In January 2020, I traveled from Singapore >> Dublin >> Ahmedabad to work with the CTO of my fintech startup. Every day, I woke up excited to work with our tech team of insanely talented young people who soon became my friends, too.
Whilst enjoying my time in India, my friends in Singapore called me to say there was a virus in Singapore. Honestly, I had no idea what they were talking about. I assumed it was just typical influenza going around and spreading in the community, so in my ignorance, I wasn’t bothered and focused on my work.
When I returned to Singapore from the business trip, I saw some locals wearing masks and I started to feel uncomfortable — should I be doing the same? Quickly, I searched the Internet to find out more about the news. Learning the nature of the situation, I got scared and worried.
My initial reaction was to leave the country and relocate to either Dublin or Los Angeles, where my loved ones live. But I had lived in Singapore all my adult life; my friends here became family, my best friends are residents here, and my professors and mentors became my second parents, hence I stayed.
But deep inside I was afraid because I was literally just starting a career in fintech, had just come back to Singapore from India, and was rebuilding myself. I knew I’d be in bad shape if I lost my job or exhausted my savings.
I don’t always talk about how it is hard to sustain a living in Singapore so I’ve considered consulting as my hustle job. But then I also realized, who is going to hire a consultant right now, and how much can I really earn to support a family? I needed a new plan.
I’m not the kind of woman who asks for financial support from anyone. I don’t borrow money from people and never in my life, I look for someone to take care of me. I TAKE CARE OF MYSELF. I sustain myself and if I can’t afford a lifestyle, I manage the expenses. I spend according to my wages as there is no one financially supporting me to have privilege in life. It is hard to be independent and it is harder to be broke. I always choose my hard.
At first, I thought about procuring personal protective equipment (PPE) products and reselling them to business-to-consumer (B2C) users, earning an extra 5 or 10 cents per product, but I’d only be earning enough to buy myself dim sum take-away from Grab, or a little help paying my phone bill. Haha!
But I wanted more. And so, I planned to sell more products, but this time I invited two of my partners to join me.
We outsourced R&Ds, manufacturers, and laboratories all over the world (except China) that can supply goods. After I created a pitch deck, business plan, and had enough reliable resources, I dared to pitch in hospital tenders.
Girl, I was rejected more than five times! I didn’t know how hard it is to pitch to government tenders, and it was more heartbreaking to me than a relationship breakup.
I didn’t take the rejection lightly and I didn’t give up. I was up late in the evening and only taking naps in between. I re-strategize the plan, and I registered a company in the United States.
I stopped pitching to small clinics and I started pitching to big hospital corporations. It’s go big or go home, they said. I did both! I attempted to go big, and I work at home.
At the beginning of March 2020, a client asked me if I have 3M N95 1860 masks and I was like, “What is that?” 😂 😂 I had no idea about the product, and because I was ignorant at that time, I wasn’t able to take my first 3M purchase order because, honestly, I didn’t know where to get a legit 3M product at that time. It took me almost two weeks to understand how 3M works in facilitating an order.
I got confused in the beginning because information on the Internet is all over place. There is no real template on how to do it, and there are serious frauds out there. It can take forever to do due diligence and connect with the right people.
I studied online, I looked for resources, I watched crime news online to avoid unintentionally partnering with the wrong business group, and finally, I expanded my network.
A month later, my team and I built a professional website to showcase the results of our efforts, passion, and time. Whilst building it, I was also studying how to successfully facilitate an order to 3M.
I offer consultancy services that can support clients to procure genuine 3M N95 respiratory masks and other essential 3M products through a structured legal working process working on an attorney-to-attorney basis (buyer and seller). My consultancy focuses on strategic planning, legal process flow, 3M, and Private Seller’s policies, and supply chain sustainability planning for both short-term and long-term needs.
I assist clients in submitting a non-binding letter of intent to 3M Global or licensed private sellers. I review each buyer’s documents and I guide them through a formal process until they get a confirmed offer from a seller. The facilitators and consultants take 10 percent commission and share it within the group.
After some time of communicating with people and finally filtering out the scammers and finding the real professionals, I stick to my group and I give them my loyalty.
Not all the deals went through because, as I said, it can take forever to do due diligence and a lot of people will waste your time and energy before you can finally close a deal. In my opinion, PPE consultants and brokers should not give up just because they partnered with the wrong people at the beginning of their business. It really takes time to find your niche group, and when you do, stick with them! After a stressful work get out of your office, smell some fresh air, meet a friend, enjoy a nice meal and hustle again.
I’m grateful to have dear friends that I can call anytime to chill after stressful work. I have a buddy Antonthe who is always up for wine o’clock after office hours. 😉 I like hanging out with beshy because she is fun to be with, a little sassy, funny and a sweetheart.
I needed a hero, so that’s what I became.
I admit that I was moody recently due to COVID-19 that has affected my business, the lockdown was extended more than 3 months, and I was brokenhearted. Imagine when my faucet was broken and neither I can’t fix nor call anyone to fix it for me, I get frustrated and feeling helpless. There was also a time I need to stock enough food at home and I went to the grocery. I couldn’t carry everything from the car to the lift. I had to take multiple trips to bring all the groceries. It sucks. I realize that time I needed a man in my life who can take care of those things that I can’t but instead to daydream to have someone who can take care of me, I take care of ME. Whenever I have a chance to treat myself I go out and meet friends to unwind. One of my new favourite places in Singapore is at Robertson Quay. It has a fantastic ambiance and a list of restaurants with a good menu and wines. There are amazing authentic Italian and French cuisines at an affordable prices. This location is perfect for a romantic date expect that I didn’t go there for a date. Lol I hang out with my besties or I dine alone to enjoy the little things.
One day I will experience romantic dates again and will enjoy life with someone but for now, I will hustle and get things done.
Thank you for reading!