This article was originally published here: Samuel Tan Yap Sheng – Cofounder of Sweego
Samuel Tan Yap Sheng credits being self-employed in his teens as a driver for the confidence he has to take risks.
What’s your story?
I came from an average family, and a society that is perfect at cultivating workers – Singapore. I learned that in order to get out of the rat race, I had to take a different path and take on higher risks.
Being self-employed since day 1 (I gave private tuition at age 16), I like the fact that I’m in full control of how my career pans out. Starting young also sets me in a position to be able to take risks without the fear of getting too behind if I fail. So I went all out!
What excites you most about your industry?
I believe in adding value. To know that there is a greater good from what I do excites me.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
The world is moving too quickly. If you don’t catch up, you get left behind. Continuous learning is necessary and I make a deliberate effort to learn everyday.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
It would most certainly be people skills. No matter how smart you are, if you’re unable to connect to people properly, you’ll end up alienating yourself. Having people skills helps in building your network, which is one of the keys to success as well.
Eventually, it helps when you transit into management because not only do you need to connect with your employees, you need discernment to manage different types of employees.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Opportunities lies in the place where complaints are abundant. Look for problems. Be a solution.
Who inspires you?
My grandpa. He lived through World War 2 and hearing his life testimony just shows how much tenacity he had in his life. The hardships people had in the past are unimaginable. He showed me how to be a better man.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
“Today, making money is very simple. But making sustainable money while being responsible to society is very difficult.”
– Jack Ma.
I love this quote. At the end of the day, we don’t just live to make money; that’s a meaningless life. We have to understand that there is a bigger purpose in life and while we may not know immediately what it is, focus on bringing value to others.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing really. I truly believe every mistake and experience brings you to the person you are today. Sure, you can learn from the mistakes of others, but nothing beats having your own story.
If I could go back in time with existing knowledge, perhaps, buy bitcoins, then change the world in a greater measure
How do you unwind?
I hangout with my wife mostly, she’s my best friend. I also enjoy playing games and watching videos on investments.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
I’m a Singaporean running a startup based in Vietnam. After some months, I realized that your background, or where you “originate” from matters to some extent. Regardless of what people say, there is always a preconceived notion that you won’t be able to get past. So don’t focus on trying to change their mindset. Focus on what you are able to change instead.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Power Principles: The Benefits of a Wisdom-Driven Life, by Dale C. Bronner.
This book is not only for people in business, but for everyone that just wants to set their life straight. It’s packed with wisdoms which can be translated to practical and useful tips for your own life.
And for people in sales, read “Catalyst” by Chandramouli Venkatesan.
Shameless plug for your business:
If you own a F&B or service business in Vietnam, and wish to advertise, or build a loyalty program, talk to me! We currently serve over 100 brands in Vietnam for this purpose.
On the side, I also do investment advisory in Singapore. Reach out if you want to grow your wealth
How can people connect with you?
LinkedIn if you want to connect! My notifications are turned on.
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.