Dare to dream

Dare to dream
(Left to right) Pat Law, Verleen Goh and Amira Karim.

Pat Law, early 30s, founder of social influence agency Goodstuph

Pat's aim when she started her branding agency in 2010: for the company to be in the black within three months. Turns out, it was never in the red to begin with.

Sure, she saved on rent, thanks to a good pal who had kindly extended her office space in his own agency for free.

But Pat also ran the company single-handedly for six months, doing everything from paperwork, making follow-up calls, networking, graphic design and writing copy for campaigns - no surprise that instant noodles became her best friend.

She stuck it out, only hiring help when she was sure she could pay her staff for at least a year.

Today, she has eight employees - all paid above market rate ("I refuse to run a sweatshop") - who dream up campaigns for big names like Sephora, United Overseas Bank, Ben & Jerry's and Nike.

Pat has even opened an office in Bangkok recently, and is set to open another one in Hong Kong by June.

PAT'S TIPS

- Need help? Ask!

"I'm terrible at numbers, so I hired an accountant on an ad hoc basis. If you've never run your own business before, get advice from someone who has. If you're not a natural salesperson, then don't bother with the cold calls and stick with existing clients."

- Don't behave like a newbie.

"Run your business like you're one of the big boys. Just because you're new doesn't give you an excuse to make mistakes like not replying to an e-mail or not sending out an invoice."

- Learn to say no.

"Don't bite off more than you can chew. In the early days, I had to reject a big bank as a client because I knew I would not be able to deliver the results the bank wanted."

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