Gen Y Speaks: I quit my full-time job amid Covid-19 to start my own business

I worked at a few startups including TheSmartLocal and Vulcan Post for over four years before deciding in 2020 to leave and start my own company, Strongsilvers, a tech start-up that provides marketing services for the silver generation by the silver generation. .

Ever since I was young I have been fascinated by technology and business and have a keen interest in creating and selling things.

Growing up, I realized I had a knack for selling, whether it was as a door-to-door ice cream vendor or selling music CDs that I burned to my friends, or running a food cart offering tze char dishes in various institutes. of higher education.

In 2017, after completing a business degree in information technology and my national service, I decided to enroll in the part-time degree program in marketing at the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS ) because I could work full time to pay for my studies. .

Many people questioned this decision to pursue the more difficult path, but I had a plan in mind – which was to effectively gain real-life experience and apply academic knowledge at the same time while paying back my student loan.

My time at SUSS encouraged me to grow and think about various business ideas.

I got my first taste of entrepreneurship when I pitched a business idea to prevent underage smoking using artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology, which won the first prize in an international presentation competition.

It opened my eyes to the size of the startup ecosystem and the kind of opportunities available to them.

Seeing the lack of knowledge I still had, I decided to find a job that landed me at The Smart Local, a lifestyle publisher, as a content strategist.

My job was to propose content strategies to companies for paid partnerships.

I gained many valuable experiences managing clients, managing accounts, creating new sales opportunities and learning how to better manage my team in the future.

After graduating, it was a financial burden on my chest and that’s when I thought about what I really wanted to do, which was to start a business.

Some would think the timing couldn’t be worse due to the pandemic.

My family was quite shocked when I decided to leave a stable job at the end of 2020. But after sharing my plans for the next two years, they understood that I was not jumping into this without thinking.

My plan was to leverage new initiatives to support entrepreneurs, including Enterprise Singapore and Workforce Singapore’s SGUnited Venture Builder Internship Program, and the Alibaba Cloud-SUSS Entrepreneurship Program.

As a founder, these acceleration programs have helped me in a variety of ways.

First, they provided me with a stipend to relieve the financial stress of leaving a full-time job. Second, they allowed me to connect with like-minded founders and industry experts who could provide helpful tips, leads, and insights.

It was through the business creation program that I met the co-founders of my business, and that’s how Strongsilvers was born.

I was inspired to start a business for seniors because I saw a market opportunity for this segment. However, things weren’t easy as we faced many challenges along the way that caused us to change course several times.

We first created a job portal for the silver generation, but despite some success, we quickly changed strategy as it was difficult to find senior-friendly jobs.

We moved to just listing jobs on social media, but we encountered a lot of difficulties in onboarding users.

In each adaptation, we had to let go of everything we had done and move on. It’s something common in startups as opposed to a traditional business, but it’s boring when it comes to explaining this concept to our friends and family.

Donald E. Patel