Dare to Dream: The Diary of a Design Entrepreneur

How many times have you heard someone tell you that the more you look for love, the less likely it will happen and that only when you least expect it is when you actually find it? Well just like relationships, that’s how new businesses often begin as well. They arrive on short notice. At least, it did for me.

The Infographist, aka TIGG, was initially born as a side project, while attending interviews for jobs in Dubai — a city I just moved to earlier this year.

Everything in my head was already planned to the tee: I would secure a job that would pay the bills and fund a conservative ‘over-the-top Dubai’ lifestyle, begin working on TIGG on a part-time basis and eventually leave my job once TIGG blossomed into a successful business.

Little did I know that my (slightly unrealistic) plan of action would take a drastic change and that I would end up doing the opposite. Over dinner one night in Abu Dhabi after attending another job interview, my sister and an old friend managed to convince me that if I wanted TIGG to really grow, it would require my undivided attention, which made natural sense.

I took a few days to carefully think things through and after much thought, I realised that deep down in my heart I really wanted to do this, despite the many unknowns I was facing, as well as the risks and fears that every entrepreneur worries about when setting up a business.

I also knew that if I didn’t take the plunge, I would never know the real potential of my business. So in less than one month, I found myself turning down interviews that I had been eagerly waiting for initially and putting my heart and soul into something I truly believed in. Was it the safest bet? Well, far from it. But some things in life are ‘a now or never moment’ — and mine had arrived. There I was, ‘carpe diem’-ing the entrepreneur out of me.

Of course, nothing that is worth having comes easy. What I’ve learnt is that having your own business is pretty much like having your own baby.

For me, sleep became a luxury during those first few months. I forgot about the usual nine to five working hours, my social life, security blanket and all of the other perks that one can afford with a steady income. I officially became (drumroll) my own boss. But that ‘crazy little thing called love’ is what drove me to put in those mad hours at times, which I most likely would have nagged about had I been employed. I’m always amazed at the lengths we often take when passionate about something, even if it means sleeping two out of four days at times. #truestory

There’s no question that every entrepreneur feels crippled with doubt at moments; you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t.

I can’t recall the number of nights I stayed up in bed worrying about my company’s future, as well as mine, but then I would keep reminding myself of a poster I had once read: “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”.

I know there will never be concrete guarantees when you jump into your own business, no matter how well you have studied the market and how seamless your business model appears to be. However, my personal experience has taught me that as long as you believe in what you are doing, you will learn everything else by doing and find a solution along the way.

After all, Martin Luther King Jr. never said: “I have a plan”, he said: “I have a dream”.

At the time that this article was written, Infographic.ly was known as The Infographist.