There are some days when I am really busy working in my flower business and don’t have time to do anything, and that includes trying to further build the flower business as well. For example, for a stretch of 3-4 days when it was around Valentine’s Day, I literally was working in my flower business non-stop. I had no time to do anything else, and we even had 3 part time helpers at that time helping out. So is this really the lifestyle I want? To be so busy that I don’t even have time to eat at times and not even have the choice to get enough sleep?
Well, it’s not the ideal life, but I’m truly happy because I am in the designing stage, and not every single day is like that. And honestly, my wife and I would rather be super busy all the time, because we could always hire more people to help take care of the business operations.
Sure it would be nice to be able to take time off and fly to Thailand for a 5 night stay at a very nice hotel near the beach, but I also want to make sure that I have cash flow coming in while I am staying at a very nice beach. To me, the cash flow is more important than the beach, so that’s why it is an easy decision for me to forego having vacations here and there in a warm country near the beach. Instead, my wife and I are more than happy with spending time in different areas of Korea and we always opt for a place near the ocean in South Korea. Unfortunately, it isn’t worth it for us to just take a mini vacation on any day, because my business isn’t at a point where it can run without my wife or I being there. We would rather make sales and serve our customers, but we still find ways to enjoy life here and there, and more importantly, we truly enjoy growing our flower business.
So, what is your ideal lifestyle in Korea?
Maybe you want to be able to travel all around Korea and get paid for it? Or travel all around the world and get paid for it. And that’s an awesome goal and I know that some people are doing that. But not everyone is a great blogger or is able to entertain people through youtube videos. You got to find something you are good at and you got to work super hard. Whatever lifestyle you are aiming for in South Korea, just remember that it isn’t going to come easy. I mean, designing anything takes time, skill, and focus.
All designers, whether it is a hair designer or a web designer or anyone creating anything for that matter, needs to actually be good at what they are trying to design. So if you know nothing about starting up a business in Korea or haven’t even done it, then you may have to give up your dream of being a “Business Consultant” in South Korea for English speakers. Do you know who this comment is directed to? It’s directed to my old self, Tony Choi in 2011! When I first got the entrepreneurial bug or decided that I would become an “entrepreneur”, I had less than 1 year of experience working in a medium sized company as the Marketing Manager / English Teacher. But somehow I decided that I was going to be a Business Consultant in Korea. And guess how many clients I got? Yup, you guessed it, zero! Looking back on my old self, it just made no sense for me to think that way, but I was optimistic and thought that I could do it. I thought to myself, “well, there are a lot of people in Korea who will want to take their business global and I will be useful for them.” And it was wishful thinking, because I had no actual business experience, I didn’t really know much about marketing except for a bit of what I learned at the company, and I was young. I mean, being young isn’t totally bad, but it does play a huge factor when doing business in Korea, especially if you are going to pass yourself off as a consultant of some sort or even a coach.
So the most important thing to do is to actually be good in the things that are important in your ideal lifestyle. And the hard truth is that it can take time for you to develop and to become good enough for someone to pay you for your services or to be skilled enough to get your business to a place where it prospers, but it’s never too late to start learning and taking calculated risks.
Honestly, I would love to just help people start their businesses for a fee, give motivational speeches, and coach people starting or are in the beginning phases of their small businesses, and I am almost at a place where I can do that. But there was no way that I was able to do that in 2011, when I actually never even ran or started a business before. Now that I have 4 years of experience building and operating my small Hagwon business, and about 2 years building and operating Flower Gift Korea, I can confidently say that I have some experience to speak from and can truly benefit people looking to start or improve their small business in South Korea. And my consulting / coaching business is in the pipeline and will be available one day, but right, I’m more about building businesses that will be able to run without my direct involvement.
More importantly, you need to actively find ways to live your ideal lifestyle.
Maybe your ideal lifestyle is to just work for a decent company and be happy. That’s awesome, but you also need to figure out what kind of company you want to work for and what happy looks like for you. For me, I enjoy spending time with my wife, so my businesses allow for me to spend ample time with my wife. I also hate having to work on other people’s schedules. For example, when I was working as the marketing manager of a Korean company, we had some business guests visiting from Australia. They were to stay 5 days and the guests were important partners of the company. And I found out on the day that I was to sleep over the CEO’s home because I had to accompany him to some kind of meeting in the morning and he wanted me there to take care of our partners. It was pretty exciting the first night because it made me feel important. But after the second and third night of not going home, and especially not even knowing if I was allowed to go home on those days, I was not happy. It was a good learning experience for me, but not knowing whether or not I can go home for the night is not something I can’t jive with when working for someone. Oh, and since we are talking about the topic of working for someone, I literally cannot work for someone else anymore, unless it is for something like a short-term contract and I get paid a lot of money for something I actually enjoy doing.
So, if you know what you want and don’t want, let me ask you this, what are you doing to bring you one step closer to making it all a reality?
There really is no easy way to achieve anything in life that’s actually worth it. It all takes hard work. I am aware of what people write in Facebook groups and other forums on the Internet, and there are a lot of people who complain about how Korea is. Honestly, there are some things I don’t like about Korea, but that goes for every single country I have lived in. Now, are you going to focus on the way things are or are you going to focus on finding ways to create the lifestyle you deserve? There’s absolutely no way you are going to change the culture in Korea. We are here in Korea and we are playing our role in shaping the culture of Korea, but to focus on things you can’t even directly change and then complain about it online isn’t going to change your situation. Instead, why not use that energy somewhere else, like learning a new skill, reading up on business blogs, or expanding your network.
And if you have been in Korea for 5 years or more, you really need to think about how you are going to make your life better. Yeah, you are in control of your life and if your life sucks, do something about it. My life sucked in 2011 because I wasn’t sure where I was headed, I didn’t know what I was doing at the company I was working at, and I experienced my first panic attack. Actually, life was bitter sweet in 2011 because that’s when I met my wife, and the coolest thing is that she has been with me throughout this whole transformation in my life, from when I got my first panic attack to up until now, where we are co-operating our successful flower business and planning on starting other businesses. Yeah, it definitely was a transformation because I had to go through what I did to really wake up and smell the coffee. It wasn’t until I was about 26 years old did I realize that life was not easy and that you had to work really hard to survive and be successful. So I learned a lot in the last 7-8 years and did some growing up. I was able to learn this lesson later than some, earlier than others, but in the end I’m just so grateful for all that happened to me because it got me here.
I hope you realize that you have the opportunity to design your lifestyle. Please remember that it isn’t going to be easy, but it will all be worth it once you start working towards it. I haven’t created the perfect lifestyle for myself yet, but I am totally loving the journey and I currently love the lifestyle I have, thought it can be better. I love that I have a clear goal to work towards, which is to create businesses that will generate constant cash flow, all the while creating new businesses that allow me to spend time with my wife. What are you working towards? Is your lifestyle something you are happy with? If it isn’t, take time to figure out why and make a plan to create the lifestyle you want and deserve.