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Ethan Lin, Principal Trainer of Personality Central

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Ethan Lin

Ethan Lin’s many “ah-ha” moments researching personality types, led him to a corporate training business.

What’s your story?
I first learned about personality types on a boring day at work. Like many people who do these online personality tests, I found myself fascinated by how differently people thought and acted. For the next few days, my colleagues and I were talking about it non-stop and realised how much I enjoyed discussing this! It was then that I decided to find a way to make this passion a full-time business.
That led me to spend the next 3 years researching personality types. You can think of it as a course on Humans 101! I discovered so many “a-ha” moments again and again so I knew I was onto something powerful.

What excites you most about your industry?
The corporate training industry is evolving rapidly with technology. Nowadays with video, social media and software tools, practically everything about training is changing.
Today, I see other trainers who actively market themselves on Facebook and put out free content again and again. That’s something that you probably wouldn’t see just 5 years ago.
I’m always looking at new ways to present my training material more effectively with technology. In essence, it means less human work (lecturing and content delivery) and more automation – more time for practical application and facilitation work for me.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Singapore and have spent most of my life in Singapore, with the occasional travel to the Asian countries for holiday, humanitarian work and school trips. I’ve been to Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
I’ve been making regular trips to Myanmar. I’ve done humanitarian work at the orphanages and have been truly affected by the way they live their life even though they have so little. It reminded me to be thankful, but also a solemn call for me to do my business well so that I can help these children in a bigger way.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
My favourite city for business would be my own country. Every time I look around, I realize that Singapore has unparalleled infrastructure to help any start-up succeed. The laws here are in place to ensure that your property remains yours and your business idea can be protected.
Additionally, our government has so many grants for new businesses and there is venture capital just waiting for a good idea to emerge. I think if anyone wants to start a business, Singapore’s got to be a good place to start.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I think it has to be: “Be faithful,” from the Bible. Everyone wants to succeed, but not everyone wants to be faithful with what is given to them. There are so many people out there who look at the successful people with envy and try to ‘rush the process’ but it’s not sustainable.
Being faithful is simply to do your best with what is given to you. If we have clients that trust us with our training, then my job is simply to do my best for them – to keep on increasing the value I give to them.

Who inspires you?
I don’t exactly have a figure that inspires me. Ironically hearing stories like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma have no effect on me, because they are just too far disconnected from me.
The people that inspire me are those around me – Singaporeans who have found a way to beat the odds to become successful in whoever they are today. It is these people around me that remind me daily that whatever I set my heart to achieve is possible.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Recently, I attended a course by Marshall Thurber which was brought to Singapore by Melvin Soh. His business concepts are out of this world and applying them to my business means setting up my business for exponential growth.
He taught us to think with a new theory in the digital, networked economy. Besides that, he taught a few persuasion techniques that tremendously increased my sales – I think together, all the information he’s provided me truly blew me away.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have wanted to live my life with more purpose. I felt that for a large part of my life, I did not know what I wanted and therefore, was willing to accept second best in everything I did. Whether it was my job or business, I never gave my 100%.
I feel that I could have gotten far better results today – but I also believe that all of these are a learning process that everyone needs to go through – as we grow older, we grow wiser as well, so our actions become more intentional.

How do you unwind?
I’m a natural introvert, so I unwind alone at home, watching videos, reading non-fiction books related to my faith, on economics and quite a bit on business, sales and marketing.
On work days, I have to stand in front of people, be vocal and be engaged for 8 hours at a shot, hence, on my off days, being able to be alone is how I recharge.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I’m completely not a city person. Once, I went to Bangkok for 3 days and I spent practically the whole time in the hotel room, coming out only for food and (after much convincing) a massage.
If I had a choice, I would probably go to a beach. My idea of relaxation is simply just to laze all my time away, rather than go shopping.

Everyone in business should read this book:
This is a book recommended by Marshall Thurber – The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly. It talks about the 12 technological trends that will shape our future – If you want to start a business, you have got to know where the trends are. Grab a copy of this – it will excite you and help you see the possibilities for the future!

Shameless plug for your business:
I’ve developed the People Mastery System which empowers salespeople and entrepreneurs (and practically anybody) to profile their prospects’ Type in under 5 minutes. That’s right – in 5 minutes, you’ll be able to read your clients’ subconscious minds even without them knowing. You’ll be able to sell to the subconscious and tap on their hot buttons and of course, close the deal!

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How can people connect with you?
They can connect with me on Facebook via the People Mastery System page (https://www.facebook.com/peoplemasterysystem/), or add me on my personal account here (https://www.facebook.com/yihan.lin.2005). I’m always glad to make new connections and meet new friends!

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

Callum Connects

Benjamin Kwan, Co-Founder of TravelClef

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Making music to create a life for his family, Benjamin Kwan, started an online tuition portal and his music business grew from there.

What’s your story?
I am Benjamin and I’m the Co-Founder of TravelClef Group Pte Ltd, a travelling music school that conducts music classes in companies as well as team building with music programmes. We also run an online educational platform which matches private students to freelance music teachers. We also manufacture our own instruments. I started this company in 2011 when I was still a freshman at NUS, majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

I was born to a lower income family, my father drove a taxi and was the sole breadwinner to a family of 7. I have always dreamed of becoming rich so that I could lessen the burden placed on my father and give my family a good life.

After working really hard in my first semester at NUS, my results didn’t reflect the hard work and effort I put in. At the same time, I was left with just $42 in my bank account and it suddenly dawned on me that if I were to graduate with mediocre results, I would probably end up with a mediocre salary as well. I knew I had to do something to gain control of my future.

During that summer break, I read a book “Internet Riches” by Scott Fox and I knew that the only way I could ever start my own business with my last $42 would be to start an online business. That was how our online tuition portal started and after taking 4 days to learn Photoshop and website building on my own, I started the business.

What excites you most about your industry?
Music itself is a constant form of excitement to me as I have always been an avid lover of music. As one of the world’s first travelling music schools, we are always very eager and excited to find innovative ways to a very traditional business model of a music teaching.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore and I love the fact that despite our diversity in culture, there’s always a common language that we share, music.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hands down, SINGAPORE! Although we are currently in talks to expand to other regions within Asia, Singapore is the best place for business. I have had friends asking me if they should consider venturing into entrepreneurship in Singapore, my answer is always a big fat YES! There’s a low barrier of entry, and most importantly, the government is very supportive of entrepreneurship.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I have been blessed by many people and mentors who constantly give me great advice but right now, I would say the best piece of advice that I received would be from Dr Patrick Liew who said, “Work on the business, not in it.” This advice is constantly ringing in my head as I work towards scaling the business.

Who inspires you?
My dad. My dad has always been my inspiration in life, for the amount of sacrifices that he has made for the family and the love he has for us. He was the umbrella for all the storms that my family faced and we were always safe in his shelter. Although my dad passed away after a brief fight with colorectal cancer, the lessons that he imparted to me were very valuable as I build my own family and business.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
You can not buy time, but you can spend money to save time! With this realisation, I was willing to allow myself to spend some money, in order to save more time. Like taking Grab/Uber to shuttle around instead of spending time travelling on public transport. While I spend more money on travelling, I save a lot more time! This doesn’t mean that I spend lavishly and extravagantly, I am still generally prudent with my money.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have taken more time to spend with my family and especially my father. While it is important to focus our time to build our businesses, we should always try our best to allocate family time. Because as an entrepreneur, there is no such thing as “after I finish my work,” because our work is never finished. If our work finishes, the business is also finished. But our time with our family is always limited and no matter how much money and how many successes we achieve, we can never use it to trade back the time we have with our family.

How do you unwind?
I am a very simple man. I enjoy TV time with my wife and a simple dinner with my family and friends.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Batam, it’s close to Singapore and there’s really nothing much to do except for massages and a relaxing resort life. If I travel to other countries for shopping or sightseeing, I am constantly thinking of business and how I can possibly expand to the country I am visiting. But while relaxing at the beach or at a massage, I tend to allow myself to drift into emptiness and just clear my mind of any thoughts.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Work The System, by Sam Carpenter. This book teaches entrepreneurs the importance of creating systems and how to leverage on systems to improve productivity and create more time.

Shameless plug for your business:
If you are looking for a team building programme that your colleagues will enjoy and your bosses will be happy with, you have to consider our programmes at TravelClef! While our programmes are guaranteed fun and engaging, it is also equipped with many team building deliverables and organizational skills.

How can people connect with you?
My email is [email protected] and I am very active on Facebook as well!
https://www.facebook.com/benjamin.christian.kwan

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Nadia Al Sheikh, Founder & CEO of Flenco & Deal’n

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Nadia Al Sheikh has created a business module which incorporates philanthropy and business to empower others, and herself, she’s called her business Deal’n.

What’s your story?
My story is mirrored in my work. Flenco and our Singaporean eco skin care brand, “Flen” combines Dead Sea minerals from the lowest point of earth with Chinese medicine, which represents the wisdom and mystics of the east and these things represent my journey. I’m a single mother rediscovering my identity at a low point in life. Throughout my journey, determination, flexibility and assertiveness are the pillars of innovation. Thus Deal’n was born after years of groundwork in volunteering with various NGO’s and pursuing my masters degree. Transforming a vision, into a module that incorporates philanthropy and business, with tools to empower others and empower myself!

What excites you most about your industry?
The endless opportunities for improvement, innovation, creativity, free thinking which is mastered through interaction with other players in the market and customers creating a virtual place for brainstorming and the exchange of ideas. An evolving industry that challenges each and every person to use their skills, talents, expertise and utilise all their abilities to claim a slice of the pie.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Asia and specifically Singapore are my second home. It’s my spiritual and business safe haven that provides fair opportunities for everyone to succeed. If I was back in the Middle East as a single mother, I’m pretty sure my struggle would have been much longer and more difficult, however, it wouldn’t have stopped me from achieving my dreams. Singapore specifically empowered me professionally and Asia spiritually in redefining who I am as a person and understanding myself better.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, although it’s a very tough and competitive market for entrepreneurs to start a business, it provides them with support and motivation through grants, competitions and subsidising the cost of exhibiting or promotional events to promote their business.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Success is measured by achieving your own personal goals and dreams and not what others think you should achieve.

Who inspires you?
Those who go unnoticed. From senior citizens, cleaning tables at food courts regardless of their wealth of knowledge and experience to single mothers, who are fighting everyday to overcome the social stigma and manage taking care of their children while earning an income. The amazing people who give their lives to start an NGO to empower others asking for nothing in return except the success of their beneficiaries, the humble members of our community that work in silence changing lives not for the spotlight but for their belief in making the world a better place.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
To step onto the balcony! In order to evaluate situations and understand people’s motivations from different perspectives and even to understand ourselves better we all need to step onto the balcony and become observers rather than participants. It gives you the power to see life through a variety of lenses.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’d be wiser with my decisions, evaluate situations from different perspectives and believe in myself and my capabilities. That all came with experience and the ups and downs throughout my journey so I guess, to be who I am today I would have accepted the rough times and embraced them because they were my best teachers. So I wouldn’t undo the past but I am changing my future.

How do you unwind?
Meditation, exercising, listening to music, reading a book and a walk in the botanical gardens.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Maldives, I love the peace and harmony in the simplicity of what it offers; beautiful beaches and wonderful people.

Everyone in business should read this book:
The Wisdom Of Crowds by James Surowiecki

Shameless plug for your business:
Deal’n provides opportunities for all members of the community to utilize their skills, talents, expertise, capabilities and abilities in various ways, aiming at empowering all users to become productive members of their community. Using the services of other users for all to grow and benefit, interact with each other through the Deal’n community, thus enhancing their self esteem, level of confidence and as a result, a more empathetic and happier community!

How can people connect with you?
Through my FB page Nadousheh, my email [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@nadiaalsheikh

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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