My Stories

25 days of consistency training

This is gonna be a personal topic. If you notice, I usually don’t share my personal stories here, mostly work-related topics as I want to keep this space focused on my business journey.

But I recently come to realise that improving myself, including my health, my lifestyle, my mindset, is also part of the journey. So I decided to share it here, hope that I can inspire others a little bit more to make self improvement in a way that works for you!

A bit of a back story so you know my starting point:

  • I’m generally not an active person, mostly I sit in front of the computer (obviously). I take less than 3,000 steps per day for most days
  • I used to do gym a few years back but It had been on and off and end up cancelling my gym membership after 1 year
  • I did yoga for a few months before, and again didn’t keep up
  • I had a friend as a PT coming over twice per week to help me exercise, and again, I stopped after a while
  • I have Class-Pass membership but I paused it when lockdown happened in March. Before that I went to boxing and spinning class every other week
  • I’m familial high cholesterol condition (yes, you read it right)
  • I struggle doing HIIT exercise as It gets too intense for me, I would feel light headed and short of breath, which scared me out.
  • I don’t have weight problem, but I’m skinny fat
  • I have 1 full time job and 1 side business and 2 cats, so I can get as busy as life can get.
  • I don’t take fast food and soft drinks overall, but I like fried stuffs. Totally a meat lover too.

Okay enough of the fun facts, so after many years of failed attempts to have a fitness routine, I started to change my approach in August. I set out to one simple goal: do 1 single set of 10-min-exercise EVERYDAY for 2 weeks, at home.

I came across with Chloe Ting 2 week ab challenge and decide to give it a go. Learning from the past, I did not choose a HIIT program or cardio as I know my body will stress out and I will give up again. And plus, who doesn’t want a nice looking abs :p But as I said, having nice abs wasn’t my goal, my goal is just to sweat 10 mins per day and make it consistent everyday no matter what.

10 mins exercise was very short, so I usually threw in some glute exercises as butt kicks, leg raise and glute bridges at the end of the session just to get extra result. But I took it very lightly, no pressure, depends on how I felt, at times I would turn on the music and just shuffled along to get some cardio brownie points there. I didn’t eat less during these 2 weeks, I eat as how I feel like it and I don’t weight myself everyday.

And here’s my result after 2 weeks. I definitely lost some fat there and i can feel some definition is forming. No magic or no extreme transformation here but its the fact that it’s only 2 weeks and I did get comments that I lost weight overall.

Picture on top row: Aug 23, pictures on bottom row: Sep 5. Waistline is smaller, less fats and some definition start showing.

I was definitely with the result I get, I started to add on more sets of exercise, 10 mins become 30 mins and for some days, 45 mins.

Mentally wise, I noticed that I felt happier, less anxious, mind relieving after every session. I’m more conscious on my daily food intake.

But above them all, my proudest achievement is successfully incorporate exercising into my lifestyle. I would proactively schedule my time for a work out session everyday and actually LOOK FORWARD to it (says what?). I would purposely read up and research for the type of exercise that works for my body type and health condition.

Courtesy of beauty app, all my hard-earned sweats isn’t showing. But I felt great inside out.

So if you are struggling to find a balance in working out or trying to start your fitness journey, or just simple want to improve on how to feel, to be a bit healthier and enjoy life a little bit better, here’s some of the tips I learnt during the past 25 days:

  1. At first, choose a exercise that you can handle. I choose ab exercise but you can do 10 mins of HIIT exercise, running, skipping rope, stairs climbing etc. Start off small. Then once you get used to the pace, diversify the type of exercise, throw in some tools, weights etc.
  2. Do it consciously. Notice how you feel during the session, take your time, do it at your own pace then increase as it goes, focus on the right form. If you feel like dying, its probably not the right way to start with. We are training consistency here, not trying to push your body goal, so the trick is to let your body sweat but at the same time, not stressing it too hard.
  3. Put on active wears. Even tho you do this at home, putting on some active wears will give you more feels of your body, easier to focus on certain muscles too. I do feel guilty as I purchased a lot of work out clothes but well, it does give my spirit a boost
  4. Throw in some fun. Put on some music, learn some moves after your session, express how you feel with your body, trust me, this feels great.
  5. Don’t count calories but don’t junk eat. It comes quite naturally to me that I don’t feel like eating junk after working out. I try to eat healthy whenever I can. BUT I don’t stress my body by a strict diet. I do go all out at a buffet or order desserts after lunch once a while. Find a balance what works for you.
  6. Have a day off here and there or when you are sick. In 25 days, I took 2 days off, I had a nasty fever.
  7. Be patient. Don’t chase results. The trick is to enjoy the progress, and the result will come. Don’t overthink, don’t measure yourself everyday. Just live your life as normal and think that exercising is just like one simple activity you have in your busy day.

Once you build up the consistency and your body is ready, you can move on to getting proper training to achieve the body result you want without having to worry that you might give up half way. But again, this blog isn’t about body building anyway.

And if there’s one good thing that 2020 brings us, it’s probably the chance for us to look inwards and improve ourselves, as we all have to stay in one place for such a long time. So 2020 is the best year to work on this guys, we have 3,5 more months to go!

So I hope you will be able to build you a healthy routine for yourself, the way that it works for you (everyone’s built differently). And most of all, stay happy and find joy in all you do!

Keep sweating guys!

Onwards and upwards,

Ginny.

Standard
My Stories

Let’s communicate on communication

Recently at work I’ve seen colleagues struggling with inter-team communications and the consequences that follow. I consider myself a clear communicator most times, I am able to deliver my point and get the needed outcomes from the conversation – yet find I myself at times being frustrated when my messages are not coming through. Therefore, I felt the urges to write this article to share what I believe to be the secrets behind any genuine & fruitful conversation – be it at work or off duty.

1. Context

What we know is in our head, and at most times, everyone of us is thinking of a different thing in our head at one point of time. So at the start of any fruitful discussion, everyone has to be in the same context. Take your time in the first 5-10 min to introduce and explain the situation, even though your think your audience already know (you’d be surprise).

I do this even for the smallest request, or even over a message, so that the other understand and give me the answer I’m seeking for.

2. Perspective thinking

Try to be in the other person’s situation, imagine yourself to be in their shoes to understand their argument.

empathy

If you are unclear about it, ask them for it. They will be more than happy to explain.

3. Listen to understand

The more important the conversation is, the more we need to practice this. We like to rush it – rush to answer and to respond. But let’s take our time listening to the other party. One of my trick is, when i felt impatient listening to someone, I pick up my pen and start jotting down their points, this help me calm myself and does not miss any information. Then address all at once.

If you think they are taking too long, just simply ask to stop so we can discuss a few points first, before carry on to the next discussion.

4. Ask genuine questions

You might ask me – what do you mean by genuine questions? Genuine questions means you ask because you do not understand, not for tricking them into a certain pattern of answers. For me it’s like a hiccup, it’s harmless, just annoying and distracting. It will also trigger my defense mechanism because I know I’m being led onto a planned situation. So try not to do this and be mindful with your words when it comes to questions. Here’s an example:

“Do you think you will make any differences with your proposal?” – Assumptive, I-know-better-tone.

“What impacts will your proposal make on our current project?” – Genuine, polite & seeking for opinion.

5. Have a goal in mind

Especially when it comes to professional conversation, don’t come clueless (If you are really clueless, say it upfront, and seek for advise). Before calling for any meeting or discussion, list down what you need to discuss and the goal of it. It would be great if you can send it out advance, so the others are well-prepared too.

I learnt that if we want to achieve our goal, we come prepared as if we’ve already got it.

6. Be Specific

Fruitful discussions are always SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). But here I want to press on their first one – Specific. Try not to make assumptive statements or vague arguments. Let me take an example:

“A is having a bad attitude at work” – is assumptive

“A is refusing to support on his task I gave him last Monday, I’ve followed up twice but it is still pending” – is specific and neutral, this way you are giving a specific problem that your audience will prone to find solution, which will lay a better foundation for the discussion.

“We will run ads for this campaign to achieve our goals” – is vague

“We will run ads on Google Network Audience for 2 weeks, at a budget of $1000 and try to achieve a goal of 100 conversions” – is specific and clear, this way you will not leave your audience with so much questions on your statement. And to be able to do this, you must come prepared.

7. Be consistent

We might not remember what we said today, but people do. And if the things we communicate aren’t consistent, it will be tough for the others to achieve what we want them to achieve. Consistency is also a guide for team work, we need to know where we are heading to and we need to be sure tomorrow we will still be working on the same thing. Without it, team morale will be low.

In any case you need to U-turn yourself (my informally way of changing your mind/statement), make sure you give the signal – Repeat what you said before and correct yourself, give reasons for such change and do it confidently 😉

8. Harness your emotion

This is probably the hardest to master, but it is very rewarding, you’ll earn more respect. And it is especially crucial if you are at HOD or C-level because your team will look up to you and mirror your behaviours. Here’s some tips that I hope will help you:

Whenever I felt an overwhelmed emotion, I take a long deep breath and ask myself 3 questions before I have any further actions:

“What is this emotion that I am having?” Be it, angry, sad, disappointed, etc. You need to acknowledge my feelings and be aware of it.

“Why am I feeling such way?” – Give an honest answer, be honest to yourself on the real reason.

“What can I do to not feeling like this again?” – Think of solution, rather than excuses or blame. Take at least a few mins to think about it, don’t rush it.

Once you can master the technique, you will appear more professional when approaching an sensitive/emotional conversation, hence your inputs will be more respected.

.

Let me know what you think about this article, please share with me your tips when it comes to effective communication, I’d love to hear them out. Comment below I will surely reply you 🙂

Onwards and Upwards,

Ginny.

Standard
My Stories

A boat that almost sank

I feel like it’s not fair just talking about achievement without mentioning the fair amount of failures I’ve had a long the way. As much as I heard that failures are absolutely normal, but I rarely come across a sharing on this topic. So I decided to write about it, I hope fellow entrepreneurs find it relatable and be less hard on yourselves, as long as we open to look at it without any pushback, we’ll all learn.

Last year November, we decided to open Shoe Mo in Singapore. For us this is a huge step forward in Shoe Mo branding. We took over a local shoe laundry business and re-branded it to Shoe Mo. We incorporated ShoeMoSG Pte Ltd which we hold 70% of the stakes. It was a great deal as it’s been an up and running business with constant stream of customers (it has been running almost a year when we took over).

First month, lots of hand shakes and full of excitement. We did big opening promotion, so the sales was great, we managed to hire experienced cleaning crew so the quality is top-notch. We were over the moon, it’s a statement for Shoe Mo as a regional brand.

But the hype didn’t last long. We see our sales sunk by month and for the past 6 months, we’ve been making a lost. The reasons are:

1. Inefficient Operations

We promise customers for a turn around time of 3-7 days on their shoes, depends on the service. We took 2-3 months, or worst 4-5 months on a complicated job. Our team are taking too long on one jobs, despite the fact that their service quality is great, customers got turn off by the long waiting time. The team wasn’t efficient enough.

This created a dilemma, I wanted to double up on marketing and introduce more services, but our productivity is too low, so the shoes wasn’t moving fast enough, so was our cashflow. The more advertising we do, the more backlogs we have, the less we fulfill our turnaround promise.

Plus, high operation costs including rental and payroll in Singapore is a huge disadvantage for labour intensive business model like us. Big fix expenses, low fluctuated revenue, long overdue backlogs were making us bleed.

2. Bad management

We didn’t take actions fast enough. We keep hoping that table will turn next month. We keep saying that it’s a slow month, it will be better. But it didn’t. And the fact that I have to juggle both Malaysia and Singapore’s operations, was a bit too much on my table. And I can’t physically be in Singapore enough to push things.

Many asked me: Why not hire someone to help you? – We’re still bootstrapping now, and it’s hard to hire one with passion for this particular industry and is good at managing retail shop. Deep down I know, I need this person.

3. Inactive partner

The biggest lesson I thought I’ve learnt, but in fact I’ve never felt it deep like I do now, is that picking the right partner is important. It’s like jumping to marriage to someone and realize it’s a bit late to fix things. Even we have a local partner but there is not much of contribution towards the business. I don’t mean to bad mouth my partner, this is just merely a reflection on my end. And if we do fail, we (myself) do count for 70% of the blame, at least. So the weight is on us.

4. Location

Our shop location was good, but it was a bit out of the way. It’s to serve the neighborhood, it’s not bad, but it wasn’t great either.

As for me, this dilemma has been giving me ultimate stress for the past recent months. What I did were:

1. Cut down staff cost & change payroll scheme

I explained our situation in a heart-to-heart talk with Singapore team, I convert them from full time basis to part timers. I trimmed down business hours to cut down the loss.

I changed from hourly wage to basic wage + commission scheme. The more service they delivered, the more pay they get to fasten the turnaround time.

This is probably the hardest conversation I’ve had with my team, it’s not easy to deliver these news. I also allowed some tolerant period, I cut from full time salary to part time wages in the span of 3 months, and only 2 months later apply commission scheme.

2. Found a trusted & supporting partner

We found that The Sole Brother was interested to have us onboard, we’d been consigning our products and services at their pop up store in Marina Square. As they are taking a permanent tenancy at Marina Square, they offered us to share the space. And under the same proof, Sole Brother team will support us in managing the operation when I’m not around.

3. Move our shop

After months of discussion, we’ve decided to move in to Marina Square, sharing the new space with The Sole Brother with one stop merchandising and service concept. I hope this change will help us reach out to more customers with better branding. However, we still need to push our backlogs and shorten down turnaround time.

WhatsApp Image 2019-10-10 at 5.44.42 PM

It took me 6 months of loss, at one point of time, we did think about closing down the operation or sell it off. The loss was almost unbearable (ringgit x 3 haha). We struggled to make payroll and we still have past paychecks to clear. The changes we made to Singapore business has shown some good signals, but learning from the past, I wouldn’t be too optimistic but I’d be following up more closely until we ride our boat out of the storms of our mistakes 😀

Yet I believe everything happened for a reason, look at the bright side, we have better presence now as we used to!

Onwards and Upwards,

Ginny.

P/S: Feel free to reach out to me if you want to share your stories too!

 

Standard
My Stories

Money Talk

Growing up third world Asian, money is always a taboo topic for me during childhood. I remember seeing my parents flighting over money, my relatives making fuss over dinner table about money. So I became guarded from those dramas, telling myself not to let money giving me any headaches or have to see any fights about it. I got very sensitive when people asking about money or tried my best to avoid such topic, because I was scared it would end up with conflicts.

I wasn’t educated enough about it, clearly. I had 0 knowledge about personal tax or interest. I spent more than I earned and I didn’t think about retirement plan. I used to think small money doesn’t matter, if you only have $100 to invest, what’s the point? What difference it’s gonna make? I thought insurance is a scam. I wanted to focus on my corporate ladder and get higher pay every year. I thought the only way for me to earn money is to get a raise. Financial freedom was always in my checklist but I have no idea what’s the figure of my financial freedom.

After avoiding those topics for years, I finally took the courage to open up and equip myself with the knowledge I should’ve had. I always felt wrong and burden without talking money to anyone. I picked up a book called Tony Robin – Master The Game. It’s probably the first personal finance book I’ve read but it’s also a high recommended tittle for the matter. I enjoyed reading it and I decided to write this post.

There are a lot of topic covered in Master The Game, but here are some points that really hit me and motivate me to make changes.

1. “No 1. Fear of baby bloomer is outlive their savings. Yet not many of them willing to discuss money” – it’s a “Me Too” moment. I guess it’s been always my biggest stress and fear. Outlive my money. For first time business owner like me, there are many things I gave up to get the business up and running, and one of them is the stable corporate income I used to have. So yes I’m scared.

2. How much is financial security/ independence/freedom? Are they the same? What’s the figure?

Is it $1,000,000 or is it $20,000,000. I started to list out all expenses, to know the exact amount I need to cover my basic needs. Then I went ahead and list out the things I’d like to have when I have more money – that’s to be financially independent. Then add in any luxurious item/ vacation/ property or any dreams I would have, and that’s the freedom I was always dreaming about. Let me get this straight, this sounds simple but not many people get their figures on top of their mind. Everyone dreams about financial freedom but not many people but a price tag on it. To my surprise, my current idea of financial freedom only cost me only less than $500,000 per year. I used to think I need a million to achieve it.

3. What’s your safety net? Retirement plan + insurance + rainy days funds

The question finally kicked in, do I have safety nets? The idea of being “safe” is pretty blur for me when I’m in my 20s. Retirement is something in the Faraway Land. But with a snap of fingers, I’ve entered my 30s, the last 10 years gone like a blink of an eye, probably left you with no more than some debts and I only have 30 years left to fix my 20s mistakes and get ready for life commitments and retirement. The next 10 years probably I’ll be drowned with diapers and milk if I’m to settle down, the next 10 years I’d be worried about kids college funds, housing loans. If I don’t start planning for retirement now, I only have the last 10 years to think about it. When my health won’t be as good as it is now. To be honest, it did scare the hell out of me thinking about it.

4. What do you earn money for? Whats driving you to earn money?

First is to feel secured, second is to have diversified choices, and the last is to be significant. Knowing what drives you and put it in order will help a lot with financial decisions, for eg: I won’t spend money to be significant unless I feel secured. 

5. Compounding interest – start early!

I used to think small money won’t make big difference. But I was totally wrong! Small amount of money every month with small interest rate will make a huge different over time! And the longer you put, the better it turns out.

6. “There is a difference between being broke and being poor. Being broke is a temporary economic situation, but being poor is disabling frame of mind”

I used to consider myself being poor, but in fact, I realized I was just being broke. Being able to cover my basic needs, having a small side business, I don’t have much disposable income. That’s being broke, when I have no money to spend. But I’m not poor, I have paper assets – I just can’t liquify it yet, I have stable income monthly, I just didn’t find ways to maximize it yet. I try my best not to be super positive about it, but enough to change point of view, see the truth in it eyes and overcome.

I’ve seen changes for me since, I talk about money with my close ones, be open and transparent on any expenses and income – I felt so much better after that, and I was surprised, I didn’t thought I would be able to do it a few years back. No shame, no ego, it is what it is. 

I researched and studied about tax, I even went to Expat Tax Department to discuss about my personal tax – as I’m an expat so it can get a bit complicated at times. I just want to make sure I know what I should be knowing. I learnt how to ask money questions, well not always, but when the situation comes. 

I learn to see things by its value, but i give future potentials a value too. I started investing small amount monthly, to ETF funds via StashAway app. 10% of my income goes there monthly, no question asked. And I committed to add 3% every time i got a raise, that’s for my retirement. Slowly and surely, I plan out on my insurance and rainy days funds. 

Everything we do today, no matter now small it is, will bear tomorrow fruits. And never underestimate the power of compounding! No amount is a small amount! 

I still have a long way to go, and of course life won’t go as planned – but I’m glad my point of view has changed, for the better.

Onwards and Upwards,

Ginny.

Standard
My Stories

Turbulence Times

It had been an emotional time for me. It took me a while to write about things as I want to take time to let it sink in and reflect as much as I could.

I broke up with my ex-boyfriend 3 months ago and I felt drained. It wasn’t the first time, and I reflected hard about everything. I’ve spent sleepless nights thinking, and I found myself waking up with messy thoughts. The question I asked myself day and night: Why did it never work out?

It seems like a big question to ask, and I’m not sure if I’m ever able to answer that, until I find the right one. But amongst those things that I don’t have control over, I managed to figure out things I’ve done poor, and that I can do better –

Word of affirmation

This is very easy to be neglected, especially after a while being with each other. I used to cringe to cheesy lines, I prefer cheekiness over cheesiness, I still do, but I would totally be more aware that sometimes loving words can go a long way.

Temper

I have a natural anxiety for things, I get impatient fast. I throw attitude and temper on small matter. That’s totally unfair and does much harm to my beloved ones.

Transparency

I should be able expressing my deepest thoughts without fear or concern. I should not tell white lies even though I think the truth is more harm than good, because everyone deserves the truth.

Communication foundation

Start it early, over communicating always. I know a lot of times when we first started dating, it’s fun to “not say it all”, jokes ain’t fun explained. But eventually, where the hype goes down, love and kindness replace, constant communication is the only way to nurture relationship. But over communication only work if expectation is low. This could be tricky and require a certain level of compassion and empathy, giving but not expecting the same treatment back, only no expectation can lead to no disappointment.

Be vulnerable

People I know used to perceived that I’m independent and strong, they are not wrong. I used to manage things on my own and over time, therefore I find it hard to ask for help or open up to my situations. But I guess in a relationship, it’s not all about me. It’s about teamwork. It’s about Us vs The Problem. And I hope I can find someone I can finally be vulnerable to.

And the time reflecting also shed lights on what I truly want from a relationship, besides chemistry –

Generosity

Not from money/ finances point of view, it’s about keeping an open heart to your partner. Everyone is unique and has a different upbringing and life experience. I think it boils down to the will of accepting and forgiving, usually goes hand in hand with maturity level.

Patience

The patience it needs to explain and to listen, without pride and prejudice.

Support

A helping hand whenever it’s needed. My heart will turn jelly if I know there’s one for me and try their best to help me, in a way I don’t need to say.

Trust

Comes with clear communication, and trust the other party to do the right things. What’s more relieving than trusting and knowing that you are trusted?

“You accept the love you think you deserve”

I tend to blame myself a lot after a breakup, that I should have done differently. I regret a lot of things and go through constant nostalgia, nightmares and meltdowns. I have a soft heart for love, and I care too much that my heart wrenches. But at the end, what pushes me through is to see the happiness they deserve to have without me, and the happiness I should have had, not to be by their side. I believe to Love is to Let Go.

Onwards and upwards,

Ginny.

P/S: This article took me almost 3 months to write. Things have changed so much now. I have moved on and fell in love again. Like this photo I took – there will be sunshine after the rain. And I’m thankful for everything.

28F2479B-6334-4C8B-A7C8-51327297BDF5

Standard
My Stories

Turning 30

Before my 30th birthday, I was scared. I wasn’t sure how other people made it – it’s a big thing, it means we’re half way through life, another 30 years left to retirement. Some people say it’s just the beginning of real adulthood, where career and life starts to take off, where we start settling down and make (realistic) plans for future. For me, I have no idea, I’m still figuring it out. There are lots of uncertainty, and there’s one thing certain, that nothing’s certain. 

A friend of mine suggested that I should list down what I want to achieve in the next 5 years, keep the list and look back after 5 years and check your progress.

So I made this list for my 30th birthday, of the things I want to achieve in my early 30s, that hopefully can positively impact the rest of life. I hope when I look back in 5 years time, I have achieved some of these goals. 

Business goals

1. Shoe Mo green in profit and stable growth of 20% per year. Shoe Mo will be in its 3rd year this year. We expanded quite crazily, with heavy CAPEX business like Shoe Mo (retail in general), we invest a lot in set up new outlets and inventory. Therefore, returns will take a while to come back. I wouldn’t expect a speedy recover in capital because, in it and knowing it, it just can’t rush. So I will put a subtle goal here. 

2. Organi generates steady monthly sales, have a proper team – Organi is my recent side business, to supply organic straws originated from Vietnam, to Malaysia and Brunei market. It’s an entire different business model compared to Shoe Mo, in a completely different industry. And I hope in the next 5 year, Organi can grow to supply organic products from Vietnam to ASEAN market. 

I wouldn’t 100% fixed to these goals, because I know life changes. I might end up doing different things. But I know I would constantly looking at any opportunities. 

Personal Finance

In my 20s, I didn’t worry much about this matter. I got decent job in big companies, decent pay, life was shine and bright. It hit me when the cough I had one day didn’t disappear after one night sleep or my thigh started to scream after a short walk, life isn’t sunshine anymore, there will be rainy days and it starts when I got to my late 20s. Plus, living alone in a foreign country makes me think harder about financial security. So recently I’ve been into personal financing and investment. I will have a blog on this later on, I think it’s a very interesting topic, that most of 20s and early 30s avoid to discuss (including me). But I don’t want to get distracted so I’ll get to that later, here are the things I want to achieve financially in 5 years:

3. Start investing – it actually easier than I think, technology has made it simple and easy for small and unexperienced investors, with lower cost and it doesn’t need a fortune. 

I have recently started invest in ETFs and Crypto Currencies (more on this later). And I hope to get 3 more, so total 5 portfolios within 5 years. 

4. Actively saving – 10% of my income go to saving and commit to +3% if I have an increase in my income. 

5. Retirement fund – I’ll put the above saving into investment funds and let it compound untouched (man it sounds hard) until my retirement.

6. Emergency fund – 3-6 month of income set aside for the rainy days.

Personal Well Being

After 2 years working on my own, I finally learn to take things slow. If it was me 2 years before, I could go up all the way to 3am for work, stuck to my laptop the whole weekend, constantly checking Shoe Mo’s social media and reply messages. Now the team has expanded and everyone joins hands, I go with the rhythm and decided to spend more time for my well being.

Then I realize that well being definition could be different things for different people, some can be yoga every morning, some can be pursuing a hobby, some read books, some go for retreat. The definition varies, there are no right or wrong, as long as we feel peace and flow with what we do.

What I personally want to do for my well being are:

7. A committed self-care routine: Daily skin & hair care – being a woman, I feel ultimately myself when I do my skin care routine every night and every morning haha. And taking supplements to. I wasn’t commit to a routine before but I’m addicted to it now. I hope I can keep up! 

8. Be consistent with rock climbing: Rock climbing is a good sport in many ways, it trains you not only with strength but also strategy & agility. It’s easy to give up half way but it is so fulfilling when you make it to the top. So aiming to get my lead wall certificate by end of this year!

9. Spend less time on social media: Indeed, I need to do this for my well-being. I recently marie-kondo’ed my following list – it affects what contents I get fed everyday, I believe it plays a role in staying sane, you know what I mean.

10. Get health insurance: I need that peace in my sleep knowing that I’m covered up with health insurance! I’m looking at options now, hope I’ll have that in place soon!

Personal Improvement:

11. Be higher EQ: Yes, to be able to harness my emotions and display them in a better way. I’m not the most emotionally stable person. I mood swing and have a temper. 

12. Eat consciously – For someone that loves eating like me, it’s nearly mission impossible. But I will start simple, cut down processed food like fast food, canned food (which I don’t take much actually), next is watch out sugar intake (those bubble tea hmm), and finally my weakness – reduce fried food – I love fried stuff. 

13. Wake up earlier: Wake up 2 hours before I start work, to meditate, breakfast and (hopefully) exercise.

14. Read one book every month: Of any topic of my interest. I’m reading Master The Game by Tony Robbins this June, I love it. Totally gonna write about it soon!

15. Finally, One blog post every month – I want to start writing on certain topic that I read/interested about.

 

61571803_343899319607031_6049350458756038656_n

Here’s a picture of me on my 30th birthday vacation.

Now I’m officially 30, and I don’t think much about turning 30 anymore haha. And just when I finish this list. I realize there’s no travel goals or career goals in it. It’s not a bucket list anymore. I guess I’m getting more real as I age – security (finance), well-being and personal improvements are top of my list now!

Onwards and Upwards,

Ginny.

 

Standard
My Stories, Uncategorized

BFM Interview – My first radio interview

Enterprise-2019_01_31_ENT_OFB_Shoe_Mo

Click here for the audio

We came across the radio interview ideas 2 years ago when helping out a BFM presenter restoring his shoes. We did follow up but it didn’t go through.

Fast forward 2 years later, after our aggressive growth in 2018. Our intern Joshua pitched our story to Richard, one of the BFM producer and presenter. We were thrilled to received his email saying he was very much interested in the business idea and wanted to interview us for their Open For Business session.

I thought it would be exciting and easy, as I’ve always been talking about Shoe Mo stories, how our business works – So I was pretty chill at the beginning.

IMG_0821.jpg

But I was wrong. When I enter the set and sat down in front of the mic. I felt the pressure. I was nervous even talking about things I talk everyday. If you listen to the interview, you’ll hear my nervousness pretty clear. There were parts that I had to paused (which was removed from the interview) because my head is running ahead of my mouth, the ideas in my head was running to fast for me to verbalize it. Luckily, Jack, my partner, always as chill as he is, has conveyed the message well.

Right after the interview was live, we had inquiry emails coming asking for partnerships and franchise, they also express their admire and interest towards our interview. We are absolutely grateful to have the chance to get such exposure. For my personal learning, that I know I can do better next time.

Onwards and upwards,

Ginny.

 

Standard
My Stories, Uncategorized

Shoe Mo in Indonesia, my thoughts on Retail Operation and Jakarta trip.

Happy New Year 2019! People say New year, new me, I’d say New Year New Shop. Jokes aside, we do have a new shop up and running earlier this month. Shoe Mo Grogol, Jakarta, Indonesia!

img_8948

Signage will be up soon! You can find us here:

Shoe Mo Grogol

Jl. Dr. Muwardi I Blok B2 No.26, RT.1/RW.4, Grogol, Grogol petamburan, Kota Jakarta Barat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 11450, Indonesia

Biz Hours: Mon-Sun: 11am – 8pm. Tuesdays off. 

Phone: +62 81324752059 | Email: id@myshoemo.com

 

img_8981

Side story of Shoe Mo Indonesia. When my partner Jack left KL to relocate in Jakarta in Aug 2018, he told us that he’ll bring Shoe Mo there. Back then I wasn’t so keen on that idea because I do think Shoe Mo HQ (Malaysia) needs a lot of support and attention. So I’d prefer him to stay in KL. Then Shoe Mo Singapore came into the picture, more jobs added to my list. I travelled a lot. Juggling 2 countries and 4 shops wasn’t easy. I didn’t hold much hope to Indonesia as to me it’s a new territory. But one fine day Jack told me he found a decent shop for rent, a local partner to work with and a month later I found myself flying in Jakarta for the opening. Law of attraction some might call it, but kudos to Jack for making this to happen.

I’ve been reflecting recently. The longer I run Shoe Mo, the stronger I believe Operation will make or break your business, especially in the first 1-2 years, no matter how bad/great your business idea is, if you execute it right, the universe will respond. With that belief, I spend 70% of my time on Operational matters, 20% on Marketing, 10% on new business & partnership. I’m not a natural salesperson (I suck at it), I normally just tell people how Shoe Mo runs if I happen to do a mini pitch, and I receive positive feedback most of the time, and they will follow up with “How much to get a franchise?”. Whenever a friend ask for my opinion on their business idea, my first question will be: “How does it work?”. So, I couldn’t emphasize more on the importance of a good operation team.

  • Due diligence: check, check, check and check. Operation works as a whole, once we work on certain part, we need to think on how it effect other parts. When a marketing campaign is implemented, how does the internal work-flow run?
  • Discipline: always give a specific due date for every task, even its small or big, and respect it. We can’t procrastinate in retail business, every day counts, every effort counts.
  • Follow up game strong: We usually get lost in conversation, lots of idea raised but non follow up. A work is done but we don’t take time to learn from it. An unanswered email which is easily to be forgotten. How about an reminder, or a quick call to follow up rather than wait? If we initiate to know, we’ll get the answer we wanted.
  • Organize in idea and execution: always have check list handy. Break your ideas and plans into check list with due dates. Respect the deadlines. Follow up if you have no answer. Trust me things will run faster that way.

Ok so that’s enough of work stuff, I have different view on Jakarta this time, being able to explore a bit and see more of the city. I’m amazed by how big the city is (even tho I’m always know it’s huge). I secretly compared Jakarta to Ho Chi Minh city because I used to out HCMC and JKT to the same level of development, but boy I was wrong. Infrastructure is better, roads are still jammed but quite in better condition vs HCMC, more international brands, better malls, food is averagely cheaper, coffee is good too!

Had a change to visit GoJek HQ too. It’s really amazing how GoJek takes over the market and change Indonesian lives.

Was a fun time, Jakarta. Thanks to my boyfriend Ryan, to accompany me during the trip, be my food buddy and translator too 😀

Onwards and upwards,

Ginny.

Standard
My Stories, Uncategorized

2018 Highlights

It will be redundant to start the recap by saying, it’s been a hectic year. In fact my pass few years have been a roller coaster. A quick flashback:

2016

Packed up 10 years of life in HCMC to 3 luggages, left family, friends and job behind to relocate to KL for a job offer – which turned out not to me the right one for me. Started Shoe Mo with Jack.

2017

Incorporated Shoe Mo Sdn Bhd, full time job day time, clean shoes night time. Managed to open our very first outlet in Damansara Utama. Licensed Shoe Mo to Johor Bahru.

2018 – Shoe Mo takes off aggressively & becomes regional brand.

Feb – Shoe Mo got investment and I quit my job to work full time in Shoe mo.

March – Opened Shoe Mo Sunway

April – Licensed Shoe Mo to Penang

Jul – Shoe Mo Bangsar

Aug – Licensed Shoe Mo to Brunei

Nov – Took over Shoelution and rebranded to Shoe Mo Singapore

Nov – Licensed Shoe Mo to Miri, East Malaysia

Dec – Shoe Mo Velocity (First mall outlet) supposed to be open but delay until Q1 2019 due to mall procedures.

2019

Working toward sustainability for Malaysia, Singapore and expansion to Indonesia.

2018 marks a different year of my life. I quit my job to focus on Shoe Mo whole heartedly. I’ve never been this focused before. I truly taste the sweetness and bitter of entrepreneurship journey – the late night discussions, the struggles with finances, the effort to fix problems, the happiness seeing my brand grow.

Shoe Mo team has been in its biggest size ever – 20 members across 2 countries. The team is still young, but diversified with different races and nationality. I see them grow by solving problems everyday, and learning from each other. I wish I can guide them more, sometimes I feel bad about it.

I have switched my roles eventually from being more hands on to shop operation, to be more of planning and overall supervision. I realize I need to grow, together with Shoe Mo, to be able to accommodate its scale. I need to shift my focus to what make sense, not in one day, but in months or years later. I learnt how to let go, and accept and let my team handle it. I’m glad that the operation team has learnt how to clean shoes better than me, shop managers take better care of the shop and upsell better than me, Marketing team has respond to customer message faster than me, management team has more product and legal knowledge than me. I’m so happy and thankful for my team that I can have more room the breath but I need to self-improve and grow in order to be able to lead them.

People say if you don’t take loan or mortgage, you’re not fully entrepreneur yet, and for the first time, we took loan to facilitate our fast growth rate. I realized we grow too fast and it gets scary. So next year’s top goal is to sustain shoe mo as a whole, and subtly expand to Indonesia.

Maybe because I’m approaching my 30s soon, so I get more and more paranoid over safety and health concern. I started to commit to workout routine (still not very consistent), monitor my sleep and heart rate, be choosy on what I ate (still lots of KOI and Gongcha tho), and be concerned on my mental wellness.

And 2018 has witnessed a closure of a relationship, and an opening of a new one. I’m grateful for what has happened and I’m excited for whats waiting ahead. One told me “I don’t think relationship can be “solved” or “figured out” – it’s a WIP”. I couldn’t agree more. It is constant effort and I am still learning everyday. And I know I am not the easiest to handle type of girl (lol). Thank you for being patient and making things work with me, you know who you are.

To 2019, I can’t promise a less happening year, but I have a feeling it will be a good one. I only have one personal goal for 2019 – 2 litre of water, 8 hours of sleep and work out!

Snapseed

Onwards and Upwards,

Ginny.

Standard
My Stories, Uncategorized

My Unglamorous Journey of Entrepreneurship

As Shoe Mo celebrated its 2 year anniversary, I feel the urge of sharing the things I don’t normally share. What people see of Shoe Mo’s success via my social media is the tip of the iceberg and I am gonna share a bit of what’s under the water. 

I stress, and stress a lot.

Everyone stresses out here and there, but entrepreneurship stress is another level. I actually think its a combination of work stress, life crisis and frustration for me.

At the start, I believe most of the companies suffer from cash flow – either we don’t have enough cash flow or we don’t know how to manage it. In our case – both. Me and my partner started from 0 knowledge about SME finances (we do know about business management and organization, but when it comes to finance, we cringe) – we keep the books by ourselves and it is nowhere near to what’s required for a Private Limited company. Invoices are lost, unsettled, unclassified, sales receipts are everywhere. Then the payday comes, we prayed that we have enough money to pay our staff, pay the bills and keep the business going for another month. There were days where we had to pump in a bit of our pocket money, and a lot of hope (lol).

In early 2018 (1 year after we started) we got our very first investment – very humble amount, trust me no where near 6 figures. I quit my job to do Shoe Mo full time. Back then I thought giving up my job at Grab to move to KL for a start up job was crazy enough – but no, quitting a full time visa sponsored job to start a business in a foreign country is off level crazy. It’s like jumping off the cliff then start making my own airplane on the way falling down, hoping the airplane work before I hit rock bottom (trust me I’m still falling and still building). Some mornings I wake up feeling dull, I wonder what if we run out of money, what if there are no more customers and most of all – am I doing the right thing for my life. Have I mentioned my pay cut 40%? Imagine having your current pay cut almost half, and you have a business to run and personal bills to pay. Yay.

I have stressed out so much that brain subconsciously brings it to my dream – every week I would have the dreams of me struggling to get on a flight: forget my passport, traffic jam, legs cannot move and tons of things stopping me from getting on the plane. It means that I constantly worry about what I cannot achieve and the fear that my life will become a mess.

As a consequence, my grey hair has tripled over the past few months, I lost weight (which is good) and gain more eye bags.

What is social life?

This is just my personal experience, my life routine is super simple now. I wake up, check my messages and emails, then I cook, I go to work/ meetings, I go back home, I work some more, then I sleep. In between those days are the work trips, scheduled gym sessions. Then it repeats. For the past few months we have been growing aggressively – in 2018 alone we have open 6 new outlets and one more to come in Dec. I’m all over the places – KL, Brunei, Singapore, East Malaysia, Vietnam. There are months that I fly every week. I usually eat alone, I don’t have much friends in KL and being busy doesn’t help. Shopping is a luxury of time and money which I don’t have much. 

Heres a photo of me with huge sleep deprived eye bags when our Bangsar shop first opened

e91ea86e-ea2d-4afd-9f35-997235df982eThat’s me unglamorously fixing signage for Singapore outlet and ended up cutting my finger.

4c8d9e4d-7ed7-485b-8d1d-c705136d6b7c

There are more lows than I could tell you. I definitely don’t look happy and smiling all the times as the photos I usually shared. My “social life” maybe is from the periscope of IG and Facebook.

Threats and dangers

I don’t mean the extreme version of business – or gangsters here but there are things that we normally don’t thank about. If you travel once or twice per month, your risk is low. If you start traveling and flying every week, you kinda pray that your plane land safe every single time – I got paranoid over all the plane crash headlines so I kinda check the compass during my flight to make sure the plane is going to the correct direction – it sounds silly I know, I just can’t help it. And those Grab rides late nights, the people we meet and have to handle. Further more, I’m not the local. There could be god-know-what reasons they can have to give trouble to me and the company. As they said: the bigger ship, the bigger storm.

Opportunity cost

So they said “Either you build your own dream or people hire you to build their dream”. But trust me first few years of “building your own dreams” doesn’t give you the best bank account statement. Looking back if I still keep my job, polish up my CV, return to Vietnam, I might get high paid job considering all my expat experience. Or even another expat job in another country. This is the cost most of people don’t see. If you do a simple math, how much can you save a year with that gap of a salary – and how much struggle you have now doing your own thing without that saving. The answer might keep a lot of people from quitting their jobs to follow their dreams, I bet.

Psychological price

I love to share the good things but hardly share the stress and struggles that I have. Why? I trained myself to be tough, I weigh my options, I put thoughts and ration into every decision I made – I believe that start-up is not democracy – everyone has a role to play but not everyone is at the same level of experience and the know-hows. So someone has to have the cold head, wearing the “bad boss hat” and policing around to make sure everything move and move forward. I don’t want to show vulnerability because I’m used to not showing it, I somehow build a wall around me to prevent people trespassing to my vulnerable zone. So people around me found it hard to know what’s going on in my head, and then I failed to share it because I really don’t know how, I have never been a verbal person when it comes to feelings. So here and there, I feel lonely and unheard. 

So you might ask – then why are you doing this?

My honest answer is: Because I’m already too deep into it haha. But I do feel the potential in it and as you can see, Shoe Mo is taking off. We’re now in 3 countries with 9 outlets, in less then 2 years’ time. We want to build a brick and mortar business that lasts for at least a generation.

Then what can I do?

I rarely complain about work or blame it. I’m trying to be mindful that I’m under all this pressure everyday – I try to work less hours, sleep earlier and exercise more often. I keep track of my sleep, my heart rate and my diet. I try learning how to express appreciation in words, be less harsh to myself and delegating more task to my team. I hope to learn and practice more mindfulness to seek for inner peace. I hope to take down whats walling up around me, and open up to the one that cares for me. And I hope I can build that airplane before I hit the bottom. 

Onwards and Upwards,

Ginny.

Standard