Book Review and Giveaway: The Reputation Economy by Michael Fertik

The Reputation Economy by Michael Fertik

This is one book I believe most people cannot afford to not read. Your digital reputation is going to have a huge impact on your life, if it doesn’t already exert such an influence. “It determines whether your bank will lend you money to buy a house or a car, whether a landlord will accept you as a tenant, which employers will hire you and how much they will pay you. It can even affect your marriage prospects.”

In fact, it is possible to access tonnes of information about you – your buying habits, your finances, your professional and personal networks and even your physical whereabouts.

Even if you stop using credit cards and pay for everything with cash, don’t own a social media account on any platform, and don’t allow anyone to ‘tag’ you when checking in to any venue, you can’t stop people from writing about you (even with a protection order, heh heh) or upload a picture with you in it (face recognition technology, anyone?)

This book offers a treasure trove of information, including which keywords to put into your LinkedIn profile so you come up tops in search results, how to curate your on- and offline activity to reduce premiums calculated by insurers, lenders and investors, tricks to get express or VIP treatment at banks and hotels, etc.

In fact, the author leads by example. On the back cover, there is “Advance Praise” for the book. It seems that many best-selling authors and famous people are happy to endorse this book. The power of having a good reputation, it seems. ;)

The Reputation Economy by Michael Fertik

Some Of The Highlights:

1) Insurance Companies use social media platforms like Facebook to investigate claims. On page 55: “a Californian woman was convicted of workers’ compensation fraud after she typed more than two hundred posts (not terribly clever) to Facebook after claiming that a wrist injury prevented her from typing at work.”

2) If you are flagged for having a concern about fitness or health (this could affect your insurance premiums, job or dating prospects), take steps to reverse this. The author’s cheeky suggestion is to strap a Fitbit to a dog and make your Fitbit profile public – it’ll make people think you are “the fittest person in your town”, OR “start posting photos of your coworkers’ salads on Instagram while you chow down on french fries”. :D [page 39]

3) Hang out with the right crowd (pg 59) as you will be judged based on the company you keep too! (@_@)

4) [pg 95] “…your professional reputation can mean the difference between whether you are offered a million-dollar signing bonus or a meager starting salary (or not offered the job at all).”

It reminds me of the AIA S$50 angpow saga that I blogged about here. I’d mentioned, and tagged, Ho Lee Yen (AIA’s Chief Marketing Officer). If you do a Google search with her name, my blogpost appears on Page 1 of the results. Unfortunately, she may not have realized this, as she doesn’t seem to want to take any action to rectify the glaring mistake in sending out those AIA letters. I have already alerted MAS and will definitely be following up on this issue.

The book even provides the key to resolving this, on pg 195: “Reconcile with anyone who is publicly complaining about you.”

5) Be a responsible guest everywhere: [p145-146] “prospective guests who enjoy good digital reputations on Airbnb will likely soon enjoy lower prices, diminished or disappeared down payments and deposits, and other privileges… Get blacklisted from Airbnb, and other services may follow as well.”

The Reputation Economy by Michael Fertik

And chapter 9 is a particular must-read. I love that line on pg 179 – “nothing motivates bloggers more than legal threats to shut them down”. Remember the obnoxious legal letters I received for my Data Register blogpost? ;)

I’ve ‘collected’ so many nuggets of wisdom from this book, therefore I highly recommend it. Go get a copy from your nearest bookstore! It costs just S$30.79 before GST – and what is 30 bucks when the things you learn from this book could help lead to a 6-figure starting salary?!

Whatever you do, online or offline, be sure to “carefully curate the reputation you have”. :)

~ Giveaway ~

WIN a copy of ‘The Reputation Economy’ by leaving me a comment on this blogpost and telling me why you want to read this book. :)


Also, read my earlier book reviews here:

1) Leading Women by Nancy D. O’reilly *giveaway*

2) Playing Big by Tara Mohr *giveaway*

Book Review: Public Relations 247 by Andrew Chow

Andrew Chow and Grace Tan

I had lunch today with a great pal of mine – fellow author, social media strategist, PR expert, and all-round great guy, Andrew Chow. This book review is inherently biased because I’m featured in the book (pages 186 and 187 to be exact) and I have already bought 5 copies at the book launch of ‘Public Relations 247′ even before reading the book! :D Yup, if I’m featured in this book, it has to be pretty awesome. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what else is in the book, and especially, the key takeaways I got from it…

(My feature on pages 186-7)

Andrew Chow Public Relations 247

This book wows right from the start, with a foreword by award-winning radio presenter, Bharati Jagdish from 938LIVE. Because Andrew is such a gem of a friend, it is not surprising that Bharati went out of her way to give great nuggets of wisdom even in crafting a foreword for a book. I got to know what she thinks about news pitches that reach her email inbox and how she selects newsmakers to feature on her program. In short, you have to buy this book.

Here are a couple of other things I have learnt from Andrew and from ‘Public Relations 247′:

1) Be A Giver: Andrew shares in the book that he has accumulated “close to 300 interviews, mentions, and features” about himself and his business and has “helped over 100 business associates appear in the press”. I have been on the receiving end of Andrew’s generosity, and I do hope to be able to help add to his tally of interviews and features soon. :D

2) Difference between the terms “publicity” and “public relations”: They tend to be used interchangeably so you’ll have to read this book to find out what the crucial differences are!

3) Definition of Media Terms: On pages 38 and 39 is a list of “media terms” which I didn’t even know about till I read this book. Yes, I have been interviewed on radio multiple times, appeared on TV, and been featured in print media quite a few times, but I’ve never been told what “On background”, “Not for distribution” (it’s not what you think it is), “Deep background”, among other terms, mean! *gasp*

4) How to ‘Identify A Reporter’s Interview Style’ on pages 40-42: Please beware of the “I’m your buddy”, “Please help me!”, “Provocative” and “Rumour Starter” types! There are a total of 11 styles listed in this book. If you foresee yourself having to interact with reporters in the near future, or would like to engage them, please do yourself a favor and get a copy of this book. In the past, I relied on Andrew’s tips (delivered verbally) to get through some of my interviews. Now, I have this book! :D I even made sure to get 5 copies so I could share them with my closest and dearest friends.

Yes, that’s 5 copies we are holding, actually:

Andrew Chow and Grace Tan

So far, I’ve given out 3 copies – to my pals Jimmy Chua and Steven Lek, and one of my interviewer friends. One more copy to go. That lucky friend will receive a copy by the end of this month!

Here’s what Jimmy had to say about the book:

“As an F&B entrepreneur, I find this book useful for business owners as it provides many case studies and ‘scenarios’ to prepare ourselves for. It is a good read and great prep for events such as meeting members of the media!”

5) Tips for TV interviews in chapter 11. Literally everything you need to know, from the color of your clothing to your posture and tone of voice!

And guess what, there are even tips on blogging in this book, some of which I didn’t even cover in my book ‘Blogging For A Living’. How cool, right? We just keep learning from each other. :D

And I’ve also found that my favorite quote from this book is:

Online comments can be both positive and negative – we cannot control what others say about our posts. The crux is to manage the heat calmly and manage the love humbly.


To find out more about this book ‘Public Relations 247′, head over to this Facebook page:

Book Review plus Giveaway: ‘Leading Women’ by Nancy D. O’Reilly

Leading Women Nancy D. O'Reilly

This book ‘Leading Women’ begins with a bold statement on page 3 of the introduction. The author (or shall I say, compiler) acknowledges Sheryl Sandberg’s book, ‘Lean In’ as a bestseller – “sold more than 150,000 copies in its first week” – but goes on to say that “Although Sheryl’s book is inspiring, it offers few specific tools. That is where this book comes in.”

Let’s just say it was a jaw-dropping moment for me. And if you don’t already know, Sheryl Sandberg is COO of Facebook.

Leading Women

The author, Nancy D. O’Reilly, compiled 19 essays from other “influential women” and calls this her book – ‘Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life’.

And this book ends before you expect it to, as pages 195 to 254 have just the profiles of the contributing writers, additional resources and an index. That’s 23% of the book allocated to things which the average reader will not be interested in reading – at least, I wasn’t.

And about that bold claim by the author that this book will work where Sheryl Sandberg’s has (apparently) failed? I DID derive quite a few nuggets of wisdom from this book, so I cannot say that gutsy author has over-promised and under-delivered.

It’s kind of like the National Achievers Congress (NAC) in Singapore; the speakers give you just-enough information for you to want to find out more, but… you’ll wish they’d just given you what you wanted. For instance, on page 65 of this book, bestselling author Marci Shimoff writes about the 14 ‘keys’ for experiencing Unconditional Love she has discovered in the course of her research for her book ‘ Love For No Reason’ but only shares 3 of them in this book; a pretty-obvious hint to go buy her book. :D


[image credit:]

Still, if you get just ONE nugget of wisdom from a book, it is already a good book. If the book is life-changing, it’s a great book. This particular book is a good book. And here are 6 of the key takeaways I’ve gotten from reading it:

1) [From Lois Phillips: pg 29 to 34] Four empowering strategies to increase your self-confidence when speaking before an audience:

  • Flaunt Your Track Record – let them “leave with your elevator speech at the tip of their tongue”. Also, “take control by preparing and providing the moderator with a Speaker Introduction cheat sheet” and if there is a printed program, “provide a written list of specific successes that reinforce your expertise, and e-mail it to the person preparing it.”
  • Share the Stage - “extend your reach by adding layers of voices to your presentation by including respected colleagues or experts, board members, or partners.”
  • Learn from Outspoken Women Who Can Take the Heat - examples are Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. “Take a stand, hold your ground, and never apologize for who you are and what you believe.”
  • Connect with Your Audience – include your personal narratives.


2) [From Claire Damken Brown: pg 39 to 44] How to manage interruptions, exercise the art of the brief response and to prevent idea theft.

I agree with the finding on pg 40: “Men interrupt women more than women interrupt men” (when speaking in a group comprising men and women).

A woman can say “Just a second”, “I’m not quite done yet”, “I’ll be with you in a moment”, “One minute while I finish”, “I’ll continue now without interruptions”, “Hold that thought”, etc.

(Want to find out more about managing interruptions or preventing idea theft? Buy the book, or try to win a copy in the giveaway below *wink*) 


3) From Marci Shimoff [pg 66] Practice Self-Compassion

Throughout the day, ask yourself, “What’s the most loving thing I can do for myself right now?” or “What’s the most loving way I can be with myself right now?”

Marci Shimoff

[Marci Shimoff – image credit:]


4) From Marcia Reynolds (pg 101) Ask yourself:

What is my highest potential? I might be good at what I am doing, but am I doing my best work with the skills, gifts, and talents I possess?


5) From Janet Rose Wojtalik: Seven Keys to Unlocking Female Leadership

If you have a daughter, I highly recommend that you read this chapter!

The seven keys include: Branding, Independence, Thinking, Learning, Authentic Beauty, Education and Awareness.


6) From Aurea McGarry (pg 191)

(When crises happen) I do not give any thought or any time to “What if I can’t? What if I fail?” I only give my attention to “I have to try.” I always pray before I speak, “Give me the words to speak today that the people need to hear, even if it changes just one life.”

~ Giveaway ~

Leading Women

This book ‘Leading Women’ is available in bookstores for S$24.25 before GST. To win a copy, leave a comment on this blogpost and tell me why you want to win/read this book! :D

More Lianhe Zaobao Interviews Coming Up! :D

Steven Lek

Want to make a guess about what those interviews are about? ;)

In this picture above is my 67 year old student, Steven Lek from In celebration of SG50, his new book ‘Enduring Quotes For A Young Nation’ will be published soon! To pre-order and get an autographed copy at a special price of S$12, simply email him at now.

I’m very pleased he took my suggestion of this title for his book. I’m really ‘paying it forward’ in a way. I’ve had the good fortune of having friends who helped name this blog of mine, and also my book ‘Blogging For A Living’. Really nice to help someone out this way too.

Today’s been pretty fruitful! Interviews for Lianhe Zaobao were conducted with my personal trainer, Cain Ng, and my (top) students Steven Lek and Simon Chan.

Here’s Cain, the bak kwa fanatic:

Cain Ng

Want to know how to have a great physique like that despite pigging out on all those sinful Chinese New Year goodies? Get a copy of Lianhe Zaobao when Cain’s interview is out. I’ll make the announcement on my facebook page so watch out for it.

*If you can’t wait to get some fitness tips, or to get into shape quickly, head over to Quantum Fitness’ facebook page ( and leave a private message for Cain.

I presented our sweet interviewer with a copy of Andrew Chow’s new book, ‘Public Relations 247′ aka ‘PR247′ :D (Steven & Simon in the background)

PR247 Andrew Chow

What is Public Relations all about?

For me, it’s about linking people I care about. My pal, Jimmy, linked me up with this journalist (I’ll not name her here so she doesn’t get ‘stalked’) and because I think she’s pretty awesome, I’m linking her up with my students and also my trainer. She gets wonderful people to feature, interesting stories to share with her readers, and I also get free ice cream from my students! :D

*Kidding about that last point

The Weirdest ‘Request For Inteview’ Email I Have Ever Received

I’ve received some pretty off interview requests before, usually of the cut-and-paste mass-sent sort. But this one takes the cake.


Interview request email

“i have took a look at your website and found out that you are personal brand and image strategist.

a brief introduction of myself:

My name is Tan H– C—. I am the author of the upcoming book:’wealth without worries, how to make more money by doing less’. My publisher has recommended that i contact you for research for this book to boost the asian content. i need 20 minutes. I’m on the publisher’s deadline and would need to set something up within the next 10 days

if you’re open to this, please reply and i will call you back to set up the interview. please find attached media kit where you can review more information.”

How can this email be improved upon?

  1. Have a greeting, and include the addressee’s name, e.g. “Dear Grace” would be nice for a start. :P
  2. Ensure there are no (or few) grammatical errors – you’re an aspiring author for goodness’ sake! “I have taken a look at your website” / “I have visited your website” is more appropriate, as compared to “i have took a look at your website”. And for the record, mine’s not a website.
  3. Make sure you are clear about the person’s occupation – I am not a “personal brand and image strategist”. I am a blogger! I will consider becoming an image strategist if I decide to stop blogging. Though I’ll first have to find out what an image strategist does. Ha!
  4. Please don’t start your email with the first word being an un-capitalized ‘i’ – “i have took a look at your website” is an ‘immediate fail’.
  5. Your book title should similarly include capital letters, unless you are not very confident about this book. Mine’s ‘Blogging For A Living’, what’s yours? ;)
  6. Don’t copy-and-paste a line that your publisher has provided you with, in this case “My publisher has recommended that i contact you for research for this book to boost the asian content” -> Having attended Gerry Robert’s preview class, I know you are his student just from this line alone. And your media kit confirmed it. Your publisher does not know me, and I know that fact. So your saying this is pretty lame.
  7. “i need 20 minutes.” as a sentence is just rude. Try “Would you be so kind as to spare me 20 minutes out of your busy schedule?”
  8. I actually like the book title – it’s catchy, doesn’t reveal too much, and entices one to find out more. So share a bit about what this book is really about, and tell me how you think I can contribute to its success.

Oh Gerry, Gerry, I wonder what it is you teach your students. After all, your class is not cheap. It’s a sweet five figure sum. I hope you include a module about email-crafting because some students definitely need it. Even if it’s of the copy-and-paste variety, if it’s well-crafted, I sure wouldn’t mind saying ‘yes’ to this interview.

Not this time though.

Book Review: ‘Playing Big’ by Tara Mohr (Update: Giveaway!!!)

(Update: I’ve gotten queries from you guys regarding promotions / discounts with e-tailers selling this book. The distributor, Pansing, is kindly sponsoring 3 copies for my giveaway :D *Scroll to the end of this post*)

Playing Big

If you liked Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’, you’ll love Tara Mohr’s ‘Playing Big’. I found my personal and professional coach within the 258 pages of this book. This is a book by a coach who knows intimately the struggles that many women have gone though. And any modern woman will find this book immediately relatable.

The most valuable takeaway from this book (for me) is how to move from self-discipline to self-care. Instead of berating myself for (yet again) messing up my work desk, I set a “Gift-Goal” to keep my desk organized enough so it supports the serenity I want every day. Trust me, it is quite a miracle to have my desk not messy.

Interesting how this little switch from faulting myself for being messy and disorganized to being supportive and giving myself this little gift of a neat desk every day is so easy yet so complex. Complex because I’ve never thought of it this way. I’ve just labeled myself as being the “messy, creative sort” all along, and hence, just kept my desk messy in a self-perpetuating way.

In this book, you’ll learn too:

1) How to listen to your inner mentor instead of your inner critic

2) 15 simple tools for moving out of fear and into a different state of being

3) How to unhook from praise and criticism and to no longer depend on others’ positive feedback or fear their disapproval

4) How to change the way you feel about “self-promotion”

5) The 10 common undermining speech habits that women have

6) 8 ways to recognize your callings

Tara Mohr Playing Big

All in all, it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. You definitely should get a copy too.

{ Giveaway }

WIN one of three copies of ‘Playing Big’ simply by leaving a comment on this blogpost. Tell me what you’d like to learn from this book (based on what I’ve written above) OR who you are getting this book for (if it’s a Christmas gift for someone) :D

Winner announcement: 20 Nov 2014

Good Luck and Merry X’mas in advance! ;)

Book Review: ‘Break the ceiling, touch the sky’ by Anthony A. Rose

Break the ceiling, touch the sky

I took really long to complete reading this hefty tome – all 343 pages of it – because I didn’t bring it out with me as often as I’d like to due to its weight. [I do most of my reading when I’m commuting via train] A paperback version would have been completed faster. :D

But this is one amazing book. It claims to contain “Success secrets of the world’s most inspirational women”, and that is no false claim. This is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year!

In it are interviews with 43 of the most inspiring women you’ll find, from companies like Coca-Cola, CNBC, Kellogg, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Saatchi & Saatchi X, Unilever, Walmart, etc.

I thought ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) was good. This book is even better because of the collective wisdom of the 43 women, all leaders in their own right.


And here are some of my key takeaways from each of the 14 chapters (highlighted). I have found that it’s all great advice even for the men! :D

1) Aim to make a difference

- Dare to be authentic and different

- Do what makes you happy and fulfilled

A quote from Harvey MacKay:

life is too short

- Know your area of expertise better than everyone else

- Never accept no for an answer

- Learn from your failure

- Think about what you can do for others instead of what’s in it for you

2) Have a clear goal & Plan for success

- Have a plan that is flexible, and learn from your mistakes, and make tweaks along the way

- Avoid burnout by setting milestones and rewarding yourself with each achievement

- Be relentlessly focused, open, flexible and have fun while doing it all

- Learn from anyone and everyone

- Commit and put in the hard work

3) Define your leadership compass & Values

- Be consistent and confident

- “Every individual, no matter what walk of life or background deserves the utmost respect – with no judgment. None of us have walked a day in their shoes so we cannot judge”

- Never say ‘can’t’, which means you have quit. Instead say “I’m having trouble”, which means there is a solution, and ask for help, and keep trying

4) Master the art of balance

- Set aside a few minutes everyday to pursue a hobby

- Acknowledge that you can’t be all things to all people, at all times

- You can’t always have everything perfect at the same time, but you can still have a lot

- The psychological conflicts that come from thinking about work when at home and thinking about home when at work are more of an issue than time

- Organize around the top priorities and work smarter

5) Think big

- Keep evolving, keep challenging the status quo, reinventing yourself and your business if you want to stay ahead

- Failure is temporary but giving up is final

- Believe that you are the CEO of your own life. If you want to succeed big, you have to create your own opportunities, you have to do big

- Focus relentlessly on delivering a great product or a great service. Money should be the outcome of your great work and not the cause

6) Take responsibility for your own success & Speak Up

- People are who they are because of who they choose to be

- Visualize the best-case scenario and keep that picture in front of yourself constantly

7) Find and leverage great mentors

- “You might want to fix everything at once, but you need to relax and only personally catch the balls that are critical to resolve this situation. You need to allow the rest of the balls to pass you and allow others to catch them”

- If you want a mentor and can’t get one, go buy their books

- True success is not measured by how well you do in one instance but how long you can consistently do well

- Be meticulous about arranging your schedules. Follow the schedule religiously. Always be on time

- As a mentee, respect your mentor’s time. Come to your sessions with clear challenges and questions to discuss. Take action on what you’ve agreed to and report back on how it worked. Also, look out for ways to help your mentor and give back

8) Focus on the positive & never give up

- If you try hard enough, nothing is impossible

- Know how to listen to good advice

- Make resilience a habit. Fight laziness

9) Deliver results

- Invest in a good wardrobe

- Prioritize minute by minute

- Stay in touch with trends that affect your business

 – Trust your gut

 – Become an EXPERT on your subject

- Don’t brag but spend time advocating and getting others to advocate your results

- Remember the people who helped you to get where you are

10) Give and take support

- Have the audacity to aspire higher

A quote from Madeleine Albright:

special place in hell

- When something bad happens, don’t worry, something good will happen. And vice versa

- Do what you can to help others achieve their goals

11) Believe in yourself

- Believe in self and abhor self-doubt

- Demonstrate passion and energy for what you do

- Persevere. Success is often just around the corner. Believe that how you respond to failure will define your next success

- “I stay focused on my goals. If one phone call doesn’t make it happen, 66 calls will make it happen”

12) Network

- Be quick to contribute. Be a solution to another’s problem

13) Learn how to influence

- Focus on the relationships and building trust with the person

- The influencer doesn’t necessarily need to be the messenger

14) Take a risk & Follow your dream

- Learn from failures – yours and others’

- Don’t let your frustration or negative emotions cloud your reasoning

- Be relentlessly focused on winning


What can I say? You just HAVE TO buy this book and read the individual stories of the 43 female leaders for yourself! It must not have been an easy task to get interviews with these ‘relentlessly focused’ ladies and have them share their secrets to success, so I am in awe of Anthony’s perseverance and most importantly, the outcome and the intention behind it.

*All author royalties from the sale of this book go to Save the Children, a not-for-profit that helps economically challenged women and prevent maternal anemia in the Bihar and Jharkhand states in India.

75 Simple and Powerful Ways to Influence Anyone – ‘Win People Over’ by Karen Leong

{ Book Review }

I do not usually do book reviews. But as my publisher had gotten in touch regarding this new book, I said I’ll review the book if I like it. ;)

Win People Over

I was impressed by the title – “Win People Over: 75 Simple and Powerful Ways to Influence Anyone’ – then found it was not exactly the kind of tips I was expecting. Each ‘tip’ is more like a summary note after each chapter. You just have to read the entire book from cover to cover, and not expect to be able to “pluck” out one tip from the book, apply it in isolation from the rest and have it work for you.

What are some things I learnt from this book?

1) The extent to which people like you and respect you determines how much influence you have over them.

2) I have a bit of a Power Distant character (pg 35), which occasionally causes people to perceive me as being arrogant. Thing is, I do spend time building relationships with people I care about. I’m indeed “competitive”, “go-getter”, “demanding” and “critical” – some not-too-friendly traits of Power Distant folk. Having said that, I’m nice most of the time lah. :P

[The book grows on you as you get beyond the first few chapters. I could tell the author was slowly getting into the groove of book-writing. I love the examples presented, by the way.]

3) I think everyone should read the 10 tips for making great first impressions (pg 84). And also tweak some of the questions we tend to ask people we don’t really know yet: Instead of “what do you do?”, ask “what do you enjoy about the work you do?”. Also, “how do you manage to keep a work-life balance?” and “how can I help you?”.

4) We have a “word” to describe each person in our social circles. And this word determines how we behave towards the person and therefore, also determines how the person responds too. If you ever find yourself labeling someone as “selfish”, for instance, try changing that word to “misunderstood” and see how things work out.

5) In Part Three of the book, the 5 Cs of Compelling Influence are extremely valuable. You absolutely have to read this segment. :)

I can tell that this book is indeed Karen’s ‘labor of love’. What I found missing from a book about connecting with and influencing people is a segment on body language and posture. I thought these are essential. But Karen does present a lot of useful information in this 160-page book and I do highly recommend you read it. :)

Retail Price of this book: S$23.54 (online discount here)

My First Foreword For A Book! :D

Late last year, I received an email from Teo Aik Cher, author of a series of bestsellers and a sought-after illustrator. He had put together the manuscript for ‘Why Persevere? A Teenager’s Guide to Going the Distance in Life’ and would like me to write the foreword.

[I have written a couple of testimonials for books by other authors, but a foreword is a first, and truly an honor!]

The book has now been published, and you’ll find two-and-a-half pages by me inside. :D

Why Persevere

I am very glad Aik Cher wrote this book, Why Persevere?, and very honored that he chose me to write this foreword.

As a teenager, I did not have good looks, and I also did not do very well in school. In secondary school, I was bullied by some notorious school bullies and I never quite excelled in Mathematics or Science. By Secondary Three, I was in the ‘third best class’ from the bottom. But I never gave up on myself.

I set a goal back in Secondary Three to be the top ‘O’-Level student of my school. It was a crazy goal, some would say. Some teachers refused to teach when they came to my class, because many students were either reading comic books in class, chit-chatting, or simply daydreaming.

Every single day during assembly, I looked at the plaque with the names of the top students from the previous years, and I visualized my own name up there as well.

With dogged determination, I persevered, studied smart, never gave up, and now my name is on that same plaque. I did become the top ‘O’-Level student for my school.

Success never comes easily. One teacher once told my class this: “If you want something badly enough, you will get it.” And I have lived by that since.

Several years ago, I quit my job to be a full-time blogger. It has not been an easy journey, but I have had fun. I interview successful people for my blog and have encountered so many rejections, I have lost count. For one interview, I had to ‘chase’ my interviewee for 10 months, via 12 emails. Why did I persevere? Because I wanted that interview badly, and I was not going to be stopped.

Many people look at obstacles and tell themselves they cannot do it. The fact is, you can, and you must. In school, I thought the 2.4km run was a pain. But I kept training until I got the gold award for my physical fitness test. Last year, I ran a 5km race and this year, I am running a 10km one. The 2.4km distance has become ‘easy peasy’ for me.

So don’t whine about the obstacle. Make yourself stronger than it!

One of the things I have not been able to do yet is the chin-up. But I am working with personal trainers now in order to reach that goal. As motivational trainer Nick Vujicic once shared, the only limits you have are the limits you place on yourself.

So, my friends, why must you persevere? Because there are no limits. Believe in yourself, set your goals and go achieve them!

To Your Success,

Grace Tan
Award-winning business and lifestyle blogger
Best-selling Author of Blogging For A Living

938LIVE Interview: 4 Dec 2013

So… I got interviewed on 938LIVE yet again. My 3rd time there in just over 3 years of blogging! :D

Cozy enough to take a selfie in the studio :D

938LIVEI spoke with DJ Daphne Lim about Blogging and also about my book ‘Blogging For A Living’. Not bothering with podcasts or recordings since the program has an encore broadcast on Thurs at 2pm. :D

Here are some of the questions sent to me before the interview. We obviously didn’t keep to the list and some new questions were added on the spot. (@_@)

Questions edited for clarity:

1) What is the main source of income for your blog?

Advertorials, which are paid, full-length blogposts.

I am an accidental full-time blogger. I started this blog as my excuse to interview famous people and find out their secrets to success. My blog became my platform for securing these interviews.

When people started asking me to interview them, I did so and charged a fee. That’s how it began!

2) A good blog would be raking in $$?

A good blog can be raking in no money at all. :D

The term “good” itself is highly subjective.

A blog with a significant amount of traffic coupled with a blogger open to advertising revenue, should bring in a decent sum of money each month.

Having said that, some bloggers simply do not want to monetize their popular blogs. And other bloggers want to make money out of their not-very-popular-yet blogs.

3) How stable is the advertising income?

It definitely is *NOT* stable at all.

4) How much time do you spend on the blog (is it equivalent to the 9-5)?

Of course not. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have left my corporate job, which paid me $114,000 (annual income), where I worked all week and had no life.

I work less than 4 hours a week on my blog. Probably 3 hours.

5) Is there an equivalent occupation that the blogger is usurping?

Not that I can think of. Most bloggers in Singapore are kind and friendly. *wink wink* :D

6) How sustainable is an occupation like this is, in the long-run, with the development of technology?

I’m no fortune teller. I do not know if there will still be blogs 2 years down the road. But people who love social media, who love expressing their thoughts and ideas, will move with the times, and leverage on technology, to constantly invent and reinvent themselves.

7) Blogs are a dime a dozen, how do you make sure yours is seen, heard of, and shared?

By being featured on worthy programs like this one. :D

8) Is anyone who wants to start a blog NOW just too late in the game?

Of course not. Great, new ideas are always welcome.

9) UI and Design and flow is something quite different from creating content, and giving valuable opinions, is it necessary to hire a professional to handle that for you?

I don’t run a professional website. I do not have the expertise nor the inclination. Still, it is always wise to outsource tasks which you cannot perform as well as others.

I handle most things myself – from photography, to editing, to handling advertisers’ queries.

10) *One of those extra questions* Something along the lines of “The blogosphere is already saturated with blogs. Can I possibly find a niche to blog about?

Certainly! Despite the millions of books already published, I could still publish one more – ‘Blogging For A Living’. Many bloggers are unwilling to share their secrets to success, so I found that there would be demand for such a book. :) You can definitely find a great idea for a new blog!

Final words: Blogging is not the easiest thing to do. But it’s a lot of fun for me. I enjoy blogging. Hence, as long as I am able to, I will blog. :)

If you have a question, or if you want to attend a blogging workshop, drop me an email at gracewwg [at] gmail [dot] com.

To Your Blogging Success,

Grace Tan :)