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Zhen Hoe Yong, Founder of Fulfilled

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“Flying in the face of adversity and pushing the boundaries” – Zhen Hoe shares his personal story about his business.

What’s your story?
I have always been active and have appreciated what a fit, healthy body could do for my life. However, after I tore my ligament in a soccer game, things changed. I became frustrated and depressed when my recovery took longer than expected and I ended up gaining a lot of weight.

I was mocked by friends for being ‘fat’ and lost a lot of confidence as I struggled to get my old fitness level back. It wasn’t easy.

Through this life event, a few things became clear to me. Getting back in shape can be a real challenge and having an encouraging coach and support system can make all the difference in your level of success. Secondly, it helped me develop greater compassion for the struggles many people face when unexpected things happen.  It is really important to have proper guidance to keep your spirits high and to make sure you’re on the right track as you make changes. This was my primary motivation in setting up my current venture – to help coaches be as effective as possible so they can impact more lives.

What excites you most about your industry?
I am always impressed when I see the impact that talented personal trainers and health coaches can have with their clients. If you’ve ever seen a dramatic personal transformation, you know how powerful it can be in changing just one person’s life.

This is why I am so driven to make an even bigger impact in engaging and helping trainers and coaches in their work with clients. Imagine how many more people we can help with something as simple as bringing their training online?

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore. I have lived here my whole life. My love of the city motivated me to start my own company to give back to the community that has given so much to me over the years.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore has always had a special place in my heart and now it is much more from a business perspective. It is widely recognized as a robust start up community and offers great resources, mentors and shared office space by like minded entrepreneurs.
It is also within close proximity to other major cities which is a great consideration for expansion plans down the road.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
It is easy, but also time consuming to stay in a place of analysis and never move forward at the pace a new business should. Sometimes you just have to step up and get the job done-whatever it is. There are always pros and cons to everything and 101 reasons for not doing something. Action and movement is far more effective than rationalizations and analysis.  

Who inspires you?
Working for yourself is never easy. It takes a certain personality, drive and ambition. So, I admire all of my fellow business owners who fly in the face of adversity and push the boundaries on what is possible. There is nothing more exciting than to watch someone take a vision or a dream and make it a reality.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The mind can be tricky and can hold you back or propel you forward with a simple belief that you can be or do anything. Many people know this, but it is mind boggling to realize you are truly your own worst enemy or you can be your greatest ally in achievement. The choice is yours.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Not too many people or programs teach young people what it means to be an entrepreneur. It is also seen as risky. Yet, I believe many people are meant for exactly the kind of environment it offers. If I had to do it all over again, I would have started this journey much sooner.  I would have also sought out some early mentors with proven success so I could have learned the principles and built upon this foundation.

How do you unwind?
I love to work out and enjoy time in the gym about 3 times a week. I have found it helps to clear my head and prepare me for work. It also helps reduce my stress levels by keeping me relaxed. It’s hard to be in a bad mood after a good sweat and workout.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
A personal favourite is Bali where I can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind. I find the beaches to be a very tranquil environment to slow everything down and appreciate what nature has to offer. Oh, and I also love a good spa!

Everyone in business should read this book:
One of my favourite all time books is Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. It is one thing to have great ideas, but yet another to be able to communicate your vision with a team, staff, employees and customers. It is also a great illustration on the importance in creating lasting impressions and engaging a loyal fan base. Successful businesses all have a winning idea and a message that ‘sticks’ with their target audience.

Shameless plug for your business:
We have built an online health and fitness coaching platform we call Fulfilled. We provide the technology and tools to help fitness coaches get better results with their clients. Trainers face a number of problems today that keep them from helping more people.

To begin with, they’re spending most of their time doing administration tasks. Secondly, they have limited access to offer customized nutrition plans and exercise programs for their clients. And last, but by no means least, they also lack the resources to properly track and monitor their clients’ progress. These things taken together mean that their clients become frustrated and eventually quit when they don’t see the results they were hoping for.

At Fulfilled, we have developed successful solutions for each of these issues not to mention some other added benefits. Our system allows great fitness coaches to get even better results with their clients. It provides the tools they need to encourage healthy habits, monitor daily progress and become a more active participant in achieving client goals. Through our technology, fitness coaches offer improved training services in a faster and more efficient manner through a system we call the A.C.T. or ‘ACT’ model.

How can people connect with you?
You can contact me at [email protected] or check out our websites at
getfulfilled.co (for consumers)
coach.getfulfilled.co (for coaches and trainers)

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

CallumConnects

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.

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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