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Starting your own firm – a P90X workout for your career life

This is the first blog article as part of the one-year anniversary celebration of our hedge fund administration firm, Affinity Fund Services LLC.   Many times as I meet new people, once they know that I am running my own  firm, they ask me: how is it like running your own business?  I will answer this question in this article.

Most of you may have heard of P90X, but do you know how it works?  This is what Google gives me: “the P90X system is a 90-day workout routine that utilizes a technique called ‘Muscle Confusion’ which requires changing exercises over the days and weeks. So that the body has difficulty adapting and prevents exercise plateauing.”  Key words: 90-day (it’s not a one-week program), changing exercises (you are not working on one set of muscles every day), prevent exercise plateauing (you don’t grow bored easily with it since you are trying something new every time).

Many friends who tried P90X complained how difficult that one hour of exercise was, and if you think that’s demanding, try starting your firm.  I often make fun about my entrepreneur life as becoming my worst boss ever.  Usually I work till midnight, in some weeks, till 2 or 3 am.

As an entrepreneur, especially if you are starting out by yourself, you wear multiple hats.  You are the marketing and PR director, IT supervisor, COO, CFO, and CEO, and above all, you need to deliver high quality products, services or performance for your clients.

How can you live with such an extremely demanding boss like yourself?  Passion and belief.  Passion for the work you are doing, a strong belief in the values of the services you bring to your clients.

And similar to P90X, your changing functional roles invigorate your brain, bring lively excitements into your career, and shape you into a better stronger person.

Every morning, I wake up and think: what am I going to learn today?  I learnt about an efficient marketing strategy at a summit this past weekend,  I learnt some new technology at a CFA committee meeting yesterday in addition to making some new friends,  I learnt how to build brand recognition through social media via email subscriptions on my commute home…and these are just a few example for the past one week.

You become more intuitive and observing than ever.  When someone gives you a flier/brochure, you think to yourself:”ha, I know how much work and time this company puts into it, let’s see what works (copy), and doesn’t work (avoid)”; you walk into happy-hour function, and someone comes and greets you, and you think to yourself: “I like this person, why?…mmm…he/she looks genuine, speaks and dresses  in a professional way and listens attentively, I should try that myself next time…”

You are also actively looking for advice from various resources, your family, friends, professional connections including your clients, speakers at conferences etc.  Suppose you go to 30 people with 10+ years of work experience, you just extend your professional life by 300 years.

But nothing will work if there’s no persistence.  No magical exercise will get you in shape in one day.  I talked to this marketing/networking guru who grows his accounting practice from himself to 200+ people in seven years, and asked him how he made it.  He said: networking, always networking, from 9am to 8pm, 5 days a week.  “For how long?”. “Seven years, since the day I started it till today.”

This is the first year since I launched my firm, and I’m enjoying my P90X workout (career version).

If you are interested in joining me as workout buddy running an asset management firm, here are some of our other blog articles that may help you:

1. Fund Raising:

What are asset allocators looking for in a start-up funds?

10 Tips to Raise Funds for Hedge Fund Start-ups

2. Selecting service providers

When to select an auditor?

How to select your fund auditor/tax preparer?

3. Hedge fund industry in Asia

We, at Affinity Fund Services LLC, consult with emerging fund managers to expedite their start-up process.  We also provide quality administration services at a price that will preserve your fund performance for your investors.  Please call our Managing Member, Amy Zhang, CPA, at 415 370 6208 and schedule an appointment to talk.