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How I went from Factory Worker to an Entrepreneur

I was a factory worker for 5 years...

My parents pushed me to study IT because they thought it would lead to a stable job.
It took me 3 years to realise that I was in the wrong course.

I was racking up a huge uni debt…and I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing.
So instead of staying and failing more subjects, I decided to get a job in a factory as a bread packer.

Without any qualifications, I didn’t know what other options I had.

I was deeply unsatisfied, and I knew I could accomplish more, yet I stayed at the factory for 5 years.
Because I was comfortable, and I had no idea what else I could do…

I’m sure many of you have felt this way before.

So what got me to change?

I imagined myself in the future doing exactly the same thing I was doing – except I was already in my forties.
I didn’t want that factory to be my life. I didn’t want to be there until I retired.

So I decided to do something about it.

I went to study HR and got a diploma.
I applied for a Graduate Recruitment job and after 5 interviews and a 3-hour behavioural test, I was successful.
Going into a corporate job was a huge change – I also started to see how careers works – how people hire other people. How people assess capability and potential.

I quickly worked my way up to a senior recruiter. My job was to hire the best talent.
Which meant I was rejecting a lot of people. People that I knew had potential but weren’t able to pass the recruitment process. The only problem was…you’re not able to give much feedback.
I saw that as a big problem because, without feedback, how are these people meant to grow and improve?
So that’s why I started my company, Careerists as a side hustle.

I was working 9-5 every weekday, and then after-hours I worked on Careerists - even on weekends.

Who said being an entrepreneur was easy?
Working almost 100 hours a week gets really exhausting. I couldn’t put 100% in my job or my business, and both were suffering. I had to pick one path…
I chose to resign from my job, invest all my energy into Careerists and become an entrepreneur.
The first two or three months I made a whopping $1,000. This was terrifying because, compared to my previous salary, this amount was nothing. I knew I couldn’t live off that.

Many times I would consider returning to my job - something safer and a whole lot less stressful.

However, I realised that if I made the choice to play it safe and return to being an employee, that would become the rest of my life; safe, but not fulfilling.

What motivated me to keep going and be an entrepreneur?

It was the feedback I got from the clients that I helped. How grateful they were and how their lives had changed because of me.

It was the partners in the business and my team – I had to keep going because they believed in the business and what we stood for.

When you focus on others and how you can improve their lives, that determination is what gives you the goal to work towards.

That’s why we’re celebrating 3 years in business.


Until next time,
Thai Ngo.

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