Back to Guangzhou – Perspectives Gained and Lessons Learned

Hi, it’s been a minute! Do I sound like a broken record yet?

Another month has passed and a lot has changed, once again.

I’m writing this from a cafe in Guangzhou, China.

Wait… Guangzhou you say?

Yes, that’s right. I moved back to Guangzhou.

After all the bitching and complaining about “dirty China this and dirty China that…” I realized I kinda missed the chaotic “wild east” feel that this city has going for it.

Now that’s not the only reason I’m back here but I can say that I didn’t realize I missed it until I left.

So, what was it that ultimately made us come back? Well, it was several things and I’ll break it all down for you here.

Hustle

When it comes down to it, I’m still a young, able-bodied dude who wants to do nothing more than work and make a solid living for myself. That means waking up everyday and hustling my ass off to make my dreams become a reality.

In Taiwan, life was incredibly comfortable and overall more laid back. Believe it or not, this laid back atmosphere definitely has an effect on mood and work mentality.

Instead of having nothing to do but work (like most of the time here in Guangzhou), we’d have a little too much to do. What I mean by that is that there are a plethora of activities in Taiwan that are constantly nagging at you.

You want to go rock climbing, hiking, or biking around the city with their conveniently placed U-Bikes? Well you can do that. But guess what? Not much work is getting done.

After my Mandarin course ended in Taiwan, this realization hit me that I prefer to be in a place with less distractions when it comes to working full time. That type of environment makes me more efficient at getting shit done.

After months of living in Guangzhou, I specifically remember telling my mom that I didn’t “love the city” but it was serving its purpose, which was getting me deep into finding out what type of work I wanted to do. Had I originally moved to Taiwan instead of China, there is no way in hell that I would have been able to build my e-commerce store and get it to the level that it is now in this short amount of time.

The “Hustle” is important. And Guangzhou has got it.

 Connections & Resources

When Carl and I sat down to consider whether we should move back or not we came to the conclusion that the connections we had built for almost a year in Guangzhou were actually very valuable. It just took leaving to realize it.

We built a pretty solid group of business contacts and friends that are all doing or trying to start new businesses. These are the people that we want to be brushing shoulders with on a daily basis. When you’re exposed to these people everyday you are constantly thinking about new ideas and creative ways to improve your own business.

So can’t you find these people in Taiwan?

Sure, they are there. But not in the same magnitude as they are in China. Furthermore, we agreed that it would probably take another 6 months to a year to find and integrate with these people at the same level that we had here.

Why take such a major step back?

In addition to connections, the resources that we had at our fingertips was insane. If you were strapped for cash and needed a teaching gig for the weekend, you could find it. If you wanted to find a model or photographer for some products that you were testing, you could send out a message to a WeChat group and have numerous responses in minutes. The ability to tap into these resources in Taiwan just wasn’t there. I’m sure if we looked really hard we could have gotten something, but again, why waste the time when we’re already connected?

Center of Business

At the end of the day, China is where it’s at if you want to be doing business. All of the manufacturers are here, the economy is growing rapidly, and the government is working to make cities like Guangzhou and Beijing entrepreneurial powerhouses that will draw in foreign investment.

I think I mentioned in a previous post, but the day before I left for Taiwan I met with a Chinese-American man who has been doing business here for over 10 years. He told me that I really needed to give China a longer chance and that if I wanted to take advantage of greater opportunities, then I needed to be here. Well, I think he’s right.

Committing to One Place

So after much deliberation (not that much really) I think we’ve committed to stick it out in Guangzhou for the foreseeable future.

I’ve realized that it’s hard to really progress anywhere in your life if your constantly moving around, readjusting to new environments, new social groups, and building new routines.

That being said, my 7 week stint in Taiwan also taught me that it’s not always a new place that is going to make me happier or more successful. Rather, for me, it’s the ability to “get out” and take a break from the city when needed.

This was the case when I lived in New York and I think that it’s also the case for me here in Guangzhou. The idea of being a “digital nomad” always on the road, is kind of exhausting. I think now I’d much rather have a solid home base with access to awesome weekend getaways (Southeast Asia is pretty hard to beat at this).

So, that’s it. We’re back in the dirty dirty East!

Oh yeah, one of our roommates went back to the States, so the trio is no longer… At least for now (we miss you Gary)!

As always, I’ll say I’m going to try and post more often but I think you’re starting to catch on to my antics (you clever bastards). In more direct words: I have no idea when I’ll post again. Maybe when I want to write how I’m SOO PISSED OFF at living in China and how I want to move again…

Until next time 😉

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3 Comments

  1. Dinny

    Hi.. I’m glad to hear. If possible, please also make new vlogs about how’s living in Guangzhou nowadays and your activity. Thanks
    Cheers

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