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Start Up 101

October 25, 2015

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Starting from scratch - How I made the jump from Corporate to the Jungle

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This is the first post in a multipart series that documents the experiences of a corporate salaried man turned entrepreneur as he bootstraps his startup.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

I am officially unemployed. And it’s not that scary to be honest. It took me a while to ditch the corporate attire after doing trying to look the part for the last three years. Those fancy shirts and funky colored socks are now sitting in the corner of my closet, looking very lonely.

I had to constantly tell myself to forget about the almighty dollar in favor of an “I’m trying to change the world one snack at a time” attitude. I had to make the mental shift away from banker to startup founder.

I’ve had a good run in the bank the last three years, made some of the brightest friends in Asia, built some really great network and of course, meeting and marrying the most beautiful and greatest wife that I could ask for. So you could say the ROI of my early career is beyond infinity.

And then I started thinking when I hit the age of 26 a year ago. I was in a rather cushy environment and all I had to do back then was to drag myself out of bed, arrive at the office by 9am, look forward to lunch, survive the after lunch food coma and get out of office at 6pm. Get paid. Enjoy the weekends. Rinse and repeat. I realized I didn’t love my job.

We had many late nights working in the bank, and chances of finding decent food/snacks after 7pm near Marina Bay was almost impossible. I looked around my desk and all I saw was chips and chocolates. After sitting for an entire day, those things just looks like heart attack to me. I started growing more aware of how unhealthy my lifestyle was.

My co-founder, whom I met when I first joined the bank three years ago, shares the same sentiment, except his hunger pangs come usually at 4pm. We decided there should be a snack service that delivers healthier snacks to me every month, without the hassle of going to the supermarket or waiting for the next healthy food roadshow to come. Heck, I don’t even know what constitutes as healthy but all I know is I’m not going to chuck those snacks with artificial flavoring or coloring. We went around toying with the idea, and bought our first cheesy/domain name, andrewsnuts.com

The tipping point came during a slow day at work. I was at my desk surfing the usual tech publications and I came across those inspirational stuff on entrepreneurship. One of them wrote about skiing: you can't learn it all from books: you have to get on the slope and get out there to do it, and if you aren’t falling, you aren’t leaning.

I realized I had never actually fallen, at least not in my professional life. So I figured it was time to break out of my comfort zone while I still have the youth and vigor to add some battle scars onto my resume. So, I took the plunge and quit my job to build BoxGreen, a subscription box that delivers a box of healthy snacks to your desk every month.