National Achievers Congress 2013 – Speakers & Special Promo Code

*Update* Just spotted on Youtube that you can get 20% discount off NAC tix by using the promo code 20LESS. Not sure if it’s just a Labour Day promo or not :)

The annual National Achievers Congress never fails to get me excited about their lineup of speakers each year! This year is no different. We’ll get to hear from *drumroll* Sir Richard Branson! Some people I’ve interviewed for this blog previously will also be speaking at the event – watch out for Vanessa Tan and Cayden Chang. :) My friend, Sean Seah, will be speaking at the NAC too – I’m so happy for him! And hopefully, one day I’ll be able to take the stage at the NAC too. Muahaha! *Dreams up plans for world domination*

Needless to say, I’ll be at the NAC this year too, from 10th to 12th May. You’ll be there too right? If you haven’t bought your tickets, get them now at www.nacsingapore.com [use promo code GRACE to receive 15% discount off General and VIP seats!] Alternatively, call Gwen at 86120291 – mention this blog and you get the discount too. No reason not to be there! :)

Here’s some information about the speakers at this year’s NAC, that I got from Success Resources:

Business Development
1. Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group – “Business Secrets They Never Teach In School”. He will be sharing about his ups and downs while building up Virgin Group. 
 
2. Keith Cunningham, Foremost Authority on Business Mastery – “The Keys To Unlock And Ignite Your Business”. He will be imparting critical business skills which you need to be the market leader in your industry. 
 
3. Gerry Roberts, Bestselling Author, Mentor and International Speaker – “The Most Underestimated & Effective Vehicle for Driving Your Marketing”. He will cover the unconventional and innovative ideas for marketing which will boost your marketing efforts to an all new level. 
 
4. Andy Harrington, The World’s Leading Public Speaking Expert – “Powerful & Effective Presentation Tactics for Business”. He will be touching on the essential “know-hows” on how to persuade your customers both in person or in groups and influence them towards penning their signature on your desired dotted lines. 
 
Personal Growth
5. Les Brown, World’s Leading Motivational Speaker – “Hungry for Opportunity”. 
He will ignite the hunger in you wanting to succeed even more. He will uncover the boldness and confidence that is already imbued in you. He will reignite the “WHY” you need to be hungry to succeed. 
 
6. Robert Riopel, World Class Trainer and Success Coach – “Pursuing Success Or Just Running In Circles”. He is the currently the lead trainer in T Harv Eker’s Millionaire Mind Intensive Seminar. He will share with us on how to manage your time with your family, friends and work and meanwhile achieving your financial goals. It’s not just about earning Millions but what’s your purpose in earning them. 
 
7. Andrew Bryant, Self Leadership Author, Coach and Motivational Speaker – “Self-Leadership As a Strategy for Success”. He will be covering on the secrets and tips on how to build a successful team. With his background of physiotherapy, neuro-semantics, hypnosis and positive psychology, he will be able to share more using these techniques to build a strong team. He is extremely suitable for Managers for mid to high level management. 
 
8. Cheri Tree, Leading Authority on Sales Training – “Increase your Sales by 300% – Crack the personality code and take it to the BANK”. She will be uncovering the proven sales techniques and sales training systems. She also will be sharing about her B.A.N.K system on how to grow your sales exponentially. She is extremely suitable for people in the Sales industry
 
Wealth Creation
9. Ewen Chia, World’s #1 Performer in Internet Affiliate Marketing – “Create your personal online ATM machine” He is the Guru for your online marketing. He will share tips and strategies if you are actually into an online business already to grow it to an all new level. 
 
10. Courtney Smith, History-Making Stock Market Investor – “An investment fueled income for life - Guaranteed!” Retired at the age of 22. He continued to explore knowledge in stock market. Seen it coming up and down several times, he will share with you the techniques and skills to make sure you will not be burnt but instead earn during such bad times. He is extremely suitable for people in the Finance industry
 
11. Sean Seah & Cayden Chang - Masters of Value Investing “Win consistently in a volatile market”. Sean and Cayden will be sharing their secrets on how to make money during these period of bearish market. How to seize the opportunity and gain the advantage in the stock market during bad times. 
 
12. Dr Rohan and Matthew Snedden, Global Property Investment Strategists – “Building wealth and financial freedom through property”. With the current global property market, these property experts will share with you the various opportunities which can be seized at such times like this. 
 
13. Marcus Di Maria, Forex – “Forex your way to freedom” – Building a consistent FOREX system towards accumulating profits. Marcus will share with you the mental model of an investor about their greed and fear during the ups and down times and how to thrive to take advantage and earn. 
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Honestly, I’m looking forward mainly to hearing from Sir Richard Branson, Les Brown and Andy Harrington. However, the rest of the speakers seem like authorities in their field too, so I believe the NAC will be worth the time spent there. :)
Date: 10th – 12th May 2013
Time: 9am – 6pm
Location: Singapore Expo Hall 3A
Attire: Smart Casual
Ticket Pricing

VIP: S$2,228.00
Benefits of VIP: (VIP Treatment, Priority Sign-In, Access to VIP Lounge for lunch/dinner with Sir Richard Branson and key speakers, Private Q&A Session with Key Speakers and seated right in the first few rows.)

General: S$88.00

Stall: S$48.00

To get your tickets, head over to www.nacsingapore.com [use promo code GRACE to receive 15% discount off General and VIP seats!] Alternatively, call Gwen at 86120291 – mention this blog and you get the discount too.

I’ll see you at the NAC! :D

Interview with Welson Ang, CEO of Expressprint

Welson Ang

CEO, Expressprint

Blogger, www.welsonang.com

1) Besides being a successful entrepreneur, you are also a blogger! Share with us what made you start blogging, and what you love about blogging. :)

Firstly, regarding the word “successful”, I don’t really see myself as being successful. I am still learning in business and am very humbled by some of the more established and well-known entrepreneurs.

Being an entrepreneur often involves networking. On multiple occasions, people have said to me “So you run a printing company… It is a very competitive market, isn’t it?” These questions led to even more questions - “Why the printing business?”, “How did you get started?”, “You must have a wealth of experience, that’s why you decided on printing right?”

Very often, I couldn’t elaborate due to the lack of time. I took the advice of my friends and associates and started a blog to document my life, beginning from a chosen point 20 years ago. As I blog, I also reveal interesting “facts” about my life that even my beloved wife may not know about.

I fell in love with blogging as it is an informal way of expressing myself truthfully. Blogging about my past makes me feel very nostalgic. Sometimes, I can’t believe that I actually did certain things in my younger days. My past thus serves as a reminder for me to not take things for granted.

I enjoy blogging about my life and hope that my life experiences can also encourage other people.

2) You’ve mentioned a turning point in your life which not only impacted the way you live, but also the way in which you run your companies. Tell us about that. 

Expressprint grew steadily since her ‘birth’ in 2005. The rapid expansion of the business into multiple outlets won me the Merit Award in the Biennial Shell LiveWIRE Awards 2007, which gives recognition to both aspiring and successful young entrepreneurs.

At that time, I was a very proud person. I always thought I was the best. I actually had no respect for people, especially those in the same trade. I was so prideful that I threatened my competitors by telling them “If you are not for me, then, I will open a printing shop beside yours and start a price war with you. I am not going to give you a chance to retaliate at all!”

My marriage and family life went on a downhill spiral. I was under tremendous pressure all the time. My temper would flare up and my wife and I often got into heated arguments over the smallest matter. When our young sons took their cue from us and started spouting vulgarities, I knew we needed help in disciplining our children the right way.

By 2007, I had 5 Expressprint outlets (with another 3 scheduled to open in 2008)  in the best locations possible. I was at the highest peak of my career but also the lowest pit in my life.

It suddenly struck me that I should not continue with the way I handled my life. I was already a bad person and I did not want my children to follow suit. Action had to be taken.

I spoke to my wife. I held a very high regard for Christianity and decided to bring our children to church where they can have some positive influence from the right people.

The turning point, however, came when I found myself on the wrong side of the law. I was in the midst of suing several competitors and suppliers regarding copyright issues as well as delays in project completion, when greed got the better of me and I created false evidence in order to increase the amount of damages. I was very frightened, and with nowhere to turn to, pleaded with God, “If You see me through this situation and the defendant pays me the rightful damages, I will surrender to You”.

That Friday, my lawyer called to say that he received a letter from the defendant asking for an out-of-court settlement. They will pay me what I asked for and close the episode. God did His part. It was my turn then to fulfill my promise to God. That very Sunday, my wife and I responded to the altar call and committed our lives to Jesus.

Through God’s grace, I also managed to quit smoking completely. I have not smoked since January 2008. It was also in church where I learned the principles of good stewardship and subsequently gave up gambling. My marriage also improved tremendously after we applied the teachings learned in church.

In 2008, when the global financial crisis struck, my company was badly hit. To add insult to injury, one of my staff embezzled the company’s funds, and yet another, the company’s longest serving employee, left and set up shop right above us, bringing with her all our business contacts.

It was a low point in my life, but I persevered. The good business practices I cultivated earlier, like investing into company branding and maintaining good credit rating with my suppliers paid off, and I was able to prevent the company from caving in.

In early 2009, my company achieved record sales, and even today, I see frequent queues snaking out from the shop – not bad at all for a printing shop!

3) What are some of the most important business lessons you have learnt, especially in the competitive printing business?

I learned the value and importance of “having a friend is better than having an enemy”. When we are competing in business, both sides will suffer. The truth is, together, we have strength.

The most humiliating part of my business journey was betrayal from my trusted staff. Having said that, the betrayal may not have taken place if I had not been so complacent about business management.

In summary, do unto others what you want others to do unto you.

4) I noticed that Expressprint is giving out little cardboard boxes for business cards, instead of plastic cases. What other earth-friendly initiatives has your company implemented?
Our green initiative started in 2008. We are also one of the first to have our paper and cards “Green Labelled” by SEC. Our shops are also decorated with environmental messages and images. All of our shop fronts display the reality about the state of destruction the Earth is facing. We even came up with a logo, slogan and theme.

Slogan : Expressprint, ExpressGreen


Theme: Paper can be recycled, nature cannot. Make a choice, choose recycled paper.

In addition, we are constantly introducing new efforts to do our part for the environment. For example, we print using Eco-ink and soy-ink. The latest effort will be the introduction of Card boxes (made of recycled paper) to replace the plastic boxes for containing business cards.

5) What would you say to your teenage self, if you could give him some advice about Life?

If you have read my blog (www.welsonang.com), you will find that my teenage life was quite interesting. Given the opportunity, I will advise “him” to always be humble and accepting. Do not be so motive minded and spare a thought for others. Do not live a life alone.

Grace says: Read Welson’s blog and you will find that he has a “colorful” past, hence it is always interesting to hear him share about what he has gone through previously. :D

I’ve found Welson to be someone who is constantly brimming with business ideas. And it is no wonder that Expressprint is doing so well. You can check out the business cards that Welson helped design for me here: http://workingwithgrace.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/whats-in-a-namecard/

Know someone I should interview? Drop me an email at gracewwg@gmail.com!

Come back again soon for the next inspiring interview. :)

Interview with Alfred Wong from Noel Gifts

Alfred Wong

Managing Director, Noel Gifts International Ltd

(All the following photos are courtesy of Hearted Moments Photography)

1) Why did you choose to start Noel Gifts and what do you love most about this business?

In 1973, I joined my family’s construction business and back then, it was an annual routine for most companies to send hampers to business associates on special occasions such as Chinese New Year.

But the feedback from sending hampers was that some hampers had rusty cans inside and some other products that were not so desirable. So, with this feedback, we decided to pack the hampers ourselves because we firmly believed that gifts bear good wishes and therefore they must be of high quality to carry the sincerity and goodwill of the sender.

The response was heartening and many of our recipients called to ask if we can assist them by packing the hampers so that they can present them to their business associates in turn. This hamper project became our small seasonal side-venture. But when my father’s construction business failed, we decided to go full time into the gifting business.

This business of ‘gifting’ is extremely satisfying when you know that you have helped people improve their relationships in one way or another, be it with business associates, friends, family, or loved ones. To see the smiles on the recipients’ or senders’ faces proves that you did a job well done.

2) How have gifting trends evolved over the years and what are some of the most memorable gifts that Noel has put together for customers?

As years go by, besides the ever popular flowers and chocolates, gifting trends have shifted from the basic gifting to concept gifting. Customers are more discerning and attracted to gifts that have a story and strong idea.

Hence, we make effort to innovate and keep up with trends. We have introduced 800 new product ideas each year and even introduced organic products and also some experiential gifts vouchers to cater to the younger customers.

There are many examples of memorable gifts, as giving gifts come from the heart and we often see extraordinary gifting moments. Physically, there were big and expensive gifts such as a more than 2 metres tall chinese new year hamper; a 999 stalks of rose bouquet that is as big as a small round tasle; and a $3000 congratulatory flower display.

Emotionally, there were simple bright sun flower bouquets that were presented to hospice patients to brighten their day; a special hamper packed with hand-picked items by a terminally-ill individual to thank her doctor.

3) Perhaps lesser known would be Noel’s property investments. How have these investments complemented Noel’s gift business and what are the prerequisites for any business which would like to also venture into property investments?

In line with our gifting business, these investments’ focus is with view of bringing people closer.

The prerequisites are basically, interest, sufficient capital, and industry knowledge.

4) Please share about the most important lessons you have learnt about branding, especially in establishing Noel as a trusted and reliable brand. 

I believe that having a strong brand is essential to secure a dominant brand share and achieve market leadership locally and enabling it to grow regionally. And to sustain a strong brand, it is important to have continuous product innovation and creative designs.

Sample of a fresh rose frozen in time via a ‘freeze-drying’ process

As such, Noel’s product development and design team travels extensively to source for items to refresh its selection of gifts, flowers and hampers. To better understand customers and identify gifting trends, the company undertakes market research and conducts training for its customer service teams. It also taps on resources beyond itself to introduce new management capabilities and strategies.

5) Which are the best gifts you have ever received?

1.      God

2.      My Family

3.      Gifts from Noel

Grace Says: I had the opportunity of learning from a Floral Stylist at Noel Gifts, and together, we put together a red rose hand bouquet they call ‘Burning Love’. :) (*Will be uploading the video soon; enjoy the pictures for now)

The Workstation:

I learnt a lot about roses along the way…

Was taught how to remove the unwanted petals and thorns and how to trim the stems, etc

And after almost 25 minutes or so… *tadah*

Very pretty bouquet, right?

Was tempted to run home with the bouquet in their award-winning tote bag :D

*No more awkwardness when carrying bouquets!*

I used to think bouquets are just pretty and little did I know about how much work went into the presentation! Did you know that this particular bouquet required FIVE sheets of that beautiful red and pink wrapping?! To the uninitiated, it looks like it took just two.

Plus, you can’t leave the half-wrapped bouquet lying on the table while you go look for the ribbon/decorative leaves/wrapping/etc (*A mistake I committed*). The roses always have to be propped up by their stems so the petals won’t touch the tabletop and start turning black or wilt.

Besides learning about how to wrap a hand bouquet, it was certainly a lot of fun meeting the happy people at Noel. :D

I hope the bouquet I co-made will make a special lady really happy this Valentine’s Day. :)

Noel’s Valentine’s Day 2012 flowers and gifts are available for order until Feb 14, 2012. For more information and/or to order, call 6299 1155 or visit lovechapter.com

With special thanks to all at Noel Gifts who made this possible :)

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love,

Grace

p/s: If you’re still wondering where to take your date on V-Day, check out my previous blogpost here.

Meet The Entrepreneurs Charity Concert 2012 and visit to Dignity Kitchen

(Photo Credit: MTE on Facebook)

This week is proving to be a soul-stirring one. What with the Meet The Entrepreneurs (MTE) Charity Concert on Monday and my visit today to Dignity Kitchen.

What an interesting coincidence too that while reading Robin Sharma’s book ‘The Secret Letters Of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ this morning, I chanced upon this passage:

“With every person we engage, in everything we do, we must be kinder than expected, more generous than anticipated, more positive than we thought possible. Every moment in front of another human being is an opportunity to express our highest values and to influence someone with our humanity. We can make the world better, one person at a time.”

The passage encapsulates neatly the message that both the charity concert and my visit to Dignity Kitchen gave me.

Thanks to Andrew Chow from Ideamart, I got my first media invite to a charity concert. :)

The charity concert was organised by local entrepreneurs and spearheaded by Roger Koh, CEO of Chen Fu Ji International F&B Group. It warmed my heart as it showed me that there are many entrepreneurs who (in Roger’s words) care about “love, giving and sharing”.  Funds were raised for Club Rainbow which helps children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and their families, and Dignity Kitchen, a hawker training school for the disabled and the disadvantaged.

One of the highlights for the evening was definitely Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s performance.

I particularly liked too, the Talkshow by Patrick Liew (CEO of HSR). While the Talkshow was hilarious and most enjoyable, the inspiring message that Patrick left us with was “If you have to talk, speak words of life. Inspire, motivate people and make them greater than before they met you”.

Upon the invitation of another of the MTE committee members, Ashley Ella Choo from One HR Concierge, I visited Dignity Kitchen today.

The 14,000sft foodcourt had stalls mainly manned by students of Dignity Kitchen and can be recognised by the logo:

I also got to meet Alson, who works at the noodle stall. He suffers from cerebral palsy and has difficulty cooking the noodles. Can you guess how Dignity Kitchen assists him?

 Second from left: Alson

They put together a special noodle machine with pre-set timers and which will lift the cooked noodles up automatically:

I think it’s an amazing invention! The bonus is that there’s quality control and the noodles always taste good! :)

Other innovations include the talking calculator and the cash registers affixed with Braille stickers to aid the visually impaired. I applaud all at Dignity Kitchen for going all out to assist the disadvantaged and helping them live fulfilling lives with dignity.

For one, Dignity Kitchen provides its students with $30 training allowance for each day of the 6-8 weeks training course that they attend. They do this to help solve the financial woes of the students first. Also, classes are conducted between 10am and 4pm so students can avoid the peak hours when taking public transport!

Their hard work has clearly paid off with the 100% passing rate for the NEA’s Food Hygiene Basic Test!

Here’s what our President, Dr Tony Tan, had to say about Dignity Kitchen:

Instead of donations, Dignity Kitchen prefers sponsorships for the elderly from old folks’ homes to lunch at Dignity Kitchen. I think that’s really awesome as every dollar goes toward meals for the elderly and also rewards the disabled and disadvantaged for their hard work in preparing and serving the food!

Dear friends, come on down to Dignity Kitchen at 1 Kaki Bukit View, #01-01 Techview Building (opposite Bedok North Secondary School). I loved the experience – the food not only filled my belly, the students’ warmth and friendliness (and innocence too!) lifted my spirits! :)

You and I can make a difference in the life of at least one person this year and we can “make the world better, one person at a time”.

Learn-A-Thon 2011 – The Best From 14 Of Asia’s Top Wealth Creation Experts

If you’ve missed Monday’s Learn-A-Thon at Kallang Theatre and did not get to hear from the 14 Wealth Creation experts, you’re in luck. :)

Here’s what I took away from their presentations of 3-minutes each:

Adam Khoo: get yourself to take action; buy that stock or start that business!

Wendy Kwek: There’s no great success by focusing on making a living; only way to create sustainable success is by making a difference in other people’s lives.

Jerome Tan: Have faith. The more you give, the more you receive.

Jim Khoo: Learn to give. Give of your time, talent, thoughts. Live your life for others.

Boyd Au: Be diligent and skillful. Persevere to achieve your objectives, be passionate and believe in what you are doing. No shortcuts. The more you sow, the more you reap. Sow into your brand. Make yourself known – What you stand for; Your brand promise. Sow into society.

Dave Rogers: Stillness will guide you. Listen. The heart, the ear, the honor of being able to give.

Ken Sapp: 1)Passion; find what you love; what you are created for. 2)Knowledge, expertise. 3)Market- find out what people want; their desires.

Andrew Chow: Social Capital. HAM. Hand – hold other people’s hands and work with them. Attitude – be genuinely interested in people. Mindset- be creative.

Jaz Lai – take action. The more you do; the easier it becomes. Perseverance.

Arthur camazzi – Outsourcing with odesk, elance, etc

Tan Yang Po- ‘Cash Your Passion’ written in 7 days. You don’t have to know everything. You just need the willpower to want to do it. Put your mind and soul into doing. Focus and make it happen.

Ken Chee- Buy good assets undervalued.

KC See – Discover and follow your passion. Rich people don’t work hard for money; they make money work hard for them.

Mike Handcock – Have a “playground” instead of a network; where friends like to turn up and play games. Great questions lead to great answers, which provide great information and lead to great decisions. Know what questions to ask. Know why you are doing what you are doing.

*Disclaimer: These notes were taken by me and based on what I heard. I take no responsibility for their accuracy though, as I was seated right at the back of the room! XD

Learn-A-Thon managed to raise $132,850 for the victims of the recent floods in Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines. It is the brainchild of Patrick Liew, CEO of HSR International Realtors Pte Ltd. The Guest-Of-Honour was Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Defence and National Development and Mayor of the South-East District.

Please contact Mercy Relief (www.mercyrelief.org) if you’d like to do your part in helping the flood victims.

Here are some of the wishes that participants of Learn-A-Thon put up on a board, including mine :)

Interview with Dato’ Palan, author of Creating Your Own Rainbow

Dato’ Palan

Director, Human Resources Development Corporation, Ministry of Human Resources, Government of Malaysia

Chairman and CEO, SMR Technologies Bhd

Founder, Asia HRDCongress

Trainer, Speaker, Consultant, Author of Creating Your Own Rainbow 

http://www.palan.org

I got to meet Dato’ Palan in August and had the privilege of attending a workshop he conducted that can be described as enriching, entertaining and enlightening.  I was very impressed by how humble and approachable he is despite his social status, and it was indeed a memorable evening of learning from this professional speaker on how to be a Rainbow Creator.

From amazon.com: “There are two types of people: Rainbow Creators and Rainbow Chasers. Rainbow Creators know that the treasure lies within them. They focus their desire and sharpen their skills without putting any constraint on their own imagination. Since the Rainbow as a totality is a vision, Rainbow Creators focus on the seven steps essential for life management to achieve their vision. On the other hand, Rainbow Chasers make their mistakes in assuming that pots of gold are out there somewhere waiting to be found.”

Here are Dato Palan’s answers to my questions:

  1. Who are the rainbow creators in your life?

There are several Rainbow Creators. Just to name a few:

  • Martin Luther King for promoting non violent approaches to end segregation between whites and blacks in a violent world.
  • President John F Kennedy for articulating what is it to be a visionary – ‘putting a man on the moon within this decade’ statement.
  • Tenzing Norgay who scaled Mount Everest
  • President Nelson Mandela for his persistence in freeing South Africa of apartheid
  • Prime Minister LKY for his vision for Singapore
  • Aung Syu Ki, the Myanmar leader for not giving up despite all tribulations
  • Mahatma Gandhi for pursuing Indian Independence through non violence
  • Mohd Yunus, Bangladeshi Economist for sparking a micro credit revolution and trusting people will pay back loans
  • My father who never allowed us to give up on ourselves
  • My mentor Sam Abishegam who gave me numerous opportunities and one who shaped the world of human resources in Malaysia
  • My teachers George Maliekal S.J.  and Father Leonard Paul S.J. for helping me grow my self esteem
  • My mother for educating me and my siblings even though she has only attended until Primary Six.
It is important to remember that none of the famous people I mention were great when they embarked on their journey. They were ordinary people who did extraordinary things to become great and recognised by the world.

  1. How did you become such an accomplished speaker? What are some tips that you can share with us?

Ken Blanchard said – ‘your game is only as good as your practice.’  I am not sure what you mean by accomplished but I have spoken thousands of times. I have observed hundreds of great speakers and learned so much from them. I strongly believe that if you are passionate about a message and you learn the tools of speaking, you can be a great speaker. Eloquence + Expertise + Passion always results in great speakers. Participating at the National Speakers Association (NSA) Conference, USA has also helped me a great deal. I have learned so much from the friendly community there. Obviously I was elated when I received the highest award that can be earned from NSA – the Certified Speaking Professional award.

My suggestions – join a local community of speakers, there is APSS in Singapore, MAPS in Malaysia. Be passionate about what you speak. Always think of the audience. Remember there are no short cuts to success. It is plain old hard work – learn and practice.

  1. What are some of Life’s most important lessons that you’d want to share with your children?

They are all simple common sense principles.

  • Find out what you want
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Respect people
  • Do not forget your culture but change with changing times yet with unchanging principles as President Carter once said.
  • Honesty is the best policy.
  • Practice lifelong learning to stay relevant.
  • Find your lane and stay in the lane – do not switch all the time as the pasture is always greener on the other side,
  • Say NO, one important quality I could never do and that has caused me lots of money and heart ache
  • The simple Rainbow Acronym
    • Recognise you can make a difference
    • Authentic Change
    • Invoke your determination
    • Never give up on yourself
    • Believe in desire and Enthusiasm
    • Optimal Leadership and Adventure
    • Willing Love
  1. What success habits do you practise daily?
  • Daily personal hygiene
  • Daily exercise
  • Daily prayer
  • Daily time planning
  • Daily reading and learning
  • Healthy diet
  • Live in the moment: NOW
  1. What does “Happiness” mean to you?

Being able to do what I want to do and making a contribution to humanity in my own way.

Being healthy and spending time with the people I love and cherish.

Recognising I am making a contribution to the world.

Grace says: Get a copy of Dato’ Palan’s book Creating Your Own Rainbow. It’s the next best thing to learning from him in person. The rainbow principles have helped me achieve many of my dreams and I think you will benefit from learning about them too! Create your own rainbow now. :)

Interview with Dennis Ng from www.HousingLoanSG.com & www.MasterYourFinance.com

Dennis Ng (and Grace, with Dennis’ 2 books; both bestsellers)

1) What are the biggest mistakes people make with their money?

People often mistake income as what they earn. What you really earn is your savings – the net “profit”. Pay Yourself First!

They save insufficient amounts of money. I recommend at least 10% or a minimum of $300 per month.

They play safe with their savings too as they are scared of losing. You know how the Law Of Attraction works – the Universe hears “lose lose lose”, and they are scared of losing hence they lose. For the investor, losing is part of the equation; it is already expected. While others put money in a safe place which cannot beat inflation, the rich borrow money from the bank.

Some treat Life Insurance as savings. Returns 3%, again less than inflation, which means they are getting poorer.

Investing without adequate knowledge, which is actually gambling.

Blindly listening to others, even so-called experts, without doing their own thinking.

Have the Something for Nothing mentality.

Some are blinded by greed and fall for scams.

Aim to be debt-free as soon as possible. I’m a multi-millionaire and I owe the bank money. Just don’t over-borrow.

I see my income as a function of the value I provide to society. If what you do is the reward itself, then you will enjoy happiness and fulfillment.

2) What habits do you believe have the most effect on wealth accumulation & management?

Pay Yourself First.

Invest in acquiring investment knowledge. Have knowledge before investing.

Make money work for you; returns must be higher than the inflation rate. It is possible to get 15% or more average annual returns per year. Leverage on the Power of Compounding.

Understanding Financial Planning is like Soccer; it requires Good Defence & Offence.

We are just here to perform a specific purpose. People mistake money with wealth. Income is a function of the value you deliver and number of people you serve.

I don’t need to chase after money. Just ask “How can I serve more people, how can I increase my value-add?” Find the answer and your income automatically increases. My income is my scoreboard. To earn a million dollars, I probably have to deliver 5 million in value. The value I deliver to society is what motivates me. My income will be a fraction of that.

3) Which are the core lessons you would like people to learn?

First, want to become rich. Most people WISH to be rich. They don’t want to become rich, e.g. they don’t want to look at financial statements.

Secondly, BELIEVE you can become rich. Stop waiting to win at the Big Sweep. Hope is not a strategy. It is undependable.

Thirdly, start taking action. What do I need to know? What are the rich people in the world investing in?

Learn how to invest like the rich, instead of living like the rich. I made that mistake. I went to learn to play golf and found out I had no aptitude for it. Golf requires time for practice. Haven’t played badminton in 10 years? You’ll still be able to now. But you need to go to the driving range at least once a week. I think golf is for people with too much money and too much time.

Also, it’s NOT the wealth that you will acquire that is the most valuable thing. The most valuable thing is the person that you will become in this journey and process.

4) How can we get started on the path to becoming a millionaire?

Learn to reach financial freedom. Learn how to plan your finances.

The smart investor looks for high returns and low risks. A simple rule is this: the upside must be double the downside. Demand that risk must be low!

Learn. Unlearn. Learn.

5) What is your opinion on “Money” and “Happiness”? Does having lots of money bring Happiness?

No! I have worked for 7 years in a bank and 8 years as a financial planner. I have met rich people who are not happy, rich people who are very happy, poor people who are happy or unhappy.

Of course, a comfortable existence is difficult without money. Happiness is a feeling, a state. Happiness is a decision. If you wake up in the morning and you slip and fall, you can curse, and think it is a bad omen and that everything else is going to fail. OR, you can pick yourself up and laugh about how it’s so funny like you’re watching a comedy. It is all a personal choice.

I asked myself what I really want. Some things I do are not fun but are necessary. Everyone is looking for happiness and fulfillment. We don’t want temporary fun.

Material things cannot give us what we really need. After 3 days, the excitement is gone.

Grace says: I have to admit I usually get rather nervous meeting these multi-millionaires, celebrities and successful entrepreneurs. But I’ve found that most of them are really nice folks. Hard to believe, but true!

Dennis is one of them. Our 1-hour interview stretched to 2 hours, and he gave me a copy of each of his 2 bestselling books (imagine that!). I had already bought Dennis’ first book and he autographed all 3.  XD

That’s not all.

After our interview, I went to another location to interview another entrepreneur and while waiting for the latter, I realised that Dennis had sent me an email after he left, with his detailed answers to my interview questions (I had sent them to him before we met up). It was totally unexpected because I was taking notes with my ipad during our interview. It was one of my rare almost-fell-off-the-chair moments.

He’s such a generous soul that I have no qualms about recommending his books or his training programmes. I’m sure you’ll get at least 5 (if not 10) times more value than what you pay.

I highly recommend you get a copy of at least his first book here

Here’s what Lorna Tan, former editor of the “Invest” section in The Sunday Times said about the book:

“In this book, Dennis has shared many useful tips and practical strategies on managing and growing wealth. I’m sure you will gain valuable insights from it.”

Join me on the path to becoming a millionaire! :)

Interview with Ms Sunaina Gill from Candylicious

Credit: David Liem for the video :)

Ms Sunaina Gill

Director, Gill Capital (S) Pte Ltd

Candylicious is the brainchild of Ms Sunaina Gill. The store in Takashimaya caught my attention because it was so colorful and welcoming. After the interview, I also couldn’t resist taking a photo with this sign:

It was an awesome experience to be hosted at the Takashimaya outlet before opening hours with no kids running about. But customers WERE almost beating on the shutters and demanding to be let in as the interview took a little longer than expected.

You absolutely have to take a bite out of this giant chocolate bar when you visit! Ok, I’m kidding – it’s not real.

Kids absolutely lurvve the Pucker Powder machine. I came by on a weekend once, and kids (and their parents) were having a really good time getting their candy fix here. Where else can you find such machines?

And…

If you’re feeling lucky, there’s the Jackpot machine. You can’t actually win anything, but you can bring home lotsa chocolate coins and feel like a winner

I know why I was attracted to this candy store! It’s just so bright and cheery:

Lollipops coming out of the walls. How awesome is that?!

By the way, I hope you saw the merchandise on sale in the store. I was quite taken with the Candylicious caps and tees. But I couldn’t resist the chocolates so I bought the latter instead. :D

Here’s a quick quiz: Do you know what these words mean?

1) Absotoodleutely

2) Yippideehda

3) Freaky Deaky

4) Hiccaburp

Find out the answers and more at http://www.candyliciousshop.com/

Also, there are giveaways at http://www.facebook.com/candylicious Like them and get your free candy during the giveaways! :)

People who know me say that I have a sweet tooth. I usually have to correct them – I have many sweet TEETH! So come back soon for more potentially addictive yummy candy interviews. :)

*Remember to enter your email address in the Subscription field on your right, just under my photo. I’ll send you all updates for FREE, and send all the giveaways your way too. Enjoy the awesomeness! :)

Readers’ Q&A With Patrick Liew, CEO of HSR

Patrick truly is an amazing interviewee. After our video interview, he said he’d love to answer questions from my blog readers too. I told him, sure, I’d gather those questions. After some time, he even sent me a reminder to forward the questions to him! And so I did! :D Tell me where else I can find an interviewee like that, who is so giving, and enthusiastic about sharing?

Here’s the Q&A:

1) Question From Reader “H” (who prefers to remain anonymous): 

“I am single, in late 20s, and I aim to own a house by 2013. For my style, I prefer a studio apartment, preferably near town. But the price of the private housing is rising. My current salary is close to $3k per month and is expected to grow around 4% per year.

I have 2 questions:
1. Do studio apartments have a good market for resale, say 3-5 years after purchase, when I decide to move in to HDB or condo after marriage?
2. How much will these studio apartments cost by 2013? How much cash/ CPF do I need to accumulate by then for this housing? Is it advisable based on my current financial status? (I have close to $30k of CPF and liquid cash. Secondary source of income is through investment which is expected to be 5~9% p.a.).”

In my humble opinion, it is hard to make a general statement about the ‘Studio’ segment of the property market. There are many other specific information needed to make a better-informed decision.

For example, Studios can be ‘mainstream’ or ‘shoebox’ units. They can be from the low, medium, or high end segment. In addition, they can be purchased from the primary or secondary (resale) market.

There are a few key factors to help you make a wiser decision.

  1. Purpose. Why do you want to own a Studio? For example, is it for use as a living space or as an investment asset?

The principle is simple. If you don’t know what you want in your life, no property investment will satisfy you.

  1. Profiling. What is your risk-reward appetite?

The principle is simple. Don’t fall in love with the property, fall in love with the numbers.

For example, can you afford the property? Can you support the future cashflow? How secure are your current and future career and financial positions?

To do a proper analysis, you need to use your head, not your heart, to make an objective, balanced and pragmatic decision.

  1. Performance. Do you have the K.A.S.H (knowledge, attitude, skills and habits) to invest wisely in property?

The principle is simple – Most consumers have transacted an average of about five properties in their lives. In other words, they may not have the experience and expertise to make a sound judgement.

Prior to making a decision, you may wish to further your real estate education or even sign up for a real estate agent’s course so as to know the tips and traps of property investment.

  1. Passion. In the final analysis, life is for living. Will the property help you to enjoy your life and live it to the fullest?

The principle is simple – The property investment must serve you, and not the other way around.

Life is short and there is no dress rehearsal.  Please acquire a property so that it will help to add value to your life.

  1. Priority. Is property investment the most important thing to do?

The principle is simple – The property investment decision must be made in an objective, balanced and pragmatic way. It is a decision that will influence and affect other decisions.

Acquiring a property is not the only thing to do in life. There are other decisions and actions that may be just as important, if not more important. It is a decision that has to be seen in proper perspective and from a holistic point of view.

I wish you the best returns for your property investment. It includes both financial as well as non-financial returns.

2) Question From Reader Jimmy:

How much did luck (versus hard work) play a part in your success? What roles did your mentors play in getting you into the property line?

2a. I believe that working hard and working smart are two sides of the same coin and you cannot succeed in life without any one of them.

I have a simple formula called APEX that I adopted almost from the beginning of my working life. Let me share it with you. In a nut shell,

A – Attitude. Success is an adopted attitude. Without a positive perspective, you will never achieve positive results.

P – Planning. I believe every task starts and ends with planning. You need a plan to ensure that you achieve win-win results. Through the plan, you can better galvanise human and other resources. You can systemize the operation, and enhance the synergy and alignment of all the resources so as to optimise your productivity.

The plan must be iterative. In other words, you need to review it constantly so as to improve upon it.

When the task is completed, there should be a plan to ensure that the learning experience becomes a platform for further achievements.

E – Execution. What stands between planning and achievement is execution. Execution is likened to a highway that will take you from where you are to where you want to go in life.

The key to execution is leverage. According to Buckminister Fuller, “Leverage is doing ever more with ever less”. It is taking massive action to do the right thing and in the right way so as to achieve the right results.

X – Excel. In HSR, we have a saying, ‘Anything worth doing is worth doing with passion and excellence. Passion means you need to love what you do. Excellence means you do it to the best of your abilities.

You need to constantly review every experience and action to see how you can go farther and faster in life.

2b.  First, I must say that I have many mentors in my life and I continue to look out for even more mentors. I have mentors in every major area of my life.

I believe success leaves footprints. If I follow the footsteps of successful people I will achieve the same or better results in an easier, better and faster way.

My mentors may not have directly influenced my decision to be in the real estate business. However, they have contributed to my life and prepared me for my real estate calling. Their valuable lessons and feedback have helped me to enhance my success rate.

As they say, “When I stand on the shoulders of giants, I can see clearer and farther to my desired destination.”

3) Question From Reader Perry:

How does HSR training help in the process of prospecting affluent clients? Can new agents really start off serving the affluent market? 

HSR is arguably the market leader in real estate agents’ training. We have more trainers, training programmes, and training resources than most companies.

In total, we have conducted more than 500 man-hours of training last year. You can hardly find another company that is so committed in helping agents to achieve success in our industry.

By doing so, we laid a strong foundation for our agents to succeed in every major market segment, including the affluent market.

HSR started our company serving high net worth individuals at the top end of the market. Since then, we have been active in marketing luxury properties in prestigious locations. In addition, we are also active in selling global properties. As a result, we are in the best position to help agents expand their business in the high end of the property market.

4) Question From Reader Clarence:

How do you convey love to others? What are the most effective ways to do so?

We must first recognize that our Creator has created us with love, and to love Him and others. Love is inside each and every one of us. We need to be mindful of it and live it out in our life. In addition, we need to continue to strengthen our capacity and ability to love.

The paradoxical truth is that the more we extend our love to others, the more love we will have. And the better we will become in sharing the blessing of love with others.

To love others, we need to learn how to love ourselves. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot love others effectively. It will also be harder for others to love us.

For example, when was the last time we tell ourselves sincerely, tangibly and generously that we love ourselves?

Are we grateful and thankful for every part of our being? How do we appreciate ourselves by looking after every major area of our lives, such as improving our health, fitness and energy level?

While we are loving ourselves, we should at the same time extend our love to others. It is a part of the same process of having more love in our life. By firing both engines of love, we enhance our love quotient.

To love others, it starts with our mind. The seeds of love that we sow in our mind will help us to reap the fruits of love in our life. The external act of love is very often a reflection of the landscape of love in our internal being.

So, do we want to love others in a deeper way? Can we learn to see good in others? Are we willing to intensify our love for them? Even when we are disappointed by the responses to our love, do we believe it can make us stronger and more resilient in spreading love to others?

We can begin by extending small acts of kindness and graciousness to the people around us. A pat on the back, a word of appreciation, a small present, a short little note to encourage another person – all these actions can mean a lot to others. According to research in the field of positive psychology, it can also increase our happiness.

To progress, we can seek out like-minded people who believe in promoting love. You can find many of them in religious, charity and grassroots organisations. By putting our flames of love together, we can blaze a trail together.

Truly, ‘What the world needs now is LOVE…’

Grace… is overwhelmed. 

Seriously, Patrick practises what he preaches. How else did he participate in that video interview and still answered these questions from blog readers? And all for no payment at all. Gosh! Patrick’s such a gem. I believe I owe him a lunch now.

What say you, Patrick? :)

Interested in joining my Readers Panel? Enter your email address in the Subscription box on the right now! :)

Interview with Patrick Liew

Patrick Liew (pictured with Grace)

CEO of HSR Property Group 

Patrick calls himself an “accidental entrepreneur” and a “servant leader in the real estate world”. Find out why Patrick, who wanted to be a social worker at 17, went into the real estate industry. In the first video, Patrick also shares about the 4 freedoms, how he became an accomplished speaker, Success Habits he follows throughout the day, and how we can wake up to an amazing and wonderful day every day. :)

This first video is over 10 minutes in length. I could have uploaded only snippets of this interview, showing you just the highlights. However, Patrick has provided so many nuggets of wisdom and I’d like to share all of them with you because you deserve nothing less.

So, before you watch the video, grab a cup of coffee, then sit back and enjoy:

Still have some coffee left? ;) There’s a 2nd, shorter video, no less awesome though.

This next video is a separate one which will tell you how Patrick became known as a “Love Evangelist” and what he did to build a whole company on Love. He also shares about self-love and how we can “practise the art and the skill of loving others”:

Indeed,

“The best way to live our life is to live our life for others. The more we reach out to bless other lives, the richer our lives will become.” – Patrick Liew

Grace says:

You’ve heard Patrick share about Junior Achievement(www.ja.org.sg) which teaches life skills to school children, so if you’re keen on joining me in volunteering, head over to the website and fill in your contact details. :)

The interview with Patrick was a most serene one. Patrick just has this aura of peace and calmness about him. But when he took me around his company and office, he had a spring in his step and he was just filled with pride and excitement at all he was sharing with me – whether it was about the awards the company has won, their commendable efforts at installing recycling bins on the premises, or about their community outreach efforts.

Here you see a card that was handmade by Ms Anna Joseph, one of the elderly participants of the HSR Elderly Community Outreach Programme.

At the back of the card is her photo and name:

Proceeds go towards helping the elderly so if you can, drop by the HSR office to purchase the cards.

I believe the plan for the HSR office was for it to be a self-contained hub for the agents, complete with massage services, a childcare centre, KTV area, the works. I was very impressed by how HSR strives to provide a loving environment for staff, agents, as well as the elderly community.

Here’s something you may not know about Patrick: He’s into Kickboxing & Gymnastics. Yup! :D

Finally, I’d like to thank Patrick. It was my joy, honor and privilege to interview you. And thank you, David, for the awesome videos. :)