Published by Autumn on June 23, 2021
What Made You Decide On Your Career?
I got interested in economics and finance during my National Service days. In particular, I was fascinated on how these topics affect us on an individual level. The idea for DollarsAndSense was something my co-founder and I had in university and we went ahead to launch the website in 2012 after graduation. The mission of DollarsAndSense is to help people make better financial decisions. When we started, we didn’t think that we will go full-time to build a digital media company. It was only in 2015 that we started working on it full-time and it took a lot of effort from many people to bring us to where we are today. We didn’t receive much funding so it’s remarkable how we managed to build one of Singapore’s biggest finance media site.
What Steps Are You Taking To Work Towards Your Desired Future?
The last 1.5 years have been very challenging for everyone, with COVID-19 changing the way we work. Fortunately, finance is still a very relevant topic and has been growing even more quickly. These days, finance has become mainstream and is no longer just a topic that only people in the financial world care about. To achieve growth, we are expanding, both in terms of our headcount and developing more projects that we hope can take us to the next level. In 2020, we started DollarsAndSense Business to produce finance content aimed towards helping business owners and entrepreneurs make better business finance decisions.
What Would You Change If Given The Chance To Rewind Time?
It’s probably the way I worked with people in the early days.
When I first started DollarsAndSense, I was very aggressive in growing the company and this made me a difficult person to work with. We were growing fast, but this was done at the expense of working in the right way as an individual. Given the chance, I would change the way I led, worked and communicated with my teammates then. I am incredibly fortunate to have worked with some exceptional talents and my only regret is that I am no longer working with some of them. That said, this is also part and parcel of learning both as a leader and a fellow colleague. We need to recognise and admit when we make mistakes. Only them, can we improve.
What Is The One Best Investment That Helped You?
I don’t think it’s good investments as much as I was lucky.
I was lucky enough to start learning about finance when I was still young. I grew up with parents who knew what it meant to be frugal with their money, and who demonstrated that to me through the way they live. I took an interest in the financial markets when I was in university and this led to me starting DollarsAndSense. When I started working, I didn’t develop any bad habits of overspending and this allowed me and my girlfriend then (now wife) to save more during our first years of working. I still spent on luxuries, but I always make sure that I also saved.
This saving was one of the reasons why I could go full-time into entrepreneurship and to work on DollarsAndSense full-time. It mitigated my personal risk of failure, and that is something that many people overlooked in business. Taking risks is fine but you need to learn how to manage them well. DollarsAndSense has done very well since we worked on it full-time and so have many other non-business decisions I have made. I have been very fortunate.
Who Is Your Role Model?
Besides my parents (who are certainly huge role models for me), I didn’t grow up with a crush or desire to follow in the footstep of anyone else so this is a tough question. I do find myself being intrigued by the lives of Elon Musk. His perseverance, tenacity and willingness to risk it all to have a chance to fulfil his dream. His autobiography (by Ashlee Vance) is also a great read.
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