Want to travel for a year or quit your ac­count­ing job to be­come a con­cert pi­anist? Can! But first, you need to con­sider this...

CLEO (Singapore) - - SMART REPORT -

We live in an age when all we hear are suc­cess sto­ries; Mark Zucker­burg drop­ping out of Har­vard and start­ing Face­book be­ing per­haps the most fa­mous. But be­sides him, there are lots of peo­ple who seem to be mak­ing money off fol­low­ing their dreams – a quick scroll through In­sta­gram is the eas­i­est place to see that.

A wise man once told me that if you’re go­ing to quit your job, you need three months’ salary in sav­ings at the min­i­mum, es­pe­cially if you want to live at a de­cent stan­dard and not have to de­prive your­self of too many nice things. Oh yeah, that wise man was my fa­ther. So in ad­di­tion to those words of wis­dom, here are a few key no-bullsh*t re­quire­ments you’ll need if that’s the kind of job/life you want to have.

1 Money

As prac­ti­cal Sin­ga­pore­ans, this will be our first con­cern. “It’s ad­vis­able to set up an emer­gency fund that will cover you for six months of ex­penses,” says Vasu Menon, Vice Pres­i­dent and Se­nior In­vest­ment Strate­gist, OCBC Bank. “For in­de­pen­dent work­ers, they should prob­a­bly set aside a larger emer­gency fund to help them fund 12 months of ex­penses, be­cause with the econ­omy go­ing through chal­leng­ing times ahead, reg­u­lar jobs may be harder to come by and the dry spells could last longer.”

2 Skills

Take some time to fig­ure out what it is you want to do and what skills are needed to pull it off. That can mean ded­i­cat­ing your week­ends to hon­ing new skills, or even go­ing back to school.

For ex­am­ple, mar­ket­ing skills are go­ing to be nec­es­sary if you’re plan­ning to start your own busi­ness. When it comes to build­ing your brand on a plat­form like In­sta­gram, style in­flu­encer NC Wong be­lieves it’s all about try­ing to set your prod­uct apart from the rest: “[My prac­ti­cal wor­ries in­clude] how do I push my lim­its and cre­ate more in­ter­est­ing con­tent that is not only vis­ually ap­peal­ing, but in­for­ma­tive too.”

3 Know that you don’t know ev­ery­thing

Even if you want to start your own com­pany, you might not have the know-how. When Google was first cre­ated, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin brought in Eric Sch­midt, a much more sea­soned man­ager, to help them run the com­pany. Af­ter 10 years as the CEO, Eric stepped aside for Sergey to take con­trol again.

“Don’t for­get the im­por­tance of work ex­pe­ri­ence,” says NC Wong. “I can­not em­pha­sise how much I learnt through my full-time jobs that can’t be learnt on your own.”

Skills like man­age­ment and bud­get­ing can be learnt on the job, and are must- haves if you’re strik­ingk­ing out on your own.

4 Pa­tience ce

Suc­cess comes to those who wait, but in our In­sta­gram-world, we feel we need in­sta-suc­cess.

Re­mem­ber that this doesn’t even come to in­flu­encers. “Never take things or peo­ple for granted, and stay mo­ti­vated,” says NC Wong. “I do not think I have reached my dream goal yet, but I am grate­ful and thank­ful ev­ery day for be­ing able to do what I do.” Adds Vasu: “The fi­nan­cial re­wards for suc­cess can be sub­stan­tial and, even if you fail, it’s not the end of the world be­cause you still have time to pick up the pieces if you are young and try again, or per­haps be­come a salaried em­ployee.”

5 Pre­pare for un­cer­tainty

This is what NC Wong says is one of the hard­est things about strik­ing out on your own. “Gone are the days of hav­ing some­thing fixed and sta­ble. Ev­ery day is a new ad­ven­ture and chal­lenge.” Adds Vasu: “When your pay cheques are not reg­u­lar, it is es­pe­cially im­por­tant that you spend your re­sources care­fully. Save by look­ing for bar­gains when buy­ing things like gro­ceries, and eat at home more of­ten. Be es­pe­cially care­ful about spend­ing beyond your means when us­ing your credit card. Credit card debt is very costly – the in­ter­est rate charged for out­stand­ing debt is very high and can hurt your fi­nances badly and set you back.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.