Entrepreneurship As A Way Of Life
Fannie is the quintessential multilingual new age entrepreneur,with vested interest in fashion and technology.
We caught up with the current Chief Operating Officer of startup accelerator Joyful Frog Digital Incubator (JFDI.Asia), to learn more about her job (which she feels isn’t really one), her thoughts on the startup scene, and about a frog named Smoochy.
You are both the COO at JFDI.Asia and the Founder of Trader Q. How do you manage?
FK: I see myself more as a lifestyle entrepreneur – I run Trader Q as a side project as it’s self-sustainable. I’ve scaled it down in order to focus on my role at JFDI.Asia.
I simply love it here at JFDI! To me,it’s really not a job. Although, Friday evenings and weekends are sometimes spent on work-related events and gatherings, I don’t really see myself attending these sessions in the capacity of work. Even in my free time, I attend house/office-warming parties and hang out with my friends from JFDI! (laughs) I don’t see the need to differentiate clearly between work and life. My work is a huge part of my life, and I love it!
In your opinion, what are some of the most common misconceptions about being an entrepreneur?
FK: People think that entrepreneurs make a lot of money, in addition to having their own free time and flexibility. In reality, the chances of making it big are really slim. We need the passion and perseverance to pull through the tough times, and it’s really not as easy as it seems. This is why to me entrepreneurship is not a job, it’s a passionate belief.
What are some of the other challenges that you faced as an entrepreneur?
FK: I feel that the biggest challenge, as an entrepreneur is to find a team of like-minded people that want to work towards the same dream and vision.Finding a group of people that you can rely on, with the same commitment level is really tough, but I’ve always believed that a strong team is what sustains your business.
A good idea with a weak team does not make a strong business. Neither will a good team with a bad idea. That being said, the latter is still better since the team can always pivot and brainstorm for a better idea.
Coming from an engineering background, what made you take the step towards entrepreneurship, and even taking further education in technopreneurship?
FK: I always had plans to further my education but at that time I felt an MBA was more geared towards a C-level corporate employee, which wasn’t what I was looking for.
A formal education in entrepreneurship has changed the way I think, especially since I was more used to theoretical learning from my engineering classes. I really enjoyed the experiential learning aspect. Being able to meet equally passionate people from all over the world was such a great and inspiring experience.
When I met real venture capitalists from China, Malaysia and the U.S., it really opened my eyes to what the real world was like. It made me even more excited for the entrepreneurship journey ahead.
My professor, Tan Teng Kee often quoted from Martin Luther King. It became one of the main guiding beliefs that empowered me to dream big.
So do you think passion is a must have for all entrepreneurs?
FK: Defintely! Passion is an important factor, but we must also know when to let go and make sacrifices at the right time. I’ve seen many people become overly driven by their belief in an idea that they don’t know when to give up.
Some of these businesses do not and will not go anywhere, but their founders continue to pursue these dreams and hope for the better – I call these startups ‘zombie startups’.
I have a dream.
Fannie is the Chief Operating Officer of Asia’s number one startup accelerator Joyful Frog Digital Incubator Asia (JFDI.Asia). She is also the Founder of Trader Q, a platform for retail buyers to view collections of designer labels in advance, as well as a marketing and consulting services provider for emerging fashion designers.