Seeing the effect of a financial crisis may put some people off entrepreneurship, but for Edmund Chong it was a motivator.
What’s your story?
Growing up during the 2008 financial crisis and witnessing a close family member’s business failure significantly impacted me. These pivotal moments were instilled in me, and I became determined to be financially independent as soon as possible.
I started as a real estate analyst intern, and it was then that I realised that starting my own business was the next step for me because I realised that making money alone didn’t give me a sense of purpose in life. That’s when I created HustleVenture, a platform where I could share my knowledge and thoughts with others.
What excites you most about your industry?
When I started my side hustle, I aimed to generate additional income. However, I soon realised that the ultimate goal of a side hustle should be to create a source of income that can compound over time and increase in value.
Despite the challenges that may arise, there are benefits to be gained. Whether it is additional income, a chance to learn new skills, or an opportunity to invest in yourself, it is essential to approach side hustles with a long-term perspective in mind.
What drives you in your career to push beyond what other people consider normal?
I realised that I needed to stay focused and driven for my business to succeed. I have made several sacrifices for my career in the past year, and my family has witnessed my struggles and understood that it was a hit-or-miss situation. I converted my room into a spacious workplace, with a large table that could accommodate up to eight seats, allowing me to organise my paperwork and work on my laptop comfortably.
Eventually, it turned out to be the right decision, as other businesses are now reaching out to me for help in growing their businesses or writing content for them.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
In today’s digital era, where ChatGPT poses a constant threat to job security, it is crucial to consider if what you are doing is worthwhile and if people are willing to pay for it. Key focus areas for the content writing industry are Blogging, Copywriting, SEO Writing, and Social Media Marketing. In a few years, the content writing industry will have transformed, requiring people to adapt in new ways.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The most valuable piece of advice I ever received came from my father, who once told me the importance of owning a home. He explained that having a place to call your own is a crucial form of financial security. Even in times of financial uncertainty, having a roof over your head provides a sense of stability. This advice has stuck with me throughout my life, leading me to prioritise real estate as a means to achieve financial stability over material possessions.
Who inspires you?
My father was always my biggest inspiration, and I always admired him. He started his own business in the manufacturing ships sector, and I witnessed firsthand the struggles he went through during the two years of the 2008 financial crisis when the business was stretched out financially. The unforgettable moment that hit me most was my father having to withdraw from my savings account to make ends meet and keep the business afloat. His experiences motivated me to start my own business, too.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
I found that the job of an entrepreneur is always given more opportunities once you are able to make things happen. Result is everything and constantly outdoing yourself will attract many investors to you.
When I first started out my journey as an entrepreneur, many business owners and people around me were afraid of my journey not knowing how well I could actually do. Once I achieved immense results from my work, people started noticing my work ethics and my achievements and wanted to work with me.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would spend more time listening to successful entrepreneurs. I found that entrepreneurs are people who understand risk better. Entrepreneurs have a unique way of thinking and their wisdom in risk management is something that others should pay close attention to. Many people assume that the life of an entrepreneur is easy, but in reality, there is a lot of hard work and effort required behind the scenes. As I listened to some entrepreneurs in my field, I realised that the successful ones are great at explaining the work that goes on behind the scenes.
How do you unwind?
As someone who values physical activity, I enjoy engaging in sports such as tennis, golf, boxing, and wall climbing during my free time. It is also useful to combine exercise with work by meeting clients while engaging in physical activities. However, it would be beneficial to offer them something more enjoyable. It could be a great way to build relationships and add a personal touch to business interactions.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your career?
By targeting a unique audience, I could differentiate myself from my competitors. That’s why HustleVenture focuses not only on personal finance but also on side hustles. While my competitors may touch on dog boarding, they need to provide detailed information on how to build a freelance portfolio, market a business, or make money in other ways. Having worked as a freelancer, I possess a wealth of knowledge and keep offering my skills in this area. I am confident that by continuing to build my portfolio and refine my approach, I will succeed in my venture.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I have read many books during my free time and the ones that stick with me are the lessons learned from Sun Tzu’s, Art of War. I found that the skills and wisdom are really applicable in how we manage businesses and people around us. When we can control how we act and influence others around us, we can win the war.
Shameless plug for your business or career:
HustleVenture is a content platform, and newsletter focused on finance and side hustles. It’s designed to help people learn about entrepreneurship and side businesses and has grown to attract over 100,000 monthly visitors. HustleVenture offers several services: supporting writers, business advertising, work with experts, and business marketing.
How can people connect with you?
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.