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Euwing Tham Tatt Wah, Co-founder of With Love

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Euwing Tham Tatt Wah was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur. He later travelled to Melbourne where he furthered his studies. He graduated with a Bachelor degree in Engineering with specializations in electrical and computer systems in 2005. He then started his career at Intel Malaysia in 2006 as a software engineer and then took on the role of a project manager later. Euwing found love and married Teh Win Nee on March 13th, 2010 whom he had met at Excel Point Community Church in Penang. In July 2012, Euwing quit his job at Intel to pursue my passion for mobile app development and videography. His wife, Win Nee followed three months later, and the two started With Love together.

Tell us about With Love, what do you guys do?

“Photo, Video, App” which translates to photography, videography and mobile app development. We started With Love with videography, producing short films especially for weddings, events and corporate. Win Nee turned her interest into business when she started selling cakes and such. Then, we added mobile app development into our portfolio by developing apps for companies, organisations, and even just fun stuff like games. Only just recently we added photography into our list of services which also includes party booths.

So what led to its’ birth?

Our company name is With Love, and our motto is “Do everything with love”. Because we believe that God is Love (1 John 4:8), and that God is always with us, when we do anything with love (1 Cor 16:14), we are doing everything with God. We started off with videography, but we knew we would expand the business so we made sure the name was scalable, and thus we did not to include our own names. From With Love, we introduced Bake With Love, Party Booths With Love and Apps With Love.

With Love officially started in 2011. It all happened when Win Nee, who also worked in Intel Malaysia as an Internal Communication Specialist, was asked by her manager to capture an event using a video camera. On the morning of the event, when she was supposed to arrive at 8am, my alarm clock didn’t wake us up until8am! Panicked, we quickly got up, washed up, and drove as fast as possible. It still took us an hour to get there but thank God, she wasn’t late because the event hasn’t started! She wasn’t feeling well so she passed me the video camera instead, and that got me interested in videography! Little did we know that that was a defining moment in our lives!

A couple of months later, despite little experience, and learning all about videography only from YouTube, we splurged on several professional videography equipments. Our financial status weren’t great then, especially after the wedding and the purchase of a home, but I knew it was something that God wanted us to do, so despite that, we did it. In 2011, we started working in the weekends shooting weddings as a part time. In the middle of 2011, there was opportunity to shoot and produce videos for Intel, so I volunteered. There were multiple projects at Intel but there was a special one, which was a short film that was entirely written, directed, and edited by us. All that took a toll on our weekends which led to us missing church services on Sunday.

On one occasion in church, God spoke to me and said that I should leave my full time. Although it was a calling, we weren’t prepared because where would we get the finances to support us? Exactly eight months later, missing church for all of those weekends, the pastor who married us, Pastor Mei Soon, sent me an SMS, “Hi Euwing, how are you? Haven’t seen you for AGES! Are both of you keeping well? Hope to see you in church soon 🙂 God bless!”. Exactly an hour later, Pastor Sam Surendran, our senior pastor left me an SMS, which reads, “Hi Euwing. Greetings to you. How are you? This morning as I prayed, I felt a burden for you. I have not seen you in church. I have not seen Win Nee even longer. Is all okay with you? Praying for you!”. The messages were timely! And no, they didn’t plan to send it together. It just felt like God has spoken to them to remind us about church and although we weren’t planning to go that Sunday, we did because of the SMS-es! The message in church that weekend was the exact same message I heard eight months ago, to take the step of faith and leave my full time! This time, I knew it was truly God! It was crystal clear and without denying God’s will again, we made our plans to leave. Within a few months, I had left and then she followed.

God has blessed us tremendously ever since! With the ability to manage our own time and with more time on our hands, we traveled to a few countries in Middle East and many more in Europe for 2.5 months. We have also managed to increase our savings! It is truly God’s abundance of blessings!

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How was the reception for With Love initially?

We had friends who were very supportive of With Love from the start, giving us the honour to be a part of their wedding. Our first paid wedding was a Christian couple. We knew it was from God. Time and time again He reminded us that He is always with us, and that this is His will for us. Very soon, we were shooting weddings all around Malaysia. On our very first year, we covered almost 30 weddings, and on top of that, we produced more than 30 videos for events and corporate. It was an outstanding first year!

How did you market it initially?

It’s all social media nowadays! So it was Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo. We also had a blog but we weren’t serious about it and left it alone after the first few months. It’s actually a good marketing tool but we just didn’t have time for it. Later, we bought our own domain, and hosted our website and blog. We still don’t update it as much as we like but it’s good enough. I’m currently working on a mobile app which will allow our potential customers to view our work from anywhere!

Did you find any particular aspect of working on With Love challenging?

I’d say that it was really challenging working with Win Nee. Everyone says not to work with your spouse and there’s a reason for that, especially when both of us have different creativity, but that’s where we learn about each other, adapt to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That eventually helped mature our relationship as husband and wife. It was not easy, but we pulled through because we know why we’re doing what we’re doing. We always remind ourselves the defining moments in life and what decisions we made based on those moments. We know that all we want to do is to fulfil God’s plans for us. God is the centre of this relationship.

I’d say that it was really challenging working with Win Nee. Everyone says not to work with your spouse and there’s a reason for that, especially when both of us have different creativity, but that’s where we learn about each other, adapt to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That eventually helped mature our relationship as husband and wife. It was not easy, but we pulled through because we know why we’re doing what we’re doing. We always remind ourselves the defining moments in life and what decisions we made based on those moments. We know that all we want to do is to fulfil God’s plans for us. God is the centre of this relationship.

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How is the videography industry like in Malaysia?

Our work is very much related to technology and as you know, technology is hard to keep up these days, but we try our best to by following websites such as Peta Pixel, No Film School, Engadget, Cheesy Cam, to name a few. It’s always good to attend online trainings such as those on Creative Live. It serves as a good refresher, and sometimes you pick up a trick or two that will help with the business. It’s always good to continuously improve and I’d say, never live in your own comfort zone cause that’s where you’ll lose the excitement of being an entrepreneur. We also keep ourselves in touch with what our counterparts are doing in terms of shooting and editing styles, latest equipments and gadgets. There’re many Facebook Groups and even social gatherings among photographers, videographers and even entrepreneurs and technopreneurs who meet up once a while to learn from each others’ experience and network.

How do you guys manage to stay relevant in this industry?

Our work is very much related to technology and as you know, technology is hard to keep up these days, but we try our best to by following websites such as Peta Pixel, No Film School, Engadget, Cheesy Cam, to name a few. It’s always good to attend online trainings such as those on Creative Live. It serves as a good refresher, and sometimes you pick up a trick or two that will help with the business. It’s always good to continuously improve and I’d say, never live in your own comfort zone cause that’s where you’ll lose the excitement of being an entrepreneur.

We also keep ourselves in touch with what our counterparts are doing in terms of shooting and editing styles, latest equipments and gadgets. There’re many Facebook Groups and even social gatherings among photographers, videographers and even entrepreneurs and technopreneurs who meet up once a while to learn from each others’ experience and network.

Are you guys working on anything new at the moment?

We’re in the midst of bringing With Love over to Australia. We are working with photographers, videographers and even wedding planners here. We hope to start offering our videography services here in Australia as soon as next year. We will ramp down on videography in Malaysia to focus on mobile app development. We’re in the midst of working with several Malaysian startups who needs assistance in mobile app development. We will expand both the businesses as much as we can.

Why did you choose the path of an entrepreneur?

One of the defining moments in my life is a visit to a church in Singapore. Most of them run their own business, which means they have full control of their time. They can do whatever they want whenever. They can take however much time they need for church ministry, and on other times, they will use it to earn a living. It has changed my perception of life! Think about it. An occupation is just to occupy one’s time. It shouldn’t be taking up most of the hours of one’s life! Ever since that trip, I was on the look out for something that will help sustain us without our full time and thank God He brought videography into our lives. We believe strongly that it is God’s calling for us to step out, and videography is just to help us sustain it. We’re sure that He’s got greater plans for us!

Do you attribute your results so far to any particular principle that you have?

First and foremost, we believe that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour. Our motto from 1 Cor 16:14 which says, “Do everything with love” is our main motivation. We strive to serve and we want to serve with love.

Money is not everything. It is important but it shouldn’t be the main motivation or end goal. I’ve seen opportunities missed because of money. I’ve seen relationships break down because of money. I’ve seen rich people who has made it but are still looking. Money doesn’t fill the void in us. If we’re running for money, we will never stop running! I strongly believe in 1 Timothy 6:10 which says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs”.

Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us”. This very much relates to what I’ve mentioned earlier about the use of the words, “should have” and “shouldn’t have”. I always believe that when God closes a door, it means it is not the right time for it now, but He will surely have another one open at the perfect time. We just have to keep knocking and knocking. There’s no harm in knocking, so why not knock? There’s no harm in trying, so why not try? If we fail, we will learn, and move on with it the experience of failing. We would then know one way that will not work. We should try a different way. If we don’t try, we will never know if there was a door opened for us or if we’re able to go through it, and we will never know what fails and what doesn’t. There’s really nothing to gain in not trying but there’s so much to lose. As mentioned earlier, experience is priceless!

I always think with the end in mind, especially in difficult situations. Thinking, and pondering about a difficult situation will not get you anywhere, and in fact may cast more doubts and affect your performance. Focusing on the end goal is most important. For example, it is tough getting on stage and speaking to hundreds of people, but there’s really no point in answering questions such as, “What if I embarrass myself? What if they think it’s a foolish idea? What if they laugh at me?”. Instead, focus on what you’ll have to say, and focus on the end goal, which is to deliver the speech. In just a matter of minutes, the speech would be done, you’d be breathing a sigh of relief, and you’d be off the stage! Be positive and let not negative thoughts rule

Words of advice for entrepreneurs out there.

Compete with yourself! Once you’re satisfied with a result, set a higher expectation for the next one, then try to exceed that new expectation. Throughout the whole process, you will learn to be creative, and it will give you the drive to further improve and better yourself. If a person is satisfied where they are, they will slowly be complacent and lose the motivation to go further. It will just be downhill from there.

If it’s money you’re after, stay in the corporate world and climb the corporate ladder. Yes, we’ve heard of many entrepreneurs doing well, making it great, but do you know that the majority of us fail? It’s safer with the steady income, and with the benefits, you can save. If you think it’s all great being your own boss, think again, cause without a steady income, you’ll not know how to pay the rent, the bills, or even putting food on the table!

We all go through ups and downs, and sometimes, it could be down for a long time and it would discourage you, but always remember the answers to these questions – What was the defining moment in your life that made you do what you do? Why do you do what you do? What is your purpose in life?

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Connect with Euwing Tham and With Love today:
Website: http://withlove.my/
Facebook: http://facebook.withlove.my/

Entrepreneurship

The 6 Habits of Amazing Leaders

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Great leaders all seem to have this commanding and magnetic force about them that follows them in and out of each room they enter. It’s that something that you can’t quite put your finger on. Maybe it’s charisma, ambition, drive or personality. In many ways, it’s probably a little bit of all those things, which is why great leaders always seem to be the total package.

But it’s also accurate to say that these effective leaders didn’t just wake up one day with all of these skills and expertise. On the contrary: any good leader knows that, in order to be effective, you need to make time for personal growth and develop good habits that hone these skills.

There are many lists out there with great suggestions, but we’ve put together the six most important habits of truly effective leaders.

1. Lead without title.

Some of the best leaders out there got themselves started by stepping up in the work place and self-leading. Having personal initiative is the key to personal professional growth and turning your methods and attitudes into a productive and, at times, commanding presence. This doesn’t mean arrogance. In fact, it really means the opposite.

As you continue to grow and develop as a leader — and actually gain titles — it’s important to remember where you came from. In this way, you can identify other individuals under your leadership that exhibit the same type of self-motivation you did. Be understanding and welcome failure as you lead. If you don’t get caught up on your title in the workplace, you’ll foster an environment that encourages inquiry and innovation.

2. Take responsibility.

And when failure does indeed happen, don’t create a scapegoat. You’re the leader of the group, and you are responsible for that group. Take this moment as an opportunity to teach and mentor those around you instead of assigning blame. You’ll keep the work environment productive and positive this way, and encourage more and better dialogue between your team members.

Remember: failure is ultimately necessary for truly great success, because it serves as one of the best teaching tools out there. Knowing you support them, no matter what, will allow your team to really get creative.

3. Think outside the box.

Leaders are innovators — there’s no question about it. Really effective leaders tend to look at things in very different ways than most people, and they encourage those they work with to do the same.

This also means reframing an idea once the first attempt has failed. If you can continually inspire flexibility, invention and adjustment — and treat them as positives — you will sit among truly world-class leaders like Steve Jobs of Apple, Sheryl Sandburg of Facebook or Reed Hastings of Netflix.

4. Have a vision and objective that’s shareable.

Nevertheless, this innovation and out-of-the-box thinking has to be easily communicated to your team. You not only need to be clear, organized and honest, but you also need to be a persuasive communicator that’s adept at listening to grievances, questions and feedback (without arrogance).

If your grand vision can’t be shared and adopted by the team you’ll be working with, the likelihood of success is virtually non-existent. There’s a reason why leaders have a team: people are stronger together.

5. Don’t be afraid to delegate.

Working together with others means that, as a leader, you recognize you can’t do everything by yourself. The best leaders learn to delegate and the most effective daily habits of business leaders focus on ways to involve the whole team. Accounting for the importance of effectively organizing and delegating tasks not only makes others feel included, but is essential for the daily functioning of your business.

6. Find time for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Finally: remember that all this talk of productivity is useless if you’re feeling burned out, or less than 100%. It’s extremely important for strong leaders to make sure they maintain a work/life equilibrium. Don’t shy away from physical activity or time off. These two things are extremely important for maintaining your sanity and health.

Practice daily meditation exercises, and make sure you take time to disconnect. This also sets a great example for your entire team and has a ripple effect. If they understand that you place importance on self-care, then they’re likely to practice the same methods — which will make everyone more productive in the end.

If you’re toying with the idea of a leadership position, take the plunge! Be a self-starter and inspire others. Leadership can be difficult, it’s true, but the results of carrying a team successfully through a project and inspiring them to step into new roles themselves is extremely rewarding. It will also give you the opportunity to push your limits and grow personally and professionally.

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About The Author:

This article was written by Kayla Matthews, an editor of Productivity Theory.Kayla is a freelance writer, blogger and topic researcher and, because I want to churn out tons of articles and blog posts every week, I have to manage my time as efficiently as possible. I use lots of Google Sheets, Google Calendar reminders, tons of apps and lots and lots of personally cultivated habits to stay on top of everything.

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Callum Connects

Andrew Schorr, Founder of Grata

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Taking a different route throughout his life, Andrew Schorr ended up in China and started several businesses.

What’s your story?
I moved to China after I graduated from college in 2004. English teaching was the easiest way to get there, so I looked on a map and picked a small town in Hubei, because it looked to be more or less in the middle of China. I was the only foreigner there.

Back then, everything was about the upcoming Olympics in Beijing, so I moved to the capital after my year of teaching. Pretty soon after arriving, I met the co-founder for all three of my companies. We decided to start a company together the first day we met. He has now moved back to the US and builds flight software at SpaceX.

Our first company, an online city guide, was re-purposed into our second company, GuestOps, a web concierge platform. We sold GuestOps to most of the major international hotel brands in China and still operate it. The genesis of our latest company, Grata came from looking at the intersection of hotels and WeChat in 2012, when WeChat was just starting to blow up. Grata expanded from hotels into a live-agent customer service console.

What excites you most about your industry?
Our thesis with Grata has always been that what is happening with WeChat in China is the future of messaging platforms globally, and as an international team building on WeChat, we would be well-placed to capitalize on that trend. It’s taken longer than we expected for the industry (and us, for that matter) to get there, but finally, we’re starting to see messaging as a platform to get better traction in other markets.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’ve always been a bit of a contrarian. I grew up in Texas, where all my friends studied Spanish in school. I studied German for no reason in particular. I took a similar path in college: Chinese and Japanese seemed like languages that not a lot of people who look like me studied. I was one of only two students in my third-year Chinese class.

Concur conference in San Francisco, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. (Photo by Paul Sakuma, Paul Sakuma Photography) www.paulsakuma.com

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Shanghai. I should live there, but Beijing has been home for so long. I take the night train down to Shanghai every two-three weeks to meet with clients. Domestic flights are way too unreliable here.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don’t plan too far ahead; otherwise, you plan yourself out of good opportunities.

Who inspires you?
Has anyone said “Elon Musk” yet? Barack Obama would be another.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The gravitational waves recently detected from neutron stars colliding, were so subtle as to only affect the distance from earth to our closest star, Alpha Centauri (4.24 light years away) by the width of a human hair. Perhaps in another life or in the future, I’ll be an astronomer, but a telescope doesn’t do me much good in Beijing.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
When I give advice to students looking to get into entrepreneurship, I advise them to work for a post-Series A startup first and learn from a company that’s already doing things well. I learnt everything on my own, which is slower and you pay for your own education. If you work for a startup that’s small in the beginning, you risk learning bad habits.

How do you unwind?
I Hash! The Hash is a drinking club with a running problem. The Hash attracts good people from all walks of life and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a great way to meet fun-loving people all over the world. It’s also how I met my co-founder, our first lawyer, and my girlfriend.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia. A fantastic beach and where I first learned to scuba dive.

Everyone in business should read this book:
For business in China, Tim Clissold’s, Mr. China.

Shameless plug for your business:
Grata does WeChat contact centers for many top-tier brands in luxury retail, travel, financial services and hospitality. We started developing on WeChat before they even had an open platform. Grata provides the most value for large enterprises with complex routing and content demands for their contact centers.

How can people connect with you?
Check out www.grata.co or email me: [email protected]

Twitter handle?
My personal handle is @andrew_schorr and we tweet about messaging from the company handle @grata_co.

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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