raising the bar

September 13, 2012

Everytime I write an entrepreneurial post, I’ll get comments like “Oh plsss you don’t even work, your dad gives you everything.” Or “Your achievements are nothing to us, you’re a brat.”

To be completely honest, I really don’t mind these comments because I get where they’re coming from. If you’re from a comfortable family, you achieve anything also, it doesn’t count to some people. You can work as hard as you want, they don’t care. You can make millions of dollars, they will curse you with jealousy. And one day, you have to realize that all your achievements are not to prove anything to them, so don’t get mad or get upset. People are entitled to their opinions so there is no need to get emotional. Most importantly, don’t try to defend yourself by saying “Yes I work hard dammit bla bla bla” because not only do you look silly saying that, you also waste your time.

And then I start to think a level higher than that; why these people think like this. Why is it that they question what God gives other people? Isn’t it their own rezeki? Ok some of them could be mere jealousy, in which case you can discard them. If it’s this group, then you have to realize that it’s no longer about you. Don’t be perasan. Haha. These people are jealous of anyone who do better than them, and it’s really their own battle to fight. Not yours.

But some of them probably have had bad experience setting up a business. I’m learning that there are a lot of people out there who quit their jobs and start up their own ventures, but fail either because of financial problems or it just did not kick off well. Meeting a lot of people at conferences and events, I realize there are sooo many good ideas out there that go unheard. And it’s really a shame because those ideas could churn out a lot of income for the inventors.

For Dean and I, we came up with FashionValet together. We pooled our savings and with that small capital, we worked to build FV. So, no, it’s not the “Hi Dad, can I have three million dollars to start this website please?” – “No problem, honey. Here you go. *KISS*” scenario. Last year, FV spent sooo little on marketing and we managed to get huge revenue in comparison. So I’d say it’s a lot of luck, but it’s also a lot of strategic planning and using the resources we already have. Most of these came from Dean’s consultant brain, whereas I made sure operations run smoothly.

Getting our business to a level like that and sustaining there was relatively easy. I mean, it was a lot of hard work of course, but anyone can do it. Now, we’re faced with a tougher task; bringing our business to an even higher level because like any business, the only direction is to grow exponentially.

So….. we needed money. We needed investment. We had to suck it up, meet VCs, pitch to investors, talk to international tech companies and just be thick-faced. We talked to banks about loans, we talked to government bodies that help SMEs. Dean did most of this, and it always helps to have a smiling innocent girl in the meeting. Some were very interested, some discarded us. It was difficult for us to choose as well, because it’s not just money we want. We also wanted a strategic partnership; something more from potential investors, something else that the could offer FV too. It’s this whole roller coaster ride that we have to go through. And that’s not a ride a lot of us can take without puking. So I’m very proud of Dean that he never gives up easily.

We could have gone to our parents for investment and that would’ve really been the easy path because any idea their kids give them is a genius idea. It’s called love, really.

But we didn’t want to burden them.

So… we went a different route.

We went nationwide.

We joined the MYEG Make The Pitch contest.

Inspired by Dragon’s Den, our homegrown Make The Pitch is a show where entrepreneurs (or potential entrepreneurs) pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. Whether or not you win, you get a huge TV exposure and it’s free! The judges will bombard you with tough questions on the spot and you’ve got to convince them to give you the money that you ask for. We spent a lot of time in London watching Dragon’s Den and I’m sure Dean never thought he’d be in something like it!

ย A scary challenge, yes it was.

And guess what.

We made it to the Semi-Finals.

Our semi-finals episode will be out soon on 8TV.

I shall remind you guys to watch TV on that day!

But my point of this post is to remind everyone and myself to not be so judgmental of others. In business, you can give a million excuses as to why your idea never materialized and say it’s so hard because you have no money. There are so many channels you can go to find capital or to at least get good advice. ย Don’t just scrutinize others for their achievements, instead just wish them the best. Dean and I are not from multi-million dollar companies, nor are we German billionaires. Maybe just like you, we’re just 2 young people trying to build a bright future for us, our team and our families.

Wishing everyone out there lots of luck in their own ventures!