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My Journey from Entrepreneurship to Employment

I’ve always been very independent since young owing to the good upbringing of my parent. While in secondary school, I did part-time job in garment factory almost on weekly basis to earn some pocket money. For those who are not aware, I was a fisherman’s daughter with a total of 11 siblings. With limitations in my family, all of us understand that we need to depend on our own capability to strive for things that we desire. Therefore, I completed my LCCI Diploma in Accounting, LCCI Higher Diploma in Accounting, Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators professional degree (ICSA) and even my recent MBA, by mostly taking night or part-time classes.

Starting my career in Parti Gerakan HQ as a clerk while still studying for my Higher Diploma, I therefore learned as much as I could so that I am able to move up the corporate ladder as fast as possible. I’ve been with a few small companies in various divisions (finance, marketing, chairman’s office, sponsorship and communication) before ending up with both my businesses in Marketing & Communication and Manicure & Spa retail.

Entrepreneurship By Sheer Opportunity

It was by sheer opportunity that I became an entrepreneur where the word “entrepreneur” was not even a buzz word. During early millennium, I was given a chance to join an existing marketing & communication business as a partner. Being young with only minimal commitment, I quit my job as a Marketing Manager in an event management company and took the opportunity to become an entrepreneur. I held the portfolio of  business development, account servicing, human resource and finance while my partner was in charge of creative and production. We didn’t bother to develop any strategic plan as revenue continuously flowed in. We were never short of business. During those days, I indeed earned a decent income.

Insufficient Capacity & Partners’ Differences 

However, as our business grew, our creative and production team was not able to cope with the pressing demand. We increased capacity of our creative team but it did not solve the problem. Being in creative and production background, my partner believed creative capability is the key factor to business success whereas I think running a business requires even more than sheer excellence in creativity. The huge differences in opinion pushed towards the ending of our partnership and I therefore started my new venture into manicure & spa retail business.

Passion Leads To Entrepreneurship

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It was a real hit having beautiful nails in year 2005 and I decided to learn it as a hobby. To be very frank, I never had my manicure done prior acquiring the skill. I was lucky and excelled among my peers and therefore again, without putting in much thought, I started a small nail bar in an established hair salon in Sungai Wang. With other stable source of income, I did not treat this business seriously but only considered it as a hobby. My intention was just to have a comfortable place to do things that I like. I only started to expand this business to 3 nail bars when I was about to end my marketing and communication business. Unfortunately this passion did not last long.

It was really tedious to take care of 3 nail bars concurrently, even with a partner. Running from one salon to another on almost every alternate day had became a norm. Things got out of control with the increased of more clients resulting in the need to sacrifice time spent with family. I got bored with this passion very soon as getting my clients’ nails beautifully done versus my own nails were 2 different experiences. To give it a final try, I decided to close all 3 nail bars and started individual neighborhood manicure & spa salon, hoping to swap for more free time. This was how I really started my entrepreneurial journey.

Family versus Entrepreneurship

This round, I had drawn up serious business plan with strict implementation. Based on personal financing model, there was indeed a need to start lean. Therefore, I designed the business in such a way that I will do most of the thing myself – from providing client services to marketing to accounting and managing employees! As work piled, I outsourced some task to lessen my workload. Despite these measures I was still busy as many clients required my attention. Regardless, it was manageable until my son started schooling, and this was when he needed more of my attention.

Challenges in Life 

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My son Sean was always the cashier in my shop

Being a single mother, I was not able to cope with the task of taking care of my business at the same time fulfilling the obligation to provide full attention to my son.

My poor son had to stay in my manicure salon after school everyday as there was no one who can take care of him. We seldom had the opportunity to spent our weekend together as I was always busy with my clients while he would stayed with our home assistant in my shop, playing on his own. Things got worse when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. With the lack of siblings who can take care of her in KL (most of them were not here), I had to shoulder this responsibility too. It was really stressful, tiring and I gradually lost focus on almost everything life. Because there were just too many things I need to handle ….

A Need To Swap for Work-Life Balance

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Sean always play on his own in my manicure shop

My mom’s struggle with cancer lasted 3 years and she passed away in 2010. Then I decided to allocate some time to think through what I had missed throughout the few years while my mom was still around. Did I spent enough time with her? Did she receive sufficient care from me? Have I fulfill my obligation as a daughter and also a mother to my son?

Conclusion, …. I didn’t do enough. I did not want to short-changed my son like how I did to my mom anymore. While I was sitting alone on my couch one day, I decided to end my business. This decision was done in split seconds. I didn’t bother to sell my business and just did due diligence on closure. It was all done within months.

Change Is Inevitable In Life

Change is inevitable in everyone’s life. At certain stage in our life, we tend to become bored or frustrated with current situation and demand for a change. At that crossroad, I decided to have work-life balance and gave up pursuing entrepreneurial excellence. I never look back since then. I was really lucky to have a good friend who was willing to help me get a job. Even though the income offered did not commensurate with my ability, I was still lucky to gain back my work-life balance. I am grateful to have a friend who is so generous with his help.

Lessons Learned

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey, it made me understand that timing and sacrifices are part of the journey. Are you at the right time to start? How far can you sacrifice to achieve entrepreneurial success? Well, it is all about choices other than the fundamental of having a conducive business plan and entrepreneurial mindset.

At this point of time, I chose my family over career. But this does not mean I will not pursue my entrepreneurial journey in future. It is just that at this point of time, I am not willing to shift my focus from my teenage son who is only 13 years old to other things that I can wait. I want to be part of his journey in growing up so I would have no regret in future. What about you?

Currently, to continue with my new found passion in digital marketing, I started a blog with the brand ClickWebSuccess.com to share about real ways to earn money online. This is in fact one of my retirement plan too … lol.

To help more future bloggers, I’ve also written an ebook on “Beginner’s Guide To Blogging Success” sharing proven tools and methods to blog successfully. You can download for FREE below.

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If you want to build a website to promote your small retail business or start a blog on your own, you can start one for free immediately here. I started my digital marketing blog via this platform too. Never regret since then.

Hope all these information are useful to those who might be standing at the crossroad now. Do let me know if you need me to share anything more about entrepreneurial journey or digital marketing. I will be more than happy to help.