Welcome back to our Founder Stories series, where we sit with inspiring and influential women to dive into their entrepreneurial journey and discuss all things business (and wellness). Today, we speak with Karmen Tang, the founder of consultancy and business coaching platform another startup story.
Karmen is a business coach and consultant focusing on the growth of modern brands. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant who gave up her corporate career to focus on the creative and holistic wellness industry helping new-age entrepreneurs to get started, grow their business and cement themselves to help make change happen.
Her strong personality is what has helped her elevate her career from being a speaker and podcaster as well as a model. The another startup story podcast is ranked number 5 in the area of entrepreneurship in South East Asia. It is an inspirational listen for those wanting to use entrepreneurship as a tool to follow their passions. With an impressive network and wide industry knowledge, Karmen continues to expand another startup story into the leading platform of inspiration for the next generation of wave-makers.
FLAURA: What inspired you to start another startup story?
Karmen: I wanted to scratch my own creative itch. I was working as a Financial controller at an advertising agency and I saw all this creativity happening around me. But what really caught my eye was the birthing stages of a start-up, the conceptualisation of an idea and how that all came to life.
I was also interested in why some people achieve so much more than others and was curious to know if there were certain characteristics (nature or nurture) to their success. Through interviewing some of the most influential business leaders and founders, I learnt a lot of life lessons – the kind you don’t learn at school.
The combination of the two sparked the drive in me to create something to impact and elevate others to do the same through innovations and expansive personal development.
F: What has surprised you most about the entrepreneurial journey so far?
Not so much a surprise but more reinforcing the fact that success doesn’t happen overnight. There’s a huge difference between knowing this and being patient with yourself, because you know this. It’s important to remember that everyone started as a beginner. I think we’re all guilty of falling into the comparison trap, or fear of failure, and listening to our limiting beliefs, and the entrepreneurial journey is always going to be filled with this worry, not knowing, client/customer rejection and feeling like giving up.
The truth is, it can be overwhelming when self-doubt creeps in and you start to think that you should be “further ahead.” I just know that it’s normal now and it comes with the whole package. I’ve learnt to not be so hard on myself and to ask for help when needed.
F: The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown everyone’s plans up in the air. How do you stay motivated amidst everything?
Simply through routine. I love to bio-hack and am constantly seeking new ways to upgrade my life whether that’s trying to improve the quality of my sleep through the use of alternative medicine and aromatherapy or solidifying my morning routine to make it more productive for the day ahead. With so much chaos around us right now, I like to focus on creating order through habits and disciplines.
F: You have accomplished so much in a lot of different avenues, including finance, business coaching and modelling. How do you define “success” as a multi-hyphenate?
For generations, committing to a single profession has been seen to offer a competitive advantage and a safer income. Now, our generation is living longer and this paired with a rapidly changing job market and technological disruption, means we have to invest in re-learning and re-skilling; making the multi-career path inevitable.
Not everyone can be specialists and those of us who associate themselves as a generalist may find joy in taking on multiple challenges throughout their career journey. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make big picture connections.
I know many people who have gotten outside that perfectly packaged box of expectations and found success in many things. It’s the accountant who became a DJ, the investment banker who became a Pastor or the nurse who became a yoga teacher. As long as you’re happy, constantly learning and can earn money whilst doing so, then I’d say you’re already ahead of the majority of the population.
F: With vast experience as a business coach, what would you say are the top predictors of success for a business?
Product-market fit. This means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.
You know when your product-market fit isn’t working; customers aren’t getting value out of the product/service, word of mouth isn’t spreading, reviews aren’t great and your leads aren’t converting.
When people understand and use your product/service enough to recognize it’s value, that’s a huge win. And it’s only when they begin to share their experience with others when you can replicate the experience with every new user who your existing users tell, then you have product-market fit on your hands. This is the beauty of converting a customer to become an advocate of your brand.
I’d also say the level of resiliency and work ethic of the founder is also a big indicator of success.
F: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve received too many, just listen to my podcast!
From a business perspective:
The principle of ‘compound interest.’ Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them consistently. They seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the years can be enormous.
From a more philosophical perspective:
“Life isn’t always as serious as the mind makes it out to be.” – Eckart Tolle
F: What advice would you give to other women looking to start their own business?
Make sure it’s in an area you’re an expert in or are super passionate about because it’s not a linear journey.
F: Are you working on any new/exciting projects you can tell us about?
The pandemic has sparked a wave of innovation and created a new generation of entrepreneurs. As consumer behaviour is transforming in the age of COVID-19, many brands are taking advantage of these new opportunities and these are the kind of start-ups I’m excited to work with.
I’m currently working with a new femtech startup called Fig, focused on modernizing outdated systems in reproductive health. It’s a D2C female hormone test that women can order online and take in the comfort of their own homes.