“How do you make it as an entrepreneur” is a common question heard at schools across the country. There are so many brilliant ideas, so many useful companies – but once you decide to take that plunge and start out on your own, how do you make it work?
In our next edition of our founders’ series, we’re talking to Will Liu, Founder of Nimbus Learning, about how his parents inspired him to become an entrepreneur and how he managed his company from an early age.
Did you always know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
My parents they immigrated here when I was really young and they were entrepreneurs themselves as well. So, I kind of saw through their experiences what it was like to build a business and I think that always kind of inspired me to build something myself once I found something that I was passionate about.
It certainly doesn’t surprise me that I’m doing entrepreneurship right now. I started my first company when I was in when I was 13. At first I was just buying and selling phones, video games, video consoles and laptops, fixing them up a little bit here and there and then reselling them. It was a cool experience that gave me a little taste of entrepreneurship that never went away. When the idea of Nimbus came along, those feelings and those memories of seeing my parents running their own businesses kind of came back and compelled me to choose this path.
”When the idea of Nimbus came along, those feelings and those memories of seeing my parents running their own businesses kind of came back and compelled me to choose this path.Will LiuFounder of Nimbus Learning
Would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
I’d certainly consider myself an extrovert which is why the pandemic was a little hard. I love to be around people. I feel that I am at my best and and I’m happiest when I meet people from different walks of life. It gives me energy.
Have you found any semblance of work life balance?
Yes, I think so. The first two years were a little bit challenging right after undergrad, building a company. It was simply tough. I felt like I shouldn’t be doing anything but work. At first I tried doing that but then I burned myself out quickly.
You need some semblance of work life balance or else it’s going to harm you in the long run. It’s also not good for your teammates around you. After a couple of burnouts I realized that it’s okay to take time off, to not think about work sometimes.
Do you still feel guilty when you’re not working?
That guilt is still there, but now I acknowledge it and think logically to myself that I also need to give myself time off so that I can be safe and enjoy my life. I have my work workdays and get late night calls every now and then, but I also have a lot of activities that I like doing. I like golf, I play chess, I love video games, I like to read and and also just socialize with friends and play basketball. These things have helped me stay grounded and make me realize that work isn’t everything. It’s a large part but it doesn’t define me and that helps me stay sane and it keeps me healthy.
”That guilt is still there, but now I acknowledge it and think logically to myself that I also need to give myself time off so that I can be safe and enjoy my life.Will LiuFounder of Nimbus Learning
What does burnout look like for you?
For me, I just have no motivation to do anything, not just to work, but to go see friends, go talk to people, keep my house clean. It’s not good. I’ve gotten to different stages of burnout, you know, and the worst I got was the second year of Nimbus; it was quite stressful.
That lasted for three to five months. I was getting to the point where I was very depressed and I would wake up with a lot of anxiety. At that point, I had a friend who sat me down and said, listen, you need to take care of yourself. You need to give yourself some time – take some time off to reset and you’ll come back making better decisions. I took that advice and I went back home for two to three weeks and tried to not think about work and focused on doing the things that I love doing.
That was probably the worst extent but over the years, you get to other levels of burnout. Now when I start feeling that way, I take a day off or two and tell myself that it’s okay to do that.
Nimbus Learning now offers an online tutoring platform which allows students virtual access to academic support and mentorship. Click here to find out more.