Sometimes our 'true calling' doesn't lie in the area we trained in. But that doesn't mean your training was in vain...often it's a stepping-stone towards your bigger picture, as Chloe Hung has discovered. 1.Tell us your story: I am an author and an actuarial consultant from Malaysia. When I first graduated college, I wanted to put my actuarial degree to good use to help me land a great job and advance within the ranks of the corporate world quickly. After 2 years of working within the corporate sector, I realized that my true calling actually lies within the educational sector. My area of specialty lies in actuarial and financial education. 2.How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve? I attended a boot camp organized by my publisher, and their presentation made me realize that I should step out of my comfort zone and do something to achieve my dreams. I was sick of having my work go unappreciated at my workplace and I was sick of having to depend on a job that I hate for income. I wanted a change and I set 2 specific goals during my publisher's boot camp: becoming a published author and achieve financial freedom for my family. My publisher showed me the resources to make this dream become a reality. 3.How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals? My publishing team was always there for me as I embarked on my author journey. It was difficult at first as there were so many new things to learn but I followed the system created by my publisher and it worked wonderfully. I am now a published author and I have created a business to help me achieve financial freedom in the long run. 4.What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way? My biggest challenge was staying focused as there were just so many things to do and so many new things to try. I ended up burning half of my savings jumping here and there trying out every single new thing that came along. 5.What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles? Having a clear set of goals and making a decision to achieve them. As the saying goes, "When there is a will, there is a way." This saying kept me going during my tough times. I firmly believe that life is always happening for us and not against us. Therefore, any challenges that come my way are thrown at me to make me stronger and better in the long run.
6.What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal? It's easy to give up when nothing seems to be going your way. If you are on the verge of giving up, pause and re-evaluate that particular goal of yours. Ask yourself why is that goal important to you? On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the importance of that goal? What do you ultimately want to achieve through that goal? What do I need to do now to achieve this important goal of mine? These questions help me focus and push forward when the going gets tough.
7.What are the next goals you hope to achieve? I hope to travel the world and help everyone around me achieve financial stability in the long run. Chloe Hung wrote the book Strength in Numbers to help people-especially students learn what actuarial science is all about. Chloe firmly believes that knowledge in numbers is a very powerful tool especially if you are looking to multiply your own income. Speaking to groups and coaching clients, Chloe loves showing others how they too, can leverage their actuarial skills and knowledge to multiply their own income. Learn more about Chloe at www.myactuarialresource.com Want more stories like this? Subscribe to our newsletter here...
When you build your own business, it can be hard to let go of the reigns, even for a moment to take time out for yourself. But scheduling 'white space' into your calendar is essential for long-term success. This week Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls shares the story of her journey and other lessons she's learned along the way... "I did not plan on starting a company. I always wanted to go work for a large multi-national business and be a Fortune 500 CEO. When I was a student I looked at leaders like Meg Whitman & Ursula Burns as my role models. I started a global marketing company in Cambridge, MA 16 years ago after starting my career on Wall Street in the 80s and having a successful career in Corporate America at companies like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola and working at 3 different startups as the head of marketing. I took the leap right after 9/11 when the company I worked for cut their marketing. I had nothing to lose. Being an entrepreneur provides me a platform to do work I truly enjoy with and for people I respect. I get to set my priorities, I have time to travel and hang out with my inner circle, and work out every day.
It has been a journey to get here but I am lucky to have found it. I love the autonomy, flexibility and the fact that I know every day the impact that I have on my business. When I worked at big companies I always felt the ball would roll with or without me, that if I got hit by a bus someone new would be in my office right away. Now my DNA is in everything we do and I can trace every decision and sale to something I did or a decision I made and that is incredibly gratifying and fulfilling. Like most entrepreneurs, I am working harder and longer than ever and I have never been happier. Working for yourself and building a business you started in incredibly rewarding and gratifying. For the first 5 years I was scared to go on vacation for fear all my hard work would unravel. Then my in-laws, father, mom and stepdad all started to get sick and I wanted to be there for them. They all lived thousands of miles away so I started to work less. After years of decline they each died about 6 months apart and I became executrix which is like having another job at times. So I had to take very good care of myself or I would not have been helpful to anyone else. I started working out every day. I started planning me time on my calendar. I became more comfortable with white space in my day and stopped over scheduling myself. And guess what? My business did not suffer, in fact it has become stronger. We moved up the food chain and have better clients. I do not think I could ever go back. I am so much happier and more productive as an entrepreneur than I ever was working for others.
It is all about controlling your calendar. I no longer try to squeeze in more meetings or hit multiple events at night. As an entrepreneur, I can be selective. Less really is more. I’ve chosen quality over quantity. It sounds trivial but it is true. I created a platform to do work I enjoy and feel energized by. I feel I have found my purpose because I used to work all the time and life was passing me by. I got raises and promotions but I was all work and no play and I did not feel fulfilled. Since starting my business I have joined boards and volunteered at several organizations. I am a mentor to the next generation of leaders and have helped build a very successful anti-bullying program that >50,000 middle school aged kids have gone through. I am happier and healthier than I have been in more than a decade. As a marketing consultant I am able to write articles, contribute to books and speak at events to share my experience and lessons learned. I self-funded the company and have learned so much. Beware because the people you start with are not always the ones who grow with you. The biggest mistake and hardest lesson I learned when I started my company is not getting rid of weak people earlier than I did in the first few years of my business. I spent more time managing them than finding new customers. I knew in my gut they were not up to snuff but out of loyalty to them I let them hang around much longer than they should have. It would have been better for everyone to let them go as soon as the signs were there. They became more insecure and threatened as we grew which was not productive for the team. As soon as I let them go the culture got stronger and the bar higher. “A" team people like to be surrounded by other stars. It is true that you should hire slowly and fire quickly. I did not make that mistake again later on so learned it well the first time. I wish I had known it even earlier though but lesson learned for sure! Prospective customers can come from anyone anywhere anytime so you should always be on your best behavior & make a great lasting impression. Be nice to everyone & make friends before you need them, you never know who is in or will be in a position to help! It is true you should never burn a bridge, that really is great advice and I can tell you dozens of stories over the years where that has served me well. You just never know when your paths will cross again with old colleagues, former bosses, etc. Kill them with kindness and don't ever burn that bridge, trust me it pays off! Also, be the best prepared at every meeting,work your butt off and smile. It has worked for me at least!
Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder & CEO of global marketing firm Mavens & Moguls (www.MavensAndMoguls.com) based in Cambridge, MA. Their clients include Microsoft, Virgin, venture-backed startups as well as non profit organizations. Paige started her marketing career at Procter & Gamble and was Assistant Chief Marketing Officer at Coca-Cola. She also ran marketing at 3 successful startups previously. Paige graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School. She is a popular speaker and columnist who has written for Entrepreneur and Forbes.