I will always remember that Day. I was having a chit-chat with Bryan (eBay) in MDEC Cross Boarder On-boarding event. A handsome young guy stopped by and extended his hand. " You are KK right? (KK = Kita Kongsi, my pen name)".
"Ya...Ya, Thank You" I stuttered. It is always felt wonderful when somebody recognizes me.
"Nice job on the blogging. Although we don't comment, we can see your effort in sharing" say this young guy.
At first, I thought it was a young guy just starting out. Thought of saying some encouraging words haha.
Then Bryan introduced him. "This is Joachim Sebastian"
My Jaw dropped. Instantly I changed my tone. "Oh! You are Joachim, I always saw you on eBay and Payoneer promotional material!" Now the role had changed completely, me becoming the starter meeting the guru haha.
Jo (his alias) is the first well-known personality in the eCommerce Industry which greeted me on my work and acknowledged my contribution. This always serves as a reminder to me, to take note of others effort. If it is a good effort, I need to acknowledge whenever possible, because, at times, all is needed is just a word of encouragement for the person to keep going.
By now you should have guessed that this blog is to go deep inside Jo and what make him today.
Jo actually started in business since 13 years ago. During a computer session, the PC he was using malfunctioned. Nobody in the school knows how to repair one. His curiosity drove him to investigate further. He went to Lowyat repair center to learn and succeeded in repairing the School PC.
This started his journey in PC repairing as more people seek his advice and services. He continued to visit Lowyat often to learn more tips and tricks, and somethings even helped in the service center! Later he connected with people good in Laptop repairing and started to be collecting laptops for service also.
Why did customers keep coming to a High School Guy like Jo? It is because of his trustworthy and Integrity. Period! He only replaced parts which are necessary, do not jack up the price, or hijack customer PC's parts. All price quoted is fair with a reasonable service charge. He didn't go a big kill (profit) on blur customer even the opportunity is there. Thus more people trusted him and willing to referred more customer to him.
Another solid proof is that Jo and his wife had stayed together thru all challenges since Form 4 in High School! After from 6, Jo parents and elder brother wanted him to join a military school with a scholarship in engineering. He resisted and went all out to find another way to be with his wife (girlfriend at that time) and finally obtained Sime Darby Scholarship. A loyalty and trustworthy husband, as handsome and outstanding as him, is a solid statement to his belief in trust and integrity.
TIP 1: Trustworthy and Integrity is everything!
Although he wanted to start his business immediately after graduation, he felt indebted to Sime Darby Scholarship. Thus his integrity insisted him to complete his bond with Sime Darby.
This is one of the best decision in his life.
An entrepreneur is a Rebel. After less than 6 months as Laboratory Technologist, Jo had enough of SOPs and repeated work daily. Thus he applied for a Management Trainee Program in Sime Darby. After completion, he joined the HR department!
His tip is not to follow the job scope but follow the Right Boss. He felt good working with the HR boss during his trainee stint in HR. Thus he chose his boss and within 2 years of working in Sime Darby, he was promoted as a senior executive. Why - read this Link!
In HR, Jo gain in-depth understanding in employment structure.
For an entrepreneur, everything is about your dream, your business and you will try everything for it. Spending hours into midnight is normal in order to meet your goals.
However, the employees will not view the company in the same way. In order to create a sustainable environment, the entrepreneur needs to accept that 100% output from employees is Unrealistic. For Jo, employee workload output at 70% is good enough. The founder should not degrade, put down or abuse the employee which do not have the same perspective or output as the founder.
Reflecting on this, I had helped an Entrepreneur which require the employee had the same passion and work attitude as the founder. The boss was stress out, the company had a high turnover rate and employees avoided communication with the boss. It is just so painful for everybody. After balancing the perspective of the entrepreneur and the employees, The result generated was much better and everybody contribute in better environment.
TIP 2: Employment is necessary for all Entrepreneur if possible, to understand the perspective of an employee.
Jo hobby and passion is about motorbikes. His business in eCommerce started doing what he liker. He was attracted to those cool sticker on bikes and even ordered a Sticker from overseas when it cost more than 50 pounds. The more professional terms for such Sticker is call DECAL.
But to me, it is still only a 50 GBP sticker and it sounds crazy to cost so much. But it is great stuff to him!
After receiving the decal, Jo was curious about the cost to produce the Decal. After some initial market analysis, It seems that there is a viable market size globally for bikes enthusiastic like him. Jo wanted to know everything about Decal, the raw material, how it is manufactured and everything. Soon he was experimenting with production in the night after working hours in Sime Darby.
Thru continuous effort and passion in doing what he like, he obtained vast knowledge of motor Decals and the necessary skill set in producing Decals. After having his own product, Jo started to venture out first by selling his Decals online thru eBay and Amazon.
Fueled by his passion and know-how about everything for Decals, he was able to list it on this marketplace with a lot of Soul Power, such as top quality photos, attractive design, and great marketing content. Additionally, he was able to provide that extra advice to customer queries because he was an expert ! Together with great services, he started to get orders from this marketplaces.
Jo still vividly remembered his first pitch for funds in My creative Ventures , an investment arm for Malaysia's creative industry. The panels didn't take it seriously when they heard Jo wanted to sell Stickers Globally and some of them even laughed. The expression changed when Jo displayed the orders he obtained from Online Marketplaces. But at the end, he sealsedthe deal because of his ability to display deep expertise and burning passion in the Decals.
All along the journey, many had doubted on his entrepreneurial adventure when the business case was not proven. His real-life experience in school days PC services had helped him carry on when people didn't believe it is possible. The most important similarity in both scenarios was because he was doing what he liked, and thus it was very hard for him to give up.
TIP 3: Do What You Like, Be an Expert and Discover Your Entrepreneur Opportunity in It.
This is one personal side story which I can't resist sharing. Jo's wife was expecting for her second daughter. He came back from a grueling meeting and check out his wife. Her wife underestimated the urgency and said it is ok for Jo to rest first. Both of them slept. After a few hours of nap, Jo felt a push from his wife. "It's Coming". Jo and her mum quickly help her to the car. Then the worst thing happened. They were caught in a traffic jam!
Halfway, his wife screamed that it can't wait anymore. Jo quickly stopped the car by the roadside and checked the condition. Jo could saw the head of the second daughter already! While Jo mum was stun by the event, Jo had to stay calm to deliver the baby himself! He calmed his wife and work with her to huff and push. Luckily this is her wife second baby.
Finally, the baby came to the world straight into Jo's hands. My god! He then had to rub baby rib cage gently so that she started to breathe and cried. Once the baby started to cry, Jo passed the baby to her mum and they rushed to the hospital. Luckily after a few days of observation, her daughter was fine. Phew. After this crisis, the it is a special memory for the families and the bond is stronger because of this.
Crisis also happened in his entrepreneur journey. When he finally wanted to do it full time, he had secured a loan from SME Bank. After receiving the offer letter, one of the terms is to resign from Sime Darby and fully focus on the business.
Jo resigned but after a few months down the road, the money was still not released. Jo was caught in a very tight situation, with no income and kids to feed. Jo tried everything he could with the bank directly but there was no satisfactory answer from the Bank. Things started to get desperate, thus he reached out to all possible venue for help.
He wrote to MITI Minister that time, Dato Mustapha. The minister reacted by directing the minister official to first understand his issue. Then the minister requested SME BANK top officials to look into Jo case. The VP of the Bank personally contacted Jo and informed Jo that it was an internal procedural hiccup and finally Jo was able to obtain the funds.
The silver lining of this crisis is that MITI know about Jo passion for Decal and exporting in international online marketplaces. This created more opportunities for him in the future. Additionally, the VP of the bank is Jo friend to this day and had provided him with valuable advice.
TIP 4: Do not despair and give up in every crisis. There is a silver lining in every crisis. Try everything to resolve the crisis in good faith.
When I started with a client in eBay and Amazon in 2014, the client didn’t use Payoneer as we gathered much unfriendly feedback online about Payoneer.
Jo selected Payoneer as his payment gateway for his business in eBay and Amazon. He encountered similar issues also. However, he did not abandon Payoneer for another service gateway.
He believed that at times, every organization had to make mistake and go thru a period of uncertainty to be strong. We as sellers did mistakes to the customer, and had hope for customer understanding also. Thus we should try to avoid to react too harshly on service provider which was on the learning curve as well. In fact, we need to have the patient to find the solution with customers or service providers.
Thus over the years he reached out to Payoneer and resolved issues calmly with them. In fact, he even contributed valid improvement ideas to Payoneer. Payoneer reacted in kind, taking serious consideration on Jo recommendations.
This kind of positive communication between both Payoneer and Jo created a valuable relationship. After having more trust in Payoneer, Jo started to recommend Payoneer to his networks and friends. Finally, Payoneer appreciated and acknowledged Jo contribution to the growth in Malaysia Payoneer online market and appointed Jo as Payoneer ambassador.
Not just Payooner, Jo had great relationship with eBay, Mdec, Dhl express to name a few.
Jo continues till today to recommend Payoneer to the Malaysia eCommerce Industry. Anybody with issues with the expensive foreign exchange or Payoneer can reach out to Jo! I myself had subscribed to Payoneer now because, I know if I had any problem, I know who to call. Jo!
TIP 5: If you are able to resolve issues with your service providers or partners constructively, it can flourish to a relationship which benefits your business a lot.
In the end, Jo had one request, to spread Payoneer goodness in my blog and website.
How can I resist?
Additionally, Jo threw in a sweet deal for the readers! Readers which are interested in Payoneer and sign up by clicking on below logo pr link, will have the 1% service charge waived when transferring from Paypal USD to Payoneer USD. This is more worthwhile than a fixed amount of credit voucher because users will be enjoying permanently!