Inspiring mumpreneurs: Ruth Wong, life coach and founder of My Philosoulphy

I’m excited to have Ruth Wong, founder of My Philosoulphy, share her entrepreneurial journey with us. I’ve known Ruth since from our early blogging days. She’s been an inspiration to me, always reminding me how important it is to keep my focus, and to never stop working towards my dreams and aspirations.   

Here is Ruth’s story…

Ruth_landscape

1) What gave you the courage or motivation to start your own business?

I knew long ago that working for someone else isn’t for me and that living life on my own terms and doing work I really love are important to me. But it wasn’t until the sudden death of a good friend that motivated me to take action. He and his wife were both killed in a car accident while on their honeymoon. It left me in shock, yet at the same time made me realized that life is just too unpredictable and I had to start doing something about my dreams or it may be too late. That’s what got me started on a journey to discovering my passion and talents, and reconnecting with my dreams.

I value freedom and flexibility and desire to be a stay-home mom.

2) How did you decide to do coaching?

I did freelance writing for a few years around the time when my son was born. While I enjoy writing, I began to feel restless, like something was missing. I came to realise that it was my desire to do meaningful work – work that makes a difference in people’s lives – calling out to me.

I evaluated my options – I am a social worker by training but I didn’t want to go back to the sector; I value freedom and flexibility and desire to be a stay-home mom. My search eventually led me to the field of coaching and I am absolutely love the work I am doing. I help women design and achieve their goals, and work towards their ideal life. I help them to reconnect with their dreams and desires, overcome limiting beliefs, confidence and self-worth issues and expand their wealth-consciousness so that they can live with greater purpose, passion and prosperity.

A woman who wants to have it all can’t do it all.

3) Can you share with us your biggest setback so far and the lessons you learnt from it?

I started another business with a friend before going into coaching. Unfortunately, I experienced betrayal and the partnership fell through as a result. It was also during that time that I suffered a miscarriage. It was altogether a very painful time for me but a precious lesson learned. It taught me how important it is to have a contract in a business partnership. I would advise everyone who is going into a partnership to have a contract drawn up even in the early days, and even if the partner is your spouse or sibling. A business is a business and you do what a businesswoman has to do.

It took me about a year to finally let go of what happened, both the business and the miscarriage, and see the positive side of things. I am also thankful that because of this incident, I can now have a coaching business I love.

The thing with entrepreneurship is that the first business idea usually doesn’t work out for various reasons. I think statistically, the number is that 80% of businesses closed within their first two years. The important thing is not to lose sight of our vision and dreams. I always believe that when God closes one door, He will open another even better one, and it’s been true in so many instances of my life.

4) Balancing business and family is not easy. How do you do it?

It’s definitely not an easy task. I put my family’s needs as priority but it doesn’t mean I sacrifice my dreams. Instead, I learn to work smarter.

I love what my mentor says: A woman who wants to have it all can’t do it all. We have to drop the mentality that we need to do it all by ourselves. It serves no one by trying to be a martyr. One way is to delegate as much as possible – outsource the house chores; hire a virtual assistant; if you don’t have the funds to do that yet, then at least outsource on project basis to freelancers. Be resourceful and find help that meets your budget, such as going to places like Fiverr, Odesk and Elance.

I also learn to say “no” more often and not be afraid to offend people. I would periodically examine all the activities and commitments I’m involved in to see if they will move me towards my goals or distract me from them. Some activities may be fun to do but they don’t necessarily help me with my business or add value to my family life.

Ultimately, it boils down to keeping our focus on what’s most important in our lives and living in alignment with our dreams, values and desires. It’s about making smart choices with the limited time and resources we have.

 

5) Finally, what advice would you give to mums who are thinking about becoming a mumpreneur?

There are many things I would love to share but I’ll limit myself to three:

  1. Start a passion-based business that aligns with your essence

I feel this is especially important for women entrepreneurs, because many of us are more emotionally-driven and heart-centred than men. It may sound clichéd but when you start a business, the early days are going to be tough and if you don’t love what you do, it is going to be so much harder. The learning curve will be steep (unless you already have some business related experience), there won’t be anyone telling you what to do; and you will face setbacks and challenges. But when you do something you are passionate about, and which aligns with your essence and core values, your business will stand a higher chance of making it. Don’t let money be the main motivating factor.

  1. Hire a coach or mentor

For first-time mompreneurs, it is helpful to work with a coach or mentor. See it as an investment in yourself and your business. It will help collapse the timeline when you learn from someone who’s been there, done that. It also saves you from much heartache and unnecessary mistakes.

That said, take your time to find the right coach and mentor. Bear in mind that it’s important to not only work with them on the systems, structures and strategies – all these form just 20-30% of the business. The rest of it is about mindset. That’s why in my coaching, I also help my clients to examine their limiting beliefs, confidence or self-worth issues as well as wealth-consciousness. All these can have a huge impact on the success of your business.

  1. Have the right mindset and attitude

In the end, no one else but you are responsible for achieving your dreams and goals. Treat your business as a business and not a hobby; it’s either you are all in or not.

Remember, you make your life happen. It doesn’t depend on anyone else. Because if it does, you are giving your power away and you are not allowing the real brilliance in you to emerge.

I’d like to end with one of my favorite business quotes:

Entrepreneurship is not about building a great business, it’s about building a great life.

But, you will never get what you want from the way you contribute to the world until you learn how to align your actions with your essence. And you cannot do that until you know who you are.

If your work lights you up, lets you express yourself, tap fiercely into your potential, play with people you love and earn enough to live well in the world, rock on.”  – Jonathan Fields

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If you’d like to get in touch with Ruth, you can reach her via My Philosoulphy’s Facebook page! Thank you, Ruth, for sharing your story and tips with us!

Inspiring mumpreneurs: Elaine Kim, co-founder of CRIB

I met Elaine Kim briefly when a mutual friend introduced us at a meeting. When I found out she was the co-founder of CRIB, a Singapore-based social enterprise which aims to empower women to become successful entrepreneurs through networking, matchmaking and business incubation, my interest was piqued and I wanted to know more.

When I interviewed her, I found out that she was much more than just co-founder of CRIB. She is also a doctor in palliative care and co-owns bridal boutiques in Hong Kong and Singapore. She shares more about her entrepreneurial journey here…

Elaine_Kim

Elaine with her husband and their two lovely boys

1. What inspired you to start CRIB?
My co-founder Tjin and I are both entrepreneurs and at her birthday party a little over a year back, we were discussing bringing our kids on a play date on a weekday afternoon, and realised how fortunate we are to have fulfilling careers as well as flexibility and control over our time thanks to entrepreneurship. Building a successful business is very challenging however, especially for women, so we wanted to build an ecosystem to help them meet their needs.

Unless you start, nothing will happen.

2. Women tend to place limitations upon themselves, whether self-imposed or by others. How did you overcome your own mental barriers?
Women tend to have a lack of confidence in starting a business. I overcame it by just going ahead and making a plan, taking a first step and taking the plunge. Unless you start, nothing will happen. I was also very fortunate  to have a supportive and encouraging husband. In addition, a huge factor was that I had co-founders to complement my own skills and to share the workload and weight of owning a business with.

Specific to CRIB, our biggest challenge is raising the capital to fund our programmes and operations. We are a not-for-profit and aim to be financially self-sustainable, but as is the case in many a start-up, raising the initial seed funding is the hardest. But again, we have to make a plan, make our first steps and take the plunge , and I trust we will overcome any challenges.

I have learned to separate time at work and with kids to be more productive when working and give the kids my full attention when I’m with them.

3. How do you balance managing a business and family?
I’m incredible blessed to have a lot of support-  a supportive husband and family, good business partners, a great team at the hospice, good helpers at home, and 2 easy-going sons. Also I work really hard, while being committed to taking advantage of the flexibility and control I have with my time to make family a priority, eg working at the hospice while the kids are at school and planning business meetings during my sons’ nap time so I maximize the quality time I have with them.

4. How do you involve your children/spouse in the business?
My husband is a venture capitalist at Amasia, and has years of experience in the finance industry working at a hedge fund and Goldman Sachs, so I always turn to him for advice on investment and financial matters.  I try to bring my children with me whenever I can , but I also have learned to separate time at work and with kids to be more productive when working and give the kids my full attention when I’m with them.

5. How would you encourage other mums who are thinking about starting their own business?
Just take that first step and see where it leads! And join CRIB, helping women to start and grow businesses is what we are here for. Many of our CRIB society members join even when entrepreneurship is just an idea they are contemplating – and CRIB is good place to explore further.

6. What gets you going every day?
As a Christian, my faith, the desire to live according to the plans God has for me, be a blessing to others and make a positive impact through what I am doing gets me going every day.

7. What is your favourite part about working on CRIB?
The incredible people who are part of CRIB, from my passionate co-founders, Tjin, Marilyn and Mei, the growing CRIB team without whom none of our plans can become a reality, our growing community of CRIB society members, our inspiring board advisors and the panel of mentors who are successful entrepreneurs themselves.

Thanks, Elaine and the team at CRIB, for working to enhance the business environment for women in Singapore!

Check out CRIB and its offerings here!

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