Edmund at Facebook Singapore Office

A not-so-short introduction!

I’m born and bred in this little country called Singapore, which I’m very proud to call home. 

Brought up in a pretty traditional asian culture, I was taught to study hard, get good grades and I’ll be able to secure a good job and lead a good life. 

Education is indeed important and I’m fortunate to be put through the Singapore education system where many consider it to be of high standards (even though stressful). 

And I’m glad we had to learn our mother tongue in school because that has greatly benefitted me as I have to converse a lot in mandarin with my Chinese suppliers when purchasing goods for my business.

Wait, business?  What happened to studying hard and securing a good job?

Ahh… Where do I begin?

Well, I did study hard and I got a Bachelors in Banking and Finance. 

My dream was to always become a big time banker, flying around in private jets eating caviar and making big money.

BUT, instead, I took on a different route in life which was totally different from all my peers back then. 

A route which is certainly challenging but also fulfilling. 

My graduation day in 2013 👨‍🎓

Earning pocket allowance from a hobby

I had the luxury to take up private piano lessons at 7 years old. 

That sparked my interest in playing music and I eventually picked up the guitar/ukulele in teenage years.

While in university, in order to earn extra pocket allowance, I wanted to give private tuition to primary school students or even secondary school students doing ‘O’ levels.  

But then I thought to myself, “I’ve always been a mediocre student who had average grades… Who am I to tutor others?!”

That was when I turned to giving private guitar lessons instead. 

And it was pretty good money. I could earn up to $60/hour teaching others how to play the guitar. That means by just teaching 4 students a week, I could earn close to $1k a month. That’s no small sum for a uni kid!

However, not long after, I soon came to realise that there will be a limit to how many students I can teach. 

We only have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I could not possibly teach as many students as I’ve wanted and that would also take a toll on my studies. 

My private guitar lesson student from France! Photo taken in 2013

From pocket allowance to business

Around that time, I learnt that there were many online tuition agencies matching a private tutor to students who needed extra help in their studies. 

One random moment during reservist, my navy buddy who is now my business partner, Benjamin, spoke with me about starting a business. He said we should also do a tuition agency. 

And then I gave it some thought… I figured it would be challenging because there were many existing ones already. Since I know that there will be a limit to how many guitar students I can teach, why not start a guitar lessons matching agency instead? 

That way, I could get paid a small sum of commission for every successful guitar lesson matched.  And so we started our very first business back in 2010, an online website that matches private guitar lessons in Singapore. 

Today, our small little website has grown to a business that conducts music team building workshops to thousands of people from MNCs, not just in Singapore but also to other countries. 

We are probably the first company to provide team building in Singapore using music instruments..

We also conduct music workshops for everyone who wants to learn music and have an online eCommerce platform to sell our own brand of music instruments.

And that business is called TravelClef, which is a play on the word treble clef (a musical symbol), as we travel around to bring the joy of music to everyone.

Our Ukulele team building workshop. Our workshop can hold up to 400 pax at one go!

The power of Facebook ads & Digital Marketing 

Being in a niche business, with no VC money to burn (unlike the many unicorns we see these days, for e.g. UBER),  trying to grow the business fast has its challenges.

And for me, I’ve always wanted to do big numbers even though I’m in somewhat a niche/small business. 

All the while from 2011-2016, we were growing slowly and relied on inbound leads from Google ads for our corporate clients. But in 2017, I decided to embark on learning digital marketing and Facebook ads to grow the business further.

In April 2017, I launched our very first Facebook ad to start a Ukulele class that is open to the public. And that very first campaign gave me a 10X return! 

I was amazed by the power of Facebook ads and what it could do to scale the business. I also learnt the importance of digital marketing, how to build a landing page and get people to sign up to what you are selling.

From 2017 to 2018, our revenue grew 3X. 

A ukulele workshop open to everyone. Almost 90% joined upon seeing our Facebook ads, the rest are from word of mouth!

Why I started this site

Documenting my business journey

Upon witnessing how paid ads and digital marketing can grow a business so quickly, it made me become really passionate in digital marketing. 

I’ve learnt so many things and I hope by sharing my thoughts and documenting what I’ve learnt, it can benefit people/businesses who are looking to grow their business.

Also, I believe by documenting my business journey, I can reflect and grow better.

A firm believer of learning and doing

I enjoy learning new things. And one reasons why I started this site is because for the longest time, I’ve always wanted to learn how to create a wordpress site but I had no idea how to. 

(Btw, do you know and is different? Google it!)

So I created this site as a personal project to learn wordpress development! And because I always preach about lifelong learning to my team.. I need to walk to the talk and never stop learning!

Connecting with like-minded people

I’ve met like-minded entrepreneurs by connecting with them on their site. 

And I know the journey for entrepreneurs is not easy.. There are times when I get so emotionally stressed that I just cannot do anything. 

It is important to have a strong support system and to share ideas with fellow entrepreneurs.

Hopefully by sharing my experiences through this site, I can get to connect with like-minded people too.

 If you’re a business owner looking to share and exchange ideas, or even just someone who wants to start your own business, hit me up so we can connect!