April 2023: My magic monthMar 23, 2023
Find Your Superpower newsletter 006
Read time: 4 minutes
Topics covered: Entrepreneurship, mental health, proactive rest
Hello, Find Your Superpower newsletter subscribers!
I have an important update that I have been wanting to share with you. But I think I need to share a little bit of backstory first.
In mid 2018, I finally plucked up the courage to leave my academic position to become a media entrepreneur specializing in the STEM industry. I was slowly getting the hang of being a CEO, and juggling a lot in my personal life with one kid entering primary school and my dad being ill.
And then... *boom*... this thing called COVID-19 happened. None of us was prepared. It was early March 2020 when the world shut down. My company was forced to go remote.
I dived right into managing as best as I could–as a business owner, I felt a huge responsibility to stay optimistic, to keep the lights on and maintain business continuity.
When you exceed your wildest expectations
That said, Wildtype Media Group really thrived during COVID.
Not only did we keep our roster of clients, we found more. We just kept growing. Our revenue. Our headcount. The size of each contract. The number of contracts.
To service all these contracts, I built my in-house team to the biggest that it had ever been, in addition to freelancers around the world, from Vancouver to New Zealand, from South Africa to Japan.
And then, if things weren’t crazy enough, I received two international buyout offers, one of them from a listed company. While the unsolicited acquisition offers were extremely flattering given that Wildtype Media is the first company I’ve built, I did not proceed with them. This is a story for another day.
Getting back to reality: the life of a business operator isn’t fancy at all. No matter how many SOPs you create, you must expect to fight fires from all directions. It is a dynamic contact sport and you can receive a concussion at any time. The company turned into a machine–there were days that were a 100% business grind for me.
All of these business realities, P&L commitments and HR responsibilities meant that I had less and less time to fulfil the part of the profession I had originally fallen in love with, my ikigai: science communication, community outreach, content creation. I discuss this irony with Goh Wei-Choon, co-founder of The Woke Salaryman, in our podcast episode, How to find your ikigai in life.
De-escalate and create
Around Christmas last year, I decided that 2023 was going to look a lot different for me. I wrote an entry in my journal that I wanted to focus on three things in the upcoming year:
- People: My family and friends, people who spark joy, community outreach
- My mental health: Reading, learning new things, creating stronger boundaries, saying yes only when it is an "absolutely 100% for sure!" yes
- Content creation: My podcast, this newsletter, my LinkedIn training and speaking business
To find the mind space to do the things I love, I have since the start of the year carved out 20% of my work week to focus on content creation, such as this newsletter. This plan is working out well so far, and I discuss it with Wei Choon in the podcast episode on ikigai.
Next, I have decided to stop growing to keep up with business demand, especially during such a tumultuous global economy. But like any shrewd entrepreneur, I’m never going to say no to hiring top talent and gamechangers: if you are a true gamechanger and if you value mission over money, I want to work with you.
I think the business strategy I briefly described here has already put us in a much better position to withstand any economic headwinds, which all small businesses should be preparing for seriously.
I also feel that we are now in a position to take on new projects because we are aligned with the brief. I hope that our clients will appreciate us being more selective about our portfolio and where we decide to apply ourselves creatively.
One area that I am passionate about is our learning & development team called EcosySTEM Asia. We are currently planning a two-day career development program for approximately 150 women in STEM (+ male allies), scheduled for end May 2023, which will be supported by the Elsevier Foundation and James Dyson Foundation. Many thanks to our collaborators who understand our mission and support it.
Reboot in progress...
And so, what this newsletter is about: I have decided to take a one-month sabbatical in April to create original content, explore new ideas, and take a well-deserved breather from operating a business full-time.
After three long years of the pandemic, I think it’s time for some deep rest. I want to enjoy my kids–my younger son has just entered primary one and needs my attention. My daughter is growing up quickly too.
In April, I look forward to feeling more relaxed in general. I will also be traveling and meeting old friends whom I’ve lost touch with due to work commitments and COVID. I’ll be doing “my own stuff”—reading all the books I wanted to read and of course, looking after my health and fitness.
So if you’re following me on my LinkedIn feed and reading my newsletter today, I need to warn you that my April feed will look completely different. It’s going to be about everything I wanted to do but couldn’t do... until now. April’s programming will be unique and show you a different side of me!
My magic month begins next week, and I can’t wait.
I would love to hear what you think.
PS: This is not an April Fool’s joke!
Besides my newsletter:
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