Decked in snazzy fits and leather footwear with sleek smartphones in hand, thanks to his soft corporate activity, Joel Lee gave the look of he was set for lifestyles seven years ago.
Yet, he felt the other.
“To be honest, I simply didn’t need to paintings for a person else,” he confesses, unhappy along with his life as a corporate drone. He knew this wasn’t the lifestyles he turned into meant to steer.
There becomes no epiphany, no grand scheme to make thousands and thousands or trade the arena. All he wanted became to be his own boss and start his personal commercial enterprise, irrespective of what it was.
“It ought to be any business,” he tells me, count number-of-factly. “At that point, I just desired to start and develop some thing out of not anything.”
Without a stable “Big Idea”, his choice to sell juices became extra practical than anything. To Joel, each person should sell juices; the demand becomes perennial and no longer seasonal, and it wasn’t a fleeting fad like churros.
A sensible, sustainable commercial enterprise become essential to Joel. He had made up his thoughts: There changed into no manner he changed into going returned to his vintage process if it failed. It had to paintings.
While putting in the hours at work, he labored on registering his new enterprise and scouting for places, however quickly realized that he couldn’t do each.
“A lot of humans say that you can start a business whilst balancing a full-time activity, however, I’ve now not heard a variety of success stories for such corporations. Something’s was given to provide.”
Finding His Way
Walking faraway from his stable, substantial earnings in 2013, Joel sooner or later bit the bullet and took the plunge, sinking $a hundred and fifty,000 of his financial savings from his former activity into launching Mission Juice: a cold-pressed juice bar. Every penny came directly from his bank account.
“I don’t come from a wealthy family. Everything right here is self-funded, with out the assist of bank loans,” said the younger entrepreneur.
As relieved and exuberant as he felt the day he unveiled his juice bar, it changed into simplest the beginning. The hardest hurdles had been but to return.
“When you begin a business, you have to be organized to lose. If you install $50,000, you need to be organized to part with that money.
“And if it’s your very own commercial enterprise, you may paintings your ass off to ensure you don’t lose the $50,000. If you positioned your two feet into this, you have to fight to make it work.”
Unable to have the funds for additional personnel, Joel turned into the primary and frequently simplest employee. Working each shift, dawn to nightfall from Monday to Saturday, Joel fought to maintain his F&B enterprise afloat.
Even on Sundays, he had no time to rest, sacrificing his personal life to put together for special orders and activities. One of them saw him operating until 3 am for 2 days straight to serve lots of juice bottles for a client event. Surviving on simply two hours of sleep each day, he struggled to hold himself conscious at some stage in the day.
Besides cutting again on the flowery clothes and creature comforts, he needed to move unpaid at instances as properly. Holidays have become nonexistent.
It changed into the fee for being in the price of his existence.
Gradually, matters began looking up. After all of the difficult work, Mission Juice subsequently broke even in its first 12 months. The humble juice bar in Singapore started gaining greater traction as bigger brands like Disney and L’Occitane approached Joel for non-public activities.
Everything came to a peak with the juice cleanse craze, a wild duration where it felt just like the cellphone was ringing off the hook each short while with a new order. It seemed like Mission Juice had a big earnings ability, with a strong call for even with out juice advertising.
Yet, simply as the enterprise became blossoming, Joel got complacent and paid for it with a loss.
Eager to increase the brand and department out into salads, Joel rode on the recognition of juice cleanses and opened a 2d outlet—a hasty choice he made 4 years in the past that cost him $2 hundred,000.
“[The success] got to me, and I rushed into starting a 2nd outlet with out considering the options,” he recalls. “I was given a piece too adventurous. I desired to attempt some thing exceptional.”
It closed after handiest a year and a half.
In hindsight, Joel admits he knew nothing about cooking. Salads became out to be harder to grasp than juices. Not to say, he had entirely long past towards his very own precept of practicality by means of chasing the juice cleanse fad in Singapore.