My Basic Life Story
I was born in Hong Kong in 1987. Like everyone in Hong Kong, I was receiving the suffocate-style education that squeeze the joy of learning and creativity out of you. I was a no good student, failing my classes, played video games all day, and most likely about to drop out of school.
Fortunately I had a chance to start a new life in the U.S., and studied 9 years there for high school and university. My grades went back up, and I started being able to enjoy learning.
I end up getting a triple major in Mathematics/Economics/Finance from university. I even started working as teaching assistant, and also tutoring other students.
My First ‘Business’
Well it isn’t an actual business I suppose … but I put myself up for some freelance math tutoring. Demand was sky-high, because the university made every student at least have to take 1 math class, and it was either Finite Math or Calculus.
EVERY student … literature major, history major, music major, business major. And for them, those math class are NOT easy (they really did make it pretty hard). The dropout and fail rate is around 50% I think.
I come in, charging up to US$20-25/hour and put up flyers around campus, offering tutoring services. Some students are literally one math class away from graduation, and cannot graduate unless they pass. Way to find a hungry and desperate crowd, like a smart entrepreneur would do. (pat-younger-self-on-back)
I had ‘clients’ almost everyday. On the craziest day, right before finals, I tutored 13 hours straight. I made pretty good income, up to US$3k on a good month. Not too bad for a university student.
My First Online Business
When I was tutoring everyday, I couldn’t help but think, hey I’m practically teaching all my students the same things, over and over. If I just recorded myself teaching, they could probably save at least 50% time (and money) on tutoring. And I could really charge money for these tutorial videos. Unfortunately I had no idea how to make websites.
A student of mine, who is a web programmer, found my idea very interesting. So we partnered to create Finite Help (finitehelp.com), an online math tutoring platform. (if you visit the website, please check out that intro video, my partner made it, very funny!)
With some basic SEO and marketing, we were able to generate 1000+ visitors per month, and sell quite a few memberships. (If you search ‘finite math’, we are on first page, position 9 on google as of now. search ‘finite math help’ and we are the #1 result).
Not enough to feed the family or anything like that, but helps me buy a few nice dinner every month. Also it’s my first business, and it still generate passive income for me as of now, 6 years later. Not too bad for a 22 year old.
It was so exciting to build a business and see it making income. And I became so excited about online business, I decided I wanted to become a web entrepreneur. And I figured, to be a successful web entrepreneur, I probably should learn more about the web.
COO of Canaan Internet Marketing
Because I didn’t study computer science in university, I had to start learning from zero. I didn’t even know what HTML is.
I joined a boutique web design company ran by a church friend, Canaan Internet Marketing. I started out as a web designer, learned how to make website, then moving to project management, and then sales. Eventually, I became the COO (Chief Operating Officer), and helped run the marketing and business development of the company.
During my 3 years at the company, I learned everything about running a business … sales, marketing, project management, client management, and business development.
Within those 3 years, the company doubled in size, from 5 people to 10 people, and more than doubled in revenue.
Digital Marketing was where my work really shined. I learned all the online marketing tools, experimented with many of them, and had the opportunity to do hands-on work with online marketing. I had helped them create a marketing system, that helps them generate hundreds of inquiries every month, and still does so long after my departure.
However, I had to leave because, as much as I loved working there, it wasn’t my business. I wanted more.
My Second Online Business
After quitting there, I looked for opportunities to build my own online business. I ended up joining a dating company, HK Christians (hkchristians.net), as their CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), CTO (Chief Technical Officer), and a substantial shareholder.
I helped redo the web app, created mobile apps, and also did digital marketing work for them. You can read the case studies of the results I achieve for them here.
It’s not making me rich, but it’s my first business that provide a substantial enough income, that allows me to not have to pick up another full-time job.
My Life Right Now
Currently I am a passive partner with FiniteHelp, an active partner in HK Christians, and a partner / CTO of another pre-launch startup. I’m also exploring more opportunities in starting another online business. I love teaching as well, so I’m looking for more ways to spread the knowledge and help others, maybe do some video tutorials and speaking engagement on digital marketing.
I also do digital marketing consultation for businesses who want to get more results. I help analyse their current situations, and devise online marketing strategies that helps them deliver more traffic, more conversions, and more revenue/profit.