Community Spotlight: Koobmeej Xiong (Xyooj Media)
Check out this article by local Hmong-American photographer, entrepreneur and marketer, Koobmeej Xiong of Xyooj Media.
Why I chose Entrepreneurship over being an employee.
My name is Koobmeej Xiong (pronounced “Go-ming”). But, most people, friends, and even my clients, know me as Koobs. I am a 22 year old Hmong-American from the Milwaukee Area. I own Xyooj Media, a creative agency that strives to help other businesses in the automotive space stand out with content marketing, social media marketing and branding. Xyooj Media started out as a side hustle while I attended the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire in 2017. After deciding I was not the classroom, straight A type, I left after my fourth semester.
I did not go straight into operating my business full time after leaving school. There is this belief that you should still have a day job while working on your business until you can comfortably go full time. Guaranteed income is important and necessary. The reality is, you will not become a profitable company overnight and reap all the other rewards. So, you need a cushion to fall back on until you are 120% ready to be an entrepreneur full time. I worked a few “normal jobs” for about a year and a half before I decided to take the leap of faith. I also accredit every one of those jobs for shaping who I am today.
This is why I chose entrepreneurship over being an employee.
I wanted a lifestyle that was not held down to a 9-5. But let me elaborate. I am not opposed to a 9-5 life. I will never tell someone that one way of life is the only way of life. If you are happy at your job, I am happy for you and will encourage you to keep at it. Same deal with my friends who are still in school chasing a degree. Great for them, and I hope they get it and acquire their dream job. Not once have I told someone, “I dropped out so you should too.” Everyone has their own path. Everyone walks or runs at their own pace. For me, I was not a fan of having set hours with strict corporate policies. Realistically, I actually work longer hours than a 9-5. However, I can work those hours usually whenever I see fit. I can work from 10pm-6am, or Noon-3pm. It’s not necessarily about working less hours, but about the overall flexibility. Some weeks I can work 15 hours, others it can exceed 80 hours easily. You have to be willing to work extremely hard if you choose to go down a similar path that I did. There is a saying that goes, entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.
I tell people time and time again that being a business owner is not for everyone. You have to be okay with being kicked in the face and shut down 24/7 and then get right back up and keep going. 22.5% of small businesses fail within the first year. Personally, I don’t see that as a bad thing. Instead, I use it as motivation. Being able to have the stamina to get up every day and do what needs to be done is key. It’s really not an option at all. No partying on weekends, no time for things in that sector that will not help me in the long run to continue to build my business. My weekends consist of either a couple hours of relaxation, or work and client meetings.
At the end of the day, I decided to go off on my own when I realized that I could not work under someone else. I did not want to be another number or corporate zombie. My thinking was always this: why should I have to slave my life away to make some other person rich? Why do I have to follow corporate guidelines that often make zero sense? Guess I will become the boss then.
If you decide to follow a similar path, you need to understand that self employment comes with heaps of risk. But, it can be extremely rewarding at the same time if you play your cards right.
I have a personality that simply will not let myself fail. I am not okay not succeeding so I will always do everything in my power to make it so.
Being an Entrepreneur is like getting kicked in the shin every single day. But on the other hand, working for corporate America is like being waterboarded. So, are you ready for a few shin cuts and bruises?