Inspiring stories from the Makers Faire 2017 Penang

Over the weekend Addicted2Startup visited the Penang Mini Maker Faire 2017 held at Hin Bus Depot in Penang, and we were amazed with the wide variety of the products offered by the booths. From Robotics to Hand Taught Custom Made Baby Gear to Home Brewed Kefir and many more.

This event was organised by Rent A Space which is a startup that allows people to rent spaces for events. I’ll be sure to catch hold of Joel Lim the Co- Founder to share more on this Startup.

rent a space

The entire space was filled with art and the landscape was family oriented. Set in the middle of Penang’s central business district is a hip urban art and venue space. The Hin Bus Depot is sprawling creative hub with over 15 galleries, cafes, bars, workshops and boutiques.

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Built in 1947 to house and maintain the blue buses of the Hin Bus Company, the art-deco designed depot had its heyday in the 70’s and is the most stylish bus depot in Penang.

With a maximum capacity of 1000 people for cocktail style parties and 600 people for banquet style dinners, the Hin Bus Depot makes for a dramatically chic stage for hosting soirees, dinners and parties.

The contemporary venue also makes for a unique meetings space. Set a boardroom-style meeting in the Gallery, surrounded by outstanding art works by some of the best Malaysian contemporary artist.

Or style your own meeting-in-the-park at Hin Bus Depot’s Lawn and take breaks skateboarding at the mini ramp or bust out some yoga moves by surrounded by the funky street art display at the Lawn.

Originally we wanted to combine the interviews of these 3 amazing products into 1 article and then we thought, because they from entirely different industries, we decided to split them up to better highlight their stories.

These are the stories we wanted to highlight

STYLE

Mini Heroes makes custom baby gear,everything ranging from pram accessories to baby clothes. Mini Heroes was founded by Luciana who was originally from Brazil, has stayed in Australia and is currently now in Penang. The amazing thing we admire about her business is that she is self taught in sewing. She designs, and learned how to sew and craft these amazing products within a year and a half. Read more on how she keeps her entrepreneurship drive going.

STYLE-2

Naturally Home Made  was inspired by the Founders need to treat her own dry skin. The Founder of Naturally Home Made, Bavani shares with us on how to make your face as smooth as a babys bum.

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The Pharm Hut makes and sells their own organic Kefir. They have various flavours to choose from, Strawberry, Ginger, Passion Fruit and Original. Personally I love the Ginger as it gives a fiery spicy end to it. A secret tip. Choose the bottle with an older label for a harder kick. As this drink ferments longer, the gas and alcohol produced is au naturale.

We hope these stories will inspire you to have your own personal calling to creep out of your comfort zone and start something. For more information on the faire click PenangMakerFaire2017 

 

6 questions to ask yourself before starting a business

Tired of your 9 to 5 job, and want to make a difference in your life. 6 questions to ask yourself before starting a business

Sitting in your cubicle constantly eyeing the clock on the wall, anxiously waiting for the hour hand to touch 5pm. Agonisingly the seconds tick by, and as you raise your hands to celebrate “ITS TIME TO GO HOME”!!! Only to realise it is just Monday and you have another 4 days of the work week to go. (provided you are lucky to work 5 days a week)

Getting frustrated you then surf around on the internet or check out Facebook to de-stress. You scroll and see your friends post up pictures of their own startups or their own products that they made at home and are trying to sell to their other friends. You see #success #happiness #rolex #new car. You feel lagiiii stress!!
You then excitedly tell your family (especially your mum or dad) about your friends success and what they are doing …..and your parents calmly pat you on the back and tell you “Don’t compare Son. You are successful in your own way”.

Each time I hear that (which I do a lot), I feel like slapping someone! or rather just KILL ME !

How much bullshit are you going to buy before you wake up and realise one day that you have wasted 30 years of your prime life?? Then whats the next plan? Withdraw your hard earned EPF only to also realise that the Government has used most of it to pay their bad debt??

IF YOU ARE AFRAID TO FAIL-4

Deep inside, a tiny voice tells you that you want to start something. Sell your own products. You want your own business. Something to call your own.

You find the 9-5 job is slowly killing you. You don’t know how or where to start. Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Jumping into the startup world to some, might seem like a leap of faith. Many are afraid, because all this while they have been shielded, sitting and working in their own comfort zone.

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The startup world is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you might be completely convinced you have a million-dollar idea. On the other, you risk a great deal getting started, and there’s no guarantee you’ll succeed.

Addicted2startup recently caught up with the successful Khun Nataree. K Nataree is the founder of a popular make up line in Thailand. She graduated as a chartered accountant and after having worked with one of the Big 4. She decided to start her own make up brand of products. What made her quit her lucrative corporate job and take a leap in to the startup world?

“The biggest challenges was the uncertainty of not knowing which was the best decisions to make, and having to make decisions quickly,” K. Nataree told Addicted2startup. “In a corporate job there are plenty of red tape in place that dilute decision-making to the point that it’s more of a collective decision. Managing your own company, you need to take full responsibility for your decisions and learn how to optimise that decision process quickly.”

When weighing up whether or not to go all in, she asked herself these six questions:

1. What is my motivation for starting a business?

K Nataree constantly stops herself multiple times during the week to ask herself why she wants to start the business in the first place. If you simply hate your job, or you’re following a trend, it probably won’t survive.

“Is it an industry you love and are passionate about?” she said. “Is there a big problem you’re so frustrated about, that you can’t wait to create a solution for it? That sounds like a business worth starting.”

2. Am I solving a problem?
K Nataree’s hometown is in Chonburi, far from the city. As a student, she found it hard to find affordable and reliable make up for students. If you haven’t already noticed, Thai Girls adore make up. They pride themselves in dressing up and looking good for every occasion.

K.Nataree experienced the similar issue when she moved to Chiang Mai to further her studies. And it wasn’t just her that was having the problem. Further investigation proved that most of the girls came from moderate families and they didn’t have access to reliable and affordable products.

“At this point, I knew it was the issue I’ll be addressing as it has massive potential, I know people who feel this issue regularly and knew technology could provide a scalable solution.”

3. Was I willing to sacrifice my lifestyle?

It’s a big decision to give up a high-paying job to follow your entrepreneurial idea. K Nataree left her well-paid job that gave her a comfortable life. It was really important that she understood the ultimate goal that she was trying to achieve before going on board with potential changes to her lifestyle.

K. Nataree says you should ask yourself what kind of life you would be comfortable with.

4. Is your family and friends supportive?
There are the good days and there are the challenging days. This is part of the entrepreneurial life. When the times get tough, you will need people to support you. People who believe in you and never doubt you. Ensure that you surround yourself with people like that and whom can really give you positive and non-judgemental opinions.

 

5. How much savings do I need?

K. Nataree believed strongly in creating her own brand without external funding. Without giving out equity or seeking funds, she was able to control the pace and direction of the company. This method requires a lot of self decipline as, without funding, and external pressure and monitoring, the founder is left to dictate and set her individual bench marks and deadlines.
It is always a good idea to have additional funds to fall back on. Addicted2startup would suggest doing up a rough calculation of how much cost it is to run the operation, and have enough savings for at least 1 year in advance should something go wrong. It’s unlikely you’ll start making money straight away, so if you have the chance to save up some money beforehand, then take it.

 

6. Am I in the right ecosystem?

K Nataree says it’s important you get to know the industry and make contacts by going to lots of startup events. After all, nothing is more valuable than hearing the experiences of other people. This can help you work out whether you’re in the right location to create a community.

“A good question to ask is whether you’re in the right city to ‘launch’ your product,” she said. “For example, we’re in the Beauty Line, so a presence in Bangkok, the Capital of Thailand is important for our growth.” Our goods can be easily distributed through out the Kingdom.

We would like to hear more of your thoughts and opinions. Kindly write to us using our contact page.

Thank you for reading and we wish you all the best in your business adventures.

 

 

How one woman created this amazing Jewellery Brand from scratch

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Peek&Boo designs, produces and sells bespoke handmade jewellery both online and offline, and actively participates in domestic and international trade fairs.

The ethos at Peek & Boo is to help make a difference around the world by using their wonderfully cute jewellery inspired by Nature to raise awareness in hopes of encouraging new consumers to help against environmental issues. To make their  message go deeper than just visually crafted timeless cute jewellery. Peek&Boo will be donating 10% of the profits to their charitable partners, your purchase does not just help awareness of environmental issues, it helps the people who are on the front lines trying to make our world a better place.

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We managed to have asit down with Kaze Ng the Founder of Peek&Boo as she shares the secrets that makes her entrepreneurial hunger growl;


A2S: What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in your life? How did the idea for your business come about?
KAZE: This was back a few years when I was studying in Germany, and every one was so conscious about going green and saving the planet. It was a culture shock compared to back home in Malaysia, although we were slowly progressing to the Green Concept and idea but it wasn’t so widely accepted. And as a student abroad, I was also struggling with expenses which got me thinking, “Why don’t I use the skills I have to make some money in order to make a change and help others to create Environmental and Civic awareness”.
One of the key trades as an entrepreneur is that you need to be resourceful. By observing my surroundings and experiences from my travels, I was able to assimilate this with my background in Jewellery and Design to create PeeknBoo.

A2S: When you first started, how or what did you do, to get the word out for Peek&Boo? Could you share with us on where you got your funding to start your own project?
KAZE: It was a DO or DIE situation for me, when I decided to take on this project. Initially when I first launched Peek&Boo, I decided to put the project on Kickstarter to crowd fund and promote the brand. Adopting a simple “pay and promote’ strategy, I withdrew all my savings to buy myself a marketing package from a US company to help me market the campaign. But the package was a complete failure. I did not manage to pull a single customer from it. Having only 30 days to promote and I was already broke, it was a stressful period for me. By the time I had 15 days left and only 20% goal achieved, I was mentally broken down as I had no idea what to do. No money for marketing. Knowing that I can’t give up, I went and start doing what I ‘think’ I can do ( at that moment ). I went on Instagram and start liking every single picture that are related to my post ( nature / wildlife picture ) , I started sending them a private message promoting my Kickstarter. I did that on Instagram, also in Pinterest , Facebook , Twitter. I spent countless hours every day doing that and even Email and private messaging the companies. Slowly but surely, I saw some progress, as the 15 days slowly pass, my % of funding slowly increase. And in the final dash for the finish line, the very last 2 days, a company found my campaign, they like my idea on how the concept of my brand is , they funded 80% of my campaign with nothing in return. This was how I got Peek&Boo started.

A2S: What would your 3 best advice you would give to newbies who wanted to start their own business?
KAZE: If I had to sum it up, it would be

  1. Make sure you have done extensive research to ensure that your product and concept is unique. Its a ‘Dog eat Dog world” out there. So make sure you are able to differentiate yourself from the competition.
  2. “Cheong” ! Which means ATTACK or GO FORWARD! in native Hokkien. If you are constantly on the go and moving forward, I believe you will always see progress. If you stay put however, then you would never move.
  3. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. You make a mistake, you learn from it and then you move on. You will become stronger with time.

Beauty!

A2S: What have been some of your failures and what did you do to overcome them?
KAZE: One of the things that I have learnt in the course of starting up a business, is to ensure that you have a strong product concept. Some people start a business by thinking that the only ingredients you need is just money and product. I have learnt that without a concept, I was unable to sell as there wasn’t a valid selling point.
Just to elaborate more on product concept. Product concept is the understanding of the dynamics of the product in order to showcase the best qualities and maximum features of the product. Marketers spend a lot of time and research in order to target their attended audience.
A2S: How did you manage to address this problem?
KAZE: Picking the right mentors and brainstorming with them always works for me. Finding the right people who has similar entrepreneurial experience and learning their mistakes and how they managed to overcome these hurdles have helped me with my own.

A2S: How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
KAZE: NEVER. That is why it is so important to ensure that your initial idea is valid and you have done all your homework on the back ground and scalability of the idea. Once I start, I will tell my self ‘My idea will always work”!!

ONCE I START A PROJECT, I ALWAYS TELL MY SELF THAT MY IDEA WILL ALWAYS WORK

A2S: How many hours do you work a day on average? And what are your tips on staying productive and efficient? Because being busy and productive are 2 very different things that people often get confused with.
KAZE: I have my full time job from 9am til 6.30pm. I tend to work on my own brand after dinner which is 7.30pm til late ( usually til 11-1am). On weekends, i work 7-9 hours on my own brand. I try to give myself a day off per week and a weekend off per month just to reward myself for working hard. I go to the gym, swimming and morning hike. I believe working out and maintaining a healthy diet helps give me better focus.
To keep track of my productivity and efficiency, for every task, I will set a specific deadline to complete it.

A2S: Jewellery is a very niche and specialised product. Could you share where you get your inspiration and ideas for your designs from?
KAZE: Haha, ideas pop out after coffee, but most of the time I have some sketch on what I want to do. like if I know I am going to Japan, I would search on places I want to go (reference places : cafe , wholesale place , textile area ), the meaning of Japanese symbols, so when I am there, I take photos of it and then brainstorms my way to my collection.

A2S: Protecting Peek&Boo as a brand and its designs would or course be your utmost concern. In this modern world of technology where information is shared so freely, as a designer yourself, do you have to deal with copyright and infringement or ideas/designs?
KAZE: Copyright and patenting costs a lot. This is one of the challenges you will face as an Entrepreneur.  Even if you have a written agreement with your retailer (pertaining to copyright issues) and somehow the designs are copied. Both of you would have to go to court, and go through a lengthy legal process which takes time and money. And maybe at the end of the day, the compensation isn’t enough to cover the legal fees. You need to ask yourself if you are ready to go through this. For now, I just have to continue innovating Peek&Boo’s designs and hope no one copies them.

A2S: When you first launched your product and while you were trying to make your first sale, what are the hurdles both emotionally and physically did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
KAZE:I was mentally and emotionally prepared for the hardship of starting up a brand that nobody knew about. When I first started, different days had different problems that needed different solutions. There were some days that I had a handful of sales, and some days I didn’t have even one. I didn’t allow this to make me sad or pull me down or give up. For every sale I made, I reminded myself how lucky I was, and that I was doing something correct. I just had to continue doing what I was doing. Keep on pushing forward.

A2S: What are the top 3 must have marketing app that you would recommend ?
KAZE: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram

  • Facebook – By far is the largest social media platform on the internet, Facebook boasts more than 700 million active monthly users. If you’re looking to reach the masses, this is the best place to start. It’s also the most credible platform. Any healthy and established business has a Facebook page, and a lack of one is a warning sign to potential customers.
  • Pinterest- Pinterest is of supreme value for many businesses. It’s the fastest growing social media platform and is particularly conducive to startups with physical products.
  • Instagram- You have a blog–great. You tweet your posts, and you update your Facebook page–that’s great too. But Instagram lets you brand like nowhere else. Only 123 of the Fortune 500 companies have adopted Instagram, and plenty of startups too are guilty of not using Instagram as a core part of their content marketing strategy.

While corporate Instagram adoption may not be overwhelming just yet, big companies are learning quickly from more marketing-savvy peers. Check out the growth in the chart below. This is the number of Fortune 500 companies using Instagram between December 2010 and August 2013.

Why are they betting on Instagram? Well, if you want to put a piece of content in front of someone, 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text.

A2S: As an entrepreneur you would have your share of ups and downs. When you are feeling down and out, as some of us normally do. How do you dig into the extra energy and keep yourself motivated?
KAZE: Failure is not an option for me. The margins for error is so small, that I need to be really precise in my execution. I take great pride in my planning and detail in my products. This is exceptionally true, when designing and producing Jewellery Pieces. As each piece is small and delicate, and needs to be produced with care. We cannot afford any mistakes especially in the moulding stage. (When the master mould for each design is created. Otherwise all the subsequent products will have defects).
Traveling works best for me. Being in a different environement helps to distress me, and by experiencing various sights and ideas, I am able to refresh myself with new concepts. Each time I come back from travelling, I have so many new ideas that I would want to start.  

Peek&Boo was also recently featured on Taiwans lifestyle magazine JUKSY.

PnBoo

All her items are made with plenty of care and love. Below are some of her processes while making the beautiful pieces.

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Finished moulds of her products
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Voila!! Our finished products!
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Did you know…..
Roosters were very important in people’s daily lives in ancient times. They were not only treated as food, like today, but in ancient times people regarded them as a mascot since they ate harmful insects.
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D E T A I L
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Dimensions: 8mm x 8mm
Metal: Brass with 925 Sterling Silver needle
Enamel
**limited pieces
bull terrier
Did you know…..
Bull Terriers love attention and do not do well being left alone for long periods of time?
The lifespan of an average Bull Terrier is 10 to 12 years, but sometimes longer?
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D E T A I L
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Metal: Brass
Plating : 24k Yellow Gold
Material : Enamel
Size : Adjustable from S – L
*If you have a certain size you want me to adjust, please drop me a message.

You are able to shop for Peek & Boo items direct from their website www.ipeekyouboo.com
( also available in Etsy, Dawanda and Pinkoi )

We at Addicted2startup.com would like to wish Kaze all the best in her ventures and may she be successful in bringing Peek&Boo to the international jewellery scene.
Like us, share and follow us for more inspiring stories. Do tell us what you want to hear or if you have an inspiring story to share. We would love to hear from you.

 

 

How do you effectively listen!

Active listening is a skill that can be acquired and developed with practice. However, active listening can be difficult to master and will, therefore, take time and patience to develop.

Active listening‘ means, as its name suggests, actively listening. That is fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker.

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Active listening involves listening with all senses.  As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening – otherwise the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.

Interest can be conveyed to the speaker by using both verbal and non-verbal messages such as maintaining eye contact, nodding your head and smiling, agreeing by saying ‘Yes’ or simply ‘Mmm hmm’ to encourage them to continue.  By providing this ‘feedback’ the person speaking will usually feel more at ease and therefore communicate more easily, openly and honestly.

Listening is the most fundamental component of interpersonal communication skills.

Listening is not something that just happens (that is hearing), listening is an active process in which a conscious decision is made to listen to and understand the messages of the speaker.

Listeners should remain neutral and non-judgmental, this means trying not to take sides or form opinions, especially early in the conversation.  Active listening is also about patience – pauses and short periods of silence should be accepted.

Listeners should not be tempted to jump in with questions or comments every time there are a few seconds of silence. Active listening involves giving the other person time to explore their thoughts and feelings, they should, therefore, be given adequate time for that.

Active listening not only means focusing fully on the speaker but also actively showing verbal and non-verbal signs of listening.

Generally speakers want listeners to demonstrate ‘active listening’ by responding appropriately to what they are saying. Appropriate responses to listening can be both verbal and non-verbal, examples of which are listed below:


Signs of Active Listening

Non-Verbal Signs of Attentive or Active Listening

This is a generic list of non-verbal signs of listening, in other words people who are listening are more likely to display at least some of these signs.  However these signs may not be appropriate in all situations and across all cultures.

Smile

Small smiles can be used to show that the listener is paying attention to what is being said or as a way of agreeing or being happy about the messages being received.  Combined with nods of the head, smiles can be powerful in affirming that messages are being listened to and understood.

Eye Contact

It is normal and usually encouraging for the listener to look at the speaker. Eye contact can however be intimidating, especially for more shy speakers – gauge how much eye contact is appropriate for any given situation.  Combine eye contact with smiles and other non-verbal messages to encourage the speaker.

Posture

Posture can tell a lot about the sender and receiver in interpersonal interactions.  The attentive listener tends to lean slightly forward or sideways whilst sitting.  Other signs of active listening may include a slight slant of the head or resting the head on one hand.

Mirroring

Automatic reflection/mirroring of any facial expressions used by the speaker can be a sign of attentive listening.  These reflective expressions can help to show sympathy and empathy in more emotional situations.  Attempting to consciously mimic facial expressions (i.e. not automatic reflection of expressions) can be a sign of inattention.

Distraction

The active listener will not be distracted and therefore will refrain from fidgeting, looking at a clock or watch, doodling, playing with their hair or picking their fingernails.

Verbal Signs of Attentive or Active Listening

Positive Reinforcement

Although a strong signal of attentiveness, caution should be used when using positive verbal reinforcement.

Although some positive words of encouragement may be beneficial to the speaker the listener should use them sparingly so as not to distract from what is being said or place unnecessary emphasis on parts of the message.

Casual and frequent use of words and phrases, such as: ‘very good’, ‘yes’ or ‘indeed’ can become irritating to the speaker.   It is usually better to elaborate and explain why you are agreeing with a certain point.

Remembering

The human mind is notoriously bad at remembering details, especially for any length of time.

However, remembering a few key points, or even the name of the speaker, can help to reinforce that the messages sent have been received and understood – i.e. listening has been successful.  Remembering details, ideas and concepts from previous conversations proves that attention was kept and is likely to encourage the speaker to continue.  During longer exchanges it may be appropriate to make very brief notes to act as a memory jog when questioning or clarifying later.

Questioning

The listener can demonstrate that they have been paying attention by asking relevant questions and/or making statements that build or help to clarify what the speaker has said.  By asking relevant questions the listener also helps to reinforce that they have an interest in what the speaker has been saying.

Reflection

Reflecting is closely repeating or paraphrasing what the speaker has said in order to show comprehension.  Reflection is a powerful skill that can reinforce the message of the speaker and demonstrate understanding.

Clarification

Clarifying involves asking questions of the speaker to ensure that the correct message has been received.  Clarification usually involves the use of open questions which enables the speaker to expand on certain points as necessary.

Summarisation

Repeating a summary of what has been said back to the speaker is a technique used by the listener to repeat what has been said in their own words. Summarising involves taking the main points of the received message and reiterating them in a logical and clear way, giving the speaker chance to correct if necessary.

EPIC HOMES, Building a better world through collaborations

More than 12,000 Orang Asli families are in need of housing aid in Peninsular Malaysia. That’s a lot of people who don’t have a safe place to live in, to grow in and to learn in. But we believe that we can change this with your help.

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MERSING: A group of orang asli women were about to start cooking when a group of 100-odd enforcement officers moved in to tear down eight wooden homes in the Gunung Arong forest reserve in Kampung Batu 10 on Tuesday, leaving 50 Jakun homeless.
The seven families are now living in makeshift tents by the roadside after their homes were torn down.
“Here, I can do some farming and the forest is accessible. The government gave part of the forest reserve to loggers and miners, but why can’t they let us stay?” Awang, who used to live in Kota Tinggi in Johor and Rompin, asked.
(Article from the Star)

EPIC ( Extraordinary People Impacting Community)

Is a social enterprise that aims to inspire, mobilize and empower people to make positive impact in their communities. EPIC designs and creates collaborative platforms that allow you to do this in a fun and easy way.

It’s flagship project, EPIC Homes is an initiative that aims to build relationships through the act of building homes for underprivileged Malaysian communities. An EPIC Home can be built within 3 days with a team of ordinary people. Under the Builder Training Program, participants are equipped with the skills and knowledge to lead, manage and build homes.

To date they have built over 18 homes with over 400 people from around the world, and have grown into a community with over 4400 people. They have also built with corporations such as PEMANDU, Media Prime Berhad, GE Malaysia, AirAsia Berhad, Taylors Education Group & Sinclair Knight-Merz. This year EPIC intends to build 100 homes whilst transforming this initiative into a nationwide movement.

How it all started
EPIC started as a conversation over the dinner table in 2010, where four friends were discussing the possibility of solving local issues through community work. When the conversation ended, we realized they had done a whole lot of talking, but no work.

And so, we began to search through friends and families for small projects that could bring like minded people together with the intention to bring about positive impact and to drive change in their community. A man from a nearby village in Batang Kali told us of a potential house-painting project and took us to recce the site.

When we arrived, a little boy in the group asked, “Where is the toilet?” It turns out that the village toilets weren’t completed, and thus the settlement didn’t have any. And that “toilet-building and painting project” (that really was the title of the project) was the first ever EPIC event.

We thought that we’d only be able to gather a tiny group of people for the project, but after blasting our call for volunteers through social media we were hit with 64 committed individuals who were ready for action. These guys ranged from ages 13-60 and they hailed from different countries around the world. When these strangers met for the first time at the project, we immediately knew that we had something special. We had never experienced such authenticity before. Each person that was present had one goal in mind: they were there to do whatever they could to help another person. This inspired us and showed us that by doing little with many, we could produce impact of epic proportions.

What EPIC Homes does
EPIC Homes aims to build relationships between the urban and rural divide through the activity of building homes for underprivileged Malaysian communities, currently focusing on the indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia, the Orang Asli.

We believe that the presence of relationships is what truly differentiates a ‘Home’ from a House’. When an EPIC Home is built, a family does not just get a new house, they become connected to a larger community who genuinely cares for them, a community that seeks to understand their challenges, and who seeks to solve it together with them.

Without people and relationships a house is nothing but a shell. This shell may protect a family from physical elements, but it is through people that they will be inspired and motivated to improve and move forward.

Since encountering our first dilapidated house in 2010, we have built 17 homes mostly in Selangor and Perak, connecting Orang Asli families with over 300 people from around the world. We have built alongside Malaysians and have also had builders from Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, Japan, Holland, New Zealand, India, Sweden, Korea, Turkey, UK, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Africa, USA, Iraq and Venezuela.

EPICS 5 YEAR GOAL
-To connect all 834 villages to the city through relationships built between urban and rural people.
-To have active participation from government, corporations and the general public who will be driving the initiative

According to the Pelan Strategik Kemajuan Orang Asli 2011, 82% of Orang Asli are in need of housing aid; that’s approximately 12,322 families who live in unsafe housing in Peninsular Malaysia.

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BUILDING HOMES,
NOT JUST HOUSES.

We believe that building homes is an effective and powerful activity that opens the door to relationship building. We also believe that homes are of utmost importance – a home leads to much more than four walls and a roof. It can affect livelihood, physical and personal health and the educational development of an individual.

housing

For more information
Contact Person: John-son Oei
Email Address: info@www.epichome.org
Website: https://www.epichome.org
Facebook: fb.com/epicarmy
Twitter: 
epic_army
Phone Number: +603 5613 5683
Founded: 2010
Address: No 15, Jalan PJS 11/18 Bandar Sunway, 46150, Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

5 Things your team needs from you as a Leader

Leadership is a lot more simple than we think. Don’t over complicate it.

Leadership is, of course, subjective. But its foundation stems from one thing: the ability of an individual to establish a following among other individuals or teams.

Every leader has his or her own style and strategy. While it can be difficult to become a great leader and to achieve great things, practicing great leadership, is actually quite easy. There is a tendency to over complicate or overthink what leadership is, but actually, leadership can be very simple.  I have worked with teams all over the world, from dozens of cultures, and from different generations, Baby Boomers to Millennials, and I have found that if you provide these four simple things your team will appreciate you, follow you, and achieve great results.

1. Clear direction

This is the leader’s number one job. If you don’t do anything else, you absolutely must give clear direction to your team. Let them know what the goals and objectives are. Too often there is a lack of clarity, which can lead to confusion, misalignment, frustration, and disengagement.

Clarity, confidence and courage “A leader is someone who has the clarity to know the right things to do, the confidence to know when she’s wrong, and the courage to do the right things even when they’re hard.” – Darcy Eikenberg, founder, RedCapeRevolution.com

2. Support

“Leadership is serving the people that work for you by giving them the tools they need to succeed”. When you set a team up to be successful, most of them will grab the opportunity with both hands and become successful. Leadership is about serving your team, not about being served by them. This doesn’t mean doing the job for them; it means providing the right environment, and then being there to help, if needed.
Your workers should be looking forward to the customer and not backwards, over their shoulders, at you. It also means genuine praise for what goes well and leading by taking responsibility early and immediately if things go bad.

3. Solving problems

Being the solution to problems “Leadership is the ability to see a problem and be the solution. So many people are willing to talk about problems or can even empathize, but not many can see the problem or challenge and rise to it. It takes a leader to truly see a problem as a challenge and want to drive toward it.” – Andrea Walker-Leidy, owner, Walker Publicity Consulting

4. Space

Give the team the space to get on with the work. Provide support, but don’t micromanage them. Micromanagement is not only frustrating and demotivating, but it can also lead to mistakes, as it can put your team under unnecessary stress. Micromanagement is not good for your team, and it’s not good for you, either, because no one wants to work for a micromanager. If that becomes your reputation, then the best staff will look to work elsewhere, and it will give you both recruitment and retention issues. It’s OK to check up on the team, to see how they are doing and what you can do to help, but it has to be within reason.

5. Praise

Positive feedback, in my experience, is key to building a great team that achieves amazing things. I am always surprised by how resistant many managers and leaders are to giving praise, You need to create a culture of recognition, and it starts by recognizing effort. No one is successful immediately, so you should look to give people positive feedback for trying, for being willing to give things a go. What gets recognized gets repeated, and we want people to repeat the effort, because that is what it is going to lead them to success. If you wait for your team to achieve success before you praise them, then you could be waiting a long time.

If you want to become a better leader, or you want your team to achieve better results, providing these four simple ingredients will go a long way toward motivating and inspiring your team and boosting their efforts.

Leadership is a lot more simple than we think. Don’t over complicate it.

Credit picture: Muhammad Zameer

Unleashing the Power of a Positive Mind with these 5 habits!

I was 35 and at the lowest point in my life. Adopting these positive habits helped to turn my life around

Positive thoughts build a strong positive mind. Your mind is powerful, when it is positive, it is able to generate good vibrations to your entire body, and thus creating positive actions. Positive actions will then create positive results!

It Pays to Be Positive! Always remember this.
It was about a year ago, I was at the lowest point in my life. I was 35 years then. I was working on an offshore rig, which i have been working for the past 10 years. It was the year 2016, when oil industry was hit with mass retrenchment. I knew within the next few months, it would be my turn. I was desperately trying to get my future plans in order. The stress level was mounting on me.

On my supposedly last hitch to work (July 2016), i was at the peak of my life. I  had all the business plans in place and i wasnt too worried if i got retrenched as i knew i was going to take the jump. I readied my self for what was to happen. Then when i got back from work, (I work 1 month away from home and get 1 month time off at home). I found that my wife had left me for another person.

My life took a drastic dip. I felt like killing my self. In 2 days time, it would be my 35th birthday. I was convincing my self, that she would turn up that very morning on my birthday to give me a surprise to say that this was a joke. It would have been the best birthday present ever!

On the day of my birthday, no such surprise came. I was struggling with life.
I was distancing my self from my friends and family and i felt so alone. I was listening to self help talks and motivation online.
I wanted to destroy all my businesses as i felt that i didnt have any purpose in life anymore. I felt bad for most of my staff, because i couldnt think of how to carry on some of the business. Then somehow, i was shown kindness and positivity. This was the time, when i knew who were my best friends. I am grateful i have them.  I prayed hard everyday and thanked god for helping me.
At my lowest point, i was convinced this had to be mid life crisis every one was talking about. I told my self, as this is the lowest point, it can only get better!
I decided to turn things around.

Here are five habits that I’ve used that will attract more positivity into your life.

There’s a direct correlation between a positive attitude and better relationships, superior health, and greater success.

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A positive attitude can boost your energy, heighten your inner strength, inspire others, and garner the fortitude to meet difficult challenges. According to research from the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking can increase your life span, decrease depression, reduce levels of distress, provide greater resistance to the common cold, offer better psychological and physical well-being, reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and enable you to cope better during hardships and times of stress.

Here are the 5 habits that can help alleviate your positivity

  1. All things will pass. Nothing is permanent

    Keep reminding yourself, that nothing is permanent. When you are sad or no matter how bad things may have gone, always reflect that nothing is ever permanent. These sad or bad feelings, thoughts and situations will eventually be over. Look into the mirror and tell yourself “Everything is going to be alright” and “Things are going to be better”.
    It is the same with happy thoughts, conditions. We need to remind our self that these happy situations will also end, and that we need to take the time to stop and appreciate it. Appreciate the positive and happy moments. Appreciate the people we have that are with us now.
    Be kind to your self. Try to overlook the negative things and amplify all the positive actions or thoughts that you have done in the past. You are a good person!

  2. Surround yourself with positive people.

    Spend time with people who are positive, supportive, and who energize you. You will notice that after hanging out with positive people, your perception of life will also be slowly influenced by them to become positive as well.
    Imagine hanging out with a sad person when you are feeling depressed. I wouldn’t want to be in that situation.

  3. Thoughts become flesh

    Your mind is powerful. What you think and believe, you will achieve. If you don’t want to be surrounded by negative people, what makes you think others do? Learn to master your own thoughts.

    For example: When you visualize a goal, it makes you more likely to take the actions necessary to reach it. Visualize yourself winning the race, getting the promotion, accepting the award, or landing the new account.

    Control your negative thinking. This can be accomplished in the following ways:

    • See the glass as half full rather than half empty.

    • Anticipate the best outcome.

    • Stay the middle ground. Don’t view everything in extremes — as either fantastic or a catastrophe. This will help you reduce your highs and lows.

    • Mistakes happen. Negative people blame themselves for every bad occurrence whether it was their fault or not. Don’t let this be you.

  4. See failures as opportunities.

    Successful people are not afraid of failures. They anticipate failures in life and plan their best for it. They learn to see it as a opportunity to learn and improve. Instead of letting challenges overwhelm you, turn them into opportunities. (Rather than hitting the wall, climb over it or go around.)
    These times when you are feeling down and out. Don’t let negativity take over. I keep telling myself, if you have reached the very bottom of the pit. You can no longer go down and the only direction is UP!

  5. Count your blessings.

    Be grateful and give thanks for what you have in your life rather than taking them for granted. If you want to achieve happiness, better health, stronger relationships, and continued success, you may not have to look any further than the mirror. “The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.”* Do you see the glass half full or half empty? True happiness may depend on how you view the world and who you look to for inspiration.

    Credit picture to miraclesarebrewing.com

    We hope that with these positive habits, you are able to change your perception of life and everything will be better with time.

    We would love to hear your stories in life. Please write to us below.

6 Habits of Successful People To Overcome Failure

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Have you ever noticed that most successful people have a common trait? They managed to overcome their failures. They are not afraid of failures. In fact, they anticipate failure and use it as a learning opportunity to perform better. In Robert T Kiyosaki (Author of Rich Dad,Poor Dad), one of his book series, he mentioned that successful people strive to achieve financial freedom. Financial freedom = sufficient passive income to cover all your daily expenses (in simple terms). Financial freedom, is the ability to have time to do what you always wanted to do without worrying about bills, and other costs. Money is a tool that enables us achieve that lifestyle.

What sets successful people apart is their ability to maintain positive habits, so they can maximize their time (even when hardship hits). This skill of turning failure into success is key, and although it may seem like these successful people are superhuman, they are not.

Successful people anticipate failure, and always learn to overcome it. Like you and me, they make mistakes. Life doesn’t always go according to plan, but this doesn’t stop them from achieving their potential. They don’t overcome this with money, power, or fame. They don’t have a secret you don’t. But they do have a set of positive habits that sets them apart, and with a little tweaking, so can you.

Let’s have a look at the 6 habits that successful people use to overcome their failures

1. They cultivate a positive mentality

The most powerful tool we have is our mind. The thoughts, dreams and reality that we form in our mind, will determine and influence the outcome of our lives. One big difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is they always say ” It is a minor hiccup in my plan,  i will find a way to solve this ” as opposed to “Its too hard, i think i cant do it”. Your words do become flesh.
There for, you yourself are responsible for setting your self up for success.

If you think it is a small problem, then it is a small problem.
If you think there is no problem, then there is no problem.
It is up to you, how you change your reality.

2. They take time to ‘reflect’ each day

Successful people take time out of their day (every day) to reflect on their life. Reflect on:

  1. What’s working, and what isnt?
  2. What is important to me now?
  3. Am i doing the right thing and is there anything i can do to make it better?
  4. Time is precious, Don’t waste it. Appreciate it!

The art of meditation is a growing culture. It is a upcoming trend among high performing athletes, entrepreneurs and celebrities, to help them relax, and refocus on their life.  This is one positive habit anyone can do, and all it takes is 5-10 minutes each day.

3. They start the day early! 

Nearly 50 percent of the self-made millionaires got out of bed at least three hours before their workday actually started. Many of them use the free time to tackle personal projects, plan their day, or make time for exercise.

You won’t meet many successful people who sleep beyond 7am. If you listen to motivational speeches and talks, you will

No matter if you are a morning person or not, there is huge value in waking up early (even if you spend this time reflecting, instead of working).

“Life is too short,” she panicked, “I want more.” He nodded slowly, “Wake up earlier.”- Dr. SunWolf

Planning your day ahead will enable you to create a mental system that is systematic of which is priority and what you need to do during your day. This decreases your stress levels because everything is planned out. Imagine your productivity levels, if you begin your day stress free, happy and goal orientated?

4. They focus on the work they need to do

There is always a thousand things that you will need to do. Successful people focus on the priorities and clear the tasks one by one. They focus on getting the job done.
Do not procrastinate! Do it, and get it done with. People usually tend to set aside or put off any hard jobs or things that they do not like to a later time. Does the phrase “It’s ok, ill do it later” sound familiar with you?

Believe me, once you get it done with, when you look back, you will realize that it wasn’t so bad. Success lies in focus, and getting what you need to do done (as in, right now)!

5. They spend time with people who inspire them

‘We are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with” Jim Rohn (Motivational Speaker).

“You are only as successful as those you frequently associate with” 

If you don’t have highly-motivated people in your personal network yet, fear not. Self-made millionaires volunteer, which is a great way to meet other positive, motivated individuals. When you volunteer your time, skills and knowledge, you are sharing. This cultivates and promotes positive attitude and energy. Positive people will attract other positive people.

Choose who you spend your time with. Time is a limited resource. Successful people make a point to limit their association with negative people.

When you are staring failure in the face, consult your positive friends and associates and with their input it makes the problem or failure smaller. Always remember, if you think it is a small problem, then it will be a small problem. It is all in the mind. You yourself have the ability to change your own reality.

6. They do not fear mistakes or failure

As human beings, we all share something in common: we make mistakes, and we sometimes fail.

Successful people are no different to you and me, but they do approach failure different to most. They prepare for failure and do not fear it. They do not let failure hold them back. They ensure that it leads them to greatness.

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This is how successful people think. This is how they approach each day. They appreciate failure may occur today, but they do not allow this to stand in their way

The only time you do fail is when you allow this fear or failure to take control of you.
It is a constant battle to be successful, but these 6 successful habits will ensure that you stay on top of your game and will be able to handle failure in a positive way.  Whenever you see the success of successful people, whether world class athletes or successful business entrepreneurs, always remember the “THE REAL WORK IS BEHIND THE SCENES’

 

What habits are you going to implement into your life today? We would love to hear from you!

Does life really begin at 40? Thing’s i realized when i was 39 years old..

Does life really begin at 40? What do i have to do, to get what i want?

There’s a famous saying “Life begins at 40”. Some people believe that this is the middle point in life where you really should have explored life to the maximum. Others will tell you that the last 39 years before was just “research”. I am sure plenty of people have their own bucket lists to fulfill before turning 40.

I googled out the items to do online and this is what i found

  1. Shower naked in a water fall – Im pretty sure i have done it at somepoint when i was still a little boy.
  2. Backpack around the world with my partner – Immerse in the unspeakable intimacy that forms from traveling with just one person you love. Embrace it, and seize the adventure, uncertainty, and excitement of everything to come.
  3. Starting something that lasts – Weather its a business, nonprofit, community or product. It should be something that could hold your legacy even after you leave. Something people would remember you when you are not around.
  4. Finding someone to mentor – Having someone look up to is an incredible feeling. Someone you can pass your wisdom to.
  5. Visit a different religious culture – We are blessed to be in a multicultural country. But probably this statement means to explore other different religious around the world. Probably visiting the tribes of South America ?
  6. Write a letter to your future self – Give it some thought of what you would want to tell your future self?

These are all great things that one should experience, and i am sure there are many more. We only have one life, hence go out and live it to the fullest.

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(Photo Credit : DialAflight)|

Sitting down on a wooden swing surrounded by strawberry bushes in the quiet mountains of Chiang Mai, Thailand. I begin to contemplate on my own life.

I discovered that trying to pause in life is much harder than trying to be busy.

  1. What i thought was important , was not that important
  2. Life is happening now. If opportunity doesn’t knock on your door, build your own door! “Life happens when you are busy making plans for it”. You should embrace what life has to offer in the present and not wait for the future before we start to ‘LIVE’
  3. Expanding and exploring our talent
    Ignoring or under utilizing your talent is a waste. I learnt learnt many lessons during my time of unemployment and one of the greatest one is to never limit my talent to the job description or other people say you can do or can’t do. There are limitless opportunities waiting for you, so take a bold step and venture out of your comfort zone.
  4. You always have a choice
    How many times have you heard people giving the excuse ” I didn’t have a choice” ?
    “I am already married with children. I have a responsibility and cannot afford to take the risks”. The question is not whether we have a choice, but whether we are willing to grab the opportunities that life has presented to us. We need to train our minds to distinguish between positive and negative information, and hopefully the right choice will get the better of us.
    One of the key factors for me personally, that contribute to the choices i make is finances. When i changed my perception that money was a tool and not my end goal in life, my eyes opened to many more opportunities in life.
  5. Going out of your comfort zone
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    Credit: Alphacoders

    This was an extremely difficult decision for me as I value comfort. I don’t think I’m alone in this. People like to be comfortable. They enjoy the familiar. Even when the familiar is far from optimal (even horrible), people still resist change.
    Seeking comfort, however natural it is, will never enable growth. How would you feel if you were able to merge what you love with your work and make it your lifestyle? Just think of how great and fulfilling that would be.

  6. Doing what you are passionate about
    “If you have an idea that might work in an area that you’re not passionate about, instead think about ways that you could apply it to a sector that does excite you,” he says “Look at your idea from a different perspective, and you might be surprised by the results.” Richard Branson.
  7. Remember nothing is permanent
    Everything is impermanent. “Bad times will come but they are not here to stay. Things will get better”. Always remember that no matter what you do, you are not stuck. Keep things in perspective. Mistakes are only learning experiences. Everything serves to teach you something. Whatever choice you make will be the right choice for that moment.
  8. Opportunities are waiting

Stephen C Hogan advised “most people miss great opportunities because of the misperception of time. Don’t wait! The time will never be just right.”  We think we have all the time in the world to do the things we would love to do, so we put them off until the perfect time.  Opportunities are waiting right now, and if you package your passion, you will be able to embrace them sooner rather than later. You may think you do not have the time or resources to embrace these new opportunities – not true. The problem is a lack of priorities – not focusing on the things we want the most in life and making them part of our daily goals and tasks.

“Decide what you want, and then act as if it were impossible to fail.” – Brian Tracy

Now that I have crossed the great threshold of forty, my perception on life begins at forty has changed.  I realize there is no perfect age to accomplish any goal. If I had the chance to advise my younger self, I would tell her to discover and explore the potency of her passion on a daily basis.

I will encourage her to maximise every opportunity that comes her way.  I will also teach her how to be aware of the dominant components of her passion, so she matches them to the right opportunities when they appear. Life is right now, right here – make the most of it.