As a founder, what do you actually do?

This is a question posted to me by Joan, one of my newest employees one day during one-on-one. It took me by surprise honestly. There I am scrambling for time and working till wee hours in the morning, but the team doesn’t actually know what I do.

To give you some context, I’m the founder of sushivid.com. We help brands to find, hire and work with social media influencers at scale. Our markets include Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Philippines.

I guess in my ever-evolving company, I’m always changing roles and it’s hard to keep up! So here’s a list of some of the things I do.

When there is a problem and nobody has a solution, I would be the one to solve it. Although it doesn’t seem much, it is quite a hard role just because by the time a problem gets to me, it’s hard to solve.

For example, when a client doesn’t pay and stops responding, I would get rid of all my pride and do whatever it takes to get our money. It’s not fun and it hurts my ego, it has to be done. Though it doesn’t happen very often, it is undoubtedly one of those nerve wrecking things included in my job.

I’m also the person to fill up any and every job when there’s no one available. I recall when I lost my only sales guy, I chipped in to do sales. When everyone was on leave, I managed the campaigns. When I lose my content writer, I’d write the company blog. I also double as the toilet cleaner for the last 3 months since we lost our office cleaner!

Juggling between what company can give and what employees want. Juggling between what investor expects and what the team can deliver. Juggling between running the company and fundraising. Juggling between doing and learning what to do next. I’m also juggling emotions, between pushing you beyond your limits and not over pushing you until you call it quits.

This is the part of the job that I love the most, strategising the company’s future. I’m always thinking what’s the next feature to build that will make clients happy, which event should we exhibit in next? What jobs do we need to fill up now to anticipate for the next quarter’s load? Who should we try to sell to next quarter? What should our sales target be next year? How will we achieve it?

Networking is so important. While some days I just wish to sit in and plan our future, networking is a must in my routine. Some days I just have to go out and meet a mentor, have coffee with a client, talk to our influencers, meet fellow founders. How will anyone know we’re fundraising if I’m not out there telling people about it? If I don’t have coffee with my client, how will I know how good or bad my sales team performed at a campaign? We don’t function in a vacuum and it’s important we know what the world think of us.

Wait… this one is my favourite! I can’t choose but I like this just as much! Being able to teach and guide the team has been an honour, the people that I groom, to watch them become better young men and women is an amazing feeling. I love putting in place team building exercises, managing the teams, optimising the roles and tasks and making sure everyone’s growing at a fast pace! At SushiVid, we have exams! People are suppose to learn and pass these exams!

I dislike this one the most. After all, I’m only human and I really don’t enjoy being the one everybody is afraid of. In all honesty, I do try my best to be the big sister that believes in a flat hierarchy, and wants a college like work culture, and firmly believes that everyone has the right to speak their mind and be respected for who they are, putting a bunch of freshies together, will just be chaos without some process in place. Just to give you and example, if we do not put in place timeline and due dates, when is the optimum time to get things done? So yes, I’m the scary disciplinary teacher sometimes.

This one is not quite obvious because I don’t sell SushiVid’s products on a day-to-day basis but I am always always selling. I sold our company culture when I asked you to join our company, I’m selling potential investors the potential growth and earnings of our company, I sell what our company does to people at large, at conference, and to influencers, I sell the vision that we have, which is to enable them to be full time creators.

Everyday my work consist of a few of these roles to a varying degree. There was a few months, I was very busy fundraising until we got a grant. The few months after, I’m just building the business and hiring and growing sales. Now that our business is steady growing and the team is growing, I’m spending the few months putting in place onboarding materials, team career progressions and OKRs. As we expand the business abroad, I will have to start working on strategies to enter those markets and put the right people in place.

This is what I actually do as a founder…

Passionate Entrepreneur, Social Media Enthusiast — Trying to change the world, one influencer at a time. www.sushivid.com