Listening to my father’s stories made me the entrepreneur I am today
I was born and raised in Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon; which is more familiar and welcoming to all Vietnamese. As a child, I was very close to my father – Lap. I remember listening to his stories and lessons about finance. He would talk about how to control cash flow, how to sell a product, and most importantly, how to keep promises and earn trust.
He is an entrepreneur himself, with a very good reputation in his network. I would always be easily recognized by my father’s friends or teachers as “the son of Mr. Lap”. My journey to becoming an entrepreneur was led by my father’s example, and I still follow it today.
Being an entrepreneur and a parent can be double the pressure but I’m lucky my family is a solid supporting force
Before Reactron Technologies, I was already working as an entrepreneur. I always know that I want to learn more and can do more than a normal full-time job. Therefore, during my free time after work, I would join some startup companies and work as a freelancer. Luckily, my wife and family are very supportive of what I have been doing. They always encourage me to be a full-time entrepreneur because they know that I can do much better than just some freelancing work.
I am a workaholic. Many years ago, I used to work 10-12 hours per day and during the weekends. My wife has sacrificed a lot to take care of the family. I must admit I am really lucky to have a life partner like her. After a while working non-stop, I have gained a great deal of experience, know-how to better manage my time, and learned to efficiently reduce working hours so as to have more quality time with my family. One unbreaking rule is that I must have at least one full day during the weekend for my family.
"If you want to change the world, do it while you’re single. Once you’re married, you can't even change the TV channel”
There is a fun saying: “If you want to change the world, do it while you’re single. Once you’re married, you can’t even change the TV channel”. I think it’s true somehow. When you’re running a business, you will always feel like you’re running out of time or there are too many things to complete. Now, imagine you have to halve your time for both work and family. That is like double the mountain of pressure.
However, I consider myself very lucky for having my family as a solid supporting force. Whenever I finish work, I always have a place to fall back on, with my wife and two little angels. Especially with my youngest daughter, all I ever need is to hug her tightly, and all of my burdens will be gone while what’s left is pure happiness. To me and many international families that I know, Finland is one of the best countries to have a family and settle down. With its high-quality educational system, plentiful social welfare, good healthcare, and a green peaceful living environment, Finland gives us the most ideal work-life balance that everyone is aiming for.
It’s hard to find the right team and the right co-founder but eventually, the right time came
I started my journey as an entrepreneur with Jarvis Luong, my Co-Founder. I met him four years ago when both of us worked together in the same startup company. Although I was his supervisor, after just two months, he outshone me in technologies and actually began to teach me. I thought I won a big lottery knowing such a genius.
Picking out a co-founder is a very complex task. Alongside his technical skills, Jarvis has a really great personality, discipline, work ethics, and a hunger to learn new things. We shared a similar vision and had a good history of working together as well as a mutual understanding. We both recognized that our strengths complemented each other. He has everything that I have always wanted in a partner.
Our core team members are also from our close networks
Although the startup turned out to fail we both kept in touch. One day, Jarvis approached me and told me that he would like to found a consultant company with me. Since we both have existing clients, it makes much more sense to merge the networks and work together. That moment is when I knew the right time had come. Shortly afterward, Reactron Technologies was founded.
It was both nerve-racking yet exciting at the same time, to finally be able to do what I love. With the help of our Sales Partner, Mr. Jussi Pitkänen, the stones needed to build the foundation of our company were steadily put in place. Our core team members are also from our close networks, so it was very easy to kick off. We have had so much fun working together since.
Watching talented and amazing people gradually bonding into a family is what keeps me going every day
The most satisfying moments would be receiving positive feedback from clients and the first time our company organized a team bonding get-together, known as Reactival. It was in December 2019 when the full team managed to reunite for the very first Reactival.
We talked, laughed, and wrote our goals and wishes for the company in 2020. I was lost for words reading all the sticky notes hung on the whiteboard. Everyone had so many plans to work and grow with the company, and nothing could make a Co-Founder happier than that. Observing the group of such talented and amazing people gradually bonding into a family is what keeps me going every day.
Coronavirus pandemic has interrupted our expansion
However, the coronavirus pandemic has interrupted our expansion and become the biggest challenge for us. We had to slow down our company’s growth and pause some planned projects to balance our finance. No one had ever thought of such a dangerous pandemic and its drastic damage on a global scale. So, my key takeaway would be to always prepare for the worst. Be flexible and have plenty of backup plans, because in a fast-paced and unpredictable world like entrepreneurship, you will never know what happens next.
As a co-founder, I often encourage my team to leverage their free time and learn something new. This will help draw them away from negative thoughts, especially during this pandemic crisis. On the other hand, they’re equipped with new knowledge which will not only benefit them personally, but it will also help the company grow faster and meet more requirements from the clients once the market starts warming up again. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone.
We often update the team with positive news from our finance prospect as well as clients so that everyone can rest assured and just concentrate on their work. I always try my best to organize online meetups so that the team can bond and catch up with each other. Running the business as a family gives the members a sense of belonging, and that is what makes them invested in the company.
I’m an entrepreneur because I want to have all the freedom to create, innovate and do what I love
Founding my own company has affected my life quite significantly. Since the company is new, and there are so many things to solve, I get busier and have less time for family. Nonetheless, my wife is very supportive and it’s what gives me the strength to keep moving forward. She helps me pursue the freedom to create, innovate and do what I love. Which is why I want to be an entrepreneur in the first place.
I enjoy that being an entrepreneur allows me to make decisions that others will follow and I love working hard because I know there are no shortcuts to success. When you’re born into an entrepreneurial family you will somehow take on the mindset. I believe that’s where I got my entrepreneur’s spirit.
You’re not as smart as you think you are - there’s always something new to learn
The three top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur are a willingness to learn, a capability to listen, and perseverance. Firstly, you need to have that hunger for knowledge and improvement if you don’t want to get left behind in this constantly changing world. You will also need to learn how to listen and importantly how to listen actively. You don’t just hear words. You will need to listen carefully to the hidden wishes, the unspoken difficulty, and the changes in your surroundings in order to fully understand and make informed decisions.
A company is not a one-man entity
A company is a team, not a one-man entity. You need to let your teammates know that their voices are heard. Take Apple as an example. Steve Jobs wouldn’t have made such a ground-breaking success story if he hadn’t had a great team and listened to their opinions. Lastly, perseverance is vital in helping the entrepreneur continue walking their own path.
Invest your time in learning. It will only do you good if you know something new, especially when you’re working as an entrepreneur where you need to know a lot of different things. No matter how smart you are, you’re not as smart as you think. There is always something that you can learn in life. Whether it’s something out of a textbook, or a stupid tutorial on YouTube about how to contour your feet — there’s always knowledge you haven’t absorbed yet. Keep absorbing. Keep learning. Keep improving.
Similarly, go out of your comfort zone and join as many startup conferences or communities as you can. Go out and meet other people, you will learn a lot and get enough knowledge or spirit, then you can start your own journey with great partners.