My first impression of Smith was that he’s a friendly chap. Later on, I realized he’s someone who embraces Life, follows his passions and can always be relied upon to give an honest opinion.
We first met when I accepted his invite to visit The Studio Cocktail Bar and interview the 23-year-old lady boss. And apart from running his events and marketing company, Waddup, Smith is also a sex blogger (I specifically told him not to mention this, but he went ahead to do so anyway in his email reply to my questions). And so I present to you… Smith…
1) Why did you start an events management company and did the previous part-time/temp jobs you held lead you to the point when you decided to start your own company?
Events planning has always been my passion and moreover, I have a very short attention span so my events company allows me to work on different projects – from consumer products to oil and gas, cosmetics and even lingerie! This way it is always new and it keeps me “entertained”.
I’ve worked as an administrator, tutor, waiter, sales assistant selling toys, clothes, software engineer (yes, it’s true), marketing person, mascot, board game teacher (that’s what I called myself while I was working at a boardgame café) and maybe some other things that I’ve forgotten but nothing beats doing what I do now.
2) Share with us what you did, and what you are currently doing, with regard to Personal Branding. How has successful Personal Branding aided you in your business?
Branding has always been important for my business and I have to believe in it myself because that’s what I am “selling” to my clients too, right? Many of my clients and referrals came to me because of who I am and the services my company provides.
[Grace adds: Smith shared with me that in the previous company he worked for as a junior executive, his 'seniors' tended not to introduce the new hires to their clients. So he decided to subtly 'stand out' from the rest of his colleagues by wearing Superman tees every day. It paid off as clients came to remember him as that Superman guy even if they forgot his name. Smart!]
Clients remember us as being youthful and vibrant while new prospects are intrigued by us.
Where blogging is concerned, being known as the “sex blogger” has always been an interesting form of branding for me when meeting other bloggers. Although it’s something of the past and I haven’t really been talking a lot about it, the “branding” still sticks.
3) You’ve mentioned the initially counter-intuitive concept of “Helping others doesn’t mean I’m kind. Helping others is about being selfish too”. Share with us what you mean by this.
Often, people think that I am helpful because I go around helping everyone but I am just building my own personal karma. Although I do not need the individual to repay me immediately, I believe in “paying it forward.” You help others and you will get help from others in some form someday. So in a way it’s still selfish and for personal gain too right? By the way, go watch that movie ‘Pay It Forward’ if you haven’t – it’s a real good watch!
4) You’re a blogger too and you’ve mentioned how some “professional bloggers” have become “professional beggars”. What improvements would you like to see where the Blogosphere is concerned?
I think blogging has been a big thing for the longest time and I see a lot of new bloggers day in and day out but I do not see any innovation these days. Things are a little dry and everyone seems to be writing and managing the sponsors’ and clients’ expectations rather than writing what they want. Many are writing that way just to get popular or to get more freebies from the clients. Worst still, I have encountered bloggers who emailed my client for free meals in exchange for their 200 unique clicks per day.
What really makes me cringe are blogs that end up looking like an advertisement listing because the 10 latest posts are all advertorials and sponsored events. Do they really have nothing interesting to share on top of all these? I am not saying that it is wrong, just that in my personal opinion that’s not how I want a personal blog to be.
5) Your guy friends turn to you for advice on women and dating. What, in your opinion, do women really want? And your advice to guys who just can’t seem to find the right girl or the right relationship?
Every woman has different expectations and needs so we don’t have a one-size-fits- all solution here. What I am saying here is that we have to find the right “solution” for the right woman. Some may want love or attention or respect or even money. And in this evolving world of ours, you shouldn’t be surprised that some women have the pride and ego of a man and that is what you need to feed as well.
No woman is out of anyone’s league but there are women who are “out of fit”.
You may be able to attract any woman’s attention initially but if you cannot sustain it in the long run, it won’t make a lot of sense.
Before you can give, you need to know what to give. 3 words to sum it up: Observe, listen and give.
Grace says: Even I have no idea what Smith’s cryptic response to question 5 is all about. But there are a couple of takeaways from this interview:
1) Be unafraid to explore when you are young. Try out various jobs in various industries and you’ll eventually find your ‘calling’. As the late Steve Jobs said, “don’t settle”. Also, the experience you gain from one job could very well aid you in another job.
2) Put some thought into your personal branding and make it stick! People may forget your name, but they’ll remember what you are known for if it’s something memorable and out of the ordinary.
3) Being helpful can be rewarding… some day. Plus, it’s better to make a friend than a foe.
My own ‘two cents worth’ take on the professional-bloggers-turned-professional-beggars situation is that:
1) All bloggers have the right to choose the sponsors they prefer to work with. So, for instance, if Company A wants me to do an advertorial for them but I turn them down because I know I clearly prefer Company B more, then nothing should stop me from approaching Company B to ask if they’d like me to do an advertorial for them, even if my blog has only 200, or even 20 unique hits per day. Rather than just focus on quantity, I think companies need to focus on quality too – what sort of audience does a particular blog attract, and is that what the company wants?
2) Freebies are usually great to have. What irks me is when bloggers complain about the freebies. At the Lush (cosmetics) event I attended recently, we were each given one recyclable bag, period. I was later told that one blogger went on Twitter to complain about the perceived stinginess of the company. Honestly, I was expecting maybe a travel-size sample of their new mascara or eyeshadow which I could take home and test out myself. I saw no need, however, to complain about the freebie.
So yes, now you know that blogging is also about business, dollars and cents, and politics. It’s what makes blogging so intriguing for me too!
And finally some pictures for your viewing pleasure:
Smith’s irreverence & funnyman antics knows no bounds…
All photos courtesy of Smith Leong
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