A background in finance and experience in diverse industries gave Sam Zulkifli the wherewithal to start a fintech aimed at empowering people to achieve financial independence.
What’s your story?
I like discovering new things. My background was in Economics & Finance. I began my career as a management consultant where I was lucky enough to meet all sorts of people from different career backgrounds. Being a very curious person, I tried various industries from owning a clothing line to selling potato chips, and eventually co-founded HeyAlfred with my two partners, Moe & Adam.
What excites you most about your industry?
HeyAlfred is a Fintech startup. We empower our community with the right insights to help them achieve financial independence. We make personal finance fun and easy for everyone to understand and practice. It excites me to know that our work can make a huge impact in someone’s life. We make it our mission to make a difference in the community.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
Having a clear end goal. To start a business is something but to see it through till the end is another. Whilst it is good to have the courage to embark on a new journey, having the perseverance to stick through till the end is just as important. Having a clear goal in mind can help you maintain your drive and momentum!
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
As a startup founder, I learned that I can’t do everything by myself. It is important to play to your strengths and weaknesses. Know when and how to use your strengths to contribute to your company. There will always be someone out there who is smarter than you. Identify what you’re lacking and form a team to fill in the gap. That’s how your business can thrive.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Have the constant need to improve ourselves. It’s insanity to do the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. A cultural practice that we have at HeyAlfred is to always pick up new skills. We make it a habit to learn, unlearn and relearn. Make it a point to get out of your old ways of doing things and relearn new ones. What got you here in the first place won’t necessarily take you there.
Who inspires you?
It is never just one person. Everyone you meet on your journey has something to offer, something you can learn whether it’s good or bad. It all depends on how you interpret and distinguish them.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
There’s a huge population that is still living below their income level. One of the contributions to this problem is in their behavior with money. People are spending beyond their means. Recent findings state that 6 in 10 individuals have difficulties to raise RM1,000 as emergency funds.
Another interesting fact that we recently stumbled across is that people who were born in the year 2000 have never stepped foot in a physical bank branch due to advancements in technology that allows banking to be done digitally.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Honestly, I wouldn’t change anything (except maybe to start investing in crypto earlier). I’ve always valued experience. You can’t learn without failing. I’ve had my fair share of mistakes before getting to where I am today. It’s not about how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up.
How do you unwind?
Startup is no stranger to long odd working hours. One of the sacrifices I have to make while operating a startup is giving up time with my loved ones. Whenever possible, I make an effort to squeeze in quality time with them. Having a balanced work-life prevents me from burning out.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
There’s no such thing as a routine in a Startup. There’s never an ‘ah ha’ moment but only highlights. Every day we’d find ourselves doing new tasks and discovering new things. It is always an adventure. Finding out what works and what doesn’t.
Everyone in business should read this book:
There was one particular book that I read that got me going, “Code of the Extraordinary Mind – Vishen Lakhiani”. It talks about how we can shape our mindset and habits to do extraordinary things and excel at them. It inspired me to start seeing things from a different perspective and pushed me to finally take action. It’s a good read for beginners too.
Shameless plug for your business:
Founded in Malaysia, HeyAlfred is an AI financial butler that is empowering millennials of Southeast Asia to stay on top of their money by providing them with the right insights and necessary tools to help them make better financial decisions.
HeyAlfred is the first financial app in Malaysia that is able to automatically link all of users’ assets and liabilities into one. Since we first launched in January 2020, HeyAlfred has helped over 10,000 to visualise and manage more than RM 58 million in personal wealth.
How can people connect with you?
Ping me on LinkedIn or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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