oil!

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