Sweat­ing it out

> Joanna Soh in­te­grates her ex­pe­ri­ence in TV pro­duc­tion and fire for fit­ness to work out an en­vi­able YouTube ca­reer

The Sun (Malaysia) - - YOUTH - BY DENISSA GOH

WHEN Joanna Soh left her home in Kuala Tereng­ganu to study in Kuala Lumpur, she was an­other or­di­nary stu­dent fend­ing for her­self. How­ever, eat­ing out quickly be­came a norm and led to her gain­ing weight. De­ter­mined to shed the ex­tra pounds, Soh signed up at a nearby gym and got a per­sonal trainer to guide her to­wards weight loss. But Soh soon re­alised that fit­ness wasn’t about achiev­ing a cer­tain body type; she found her­self re­li­giously hit­ting the gym sim­ply be­cause it made her feel good in­side. She con­tin­ued work­ing out when fur­ther­ing her stud­ies in the UK.

Upon grad­u­a­tion, she landed a dream job as a TV pro­ducer in London for a lo­cal talk show.

“At that time, I re­ally en­joyed my job and I learned so much in re­gards to the in­dus­try but I knew that I wanted to even­tu­ally do my own stuff,” she re­called.

Com­bin­ing her pas­sions for TV pro­duc­tion and fit­ness, she de­cided to quit her job and launch a YouTube chan­nel (joan­na­so­hof­fi­cial), up­load­ing quick begin­ner work­out rou­tines to start with. Like fit­ness, it took time and con­sis­tency for re­sults to show and sure enough, she snagged her first 100,000 sub­scribers within the first year.

Today, she has over 770,000 sub­scribers and her own fit­ness cloth­ing line called Fit & Fem­i­nine.

Quit­ting a sta­ble job is a risky thing to do! What went through your mind back then? It was scary be­cause I didn’t know what was go­ing to hap­pen next. A lot of peo­ple were telling me, “You’re work­ing in London and you have a se­cure in­come from a job that ev­ery­one wants, and you’re leav­ing it?” I said, “Yeah, it felt right.” I knew that I could not con­tinue do­ing TV pro­duc­tion and do YouTube at the same time be­cause once you’re back from work, you’re too tired to fo­cus. I spoke to my par­ents and asked them to give me a year to ex­plore this. By that time, I made sure I had enough sav­ings to sus­tain my­self for a year.

How did you deal with nasty com­ments? Un­til today I still re­ceive nasty com­ments, and some­times you can tell that they’re ex­pressed out of jeal­ousy. They did af­fect me at first, but I would not re­ply. I be­lieve that re­ply­ing would feed en­ergy into the com­ment and haters want to see that. What are the top three qual­i­ties that a YouTu­ber needs to have? Dis­ci­pline. When­ever I tell peo­ple that I’m work­ing for my­self, the first thing they’d say is how nice it is that I get to wake up at any time. Yes I can do that, but that’s not how it should be be­cause when you’re work­ing for your­self, it re­quires more dis­ci­pline. You’re ac­count­able to your own sched­ule and the dead­lines you set for your­self.

Con­sis­tency is very im­por­tant as well. Don’t ex­pect some­thing to hap­pen overnight; it takes time and ef­fort to re­peat the same thing be­fore au­di­ences would start notic­ing you.

It is also im­por­tant to know why you’re do­ing what you’re do­ing. I know peo­ple who do make-up videos

I want to start a net­work that em­pow­ers women. Right now I’m just do­ing fit­ness and I want to start a net­work where I can com­bine beauty, life­style, fash­ion, re­la­tion­ship ad­vice and so much more. I’m not an ex­pert in these fields so it’ll be great to work with dif­fer­ent tal­ents and cre­ators that have dif­fer­ent ideas and pas­sions.

THESUN ZULFADHLI ZAKI/

She is a cer­ti­fied per­sonal trainer un­der FitMalaysia and holds an Amer­i­can Coun­cil of Ex­er­cise Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

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