What drives you in business, Amy? This is one of the most common questions I am asked. Actually, I never really had the time to sit back and think about what actually propelled me to work so hard to become who I am today. Now that I have time for myself, I have decided to jot down certain points which actually have pushed me to work hard to earn more money and to become successful. Though, reflecting more on them, I rather think that they inspire me more than push me.
1. desire to provide well for my family
2. desire to continue improving myself
3. desire to make a difference in someone’s life, even in my small circle
4. to uphold my value for financial freedom which leads to having more options in life (what I want to do, where I want to go, who to help)
Reflecting on my past, I can say that two people made a great impact on how I became who I am today. First, there was Uncle Andy who taught me about goals and about striving towards my goals. It was from him that I became so tunnel-visioned. This means that I am very focused; that when I decide on a particular goal, I am able to channel my energies into doing everything I can in order to achieve that goal.
Second was my Mom. After my dad died when I was 12, I witnessed all the hard work she did to raise us four siblings. She used to work as a chef in a Japanese restaurant, White Rock, for seven days a week. She could have applied to and go on ‘welfare,’ as she was totally qualified for it. But she chose otherwise because she wanted to give her kids the best life she had only dreamt of (at that time) and being on the welfare program would not be able to give us that. It was her hard work and her unwavering determination that made us what we are today. I am certain that I inherited these qualities of hers. They acted as the fuel that fired my ambitions into goals and then, my goals to realities.
In all honesty, I can proudly say that the primary factor that played an important role in driving me to become a successful entrepreneur is my family. Back then, being a single mom with no financial support gave me the burning desire to work even harder so I could provide my kids with the best lifestyle I could afford to give them – best neighbourhood, best education, best clothes and other best things that I had wanted for myself as I was growing up. Apart from this, I wanted to help my family in every way possible.
The desire to learn and improve myself both personally and professionally is another factor. I believe that learning is like an ocean. It never ends. No matter how successful you are, there is always something new to learn, and there are always new avenues to be explored. This enthusiasm has kept me running as I was always in thirst of learning new things. I recall that as a teenager, I too had dreams of making it big one day. Along with my mom, I too started working in the restaurant when I was 12; this is the same restaurant where Mom used to be chef. This exposure provided me with knowledge on restaurant business. As the years rolled, I continued to learn from every experience that life had to offer. From being divorced at 24 years old, to attempting to end life at 30 years old, from starting from scratch to becoming what I am today, I have seen it all. My ambition of retiring before I reached forty, my determination to never be poor again, my fighting spirit of saying ‘NO’ to defeat, all these served as catalysts to speed up my journey as an entrepreneur.
This is also the reason that I have decided to become a partner in Millionaire Chess, a new venture and a field that is completely new to me. At this age, I still believe in my instincts. And I still believe that I have the potential of making things happen that most people think is impossible to achieve. And I believe in the “survival of the fittest.”
Another factor that has kept fuelling me and has been driving me to success is the desire to make a difference. As a child, I have always wanted to prove myself to people around me, especially about becoming successful even though I had “mispent my youth.” I plead guilty to this but no one can accuse me of not spending my time well enough to make it big. I took on tasks and responsibilities that others would rather not face. I have developed a high risk tolerance nature that has helped me to tap innovative business concepts that were new to the market: dollar store franchise, high and premium home development and just recently, the Millionaire Chess. One thing that I take pride in is that when I enter into a business, no matter how complex the journey is, I do all that I can to make things work. I have learned when to move ahead and when to stop without regretting. A principle I go by is “All in or All out” whether it’s in business or in personal life.
As for making a difference in someone else’s life, I’d rather not be a brag. Those people whose lives I have touched can vouch for me. But I’d like to add here that I did volunteer teaching in China, India and Thailand. We taught English to children we do not know; people who were really strangers. But does it matter? No. What matters is that we have reached out to people who needed what we could share with them.
And last but not the least, my desire to gain financial independence and freedom has afforded me to have more choices in life (what I want to do, where I want to go, whom to help) and has all contributed to my success.
Looking back and summarizing all these, I believe that my desire to excel in whatever I do, keeps me driving towards what I love the most, “being the best that I can be by constantly improving myself!”