The biggest challenge for me was to conquer my mind, so it’s not a business challenge but a psychological one.
I was born and grew up in a poor family in a poor city in a poor country in Communist Eastern Europe.
My parents have always had low-level jobs which subconsciously directed me to the same type of employment.
I have not been raised to be an entrepreneur, but to obey and follow orders.
So, when I decided to start my own company and not be an employee anymore, the first emotion I had was pure panic.
I knew that going full entrepreneur was the right decision, but my subconscious was still stuck in those mental patterns created out of poverty and made me doubt myself constantly.
Not to mention the external assault with negative energy from everyone around.
The negative energy
It’s hard to do the opposite of what your instinct commands, but it’s even harder to bear the pressure and distrust of those around you.
For years after I started my company, my mother was still trying to get me a job, showing me all kinds of low-level job ads in the paper, as if owning a company was something unnatural.
My dad was always telling me that we are not businessmen in the family, we are not made for that, it is not good to be rich, we must stay in the middle, neither poor nor rich.
Relatives or acquaintances always asked me when we casually met:
- Is your business still running?
- Do you still have that website of yours?
- Do you really sell stuff online?
… as if I was expected to go bankrupt and become a “normal” person who goes to work.
Then there’s the look on the faces of people when you say you are a businessman or entrepreneur. It’s like telling you’re a pedophile.
After 50 years of living in Communism propaganda, people of Romania actually believe that businessmen are Capitalist scum.
It’s slightly better now, 30 years after the fall of Communism, but still not quite right.
All this negative energy hits you on a daily basis, it doesn’t seem like much, but it’s like the Chinese water torture.
I learned not to give a shit.
Focus on stuff that matters, my wife and child and growing my business. The rest is irrelevant… just background noise.
I learned to shut up.
I do not talk to people about what I’m doing. Talk about the weather, football, whatever. About money and business, ideas and projects only in closed circles.
I hid in my house, worked from home, created a bubble for myself.
Now I’m planning to move to a bigger city, closer to the Western world, escape from the Eastern mentality.