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Starting over

For a few days now, i been wondering how to find a way to break out of what i have been in, what i look at, what i been reading, what i have been doing.

how do i do that?

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Many people go around saying take risks, take risks. I was only able to understand what it really means when people say ” take risks” because it just sounds very daunting. Until Shu Ling shared with me this talk by Brene Brown.

To take risks, first we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. It is actually being willing to invest or do something where there are no guarantees. Putting yourself out there, making the first move to allow yourself to be rejected (or not), invest your time to do something that may or may not work out in the end (like a relationship, or a hobby turn into a business). It is only then i realized that first I must let myself be vulnerable again, to allow myself to be able to take risks. No one told me that after starting a business and running a business, and possibly closing the business or bring the business into a new level – that I have to do this again and again and again. Well, here I am, learning how to be vulnerable again.

I reached out to couple of people over last week via email, via LinkedIn, and I felt quite nervous if they would reply or not, or if they thought i was annoying or irritating or even desperate. After watching this talk, I realized that it does not matter if they reply or not, and it does not matter what they think of me. It only matters that I put myself out there again, and it gave me confidence to reach out to more people now.

This is hard, and I think it is essential for me to grow and go into the next level.

 

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A lot of people ask us if we are planning to have a kid, and if we want we should have children soon/early. I think there’s less people asking us now, and i always don’t know what to answer people on “why”. It is like an obligation to “explain” to people why you don’t want to have kids now.

The usual answer that people will say is “not ready”. And then there is the saying that, you will never be ready to be parents anyway.

I don’t say that we are “not ready” but there’s other things we would like to do first. Our focus and desire of our hearts will not enable us to put aside time first for something or rather someone else at this moment. Commitment is often a scary word and have a negative connotation but it is not. It allows us to pursue what we really want. Right now, we are committed to grow our own career and explore ourselves (like growing as an adult). So we want to be committed to be good parents by only having a kid when we can.

Both of us agreed that it is ok to have kids a little later and we will be more financially apt too (not later like 50 years old la). Looking after children is no easy task, and not everyone have the energy to handle a kid themselves or have their parents help with their kids. Although stay home mom look like they have lots of time but it is also not easy for them to handle – having the baby stuck to them all day and all night, having to wake up to feed a few times in the middle of the night unless your baby sleeps through.

Husband may be too tired and need 100% energy at work especially if it involves heavy machinery or human lives, for them to do night watch or night feeds.

Being a little slower then our peers at having kids also enable me to look at other people and adapt from their difficulties. One of alvin’s friends have his mother take care of their kid while wife works from home – it is a common misconception that working from home mum can handle a kid too, no. Because kids constantly need attention and there is no way you can work with them crying or climbing over your leg etc. Put in the time needed to feed them, prepare their food, bath them, wash their dirty clothes or change their soiled diapers.

At night he and his wife takes over the kid so his parents can rest, but then when do they themselves rest? They worked all day and then have to take care of the kid all night. Giving their parents a rest at night also shows that basically anyone who cares for a kid needs rest. Then what about them? That also goes for weekends.

I think being parents require some kind of sacrifice but it is also essential to take care of ourselves first, you know like cover some bases. Having kids and having a family is not a sprint but a marathon, it is going as far as we can without burning out. We all know burning out ends up in arguments and in some extreme cases, separation. Arguing about household chores are so yesterday by the time kids arrive.

I have been forming my own thoughts on having kids, and many buy car first and helper (not as many) have. But I think it may be essential to have a helper first. We agreed that it is highly likely that we need a helper, even now sometimes we are too tired to do laundry hahah but of course we do la, we still have discipline.

Yesterday, I came to this strange conclusion that we should hire a helper when I get pregnant and not after giving birth. I told alvin and he’s like ok. I am grateful that he shares the same sentiments after watching friends having kids. We are like people sitting on the side benches watching the football game but not getting involved. We will cheer for them, we will encourage them but we are not getting into the game, yet.

I see how friends who have helper seem less stressed and more relaxed compared to those without. Also, they take care of cleaning your house too.

Many people say aiyah give your parents to take care la. Alvin’s parents are already quite well in age, they are already grandparents – alvin’s eldest nephew is already early 20s. My parents, i think they want their own freedom and enjoy their golden years – finally my sister and I are more or less grown up and earning our own keep. They probably already paid off the house they live in, and what they earn they finally can use for themselves to eat and play, and whatever else. I think 30 years of bringing up 2 kids is pretty much enough.

That saying, it is also likely that our parents and us have different styles of upbringing our kids. (Btw, we still do not have a TV in our house hahaha.)

I don’t know why i am writing this, but I wanted to just pen down some thoughts after I told alvin about getting a helper when I get pregnant. If you are wondering, no its not so soon.

On what we both still have to do right now? Alvin’s currently still doing his masters, and me, I feel that my business isn’t that “stable” enough for me to be able to go on auto mode yet. So yes, till the time comes, i will update again.

 

 

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Yesterday, we went to alvin’s friend’s place to have dinner with couple of his other friends.

There was one of them i never met before but after, i found out that he’s a writer. He reminded me of mel, they both decided that they just want to purely pursue their love of something- mel, art. and him, writing.

After going through his introduction and profiles on writing platforms, i realized that he IS making writing his full time job –

https://steemit.com/@aldentan

www.alden-tan.com

& his introduction : https://www.patreon.com/aldentan

I was intrigued because i always say i want to start writing, but i think the love is not as big as this. I only want it to be a hobby and also hope to publish a book someday but it is not my goal to make it my full time job – i realized only how different the level is when i see how much work and energy he puts into his writing.

He writes on several platforms like thought catalog, etc, he has email subscribers that he sends an article / something like that everyday. He is active on sites like quora, actively replying and essentially writing. This, a whole new ballgame i never even thought of.. in what i would call the “pipeline” of what one would build their portfolio and practice on.

It only make me realized how much i liked writing, which is actually not as much as he likes writing, and mel likes art.

Both of them set aside their main source of income (previously) to pursue the life of throwing themselves wholeheartedly into the area of interest they want, and they need some income so they take up “side jobs” to supplement their daily needs like food & travel.

I know it’s weird but it made me see so clearly what i like a lot, and what i just like. I always thought i like to write but never thought of giving up so many things just to write, because… i like something else better.

I would like to, but it is not a MUST. For these 2, it is a MUST.

They would spend hours everyday doing this thing. It made me realized that what i really like, is something i would do everyday, like them. Mel spends 2-4 hours painting everyday, Alden writes at least 2k words everyday. Well, i think i know what i do everyday – hahaha. Not telling you but it may be obvious to some.

I know a lot of people are not sure what they really like, this or that, or just THE IDEA of something. i think what you like, would be something you are willing to give up comfort for, and spend most of your time WANTING to do it naturally and not forced.

Well then, this was a really good realization. What i “like a lot” and what i just “like”.

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I have friends who ask how to get started on starting your own business/company. Many many many people i know now have a side business as a hobby or for side income or because they are passionate about a product or service. Either way, this will be very helpful if you have no idea how to start and where to go.

What i am sharing, is what i used personally and also recommended friends who ask me. I originally wrote this for a friend but realized I actually shared this info more then once to more then 1 person. So here goes, a list of very basic things that get you started!

  1. Register your company / Name of your company

Check these things before you decide on the company name

Decide if you want to be Sole proprietor, LLP, or Pte Ltd. Small / Home businesses usually go for SP as it’s cheapest. But if you are taking up a loan from the bank or having investors etc, please go for Pte Ltd so that your personal assets are protected against anything that goes wrong – law suit, or delay / unable to pay for loan/debt/payments to others they will not be able to go after your personal assets like your house, savings etc.

  • Domain website is available for you to purchase (.com, .com.sg and .sg)
    http://bit.ly/VodienSite
  • Social media platforms that you intend to use – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. The handles of the name of your company is still available
  • Use all these links above to register for your company, and domain (your company site.com) I use vodien because it’s a Singapore company and it has a 24 hours hotline, you will be able to get through if you have any issues with your website, compared to US sites like godaddy dot com.
  • When register for social media sites, preferably that all the handle names are the same, I had an issue with Instagram handle that was taken before, so no choice I could not have the same handle as facebook!

 

  1. Service or Product? Do you need a Shopping Cart or just a Website with information?

If your company is giving a service to others, you probably only need a website. There are sites that allow you to build a professional website –

https://wordpress.com/
https://wix.com/

If you are selling a product, there are a few choices. Personally I used shopify because i felt it was more straight forward then others. WordPress also has a “add to cart” function as well but i have not used it before so i cannot comment.

https://www.shopify.com.sg/
https://www.bigcommerce.com/

  1. Payments – Set up company bank account & paypal account

It is important to separate your company finances from your personal bank account, so do open a new bank account – it could be another savings or business account.

I opened a new bank account to separate my business finances from own personal savings. In the beginning, I did not do it and things got really messy. If you don’t need a business account, go to DBS/POSB and open another normal savings. Most people in Singapore have a DBS/POSB so it is more convenient for your clients/customers to pay you.

Tip for opening a business account – Go for something with a low minimum deposit, with cheque book (if you need) and ibanking online. I looked through a few banks and these seem quite reasonable.

  • Open a Bank account


https://www.dbs.com.sg/sme/dbs-forms/accounts/account-opening.page

https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/accounts-and-services/business-growth-account.html

https://www.uob.com.sg/business/transact/ebusiness-account.page

https://www.cimbbank.com.sg/en/business/products/deposits/current-accounts/business-plus-current-account-i.html

  • Open a Paypal account

Open a payment gateway account like paypal to accept credit card payments. People can send you directly or not via paypal : https://www.paypal.com

I think stripe also does this, so you can consider as well. Stripe also has more functions like ability to do subscription etc. : https://stripe.com/sg

 

  1. How will you market your service/product?

If you are selling a service, giving people information and content is a good way to market your service – this can be through your website/blog.

For consumer products, Facebook and Instagram are great ways to start. One of my friend offers wedding stationary and she posts her works on Instagram. Another friend offers mum and baby products, besides Instagram, I suggested to her that she can use a micro blogging app – Dayre is a great place as there is a community of mothers sharing their experience and buys. To get visibility, use hashtags.

  1. Customer base / Email List

It is always good to get your customer emails / contact information to keep them updated on your lastest blog post, new products or promotions. Consider to integrate with your website with apps that can help you store email addresses. Most or all of the apps are compatible with many websites like Shopify and WordPress. They give you an option to directly plug in and connect to your website, so when someone signs up in your site, it automatically gets stored in mailchimp (like a data server for emails). You also send emails from there to your email list.

https://mailchimp.com

https://apps.shopify.com/mailchimp

https://wordpress.org/plugins/mailchimp-for-wp/

Another good option : https://www.activecampaign.com/

 

I hope these helps you guys get started with anything you want to do. This year one of my goals is to write more, and because i stopped writing fiction for SO LONG, i figured i start writing non fiction and articles first. I always wanted to start a website or blog on helping people find their passion / start a business/ whatever. I have not figured it out yet, but here’s to a start.

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Weekend purchases

I am so pleased today because i accomplished so much – buying things hahaha!

2 days ago i was at my aunts place and we saw that she had a beautiful side table for the living room. I immediately asked if it was from scanteak! I been looking around for a side table for living room.

And it happened that i got targeted by an Ad on Carousell by Scanteak, clicked on it and saw that they were having $100 off for the exact table so it was originally $299 and i got it for $199.

I planned to meet yoges & mel for brunch the next day and also found they had a new pop up store or something at wisma. I went there cash & carried home.

God answers prayers in weird times hahaha.

Look at the gorgeous teak wood. So Solid!

Today we were at Amk hub so i went to Eun Yan Sang to replenish fish essence, this month has 20% – i didn’t even know, just a nice surprise. Been feeling tired / listless and sleepy lately so it helps with energy.

then went to popular to buy a new hole puncher because mine is so so so rusty. Picked a japanese brand one and wah it’s so expensive but alvin kept saying very good – as if he knows. Then picked out two new colour pens ! check pig the gray! i don’t think i ever seen gray. They have more colours then Kino and they are 50 cents cheaper at Popular!

I told alvin that oh i love buying new colour pens- they are like shoes right? need this colour and that colour. I used to love to go to the stationery shop downstairs my house last time – it was called “Bao Mei” i used to hang there for hours hahahaha my goodness. And buying all sorts of stationery. it’s such a nostalgic memory – those small stationery shops. Now it’s either Popular or Kino, and even popular is getting smaller and smaller.

Nothing can beat PS Cafe truffle fries! Brunch with mel and of the someone who is not in the photo is late. by the time i finished all the food already.

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In order to be truly innovative, disruptive and visionary, we often need to bend the accepted norm a bit and color outside the lines. We need to push ourselves to a point of discomfort so we can go beyond our current boundaries to remain cutting edge and innovate over and over again. Innovation isn’t a moment, it’s a discipline.

Article : https://www.forbes.com/sites/deniserestauri/2015/12/01/how-to-break-the-rules-spread-a-little-mischief-and-make-a-mint/#2d4b025c1745

 

I never thought of innovation as discipline. It is very hard to get out of comfort zone, doing things that are uncomfortable. I feel like I need to do it this year. Sometimes people force themselves to, others – they are forced into it. I hope to turn into the former, rather then stay as the latter.

I forgot how it is to colour outside the lines, to think beyond my imagination, to grasp that there is possibility beyond what there is today.

 

 

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