Top lessons from my business venture

Jes 4 Comments

Hi guys, I am back! Thankful to all who is still here after so many years. For those who contacted me and I did not reply, forgive me, I did not check my email at all. My time was still spent building my business at SnackFirst but with my kids more grown up, 5 and 7 years old now, it seems like I have some free time to blog. Yay! To parents who have younger kids, there is really light at the end of the tunnel, so hang in there!

What better post to start than my thoughts on entrepreneurship. It has been 6 years since I started this journey and no regrets so far. 

Facing the unknown

There are many things in life that you have got to learn through the hard way. 

No matter who is there to warn you, stop you or scare you, you would just want to dip your foot into the pool and experience life on your own terms. Things such as getting attached to a guy before he goes NS (not me ah, just saying!), drinking too much alcohol, riding on someone else's motorbike, long distance relationship....

Similarly for entrepreneurship. Starting on my own is quite thrilling, I learn new things everyday. These are some things I learnt and if there are experts out there who could guide me further, please do:

1) Work is not work
When we do things we don't want to but have to do it for money, that's work. But when we do things completely self motivated, we don't feel that it is work. That is why it is easy to blur the boundaries of work and personal time. While shopping, I will be thinking of how people make these businesses profitable. I look for inspiration from other successful companies. You just don't mind spending more time making your business grow. I don't drag my feet to work anymore but if I really want to rest during work days, I can do so too. I look forward to Mondays, how awesome is that. 

Yes, more work please! 

2) If there is competition, there is demand
Many people like to mention how stiff competition is so it's difficult to compete. What many don't realise is, if there is no one doing it, it might mean there is no demand for it. If there are competitors, that means there will definitely be a market out there and there will be business for you to carve out. At least you get to see what others are offering and improve on your own value proposition. 

If you are entering a niche market, even worse, not many will understand what you are doing. You might feel alone but do not give up! Keep working on your business and you will see results one day. 

3) E-commerce vs Retail Stores
For e-commerce, you pay rental fees in the form of transaction fees and online platforms. The cost to start an online shop is much lower than a traditional brick-and-mortar store so you can test your prices, products and business ideas. It's a very good test bed but competition is tougher for online because it's easy to compare prices. Plus, you have really got to find ways to enhance your presence amidst the millions of other similar websites and products. 

Retail stores have high rental prices but foot traffic is a good way to do marketing and sales. We have tried bazaars, pop ups and the physical sales is really quite good. If you don't have a ready made product, try to sell online first, get reviews, start it as a side hustle first. It might also prove that you prefer to be an employee rather than a self-employed, and that's a good lesson on its own.

Our next phase is to open up a store at One Holland Village in Q3 2023 so hope to get your support too! Is it going to be profitable? I have no idea but my only regret is if I do not try. 

Something small and quaint is nice

4) Empowerment and autonomy
I used to have a sales job where I have flexibility and mobility. However, the time between 9am to 5pm is still 'owned' by the company. For me, setting up my own business is never about getting rich, it's about being able to work as and when I want without someone asking me for reports.

The main push factor is the autonomy I have, I always meet micro managing bosses or jobs where I have my hands tied, but only require me to be a messenger or driver. Likely that's because I used to be in junior roles, but the more I move up, the more I do the same old job as messenger and driver. 

I have no say or decision making. Is that going to change the higher I climb? I am not sure but I have zero interest in becoming my boss's boss or boss. They need to travel so much and work at nights and have meaningless and non-productive meetings. In a way, their hands are bound more than ever with more KPIs. As you know, a CEO also has to report to the shareholders or board of directors. It's a never-ending career of reporting. 

5) You are never ready
If you think that you need a lot of money to start a business, you are right. With kids, it's better to buffer at least 6 months as emergency cash. If you have retired parents or health issues, you might need even more. Many things are at stake, you have a new kid, you are old and you are never ready. The excuses keep coming. If you want to do it, don't let these excuses stop you, because they are just excuses. 

Security? Job security?

Many cite kids as the top reason why they don't start a new career or change their job. They want job security and stability. For me, kids are also the exact reason why I changed my job. I want to see them everyday instead of looking at their through my mobile phones. There is never a good reason why you should not do things that you want. Age? Don't kid yourself, you have even more money to fall back on. If you want to do it, there is nothing that can stop you. The reason why you are not doing it is simple, you don't want it enough to change. 

Starting a new career is scary, it's challenging, but trust me, that's life. You are living your life, instead of just existing for the money. 


Starting on my own for now, I feel it is deeply empowering, truly satisfying and this autonomy is what no job can offer. It's not sustainable at the start and it has a very steep learning curve but I am happy to announce that it is at least profitable after a few years. 

Anything worth having is worth fighting for.  


If you have benefited from this post, support our first business venture at or like us on Facebook!


  1. Replies
    1. Hey Unintelligent Nerd, seems like you also became less active huh? Thanks for being the first to welcome me back! :)

  2. Hi Jes,

    Time flies.
    Admire you for taking the road less travel for most people.
    Am i right to say besides other reasons, your main motivation for taking this road is your children?
    You want to see them grow up yourself.
    To me it is a mother's noble ambition.

    Nowadays, very few mothers can do that (have to work) because of very high cost of living.

    Your main motivation

    1. Hi there,

      You are right, the main motivation is my children. Not just being present during their growing up journey, but also being happy about my work which will improve my mental well-being, and thereby the interactions with them.

      It's not right if I blame them for not being able to pursue my ambitions so both have to tie up nicely! I hope to be a role model to them too, all mothers would feel the same. :)


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