Micheal Tuon
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In this episode, I talked with Micheal Tuon, an Asian American Entrepreneur. Micheal shares his experience of Developing the grit to go into entrepreneurship. Expressing why it takes a lot emotional intelligence to run a business.

Micheal shares his journey of how the chase for stability become too comfortable. Pushing him to take a leap of faith, with a one way ticket to Cambodia.

Embarking on an uncharted path into the Unknown. Leaving behind the stability and Comfort of a Consultant job despite the risks and cultural expectations from his family. To Fulfill his version of The American Dream.

Here Are Some Quotes From Micheal in The Episode:

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Emotional Intelligence : A Requirement for Entrepreneurship

“It takes a lot of emotional intelligence to run a business.”

The first thing I do is just accept it for what it is  because there’s nothing you can do to change it. Then reflect upon what you could have done but not dwelling on it. Saying to yourself, Okay if I would have approached this differently than I could have done this, and I could have done this, and seeing that chain of events happen. 

I’ve lost deals just by being too slow. I was just too busy and too slow. We didn’t get the necessary paperwork out. Recognizing there’s no excuse for that. You just have to spend a little extra time getting it done. Understanding that and improving your process. 

Then having your routine and understanding that you have your set ways. Then developing emotional intelligence that you need to say, Okay, cool. It happens. One loss is not going to define my career or define my business. I’ll just move forward and get better. 

It’s taking that deep breath before you actively go forward and take the next step into the shadows. The unknown and being okay. 

I think the one thing is we dwell on that one thing. It’s like in school we’re defined by that one failed grade. We’re defined by not getting above a certain percentage. 

In business one loss one day could mean a big win the next day. Focusing on that one loss  can make you lose that big win that’s sitting right in front of you, and you don’t even realize it.

Choosing The Path of Entrepreneurship 

“ I’ve made my destiny by choosing this path already? Nobody chose it besides me. If I’m strong enough to make that choice, three years ago, I can probably make it for today.”

There’s no set path just like if you were hiking. There’s always a path. Some might say you go down the path less traveled, but  there’s still a path. In entrepreneurship, you can always take a left or right, go diagonally. Walk backwards. There’s no trail you just walk. 

 It’s like the experiment where you put somebody in a field. If you just let them walk with no way points they end up walking in a strange circle. There’s no designated point and everything looks the same. You don’t really know if you’re walking straight or if you’re walking at a curve. 

That’s where it’s just like, trying to figure out, where that path is going or where you’re headed. It’s quite difficult. I think all you have to do is keep on getting up and knowing that you are doing the things that you need to accomplish your goals.

At times I don’t know what my goals are, because they may shift depending on how the business shifts or the market shifts. 

There are entrepreneurs that are writing apps, and maybe the next day they hit a big information block from something they don’t expect. The EU or another large organization might change policies in the middle of development. At times like those you have to take a really big step back or find a different way.  

Developing Grit  

“ The beautiful nature of it is that you’re able to stretch your mind.”

It takes a lot of time to develop grit. I think that’s one of the biggest things. You know, at one point when one of our businesses failed we looked at each other and we’re like, well, we can’t afford this office. So what do we do? We’re like, Hey, you know, let’s rent something very cheap. Let’s start selling coffee out of it, you know, something, just to push forward and make sure we pay salaries on time. Do what we have to do to survive. 

I think the biggest thing is just looking at yourself and asking “ Do I want to continue?” At times where we’re sitting there around the table looking at ourselves and we’re like, it would be easier to go home, it would be easier to disrupt this and go find a job.

 I’m not gonna lie, I’ve gone on a lot of job sites, and been like, Wow, that’s a pretty nice job open there in Seattle or in San Jose, or in LA. Then you know, you sit there and you start building it out. halfway through you talk to your mom and you’re like, man, I miss the egg rolls, the comfort or whatever it is, right?  Then you have your other friends and family. They’re asking you what in the world are you doing? 

At that point you come to realize that You’re a little bit of a crazy person and it’s hard to relate. Everyone is looking for comfort but comfort and growth don’t go together.  

The one thing is staying true and having the awareness to know that people don’t have your experience nor will they ever understand the type of challenges that you go through. They’re not sitting there with you at 3am wondering what the next step is? They’re asleep. The beautiful nature of it is that you’re able to stretch your mind.

Feeling lost on a map with no path has been an amazing experience and a very painful one. Having friends and having colleagues that are strong and sitting next to you and you know, everyone’s there terrified, but nobody’s willing to show it to you. Everyone pushes forward together and then  we have something beautiful. All of a sudden contracts are being signed. You have a steady cash flow and a surplus. Then you can start hiring people. You hit this next step of growth. Then you’re like, What now? 

Resiliency In The Face of Loss 

“The most important thing is to really embrace your failures.” 

The hardest thing to do is take it in and just say, okay, on to the next one, and then present it to somebody else. 

Growing up the way I did, we didn’t have much. You know, and you didn’t really know where your next meal was gonna come from. I remember waiting at the food bank with my mom or collecting cans with my grandma for whatever we needed. I’ve always been chasing comfort. I’ve always been chasing stability. When I had it I felt like I thrived in that struggle. Then it helped push me to different levels in my career. 

My experience growing up is extremely different than many entrepreneurs. You see many entrepreneurs that have giant businesses, they have certain things that people like myself don’t have. 

Pedigree that parental figure to help guide yourself along the way. I never had that. My dad was a bus driver. So I can drive real well, but, you know, this does nothing in my business. 

It’s tough to seek those mentors and get a foot into the door. Its understanding that

the most important thing is to really embrace your failures. It’s very tough at times to look at yourself in the mirror when you wake up the next day and say okay let’s do this. 

Importance of Developing a Good Network  

“There is no one that is beneath you, because you never know who that person may know, don’t be afraid to ask.” 

I have mentors and they have been awesome. There’s no judgment because they’ve already been through those situations. If they haven’t, they have unique insights. I would say not having just one mentor, but having several in totally different backgrounds where their perspectives aren’t one way or another. 

What I have found is that if all three or four of their views come together, and they’re like, Hmm, this makes sense to everyone in different markets in different positions. I should probably just do this or I should probably get out of this. 

Being very open and appreciative to those people because they’re giving their time to you. 

Take time to listen to their struggles and, and try to see their markets, how they manage to utilize their people, their skills and, and their experiences. We will never have the same experience they have. See how they navigate certain things. 

 Share and express your struggles or frustrations with them. Realizing it takes a lot of emotional intelligence to run a business. You’re probably going to hit a snag daily. 

Don’t Compare Yourself 

“You can’t compare yourself because you have your own product, you have your own market that you have to deal with.”

You can’t put yourself in the same category as other entrepreneurs because you’re in your own category. You know you hear comments like “ Are you Bill Gates yet?, or Steve Jobs or whoever else is on the rise. No, you’re not. Those people are very special cases. 

You have to remember that You can’t compare yourself to them. You can’t compare yourself because you have your own product, you have your own market that you have to deal with. You can’t compare yourself to those guys. You can count those guys on your hand. 

There are so many other businesses that have thrived that you never hear about, and understanding that it’s not about you, it’s about the company that you’re growing. If you can just  focus on that. Take out the noise, and focus on the product at hand. Focus on whatever it is that you’re doing or the service you want to provide. That’s going to be the most important thing.

 You don’t have to be famous to make sure that your product works. Sure it helps. But at the same time, the product will speak for itself. That’s why all those entrepreneurs became extremely wealthy, powerful, or strong. You sought after their goods because they literally focused on the product. 

If you’re chasing those people, you’re just another carbon copy of that person. That’s not a bad thing, but your uniqueness is what really sells you as an entrepreneur and as a business person. People will remember that if you’re just another Cut out. How many times have you seen those types of people? 




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