Deborah Tan, Opinions

Is This Too Big A Sacrifice? – Deborah Tan

Since embarking on this project, I have been lucky that people have been generally positive about my move into entrepreneurship. Even if you were being polite, I still want to thank you for stopping yourself from raining on my parade.

You know, everyone thinks I was fully prepared for this journey into self-employment. My friends like to say, “If there is anyone in Singapore who have the balls to quit a well-paying job and risk everything to start anew, it would be you.”

I’m not this brave all the time. Some days, I am wreaked with worry that I would fail and that everyone around me would go, “You were so dumb to quit your job.”

Reading Vanessa’s post about credit cards made me, admittedly, miss my old lifestyle a teeny bit. A month before my final day as a salaried worker, I called up the banks and cancelled all but one of my credit cards. Gone are the days when I could stroll aimlessly into Zara, pick out two dresses, and buy them without even trying them on. These days, life has taken on a more austere pattern. Just last week, at the mall, I had to remind myself not to buy anything that wasn’t on the sales rack.

It’s not that I’m starting to count pennies. The purse strings are not being tightened to the point where my wallet is turning blue. What I guess I kinda miss is the financially more carefree Deborah. The Deborah whose salary was more than enough for life’s necessities and commitments.

Before you launch yourself into a vitriol about me being a floozy who isn’t fit to talk about being broke, I’m not saying that I’m poor. I definitely am aware of the fact that a lot of people in Singapore can’t even afford to eat at the foodcourt. I’m not saying, “Poor me, I have no money.”

Of course I saved up in the months leading to my final decision to resign from my job. I met up with my financial advisor on how I can keep up with my insurance payments without affecting my medical and health coverage. I made sure I had the support and understanding of my boyfriend (who is living with me and sharing the bills) before I made my leap into business.

Is it too big a sacrifice? I don’t know and, I certainly hope not.

Just last night, I wrote this on my Facebook:

I’m waking earlier, working longer, thinking harder and sleeping later … but I’ve never been happier.”

And it’s the truth.

Perhaps at the end of this year, my partners and I will decide to go back to full-time employment. Perhaps something drastic will happen and one of us have to bid this partnership farewell. But I think all four of us can safely say this is an experience of a lifetime. If it succeeds, we will know we have what it takes to start something of our own and see it flourish under our care. If it fails, this year of entrepreneurship would have given us lessons working in a corporate environment would never be able to provide.

Maybe it’s a sacrifice. But I think the question here isn’t whether it’s a big one or a small one.

The question here is … is it worth it?

One week into Material World’s launch and I think I can say, “It is.”

And since today is my 34th birthday, I’m glad I had the courage to give myself this gift of adventure.

Because at the end of my long life, I can look back and say, “Well, at least I tried.”

Happy birthday to me.


About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and hopes to meet Steven Tyler in person one day.


4 thoughts on “Is This Too Big A Sacrifice? – Deborah Tan

  1. Hi Deborah, I can totally relate to what you’re going through. When I decided to leave a full-time job to start out on my own, it wasn’t without the fear of failing (no business coming in for more than 6 months was my threshold), concerns about not being able to make ends meet. But must say, a strong support system at home (boyfriend/husband/family/ friends) is very important; so is having a good pool of business and social contacts you can trust and tap on. Kudos to you and your team for taking the leap! Keep up and keep on 😀 Looking forward to more good reads on TMW.


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