Laurence loves the innovative start-up community in Hong Kong. She has her own start-up in HK and she is interested to see how these start-ups penetrate into the rest of the world.
What’s your story?
I started HelperChoice because I was disappointed by the employment agencies in Hong Kong and how they treated their domestic helpers and employers looking for help. It was frustrating to find the right person to take care of my little one. I did find her, but I quickly learned that she had paid illegal fees. I wished there were online resources so I drafted an online advertising platform where employers and helpers could connect. The HelperChoice philosophy is that the hiring process is a two-way process so that employers and helpers can match in a respectful manner.
What excites you most about your industry?
That online resources change constantly and learning and adapting to it is a great challenge. The website aims to improve helpers’ and employers’ lives by giving them the opportunity to connect without the pressure of an agency. It is great to hear from helpers who are successfully matched and are enjoying their new work and are on good terms with their employer. It drives me to find ways to innovate and meet the challenges head-on. It’s time that the hiring process of domestic helpers enters the digital space.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I first lived in Asia when I studied a Mandarin summer course in Beijing. It was much harder back then to contact the home front and not always easy, but I loved it. In 2008 I moved to Hong Kong to work as a banker in a big global bank before I started to work fulltime on HelperChoice.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong. I may be biased, but it has been exciting to see a growing, start-up community. When I first came here there was little space for innovative companies, but that is starting to change. Young people are more interested to push the boundaries and make a change rather than becoming a lawyer or doctor. It’s exciting to be here and I’m sure great Hong Kong start-ups will make their way into the world.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Done is better than perfect.”
Who inspires you?
There is not a specific person that inspires me, but rather I feel inspired by people who are pushing the boundaries. Often companies become comfortable with their services and products and they stop innovating. People in the start-up community are passionate to change this. Companies like Airbnb or WeChat are loved by their customers precisely because they are changing the way people go about their lives.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It’s not so much something specific that blew me away, but more the sheer amount of things I learn on a daily basis. Every day when I go home I think about everything I’ve learned and how I can make use of it.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I love to have that time first and then see. Making mistakes is human and so is procrastinating. Learning from the mistakes you make is most important, as is not doing everything perfectly from the start.
How do you unwind?
Many ways. Going for a walk, travelling, spending time with family and best of all dark chocolate!
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Sanya. Perhaps not a mainstream choice, but there are a few expat tourists and I can practice my Mandarin.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Books are great and there are many that I have read, but I actually prefer online resources. Because HelperChoice is an online platform, we do a lot in cyberspace. By the time a book is published, it’s kind of already outdated.
Shameless plug for your business:
HelperChoice.com is an online platform connecting employers and domestic helpers. We empower our clients to find the right fit because it’s important to have a happy home. If you’re looking for a domestic helper, find that great helper today at www.helperchoice.com.
How can people connect with you?
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on LinkedIn: https://hk.linkedin.com/pub/laurence-fauchon/6/662/ab
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum 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.
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