Do you envision yourself as a startup founder? This one’s for you then.
Profits Aside is a platform for Singaporean startup founders to share their founding journeys and the things that keep them going. Through their experiences, we want to inspire aspiring founders to take the leap of faith to make their founding dreams a reality.
In our first instalment, we chat with Erik, one of the three co-founders of Park N Parcel. He shared his pain of frequently missing his parcels and his realisation that his wife did not run into the same problems, despite her doing more online shopping.
When Erik asked his wife why, she told him, “I get the help of an aunty 3 blocks away to receive my parcel whenever I’m not home!” And that was how Park N Parcel was born.
Here are 3 things aspiring founders can take away from this interview.
Need an idea? Begin from yourself and the people around you.
Park N Parcel began as a solution to a personal pain point Erik faced—frequently missed parcels and long waiting times at the local post office to collect those parcels.
The idea for his solution—to park the parcel at other houses and commercial locations—came from his wife, who was already doing so on an individual level. Erik (and later his co-founders) recognised a good idea when they saw one, and took the opportunity to scale it into a service that now has more than 1500 drop off points in Singapore.
If you feel the entrepreneurial fire burning within you—the desire to start and build something you can call your own—but don’t quite have a business idea yet, begin from the problems that plague you.
Hiring your first employee? Flexibility over mastery is key.
When you (and your co-founders) are ready to hire your startup’s first true employee, you’re going to need to be careful to select the right person.
If Erik’s hiring experience is anything to go by, the first employee of a company needs to be versatile. This means that, more than one whose expertise is in a single area, you should hire an employee who is willing to have their fingers in every pie.
In a startup, where there is always much to be done to keep operations afloat, hiring talent that specialises and only wishes to do one job too early on is not a good use of resources.
Feel overworked? It gets better (sort of).
While working long hours is nothing to be proud of, spending almost all of one’s waking hours working is standard in early-stage startup life. In fact, if your startup is in its infancy and you’re not wondering if you’re spending too much time working, you might not be hustling hard enough.
When Erik and his co-founders first started Park N Parcel, he found himself attending to work-related messages past midnight every day. But the situation eventually improved and Erik now does this only up until 9 pm on the days the company phone is with him.
If you’re sacrificing time with your loved ones, you want to consider presenting them with a time line so that they have an idea of what to expect from you and know that your (over)-dedication to your work will not last forever.
Have a startup story you think is worth hearing? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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