Five years ago, I started my own company on the day of the Moon Festival. It turned out a good decision.
Today I still work at home, although I have to constantly run around to meet with people for business and write from day to night. I still feel as free as when I was a reporter, except now I don’t get paid by a single employer.
Working from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. was never my cup of tea, but I held on to such a job for 20 years, looking for a breakthrough. I did get several opportunities. I applied for a corporate public relations position and also for a writing job in an industry newsletter. I didn’t get either of the two. That was one of the lowest points of my career.
But I looked up to the moon – and got an answer: Shoot for the moon and if you miss, you will be among the stars.
I only had one client when I started. He was a man who didn’t want to miss any of the juicy local news. He wanted someone to fill him in on all the latest news and rumors, especially those that aren’t reported in English-language newspapers. So he hired me. He wanted me to perform the job while he was doing his daily exercises – at 5 a.m. Initially, that posed quite a challenge for a night owl like me. But I was able to adapt, and soon enough, I started to enjoy being an early bird.
Soon trickles of small jobs came. I tried not to be choosy; my ego was less important than what was in my bank account. I tried a different style of writing – short, punchy, and direct to the point. Come to think of it, that was what I was trained to do in the newsroom.
Since I went freelance, I must have done a dozen new jobs I had not done in my old job as a regular employee.
Of course, there is nothing more enjoyable than writing for this space – and teaching youngsters the basics of news writing.
Last year, I returned to doing public relations work for a handful of startups. It’s a fulfilling job because I not only get to become a part of building something worthwhile; I also feel I’m taking up something better than an MBA course – I’m learning first-hand how the new economy works.
That’s why I always look forward to the Mid-Autumn Festival. For me, it means another year of struggle and triumphs in my career as a self-employed man ends, and a new, exciting one arrives.
As the full moon rises, I join my family and friends in celebrating the occasion and say a prayer of thanksgiving for my home business.
It’s only a five-year-old startup, and I hope I could continue to write for the next 15 or even 50 years.
To our readers: Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!
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