Today’s guest blog is by Khulan Davaadorj. Khulan is on a very exciting journey as Mongolia’s first Organic Skincare Entrepreneur. She is busy running her business – Lhamour Skincare and has agreed to come and regularly update us to share her experiences with us. If you missed Khulan’s first blog, you can read her adventures as the first Mongolian Organic Skincare Entrepreneur here.
So, the organic skincare journey has begun. 2014 had ended and with it, the first challenges of having my own skincare company: Lhamour Skincare.
2014 was turbulent. With the wish to create products and sell them to the public “as fast as possible”, I employed a few people with the hope that a team can work much better than just a sole person, got an office and started working full time. But soon enough I realized that rushing into things is never the way to go…
I had finished all my research and finally made my move 1st of September 2014 by employing my first team members – moving into a brand new office of 40m2. No longer coffee shop hopping or working from home in pyjamas! This was finally it! I had invested the money I had saved the last 10 years into this start-up! From coffee shop waitress to English tutor to hotel dining room waitress to German teacher…. all my hard work was now being invested into something valuable! Nothing could hold me back.
It was great! I did my presentation the first day. I talked about my passion of producing something valuable for people, my vision of creating a company that is much more than a company, but a lifestyle! The team was thrilled and so we started our work.
Only 2 weeks went by when I then encountered my biggest shock.
Our First Business Setback
I came back to the office on Monday to find myself at my desk that seemed surprisingly empty. I started searching all over, believing I had maybe locked my notebook away. Then to my shock, I find all the other notebooks gone too! SOMEONE STOLE THEM ALL!
It was a disaster. We had to call the police.
At first I was just completely shocked, asking god or whatever higher power that there may be why this has to happen to me!!!! First day passed – nothing! Second day passed – nothing! And it kind of went on like this, with me and my people just sitting around in an empty office trying to figure it out.
Since the police did not want to help me, I started to think that I had to find a way to solve this disaster myself. 10 years of my hard work was not being invested for nothing and that is when I started looking at the camera videos. I went over every single second which basically means I spent 3 weeks, day and night, looking at what had happened from Friday evening to Monday morning, making a 30 page table with every single person walking in and out of the building.
And guess what? I FOUND THE THIEF. After carefully looking at every single person that went in and out, I found one person that was suspiciously walking strange, walking back and forth, going up and down, talking to the security guards for hours and leaving with a huge backpack. I felt like James Bond…. seriously!
You’ve Got To Keep Going
I got the new notebooks of my employees back and they were able to continue their work but the guy had actually sold my Macbook Pro for 100 USD to a stranger after formatting everything.
So, everything I did in the last 3 years was GONE! It was just unbelievable and I was really going crazy, but somehow you just got to focus and move on. That is really what I have learnt from this lesson. Make the best out of the situation, even if there is nothing good about it and just keep doing your thing. Because if you quit because of other’s misdemeanours, then really there is no point to start at all.
At the end of 2014, I stopped employing all the people and realized that so many things at the beginning can only and should only be done by me and that I first need to have a clear goal set in mind for the coming months. It is better to give 200% yourself than delegating tasks to people who do not have the similar passion and vision.
Employing someone is a huge responsibility, as well as a risk. Not even going into all the legal aspects as well as money spent on salary that you could have spent somewhere else. So, instead of trying to “sell products as fast as possible”, I realized it is more about planning well enough so that my product will be amazing.
I Started Again
I was back at zero, alone in my office. But somehow, it seemed like everything got much clearer and I was even happy I learnt so many lessons early enough. By the time we got to December 31st I was just eager on doing things differently in 2015 and the way seemed much clearer now.
So, why I am sharing this crazy story in so much detail is to really say a few things:
- ALWAYS change the lock when you move into a new office! You never know who had a spare key before. It is not difficult nor expensive!
- Always back up. On a hard disk or online program like Dropbox!
- If you are an entrepreneur, once you lose your stuff, you really seem to lose everything. But you have to be strong and firm in front of your team members. Your team members will really depend on how calm you are.
- Like with many things in life, you are the one responsible for your own destiny! So, at the end of the day no one will help you, except you. So, just get up, stand up and move on.
- Sometimes it is better to learn lessons in a hard way and really fall on your butt early enough. This is especially true for young entrepreneurs. Learn from your lessons quickly and adapt to situations.
- Seriously – what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Challenges come and go. Be prepared mentally. Once you are – it will be fine to overcome them.
Well, it was difficult and involved a lot of sleepless nights full of anxiety and frustration. But at the end of the day, when you keep on fighting and remain strong and firm, then things will move along with you. Just do not forget why you started in the first place and don’t let things crush you into pieces.
Wise words from Khulan and we’re so pleased that Lhamour Skincare is going strong. Starting in business is always fraught with difficulties, but if you can stay calm and keep going then you have a great chance of success. Stay tuned for another update because Lhamour Skincare is taking the Mongolian skincare market by storm. And be sure to follow Khulan and Lhamour on Facebook.
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Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Environmental Scientist and the Director of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.