My Life Before Entrepreneurship
I came from a low to middle-income family where finances were tight. My parents were not very highly educated but were extremely supportive of whatever I wanted to do. Ever since I was in school, I was always finding ways to get more pocket money for myself since I didn’t get much from my family. When I was finishing high school, I was already designing websites on a freelance basis. I met my co-founder in school at 17, and we started a service-based business together. See why starting a service-based business is a good idea.
I’m proud to say that I’ve earned everything I’ve ever received, and have always been making my own money. My parents gave me very little in terms of money, but they provided enormous support to me in terms of their time and love. Hopefully, through sharing some of what my thought processes were and my experiences, you can take away something that will aid you in your own journey.
Being an Entrepreneur
That service-based business pivoted to become a web hosting company known as Vodien. At first, it was just a way for us to make money. We were good at it too, since we were also web hosting customers ourselves in the past, and knew all the pain points of the industry. We looked at running our business with the aim of solving these pain points for customers.
It turned out that it was a formula that the market liked, because we got a lot of word-of-mouth referrals from happy customers. Slowly, as more and more businesses relied upon us, we realised that what we were creating was much bigger than just simply making more money. Our company’s mission and vision changed at that point to provide the best web hosting experience to our customers, because our customers actually trusted and relied on us.
The business was completely bootstrapped, so my co-founder and I were very careful with our finances. We had the mentality of staying lean and spending only on things that mattered. We didn’t have the explosive growth that some tech start-ups had, but we did experience steady growth over the years. With time, our team slowly grew to 150 people, over 4 countries, with a large percentage focused on providing support to our customers.
My Life After the Company’s Acquisition
In 2017, Vodien got acquired by a public company in the biggest deal there was in south-east Asia for a pure-play hosting company. My company’s acquisition shook up my whole identity, especially since the business had been part of me for 17 years. I took about a year to reevaluate my life, and came up with my new life purpose, mission, and goals.
Ever since, I have gave back by making a donation to create a scholarship fund for my alma mater. I also mentored students, and spoke at various events about entrepreneurship and my journey. I also got disillusioned with materialism and excessive consumerism, which started my journey where I embraced minimalism. Eventually, I sold off all my possessions and traveled full-time, exploring different cities and living anywhere from a week to a month, on average, in each location.
In the meantime, I embraced minimalism, sold off my apartment and car in Singapore, and became nomadic. I now travel full-time, exploring different cities and living in each place for weeks at a time.
What Success Means To Me
“To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Success to me means having made the world a better place: be it through the business partners that I work with, the livelihood and lives of the employees that I hire, the customers who get a great experience from the products and services that my companies produce, or through the impact that I create from what I do.