Lilian Ong has worked hard to build her business from the ground up. She is now in a position to support humanitarian groups throughout Asia.
What’s your story?
A full-time, stay-at-home mother became an entrepreneur. Built a business from ground zero without any prior knowledge or experience and no mentor or network support and exited the business 9 years later. Now, the author of a book, “Women of Courage, Breaking the Fear Barrier,” a community leader of “Soul Rich Woman” and network and founder of “Connecting Mothers” support group.
I struggled with self-doubt, fear, depression, suicidal thoughts and a body image issue but lost 10kgs, ran my first 21km half marathon at 44 years old and volunteered as a fashion model to support a social cause and to overcome my stage fright.
What excites you most about your industry?
To see the rise and gathering of women who are living a life of courage, purpose, liberty and being a force of influence, making a difference in people’s lives and creating a positive impact in the world.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I am a Singaporean Chinese with friends who run businesses across Asia. I go on mission trips to Cambodia and Manila for humanitarian and community services. I support social enterprises in countries like Cambodia, Philippines and Vietnam through my online social enterprise. I supply my products and services to clients from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
My previous business focussed more on private, residential clients in Singapore hence I don’t have much experience outside Singapore except exporting products to Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia. Infrastructure in Singapore is more well established and there is also support from the government in terms of grants. The nationality of my clients were across Asia but their business entity is registered in Singapore.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible,” St Francis of Assisi.
Who inspires you?
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
My husband, the person closest to me, whom I tend to take for granted is the best mentor in my life. There are so many valuable lessons to be learnt from our 25 year relationship.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have started to invest time and reflect and write daily journals as young as possible. Invest in personal development courses and seek mentors in my life.
How do you unwind?
Go for a run or cycle, read the Bible or a personal development book. Catch a movie with family or take a nap.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan. I love authentic, local, Japanese food and the onsen! The autumn season is beautiful and weather is nice and relaxing for me.
Everyone in business should read this book:
God is a Salesman by Mark Stevens.
Shameless plug for your business:
Promote myself by promoting others.
Build my brand presence by developing an authentic and relatable social media presence with consistent FB Live and my message about living a life of courage and breaking the fear barrier.
Serve and volunteer my time and service.
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’.