Choosing the way to do your business

The main objective of doing a business is to make money. There are no doubts about it. Nobody wants to do a business which does not make money.

You can choose to make your money in a sincere and honest way by letting your customers know exactly what they are paying for. I take pride in having no hidden costs in my business. What I quote is what you pay. I believe in having a balanced amount of flexibility to achieve a win-win situation for myself and the customer.

It disgusts me to see other businesses (especially a certain genre) choosing to make money through hidden costs and clauses. Yes they can earn that few hundred dollars from the customers (who are forced to pay), but what they fail to see is that they are losing out on lots of potential customers whom the satisfied customer can refer. Never underestimate the power of recommendation through word of mouth.

The most disgusting thing is that these businesses continue to have hidden costs and there is nothing you can do about it. Yes you can post negative comments on social media and forums, but in the end these businesses will still have customers because they choose to believe in the salesperson’s sweet words and sincerity, which will be totally gone once the credit card has been swiped.

Quitting my job for the first time

This was how my office life ended. I cleared some paperwork in the morning. I packed up my stuff in the afternoon and headed home (My study table is in a huge mess with all my office stuff). And I left in the evening for a great dinner and drink session with my ex-colleagues (Interesting to note how we never hang out after work, until someone leaves the company)

I have just quit my full time job after 5 and a half years. It was an amazing journey, having acquired new knowledge and known great friends. It was indeed a hard decision to quit but it was necessary. Things were getting too comfortable until I felt so uncomfortable (Sounds crazy, isn’t it?) It is time to make myself uncomfortable and turn my dream into reality. My dream is very simple. I just want to work for myself.

I had led a scheduled life for most of my life, just like everyone else. From primary school to secondary school to polytechnic to army to university to working, everything was based on a timetable. I had to report to school before 7am. I had to attend the lecture at 2pm. I could only book out at 7pm. I had to reach office at 830am everyday. I had little control over my time and craved for freedom to do what I want at my own pace.

That power of freedom has arrived. I can wake up at 12pm. I can hit the gym at 2pm. I can start work at 9pm. I can drink till 2am. This power certainly sounds very exciting. On the other hand, it is equally scary. There is no one to force me to work. There is no one to pay me every month. There is no one to judge my performance. There is no schedule for me to follow. It is not easy to switch from a scheduled life to a life with total control.

I need to have a plan.

This is what I plan to do on my first day of independence

- Go for a run in the morning
- Meet a friend for lunch in town
- Work on my websites in the afternoon
- Meet my girlfriend for dinner.

The plan looks pretty good.

And this is what I plan to do for the rest of this year.

- Bring jjtan.sg to another level
- Improve my cooking skills
- Improve my physique
- Know more people
- Teach on a part time basis

Looks pretty nice too. Well, planning is one thing. Following the plan is a different ballgame. A good way to start the plan is to blog regularly (which I know I have not been doing so) about things that I have learned and experienced. It is a good way to keep myself in check and to maintain that sense of self-discipline.

I shall end this post by sharing this quote which I personally like

Self-discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from the expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear—and doubt. Self-discipline allows a pitcher to feel his individuality, his inner strength, his talent. He is master of, rather than a slave to, his thoughts and emotions.

Have an awesome weekend ahead!

Me, myself & JJ Tan

Hi, I’m not a potential client, but I would like to say I love your work. It’s innovative and clean, how design should always be like. Though I think you should reveal a little more about yourself, (a little biography never kills!) and even a picture would be good. Anyway, it’s been great looking at your stuff, it’s quite spiffy! (:

I was looking through my mailbox yesterday when I saw the above email which was received from a stranger in February this year. It warmed my heart to receive such encouraging emails from random people. So I shall dedicate this post to talk a little more about myself (a little biography never kills!)

I am a freelance web developer/designer who is in this industry for close to ten years.

My first website was a school assignment which showcased the food stalls in my polytechnic. Based on my memories, the website was very very very ugly (Unfortunately I do not have the website anymore, otherwise it will be awesome to show it here), but it marked the start of a remarkable passion.

My first client was a cybercafe owner who wanted to create a website to promote his cafe (I cannot remember who recommended me to him). Before I could finish the website, the cybercafe closed down after one week of operation and the owner was unreachable. The incident was devastating to a 17 year old who was trying to earn his first bucks.

Fortunately things got better. I became the webmaster of a intranet website during my national service period and continued with my freelance projects during my university days.

It is ironical that after creating numerous websites for so many years, I do not have my own website. It was two years ago when I decided to create http://www.wemeanit.sg to showcase my work. I renamed it to http://www.jjtan.sg after a year as I believe the best branding is to use my own name.

My style of work is minimal and clean. People visit websites because of content and minimalist design compliments content by using the simplest and fewest elements to focus people’s attention on the content.

I am very grateful that several people (including strangers) have recommended me to their friends over these years. I believe it is because I am passionate in what I do and this passion is shown through my work. It is important to love what you do because nobody wants to work with someone who treats their job as a chore. To end off, I will like to share this venn diagram about passion, talent & career. I feel blessed that I am in that sweet intersection. How about you?