Cut Losses Quickly

Got this off an article on GirlBoss! Love it!

When things aren’t working out with a vendor, client or team member, it’s important to address the issues directly and immediately. And if it means letting this relationship go, so be it. In the long run, cutting ties with a party that isn’t adding value to your company’s mission, is the best route to take, as difficult as it may be at the time.  I’m learning that when you’re in the early stages of growing a business, you cannot afford the added stress of trying to work through an impossible relationship. Firing is just as important as hiring.

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Growing Together

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

I was out with my father, the person who I consult for most things related to work. He might not be from advertising, but his skills and common sense is truly valuable. We were driving to the supermarket I think, can’t really recall. When I started talking about my latest client.

A job that I had been pitching for since October 2018. I was still super jet-lagged from my recent trip to the UK and hit the ground running. I needed this, I needed it so bad. Sleep is for the weak anyways right?

The pitch kept ding-donging, I provided a full Marketing Plan for a year, a timeline for the prelaunch because suddenly the retainer included a launch. I provided them with a 12 months overview that includes – Awareness, Engagement and Sustenance phases. Campaigns were included that required photography and videography to happen before their shop launched.

Sadly there was no sense of urgency to respond from their end. The timeline was not even honoured. Emails that I had sent with questions were ignored until the very last week of the launch of the “Pandora” for slippers. A lot of things were kept ambiguous, so most of the price that was already invoiced was left in ballpark cause key details could not be given till the very very last moment.

The biggest frustration would be the payment. Generally, payments for jobs require a minimum of 50% to execute/mobilise work. But no. The client wanted their own payment structure would thoroughly impact my company’s work execution. But because we believe in good faith, we did move things around to be done at the next phase. Plus the person who introduced me to this particular client felt trustworthy.

My rates are very reasonable compared to my days in my previous 4A’s agencies. All the 4A’s that I had worked for are also international agencies – Leo Burnett, JWT aka J Walter Thompson, Euro RSCG and Bulb Communique. I love structure and some agency offers that. Workflow is so detailed that you have to go through it to ensure deliverables are done well.

So the launch of the “Pandora” for slippers happened despite manic changes less than 3 days for me to change all that had been agreed, purchased and paid. Talk about major stupidity, this is it. I lost money along the way and truth is, profit was so minimal as they had a tight budget for a year’s worth of campaign. I am so embarrassed by the fee if you were to know it.

I work on my own most of the time because I can do a lot of things on my own. I’m rather multitasking for my own good. But when I know I require an additional hand or so, I have no qualms to outsource work.

For instance, I collaborated with Echopunya Studios for Influencers. Designs are a team effort between my company and Fadli Studio. Work was confirmed so last minute that I needed to outsource some task so I could focus on the bigger picture. No, despite the fee that I was getting I was not stingy nor selfish to want to earn more.

I am not in the business to milk people. I want to help and grow businesses. I would have thoroughly appreciated if the client could have been more transparent with their budget and what they wanted. If they wanted just a launch, they should have just said it then beating around the bushes.

Despite the budget, the last minute flip to all things planned, the launched happened smoothly. Let’s save the launch story for another day. You can check it out here at my Instagram

Even the Brand’s Principal congratulated the launch and said it was a job well done. I believe so too. I even had a random buyer from abroad DMing me asking if I was the owner. Damn! My marketing must have been totally lit that she thought I owned it. My cousins thought it was a business of the bf’s and mine. Hehe. I’m just humbly doing my work.

After the launch, things got even messier. Replies took even longer. I followed up but to no avail. I had things set for next phase – photoshoot, DIY Workshop and more. Everything was pending. I knew and I had a hunch stating that all they wanted was just launch and not a retainer. They insisted I did not send the invoice to them. To my amusement, that’s not how it works. A Cost Estimate is sent out, they issue a PO and I send an Invoice before they could pay. Yup, I checked! I did send. They were trying to pick on everything despite my overly achieving KPI.

It saddens me, why do people lie? Why do people breach the contract? Do they not know how “berdosa” it is to not pay someone for their work. It is wrong to delay payment too. They kept it ambiguous.

I cried buckets to my dad, questioning why do people dare do such things. I was hired to advise them based on my experience but if they aren’t even able to comply with their responsibilities as per stated in the contract. How do we even do our best to deliver work? I even raised this matter in emails when they kept negotiating my fee.

I’m sad. I am truly disappointed at how young rich Malays work. I know I don’t have much as you do. But my intent was set right since day one.

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What You Say Differs

You know the phrase “Action speaks louder than words”, I agree with this 100%!

Recently I had experienced this issue in many scenarios; family, friendship and work.

A lot of the time people say something but does the total opposite. Or they agree to something, but do another thing.

Are people of late truly lacking a thing called integrity? It sucks to be honest when they don’t adhere to their words and promises.

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Old Playground

3Two Square is an old playground of mine. I worked in one of the 4A’s agencies there before I left permanently to work on my own. Had a meeting in the evening with an old colleague and a future client (Insyallah). Being there brought back memories of working in an agency how fun, tiring, interesting it was. Pitches, Pressos and many many late nights and working weekends.

I for one don’t regret my advertising days because it has taught me many valuable skills and lesson.

The meeting was brief but good. We got what we needed and decided to hangout since I’ve not spoken to my ex-colleague for a while now. It started off with weight as we are both under-weight and how impossible it is to gain. Then we went on to talk about mental health.

A topic so taboo among many, particularly the Malays. Anxiety, depression, suicidal and bi-polar. If you have it, it means you don’t pray to God enough. That is the stigma they have.

Different people have different mental state. Their mental health differs from others too. What triggers it, what helps reduce it and many other things. It was really comforting to be able to share and discuss what we are going through. It was definitely a discussion where I took mental notes on how to care and be more attentive to people who suffer from anxiety.

Just so you know, I don’t have anxiety. But there was a point of time in 2016, where I was constantly nervous, uneasy, my heartbeat was so fast and my chest was tight. Pressure machine could not detect my pulse. This was a time where I was so badly cheated by an asshole of an ex. I was put on Xanax to calm me down. But this was also when I sought peace in Allah. This was when I started to get close to Him. I pray more. I was consistent with my prayers. I did a lot of sunat prayers. In many ways, I am grateful I faced this ordeal as I grew spiritually and have a stronger love for Islam.

I suffer from depression. I do know I had this issue but I did know that it was serious till I actually sought help. At one point in my life where I felt scared, I was accused of many false things and such. I could not get out of bed. I could not even face the world. I was scared, I was scared to leave my safe place and I was so alone. I stayed in bed and slept for hours.

It was he who force it down on me to visit a shrink after an incident I faced. He was worried as he isn’t around and the time difference between us. I’m forever grateful that he was so persistent on me visiting his shrink.

Mental health is a serious issue. It is not something we go on all fours and pray to have it. Be gentle on others, you just don’t know what they are going through. Always be open to hear them out.

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Define Beauty

So my client Lurelle Beauty is running a super simple contest/giveaway. Where all you need to do is share your definition of beauty, tag 2 friends.

We will then choose and announce the lucky/creative winner! Just one winner ok. The prize is a mystery gift of all things girly!

Contest runs till 6 March 2019! Hurry and join now!

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That Desk Life

I work from home most of the time. It eliminates overheads but it can also be challenging at times. Working from home can be a distraction especially when you have a niece that wants your attention or needs to be taken care of. Or even parents who don’t quite grasp the way you work.

For the longest time ever I have wanted to upgrade my work space.

CHAIR

I need a new chair, a real, proper office chair to eliminate my backaches. It is an old injury while I was in highschool. A classmate felt it was ok to take my chair without telling me cause she didn’t have one of her own. Stewpid I tell ya. It injured my tailbone. I couldn’t represent my Blue house during my final year in school. Such a let down.

Anyways, I finally got myself this Ikea chair, Renberget. It’s one of the cheapest one available. It should keep my back in better condition than my wooden chair. I can position it to the right height now! YAS!

SPEAKER

I recently sold off my JBL headphones. It was rather bulky to take with me on my travels. The leather on some parts were flaking out and I could do with the extra cash. Sigh, life of an entrepreneur. Clients don’t pay, clients pay late, clients suddenly decides to cut their budget, clients ask for discount. But we need to survive, yes? So we do what we got to do.

I am currently eyeing for a Sonos portable Bluetooth speaker. Perhaps I’d just get a secondhand one when I can afford it or should I stick to owning a good pair of headphones. I obviously prefer the one in black, but the white one ain’t too bad either. The Sonos Play:1

CANDLES

This has been a want for the longest time. But I am just a little too stingy to spend on myself. I did get a few from Kaison last year. But they run out so fast. But damn, it keeps me zen during my stressful hour. My best girl recently introduced me to a brand called Hooga. Loved the smell and they are rather reasonable. Will treat myself to a candle/aromatherapy set once I score a new client.

FRAME WALL

I have owned this really huge piece of bulletin board since I was a child. I finally let go of it. It is now in Ann’s room. Time for her to collect cards and memories. I downsized mine to a smaller sized unit. Finally got my vintage map framed. A few other frames are filled too. Insyallah in good time. My picture wall will be up and I’d share with ya’ll!

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My Vision – 2019

For the longest time I had put Kuntum on a hold. Logo wasn’t up to my liking, I wanted a flower bud this and that.
I finally kicked that need for perfection and got started. Nareez and my dad was nagging me about it as I stepped into 2019! A month into the new year and Kuntum is finally up!

I’m glad I did it. Thank you my loved ones for pushing me to get Tok’s secret out.

To purchase, DM, leave a comment or just click on the link above!
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Economical Beauty

My first taste of entrepreneurship was in 2008. That was when I got back from Brisbane. It started off as a side income to pay for my car. I sold clothes online or better known as a blogshop.

It was new to us in KL. Initially, I started sourcing locally, the choice was rather limited. You had to have the eye for what’s going to be in fashion and also not sell the exact thing your competitors did. Though it might seem like a small hobby to some. I actually registered my blogshop and even had a legit company account. My earnings were really steady and clothes sold out super fast.

My dad noticed how well it did and invested in it. Off I went to Guangzhou to shop! Oh, boy, did I shop! I even quit my day job as I was so stressed and suffered acute gastric too.

However, I did go back to a 9-5 again while maintaining my blogshop. I then co-founded another business that was also online based that eventually turned into a fulltime gruelling offline job.

2011 was when I ditched the corporate life for good. A thing about being an entrepreneur that I must be honest with you is the pay. You will definitely take a pay cut when you start. Some months you’d get paid late. Some months you’d get paid less. Some months there won’t even be enough to pay yourself. Eventually, it will get better, but there will be some dry spells depending on the nature of your business.

Due to my financial standing as an entrepreneur, I decided to save where I could. The first thing that I cut off from my day to day spending was coffee. Coffee is a mad love of mine. Nowadays, it is a self-reward when I nailed a brief or score a new client. Some rare occasions it would be a pick me up on my shittier creative rut days.

The second thing that went down the drain was my blow-outs. The third was the facials. I now do home facials which can be an absolutely relaxing thing. But I’m guilty of slapping a mask own while working.

The fourth is my makeup products. Nope, I didn’t ditch makeup. I got real with it. What do I mean by that? Read on.

Bobbi Brown was the first brand that I emersed myself into. My mother brought me to the counter in Jusco which was located at One Utama. I was in such awe. I had never seen so many shades of brown/nude. It was an endless train of colours. They had lipsticks, eyeshadows, blushers and so much more! It was magical. For years I swore by them for my foundation, concealer, powder, eyebrow pencil, eyeliner and lipstick. My favourite look to achieve with Bobbi Brown would have to be the smokey eyes with nude lips.

In 2014, I discovered Rimmel London during my travels. It became my daily go to. I wore this on my day to day adventures and stuck to Bobbi Brown for special occasions. I wasn’t adventurous with makeup you see. Not only that, I had sensitive skin. So I was rather afraid of unwanted breakouts.

Despite that, I was a lil more adventurous with my lipstick. I mixed drugstore buys with high-end ones.

2018, is the year I finally opened up myself to local products. Local Malaysian products. #supportlocal!

I now use Lurelle Beauty foundation in Natural for my regular days. Especially if I’m in a rush. It is lightweight yet gives a medium coverage. No need to conceal my tired eyes! Just two pumps and I’m golden! Here’s a picture of me as proof.

I had minimal makeup on. Just foundation, eyebrow pencil, a lil blusher and a dash of lipmatte. The lipmatte is from MaryR BeautyWhat I love about Lurelle’s foundation is it’s water-based and wudhu friendly. Perfect for me who wants to pray when I’m out and about. It is also SPF35! Yup 35 ladies. Great for our scorching hot weather!

Another new found love is MaryR’s lipmattes. They come in six colours.

  1. Lily
  2. Dahlia
  3. Sakura
  4. Hydrangea
  5. Carnation
  6. Azalea

They contain Argan oil. Making it particularly great to moist the skin. I just hate chapped lips when I’m wearing lipstick. I’m currently in UK and it’s cold and dry. So this is my go to! My favourites would be Sakura and Carnation. I even took it on my recent trip to Krakow. It definitely helps add colour to my face in the negative cold weather.

If you are in the mood for some self-reward, try these brands for a change! I’m indeed more open to local brands. They are reasonable and good! If you know of any other makeup brands that I ought to try, do drop a comment. Would love to hear about it!

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Reading is Magic

Reading is all sorts of wonderful. It helps you escape. You gain more knowledge. It distresses you and so much more.

There are many types of books that you can read, it truly depends on individuals. I for one love reading chic-lits to unwind at the end of the day. I’ve been a fan of self-help book since I was 12 after my dad who is an avid reader introduced me to it. I also enjoy literature books.

A few months ago, I was not my best self. I was so stressed out by disrespectful and bad paymasters. Days felt so slow, I was so demotivated. I was also trying hard to keep an agency abreast but my efforts were not matched. I finally called it quits.

It was the perfect timing when he gave me this ever famous book called “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”. I actually already purchased the book when he recommended a few books to read. I had been so busy that I did not read it.

Because it was his own book from his own personal collection, I decided to read it. Once I started reading it, I could not put it down. I was so drawn to it. I could relate to it so badly. I was excited to read it but I was saddened by it too. I did not realize how badly I had neglected my own wellbeing. I was so burnt out.

I was lucky enough that I was leaving for the UK a few weeks after I got his book. I brought it along with me and finished reading it in Bratislava. I even snuggled in bed alone just to read it. That I was so engrossed in it that he thought I was asleep. Some days, I completely ignored him just to read.

If you are on the verge of a burnout or you feel like you are stuck in a rut. Be it if you are a business owner or an employee, grab this book. It is worth every penny.

Here I am, months later. I value myself, my work and those I love more. I truly understand the fact that it all begins with me. I matter.

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