By Kenneth Choo
Most people dream of starting their own business; for Tin Peishan, however, one venture wasn't enough.
The 28-year-old has delved into the wilds of business start-ups no less than three times in the past two years.
Today, she runs an eclectic mix of businesses: a musical-themed café; a food stall selling Filipino cuisine; and an online wedding services provider.
Yet, she can be considered a late starter who hit the scene only in January last year.
"I've been keen on entrepreneurship since my university days, but didn't really dare to start a new business from scratch," she said, adding that she felt she lacked the "capital and courage" to strike out on her own earlier.
For six years after her university graduation, she was doing well as an investment banker - a high-paying job that offered her a lot of "career satisfaction and a strong sense of achievement". She wasn't stuck in a corporate rut, but she was restless.
"It was an internal struggle, as I loved my job . . . But I've always craved a different kind of recognition," said the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) business graduate. "I wanted to build something I could look back on 10 years later and feel proud of."
Opportunity first knocked in late 2010, when Ms Tin was planning her own wedding with her fiance, a navy regular.
At that time, she was frustrated with having to navigate the clutter of forum-based wedding services on the Internet.
Ms Tin spotted a gap in the market for a user-friendly, Web-based solution.
So she set up The Wedding Bureau - an online platform with rich resources and a directory listing of vendors.
She has since been well and truly bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.
Two forays into the food and beverage industry were what followed.
The first was Broadway Café, a Duxton Road coffee joint serving an array of alcoholic cakes.
It was a joint venture with her sister and a friend that took off at the end of last year.
The cafe was renovated last month to bring in various Broadway musical themes like Mamma Mia and Hairspray.
Ms Tin says that the convenient location and cosy ambience proved an instant hit with the corporate crowd, who hold regular business meetings there.
Following the cafe, she joined forces with her husband to acquire a food stall in a Joo Chiat coffeeshop that serves Filipino cuisine.
She says that the food sold at Adobo! can be best described as "Filipino zi char food" - affordable hawker fare with a unique, non-local twist.
Ms Tin ran all three businesses while working full-time at the bank - until just three months ago.
"It was only when the streams of income started flowing in that I decided to take a leap of faith and devote all my time to pursuing my ventures."
She applied for sabbatical leave in May, and was immediately given the go-ahead by her bosses.
There were many naysayers at first. But like most start-up junkies, Ms Tin has a high tolerance for risk and does not pay much heed to the criticism.
She recalls how the website developer for her wedding portal heckled her constantly about how he felt her fledgling site could not compete with the more established names in the industry.
Her own parents didn't hold back on the wanting me to focus solely on one business". "I always tell them it's still too early to judge me," Ms Tin says.
"I also say that I'm afraid of losing the opportunities if I don't take hold of them."
She feels that robust business ideas justify repeated forays into uncharted territory. "You can't go into business unless you have a sound business idea. Without one, the business will be killed easily and all your money will be sucked away."
But, she admits that even the best made plans can go awry.