Year 2011 – Truly Crowned with Goodness by God

December 30, 2011

It’s already the 2nd last day of the year and it’s funny because usually the end of the year does hint that my birthday is fast approaching so it really concludes by life for a certain age and for this year, it’s the age of twenty five.

Let me start off by saying that this year has been a really amazing year.. Truly crowned with Goodness (as declared in church in faith at the start of 2011). The miracles & blessings that God has showered us with have certainly far exceeded our expectations and He just made Himself seem MORE REAL &  FAITHFUL than ever before. Amen.

As I was looking through the little blog posts that I posted here, I think it’s evident that my faith in Him has grown even more stronger and why shouldn’t it?  When He has left His footprints all over my life!

2011 for our company, Zion Global Marketing Pte. Ltd. has been nothing short of a great year.

1. We ran another successful internet marketing seminar in June which garnered great reviews!!

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We had close to 200 participants again and were blessed to receive many written and video testimonials after the event. Sad to say, our video camcorder became corrupt and we lost more than 20 video testimonials left for us for the event. (It was a REAL bummer.)

2. We created and launched over 30 brand new digital products in the form of  ebooks, video training courses and digital reports for internet marketers!

3. We launched our first Clickbank product, Affiliate Earnings Booster together this year!

4. We generated a mid 6 figure income for the 4th year running! (Praise God! Now that’s a real feat based on the small, close-knit team we have..)

5. [Only Internet Marketers Would Know] Our products were voted WSO of the Day in the Warrior Forum a total of 12 times (in just 6-9 months I think), generating more than $300k in sales over the same period of time and Calvin’s the Top 5 Most Popular Sellers on Warrior Plus!

We did go through “several bumps” earlier this year but I believe that those bumps helped us become more clear of and redefined our vision, mission and even direction, especially for the coming year. The truth is, Calvin and I did go through several learning lessons this year which caused us time, effort, heartache (sometimes) and even despair.

But at the review that we did yesterday of our entire year as a company, as business partners and as a couple, we had nothing but thanksgiving for God’s guidance in riding us through the storms (lol.. it’s actually not as bad as it sounds)

The important lessons we learnt corporately which I’ll like to share with you:

#1 Importance of Clear Communication

We know of its importance (definitely.. especially after running the business for the past 3-4 years) but this lesson is a HARD lesson that never fails to come up. It’s as though.. we went through Stage  1 of learning how to communicate before and then Stage 2 and now Stage 3.. I like to think that Life has impromptu examinations that cannot be anticipated but you can certainly prepare for it.

– Communication with business partners

When you communicate as business partners, it’s a MUST to set aside your personal relationships (friends, lovers, family etc.) There shouldn’t be the GREY area where you both (or the group) tread dangerously in. Communication should be clear, concise and to-the-point and basically, if you have your own interests to protect or concerns, you should voice it out and do not assume that it’s mutually understandable. (That was a big mistake I made but thankfully, rectified).

– Communication with employees

It could be the fact that Calvin and I are rather inexperienced in employee management and perhaps that’s why it’s an area which we particularly learnt the most this year. Goodness, the supposed GOOGLE inspired office policy of fun, fun, fun then work is DEFINITELY too idealistic  especially for small companies that strive on performance (yes, look at the tons of products we launched for this year.. we certainly are a performance-driven company.. haha)

When communicating with employees, in-house or outsourced, you have to be straightforward in your instructions, in your feedback and objective criticism. The mistake I made was I was overly sensitive and concerned about HOW the other person would feel when I directed him/her, when I corrected and when I reprimanded. I didn’t consider that the gravity of the issue outweighs my need of being nice. It didn’t help that the employees we had were of the same age group and that could have created a greater sense of familiarity and thus, developed that strong sensitivity towards their feelings. So when communicating, be objective.

#2 Be VERY Clear of Your Vision, Mission and Direction

When you are clear of  the vision and direction you have for the company, you will steer the company towards projects and plans that will support this vision. Once, when Stuart Tan (our personal friend and business mentor) learnt of the projects that we were interested in starting, he asked “Is this aligned with your mission?” and we realized that it’s so important to determine if what you are working on is CONTRIBUTING to building the path towards your goal. If it isn’t, chances are you’re wasting your time.

Also, when you are very clear of these 3 important elements of your business, you will then avoid shiny, golden opportunities (that may seem to have tons of potential & even bring in lots of money but be at the expense of the resources for your other important “vision-building” projects).

#3 Black & White

Everything has to be in black & white. You have to draft contracts and  binding agreements to safeguard your business and company against ANYTHING that can potentially jeopardize your company. Calvin likes to say, the closer the relationship, the MORE you should draft a binding contract in black & white, simply because more is at stake and having it in black and white just makes the expectations from both sides legal and transparent.

#4 Always Set A Budget & Prioritize Expenditures

I think we particularly did well this year in this area for planning for our seminars, calculating the monthly costs of the company as well as for our major renovation overhaul. Setting a budget is NOT meant to limit you to a number to work with at the end of the day but it helps you be aware of what the revenue and expenses are. It’s also important to prioritize expenditures, whether for investment, for marketing, for employee welfare.. etc. The thing is, when you know what the expenditures are and for what purposes will allow you to evaluate the value of those expenditures and make adjustments in future.

#5 Hire the RIGHT People for the RIGHT Purpose

This is one precious lesson that I feel any business owner should sit up, listen and READ. Hire the right people. The mistake that Calvin and I made was we were not clear of the expectations of the employees we set out to hire. Moreover, we did not DEFINE their roles nor did we drill down to the basic expectations and key performance indicators.

Worse was.. we tried to make our company revolve around our employees and tried to create work for them to do RATHER than have our company’s direction, vision and mission CENTRAL and have all operations, staff, projects and plans revolve around it. And see if the people we had in the company were the RIGHT people.

The people we had hired were great people with their own strengths BUT we failed to consider the job fit during the hiring process.

Be clear of WHY you are creating a position and hiring. Be clear of what kind of person you are looking to hire. Be clear of the VALUES you want the person to have and if it is in line with your own and your company’s. Do not be swayed by the resumes, the presentations, the first impressions as well as the promises.. Run multiple rounds of interviews. Two is the bare minimum. Go up to 3-4 if needed.

PHEW~ Can’t believe I’m done! I have taken 1 hour to write this far!!

As for US two… the IMLovebirds (this is a cute name that Calvin came up with! I just have to tell!!)….

We made full use of the time this year to play hard and work hard.

We got ourselves a XBOX 360 Kinect! Haha.. and tons of games to play over the weekends… travelled to Hong Kong twice this year because we simply love the people, food and shopping there! We didn’t venture to too many places this year and the past few years simply because we couldn’t afford to be away when we had in-house employees in the office. haha..

Last but not least….

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WE GOT ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!

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Well… I couldn’t have said YES without this beautiful ring could I? 😛

After 5 years and 9 months of dating, he finally popped the question on his birthday! It’s truly a MILESTONE for the both of us.. and really, whenever I think back of how we started off this journey together, I really really start to tear…

We started dating in University in our sophomore year that was in 2006 and he learned about internet marketing in Nov-Dec ’06.. He kinda forced me to read the IMC guide book and learn about internet marketing along with him. I had zero passion but when I saw the desire he had to get this venture going, I followed. We don’t come from rich families and we decided to stop all our part-time student jobs (he was a freelance sales promoter at Singtel, our local telco & I was a full-fledged tutor teaching 7 kids) and just focused on learning and mastering IM together, with whatever resources & money we had.

Bear in mind that we couldn’t afford a mentor at all!!

To cut the long story short, never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined that 4 years later.. we would accomplish this much for ourselves and our families. If it’s not God working in our lives through us.. I don’t know who is. 🙂

This 5+years together have been remarkable… And I can only imagine our married life together to be 10 times better.. *I hope* hahaha..

We have finally committed to making marriage plans and we’re now in the early stages of planning for our wedding and we have already seen His mark on us that this is His will and the wedding is happening in His time. We’re fully aware that we need our Abba, Father to continue guiding us in this next part of our adventure & journey and we commit this entirely to Him.

This is a moment truly of thanksgiving for 2011 and we will look forward to an EVEN MORE AMAZING 2012 ahead!

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Dear readers,

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a WONDERFUL and BLESSED new year ahead and may 2012 open doors of opportunities for you in every area of your life!

Visualize your future because it is BRIGHT and continue working towards the goals you have set for yourself.

More success, joy and happiness to you!

Cheers!

Inspired by Eric Holmlund

October 15, 2011

If you aren’t an internet marketer, you wouldn’t have heard of Eric Holmlund.

In fact, I have only briefly heard his name a couple of times when Calvin updates me on IM happenings. (*surprising!* I know that sounds really odd.. but the truth is I’m usually oblivious towards most of the IM launches/ happenings etc. ) It wasn’t until I opened up an email by Lee McIntyre (another internet marketer btw) just 2 days ago and went on to watch a video by Eric, that I finally KNEW who Eric Holmlund is.

The reason why I was inspired by Eric is not because of his internet marketing methods/secrets/techniques/products etc. So I’m not going to share about his latest launch here..

But rather, I was inspired by the things he did to glorify God through his blog and let his life be a testimony of His goodness. Little things like sharing his testimony on his blog, starting mission trips, and running a non-profit online prayer ministry etc… That really struck me as I saw how he used his internet marketing influence and skills to help grow the ministry of God. Something that I have not seen before in the internet marketing community and it’s something that I’ve always shared with Calvin about doing. Now, I have the perfect model to inspire me for the greater good.

In the process, I realized that I wasn’t doing enough to share about God’s goodness in my life! Which is something I ought to do especially when there are people who are reading about who I am, what I do and even who I believe in. 🙂 My life’s got to be a testimony to others and that way, I can inspire others as well. Just like how Eric inspired me.

Before I end off, here’s an image my friend shared on Facebook:


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Thank you Lord for everything.

Internet Marketing is NOT for the faint hearted..

October 12, 2011

Here’s the reality check I had this afternoon:

50% of my INTERNET MARKETING knowledge is getting close to becoming outdated!

Isn’t that a “O-M-G” moment for ANYONE who is relying on internet marketing skills to earn a living? Haha..

But that’s the truth! It dawned upon me that I was sooo concerned about handling the backend services that I utterly forgot to continuously update my skills and knowledge which are so important in staying competitive.

It hit me even harder when I realized that I’m stuck in the same position as I was 1 year ago!

And the lesson is I’ve got to start learning – one of the things I love to do actually..

Learning is a continuous process of life and in fact, let me stress that it requires ACTIVE LEARNING. It’s even more so for an industry that moves 24/7, 365 days a week. And I’ve just got to get my feet up and start moving forward again. Frankly, what lies ahead of me or rather the thought of (sort-of) learning all the new tricks, strategies & techniques in IM all over again is kinda daunting at times but I’ve got the courage to keep on moving!

So why is Internet Marketing NOT for the faint hearted?

Firstly, from our experience, internet marketing trends do not last more than a year. What’s IN now will be OUT the moment the next whirlwind trend appears. It’s either you move with the flow or you gradually get phased out. You have to constantly be on the go and be on the lookout for hot trends, shifting buyer patterns in order to be able to use it to your advantage.

Secondly, you have to learn from failures and move on. It’s not as though every single product you create will be a winner, or every single product you promote will make you money and neither does it mean that every single money making idea IS a 6 figure launch. You’ve got to absorb all the learnings from each failure/unsuccessful trial, and CHANGE what you did wrong. Repeating the same thing that got you the bad results will just get you the SAME results.

Thirdly, analyse, analyse and analyse. You have to analyse your own performance, your competitors’ performance and your customers’ “performance” in order to find out what works. There are things like measuring the conversions of your offers, sales copy, videos etc. in order to see how effective your marketing strategy is. You need to analyse what your competitors are doing and see if there’s any way you can improve what they are doing. And of course, you need to analyse what your customers are buying, what they are interested in and test what marketing messages they respond greatest to.

Just going through all that made me realize it’s time to up the gear and become an active and humble learner once more.

What I Learnt From Steve Jobs..

October 10, 2011

As you might have already known Steve Jobs passed away last week and I was just in shock when I found out about it from Stuart. I’ve always been in admiration of great entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett.. simply because they KNOW what they want to achieve and they go all the way to achieve it.

One thing drives them: PASSION.

Calvin and I watched countless of presentations by Steve Jobs through the videos which were highly shared on Facebook in light of his passing. And that kinda led on to watching videos by Bill Gates and then Oprah. One word seems to have come out of their mouths every single time – PASSION.

“I was lucky — I found what I love to do early in life,” — Steve Jobs

I believe passion is really an unexplainable force that DRIVES one to achieve excellence in a particular area in life, seemingly a strong area of interest. This force comes from within and makes you love what you do and makes you unstoppable.

I know that might come as a surprise but the truth is, I haven’t totally discovered what my passion really is or rather, what I’m doing is NOT aligned with my passion yet. I am motivated to achieve success in various areas of my life and I have set goals to achieve the things I want in life BUT something’s missing… this unexplainable, unstoppable force… this love for what I do…

Yes, I have achieved some success in these recent years and you would think it’s passion that drove me to achieve these…

#1 Featured on news media
#2 Started a company with 5 local employees & 7 employees overseas
#3 Got an office in prime area
#4 Ran two seminars which had 200 attendees each
#5 Ran private coaching classes
#6 Invited to speak at events

But somehow I feel that my passion is not aligned with what I’m doing yet. Or I’m not doing what I really love to do and that means I’m not unstoppable yet.

I know that this may throw some people off and make them go like –“What?? You have problems with your passion?? Are you sure you’re not doing what you really love to do??” and I probably lose some “fans” in the internet marketing scene too.. 😛 if there are any..

Discovering your passion will serve you well and push you towards excellence. And that is what my daily task will be from today onwards — to commit more time to doing what I love.

Only when I’ve started doing what I really love will I then find my passion and purpose in life. And lead a life which I will not regret living, even if I were to die today.

That’s what I learnt from Steve Jobs this week.

  • In Memory of A True Entrepreneur & Dynamic Leader
  • “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs

    Resting in God’s Presence

    March 16, 2011

    I just had to share this song which has brought me through this first few months of 2011.




    Though there are times of uncertainty and times of worry and despair, I have just learned to rest in God’s presence. And I always feel such a calm that even relaxation music can NEVER attain that for me.

    Today’s been a real productive and a blessed day with an awesome launch of Conversions Boosting Mastery! And in fact, it’s been an awesome journey into the year of 2011 and it has certainly been ‘crowned with goodness’ with ‘paths dripping with abundance’ just like how Pastor Prince had declared this year to be. Praise God!

    But at this moment, I won’t want to forget about the people of Japan who have been badly hit by the recent tsunami and are experiencing a difficult period. The devastation is something beyond my comprehension but I know that there’s still a glimmer of hope amongst the people. I pray that God will protect them and keep them strong in faith to walk on, knowing that it’s going to be a better day tomorrow. And I pray that they can rest in God’s presence when they are feeling despaired by what is before them.

    If you can, please lend a helping hand by donating to the Singapore Red Cross’ Japan Disaster Fund. If not, do just bless Japan and its people with your hopes and prayers for them. I know every little bit of concern, help and love means a lot to them. 🙂