Being the third child of five boys, Elias learnt important life skills which helped him on his entrepreneurial journey.
What’s your story?
Being the third child in a family of five boys, I learned to be independent at a very young age and even helped to look after my younger siblings and cook the occasional meal. I even took on part time jobs at a tender age, that might, in today’s context be considered child abuse! It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I learned to multi-task, work hard and not take anything for granted.
I started my first clinic around 18 years ago, the same year that my wife got pregnant with our first son. Imagine the joy and stress at the same time! Patients came to me for various skin issues such as acne problems, pigment problems, tattoo removal etc. Throughout the process, patients were generally very appreciative when they started seeing results from their treatments. That motivated me to do more. At that time, the term “aesthetic doctor” didn’t even exist.
Around 2007 more doctors wanted to learn about these aesthetic procedures, prompting various companies and societies to approach me to teach or share my knowledge with my colleagues. Since then, I have been involved in teaching other doctors.
What excites you most about your industry?
What still brings me the most joy and excitement are the changes and benefits that my treatments can bring to each of my patients. With medical technology constantly improving, we are better able to help people achieve more. The joy of helping each patient be more confident cannot be described in words.
What’s your connection to Asia?
My regular customers come from all over Asia. At the same time, I also conduct training courses for doctors interested in the art of aesthetic procedures around Asia. Being invited to speak at different conferences also brings me to various parts of Asia, the last trip was to Kyoto in Japan for the 40th Biennial World Conference of the International College of Surgeons.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
It’s still Singapore! The efficiency of the infrastructure, stability of the currency and the availability of trained staff cannot be over emphasised. At the same time, it is an easy and convenient location for customers from all over Asia.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Take good care of your patients and they will take care of you.
Who inspires you?
Sir Wlliam Osler: Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability.
One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.
We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from life.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The world is getting smaller and bigger at the same time. Technologies such as the internet and various mobile applications like Line or Whatsapp have brought the world closer and nothing is further than a click-of-a-button away.
At the same time, competition for the same pie comes from all over the world. Information is cheap or even free but may be more confusing than ever, with lots of semi- truths.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would invest in real estate! That aside, in terms of business, I would have been more careful in choosing a business partner. The most important factor is not capability (I believe that this can be learnt) but character. While money may not be the root of all evil, a person’s greed can never be satisfied.
How do you unwind?
Practicing Tae Kwon Do or spending time with my family. I am consciously trying to put in more effort to do both!
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I get to visit many Asian countries while giving talks and training. My favourite location for relaxation is currently Taiwan. I cannot get enough of their beef noodle!
Everyone in business should read this book:
What type of Leader Are you? By Ginger Lapid-Bogda. This book uses an enneagram system to identify your leadership strengths by identifying your core character. Because at the end of the day, it is only when you know yourself better, can you be a better leader.
Shameless plug for your business:
I can help you look younger and more attractive in 5 minutes, without surgery.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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