Updated: Feb 18, 2021
Five years ago, Marie came to Hong Kong with husband and kid and was blessed to have help to support the caretaking of the family and had realized her foreign domestic helper at home was the same age as herself and as well educated yet they lived very different life. She grew up in France and worked in online education and an NGO before. Starting her own business or founding her own charity was never on her list and now she has a registered charity helping over 9,000 migrant works in the region.
Harrison just graduated from university and has been running a coaching social enterprise to help people with eczema. Having suffered from eczema since a young age and overcome himself, Harrison decided to start this venture to help others to deal with eczema by sharing his own experience alongside many coaches and experts.
In this sharing today, I am not here to list out the resources you need to start a business as it is fairly easy to open a company in Hong Kong. Instead I like to explore the soft skills and the mindsets you need to have in starting a business.
These are just some of many start up stories I have come across during my own entrepreneurial journey in helping mothers from all walks of life in their ventures. In Hong Kong Momtrepreneurs we empower marginalised mothers to learn more about entrepreneurship as a mean to have financial independence and autonomy in caretaking of their families. I am always hooked up by the reason why the businesses were founded especially those by women who often see the world differently once they have become mothers. As mothers, we no longer only looking at the merely 20-30 years of remaining life, we also want to look into the world we want our own children and the next generations to be living in.
Behind every start up, there is a story. Many in which the founders themselves had been inspired by their own experience. Path to entrepreneurship is always bumpy and it often requires more than just money keep the founding team going. Sure, starting a business is about profit making but one also require the passion and belief to bear with all the challenges.
Every morning, I wake up with a mental to-do list on things I need to tackle for the day. When you are running a business, there is no one kicking your ass to do the things for work. An entrepreneur needs to have the discipline and stick with the timeline. You need to have the motivation and be able to prioritise the long list of things piling up on your plate that can help drive your business.
There are always million of excuses and reasons why you put aside the works, let it be the kids having trouble home schooling or the oven at home is broken. As your own boss, you take full control on how you want to allocate your time. At the end of the days, if you leave the tasks unfinished, there is no one there to cover for you.
When you start a business, you have limitless possibilities on how you can take the business forward. Whether you are running a solo enterprise or a corporate with thousands of staff, you need to have the vision on how the business will be in 3-, 5- or even 10-years. Further down the road in your entrepreneurial journey, you need to convince more people where you want the company to go - these people may be co-founders, partners, team members, investors or clients. Your ability to paint that visionary picture for others to see is critical.
Ability to adopt to changes and cope with the shifts becomes more important nowadays. As the leader of the business, an entrepreneur needs to be flexible and mobilise resources to capture any opportunties raised from the ever changing world. We have come a long way in Hong Kong since 2019 dealing with the challenges from social unrests to a pandemic and there are businesses which manage to pivot and change their operation to not only survive but shine.
5. Well being
Be mindful about your own and others’ well beings. It is not sustainability to be working non stop or long hour without giving yourself a break and time to rest. Moderate exercises boost one energy and immune system and help one stay focus. Eat and sleep well is also essential - although often entrepreneurs work late especially those of us having other issues to deal with during the day. Do leave some time to meditate at night before laying down to unwind the day and clear the mind so you can have better quality sleep.
It’s all about balance.
Running a business is also have to do with striking a balance between all aspects of life - self, career, family and community. Having the positive mindsets would also help run a business by doing well and doing good.
About the contributor:
An impact maker, an entrepreneur, an advocate and a mother, Lena has a strong calling to push forward Motherhood & Entrepreneurship. She believes there should be no boundary to how works should be done. She was a finance professional who left behind her decent livings and devoted herself to the family when her first daughter was born.
Eventually landed her own consultancy firm and also dedicated in founding Hong Kong Momtrepreneurs - a non profit organization in Hong Kong supporting moms and families in their entrepreneurial journey. Lena also appreciate the impacts from social innovations and further pursues her works in promoting UNSDGs.