This article was published in the Summit 2021 issue

by Joon Beh, Cofounder and CEO, Hallo

Are you looking for the right time to start a company? It is never too late or too early, but if there's a right time, it’s 2021. This is the best era for start-ups. We are extremely fortunate to live in the era of the internet. It’s not new, but it’s something that didn't have this much impact on our lives 10 years ago.

Throughout the world, 4.5 billion people have a mobile phone in 2021. 4.5 BILLION! That's more than 60% of the world's population. We are at the maturity of the internet. It is here and it is at scale. The scariest thing is that this “golden era” will go away someday. Do you feel a sense of urgency? I do every day.

I'm glad that I started my company, Hallo in 2017. When I made that decision, I didn't have any of the following: 1) experience, 2) money, or 3) necessary skills. All I had were my 1) idea, 2) passion, and 3) ambition. I was so excited about the opportunity, that I moved from my promising job in Silicon Valley to Utah and Silicon Slopes. Looking back and reflecting, hands down it was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life.

The question is, how hard is it to build a successful start-up? Elon Musk said, “Starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss.” Starting and building a company is extremely hard, and the odds are against you making it happen, but that's why it's exciting and rewarding. For me with my start-up, I went through some of the following challenges:

  1. Got deported in 2017

  2. Ate only once a day for a year

  3. Slept on the floor for a couple years

  4. Got rejected by hundreds of investors and engineers

  5. Several investors called me insane

  6. Worked 80 hrs on average the whole time

  7. Underpaid myself the whole time

Even though all these things were brutally tough and I've made countless mistakes, I keep going because it is meaningful, fulfilling, and exciting to pursue my dreams. If I had started Hallo just for money, I would have given up a long time ago. I know start-ups are not for everybody, but if you genuinely want to become the greatest person you can be and have the desire to make a difference in the world, I highly recommend that you find your purpose and dreams in life.

I believe each one of us is gifted, and it is our responsibility to find out what our talents are and use them to make the world a better place. Were people like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos born extraordinary? They certainly have accomplished something extraordinary in their lives, but what about us? Can we also achieve something great in our lives?

Success is not a matter of chance but a matter of choice. It’s not the smartest people who achieve success, but people who procrastinate less and make fewer excuses towards the dreams they want to achieve every day. Gordon B. Hinkley said, “The major work of the world is not done by geniuses. It is done by ordinary people, with balance in their lives, who have learned to work in an extraordinary manner”.

In this golden era, thanks to technology and unlimited information, there’s no secret to success, and we all can learn how to be extraordinary. Since 2017, I've been able to push myself past my limits, learn a lot faster, and change my whole perspective about work. I hope you take a leap of faith and just try it. You will understand why I'm in love. I love being an entrepreneur, and I have no regrets.


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