Sharing your stories is a great way to know and connect with people. Jennifer from the Netherlands has a blog called Paperbeau. She shares stories about women from around the world and, I was happy to tell her my story too.
Here’s my story as posted on her blog.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?
I own an online shop and blog called Res Lifestyle. I sell items that I personally curate from around the world, ranging from home decor, kitchen aprons to skincare.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
I felt that there wasn’t a one-stop place to get unique items that I wanted. I had to look for funky kitchen utensils in a kitchen shop and designer clothes in a clothes shop. So I decided to open a shop with all the interesting things that I could find.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?
I am a medical doctor by profession. I had always been passionate about design and the creative world, especially designing homes. While still practicing, I helped design my friends’ houses and offices and soon I was running a full-time design business as well. When I was shopping for decor for my projects, I realized that it would be great to have one place with a variety of items available. That’s how I came up with the idea of an online lifestyle shop.
WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Believe in your ideas and believe that you can do it. Never listen to anyone who says that you can’t do it or your idea is not good.
MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW I DEALT WITH IT:
The social stigma of changing careers was my biggest obstacle. Coming from an Asian society, I was told that I was silly to give up a promising career as a doctor and do something ‘petty’ like selling stuff. I had someone who told me it was so funny for him to hear that I could change careers like this and that he has never heard anyone do this before. I started ignoring these negative people and kept them away from my life. I would stick around friends who were not judgmental.
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
My proudest accomplishment is definitely launching my online shop. Being someone who is not very tech savvy, I did a lot of work designing and adding my own ideas when my page was being developed. There’s a sense of satisfaction when people tell me my page looks good.
HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:
Organize! That’s how I blend my life and work. I allocate a few hours a day for my online work and stick to a schedule. I have a home office where I work from. This makes it easy for me to be flexible with my working hours and to take care of my home.
I AM INSPIRED BY:
I am inspired by many people, especially women, who have created successful empires. Reading stories of how these women overcome obstacles is a big motivation for me. To name a few of them, Oprah Winfrey, Jessica Alba, Coco Chanel, Estee Lauder.
WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:
I wanted to do something that I enjoyed, and which I was passionate about.
HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:
1) I read and do a lot of research online.
2) I learn from my mistakes and improve.
DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?
I never wrote a business plan initially. I was always thinking and planning in my head. But now that things are moving quickly and my business is growing so fast, I have a business plan written down.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMEN BUSINESS OWNER?
Advantages: Definitely. Women are good at multi-tasking. When you talk about work-life balance, I think women are better at it.
Disadvantages: The still prevailing gender bias. I personally have experienced it, and it’s not cool!
MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…
I am still exploring new business tools. Most of them are great, especially Facebook with its ‘Business Manager’ tool. I use Grammarly for my blogs too.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…
‘NEVER GIVE UP’. That’s something my husband always tells me and it keeps me going.