- January 2010 test the waters.
- In Southeast Asia. Vietnam to be precise.
- One month of intensive CELTA training. Hanoi, preferably.
- Explore the country. Da Nang, Saigon (HMC), Diem Bien Phu, China Beach
- Get my bearings.
- Investigate housing options.
- Check out the ex-pat community.
- Assess the fit. Long term? Short term? At all?
- Use air miles, savings, OPM and hutzbah.
This clearly defined proof-of-concept phase would allow me to return stateside for March and May family obligations. Raise the funds, pack up my home, tidy up some loose ends ... and voila! Head back in September to teach business English and maybe even entrepreneurial studies, strategic planning or marketing development in-country.
Vet the opportunity? This is after all a VC (that's venture capital NOT Viet Cong) investment. It is. Emerging markets - me and the country. The consummate early stage venture replete with the need for adequate capital, positive cash flow, core competencies, traction, an exit strategy leading me to my best self.
Due diligence was conducted in earnest over the summer of 2009 placing me on the trajectory for the January 2010 launch. As you know by now, phase numero uno the proof-of-concept stage, didn't meet the target date. It is January. Snow is outside my window. Bailey lies contently on the Kilim pillow on the floor. I am still in Maine. Swine flu grabbed me in its vice grip between holidays and is just letting go. Hamstrung by severely dwindling (rock bottom, actually) coffers, I wavered.
Launch timing delays are not uncommon in new ventures. They happen all the time. The best founding teams know when to pull the plug temporarily or for good. To exercise the leadership and knowledge base expertise expected of them by the stakeholders. Often time is needed to finalize pre-start-up tasks, extend the discovery phase, tweak overall strategy. Raise capital. Harness resources. Establish a new timeline.
Well this time, the stakeholder c'est moi seulement. It is my obligation to get it right. To define success. To exceed (or at the very least) meet expectations. Mine. Moi-meme. The sole beneficiary of this escapade, this (ad)venture.
So with renewed enthusiasm and energy fueling the redesign. The clock resets. New launch date: early fall 2010. Much to do. Time to do it.
Lot's of deep-down-to-the-tips-of-my-toes soul searching since the beginning of the year. Second guessing. Devil's advocacy. Invaluable insights from the mystical arts. Here's to the road less travelled. To a graceful arrival at the big 6-0 with smiling and daring to imagine the possibilities.
Cheers! Until tomorrow ...