by Helia Singh
I am a female-entrepreneur and a mom-entrepreneur. When I look back at the journey of my self-discovery and business I feel pride…and this is not just because I have made a successful business but only despite all adversary I faced I have achieved my goals.
Many businesswomen start from zero or they have the privilege of being known in their community/family/city to start with! But we all have one thing in common, a clear vision and measurable goals to reach. In my case I started my business from below zero in every sense! I moved to Australia (Sydney) in 1996 with a little speaking English and went to university to continue my academic education. I actually had a dictionary next to me to translate and study!!! (This is great story how I could get into university without IELTS test…I leave it for another blog)
I studied Math & Finance postgraduate and was fascinated by finance. I got a volunteer job in a finance company where I worked every day 9-7 pm and worked in restaurant on weekends to make a living. I used to practice my English with new financial terms & jargons in front of a mirror to build up my confidence. During that time I encountered one customer who refused to sit with me just because I had an accent and he wanted to speak to real Aussie!
After 3 months at the finance company, they offered me an entry level job and within a year I was a senior finance consultant! In those years I experienced that hard work and being authentic really pays off, even though I was not compensated financially as much I deserved, but I looked at it as an opportunity to grow and learn. My boss was my mentor and I owe my success today to him. He guided me to study financial planning and helped me to secure a position in bank as a business financial planner.
After my marriage and having my first child we moved to Melbourne in 2004 for my husbands work and I had to start all over again…I was working for a financial advisory firm and the way I cared for my customers was even taking calls on weekend and on my days off …I finally decided to start my own business in 2006 when we decided to have our second child (We don’t have any family here to support us with kids)
I started my business and informed our friends, but it took a long time for any of them to come around as in my culture traditionally finance is a men’s game and no men wanted to get financial advice from a woman! Every social gathering I ended up participating in economy & finance conversations with men and giving lots of valuable information that they finally saw the value and become my clients.
I must say even though I was happy to get any customer but some of them gave me such a hard time….I was working from home and had to drive to customer’s home in the evening or weekend to win their deal.
When I was giving birth to my second child in 2007 I was managing an urgent deal for a client between my contractions! This story went viral amongst that customer’s friend and I won 8 clients from this deal which my intention was to look after client no matter what is happening in my personal life.
I have come a long way since then and although I appreciate a referral and repeat customers but I have invested money and time in my continuous education and become an expert in other relevant area such as property, tax, SMSF and financial abuse so I can give a better service to my customers. I have started yearly free seminars/workshop on financial education since 2011 to give back to community. I am a big advocate for women and finance and was appeared as a guest speaker at ZZZ radio station for women in community last year.
In September 2015 I moved to beautiful Perth following my husband’s job transfer and had to start my business in a new city! As we know Perth is going through a downtime in economy cycle and it was quite disappointing for my business but I took the advantage of this downtime to expand my knowledge and find other ways to network and win customers.
My success may seem nice and steady but reality is its lots of hard work, with setbacks, doubt and heart breaks, the reality of behind this success. I have learnt to celebrate my small success and use rejections and challenges as a way to build a new path to my next goal.
And just in I’m excited to announce I’m a finalist for the Adviser Australian Broking Awards 2017 in the Category: Social and community service program of the year!