Why I left my $40K Engineer Job to start out on my own at the age of 23
Did you know? According to a study by global webhosting company GoDaddy, “not having to worry about losing their corporate jobs” is one of the driving forces leading Singaporeans to pursue entrepreneurship.
I believe that part of it comes from the insecurity, the other is the money. I used to think that my job as a sales engineer then was stable with good income and great career prospects. However, an incident that happened to one of my closest friends struck me to think otherwise.
She used to work in a multi-national company fetching an income of more than $200,000 a year. Many of us really envied her career success and achievements until one day when we heard that she was retrenched! Not only did this came as a surprise to us, it was also a rude shock to her. She was deeply affected and it took her more than a year before she managed to return to the workforce, with a significant compromise on her salary.
To a young graduate like me then, I came to realise that it was really stressful to be in the sandwiched class. We had to keep working very hard to “keep ourselves afloat” to earn that paycheck after paycheck at the end of each month. But for the rich and wealthy, they did not have to work for money but had money work for them.
I do not come from a rich family, but through reading, I discovered how I could work towards achieving my dream to gain financial independence. Most successful entrepreneurs did not start out with a lot of money to build their multi-million business. The most powerful assets they possessed were the strong mindset and the willingness and courage to take up challenges. It was also about financial aptitude, which is what we do with money after we earn it, and how to make it work for us.
Starting My Own With No Capital
Though with much apprehension, I still decided to take the plunge and tendered my resignation. The fear of failure and how others would look at me suddenly dawned on me. But it was still clear to me that I wanted to start out on my own. I needed to be financially savvy to do that, so I started picking up the necessary financial knowledge and skills to manage my own wealth (which was never taught in school).
Gradually, I realised that I could also help others achieve their financial goals with the new knowledge and skills I acquired. That was the time when I decided to join Prudential as a Financial Consultant to share the knowledge I learnt through my personal experiences.
6 Months and I Exceeded My Previous Annual Pay of $40K
I was pleasantly surprised when it took me just six months before my sales commission exceeded my annual pay of $40,000 from my previous sales engineer job! But somehow my perception of a Financial Consultant career changed. My biggest motivation was not from the money I made, but the satisfaction I gained from helping someone in need.
I managed to deliver a number of claims payouts to my clients, but this was not the only aspect that left a deep impact on me. It was the fact that my services could give security for the families so they know they were in safe hands if the breadwinner was no longer around one day. This was exactly the kind of security I was looking for when I started out on my own.
The work has enabled me to help others achieve their financial goals and indirectly, get rewarded for the work we do at the same time.
Financial Consultancy is An Entrepreneurial Journey?
Just like managing our own business, we determine how we want to grow and run the business, not only to make profits, but also to create a caring and connected community.
I was fortunate to have a great mentor who guided me to where I am today. He groomed me to be an agency leader under JCOrganisation (JCO), giving me the opportunity to lead my team and manage my own business. All thanks to him and my team, I was honoured to clinch the Top Group Agency of the Year (GAM) Award in April 2018. This is in recognition of the efforts and contributions put in by various agencies within Prudential which achieved the highest team productivity last year.
Over the years, I discovered an interesting phenomenon when it comes to running my own business and entrepreneurship.
Why do we want to build a business?
Because we want to be our own boss. Because we want absolute autonomy in deciding our business direction, target market, service or product provided, and how we run our business. And of course, this is the chance to prove ourselves and carve a niche in the working world. You know you are capable of much more than just being a tool to helping someone else realise their dreams.
The beauty of the finance industry lies in what you see and believe is what you will get. Why do I say that?
Today, to be a successful Financial Consultant, we wear many hats. We are our own business. We decide the target market we want to serve. Are you a consultant to the high net worth? Or are you a consultant to business owners? Or perhaps your forte is in planning for the professionals? You will decide your target market and what financial instruments can best fulfill their portfolio, be it investment, retirement planning or risk management.
Gone are the days where an insurance agent peddles just that – insurance.
We have to do our own marketing and our own branding. And JCO is a platform that gives me the training to handle the target market of my choice. I believe that if I can do it, you can too.
How do you run your business? How do you ensure customer loyalty?
These are questions a business owner thinks about and you will too. Interested to know the answers? Do keep a lookout for my upcoming articles.