Beatrice Liu was shocked when her mother was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer back in 2014.
“She was 80 per cent vegetarian and exercised almost daily,” she explains.
The elderly woman was however adamant about staying away from conventional medicine, turning to alternative treatments for relief of her symptoms.
“Her main gripe with conventional medicine was the pain and side effects. She wanted to live her last days with a better quality of life, not with impaired immunity. As such, we sought alternative therapies like TCM.”
Beatrice lets on that the treatments gave her mother a boost in energy, allowing her to do things like walk the dog. The elderly woman was also less prone to coughs and colds.
In 2016, Beatrice crossed paths with TCM physician Leong Weizhen. Seeing how TCM helped her late mother eventually made her embark on a different career path.
Not without challenges
When they first met, Physician Leong was running a TCM clinic on her own. Beatrice volunteered to help with digital marketing efforts and business tripled within three months, so the TCM practitioner asked if Beatrice wanted to go into business together. But Beatrice said no.
“I felt that I was still missing skill sets in strategy and market expansion,” she says. She continued with her strategy consulting job to acquire the skills necessary, and it was only in 2019 that she left her corporate career to make the switch.
The two women worked on a brand revamp and launched Oriental Remedies Group, but Beatrice learnt very quickly that running a business was eating into her wellbeing.
“My biggest challenge is taking care of my own mental wellness. As I’m extremely driven and have very high standards for my work, I always find it hard to switch off. This was true even when I was an employee–I worked almost every weekend in my first three years of work.”
“It didn’t change even after I became an entrepreneur because there were simply too many things to do. Physician Leong and I pretty much work 24/7 over the 30 months, and some days, especially during the height of the Covid-19 outbreak, we were burnt out.”
This in turn led to feelings of doubt.
“There were definitely moments where I wondered, ‘Why did I leave my stressful corporate role for an even more stressful role as a business owner?’ But I think it is natural for someone who has given up a comfortable and consistent paycheck to feel this way.”
Positive thinking and gratitude
But Beatrice was determined to work through those negative feelings.
“Firstly, I remind myself to stay focused on my purpose–I joined the health and wellness business to help people prevent chronic conditions or manage these conditions in a way that improves their quality of life,” she lets on.
“Secondly, I focus on what I can influence, not my fears. When there’s a problem, I acknowledge its existence and my emotional reaction to it, but after that, I think about what I can do to improve the problem. This is the same for my fears.”
She also tries to put things in perspective.
“I often think to myself, ‘What is this problem I am facing compared to death or illness? What is the worst case?’ These questions allow me put things into perspective, which then allows me to be more patient.”
It helps that she practises gratitude and makes sure to always see things in a positive light.
“It can be something small like, ‘My toddler is making so much noise because he is healthy and active!’ I also pray and meditate as often so that I can practise being in the moment.”
Some entrepreneurial advice
To say that Oriental Remedies Group is doing well would be an understatement–it is on track to opening more outlets in the next few years and will soon also launch its e-commerce platform Sprout Health. The waiting time for a consultation is currently two weeks.
But Beatrice recognises that every entrepreneurial venture is a gamble and that one won’t ever know for sure if they will find success, so she has some advice for one who is looking to maximise their odds when embarking on a similar path.
“It is crucial that you know your strengths. A lot of people go into careers that do not suit their strengths. For example, if you are very good in analytics but somehow end up in, say, a sales role, it is a waste of your talent. All of us have unique strengths and we should develop them to our fullest potential,” she affirms.
She adds that it is also essential that you are clear of your career goals, and that you take steps towards them even if you can’t jump into your desired industry immediately.
“To gain experience in digital marketing and finance, I joined beginner classes so that I could lead my team better. In a corporate setting, this may mean moving from a front-end role to the supply chain, but there’s no harm if it serves a purpose for your end goal.”
Already running a business? In her opinion, your priority should be to invest in talent.
“Initially, we were afraid to spend too much, so we tried to do everything ourselves. But I think if we had hired more talent sooner, we’d have been less burnt out and been able to grow the business even faster. It has been a good learning experience.”