Monday, July 10, 2017

I am ready for the next big change!

It has been a while since I started blogging, and this has become my opening statement in every blog:) Pardon me for that. I do determine to make it regular tho.

Last weekend, we were very busy setting up for back to back events, and while doing so, a long serving manager of a venue made a comment when she saw me : "Hannah, how have you been? I want to share something that will encourage you. Do you know whenever I asked the young and new planners, who they are inspired by. Your name is the name they mentioned." I paused and pondered : Am I really happy to hear that? Or is there something I can do for the industry with my voice to the next generation? Looking back, I started personal instagram in recent year not because I love to share about my private life, in fact no one really knows the people that I love much, and I guarded this very closely.

But I instagram because I know my young adults and the next generation are listening. I have a group of youths that have been watching my life since I started Heaven's Gift. They knew me since I led worship in my younger days, and many still called me : Auntie Hannah.
I used to blog a lot because it is my way of therapy all along, and interestingly I drew a group of amazing clients and fans who actually read my blog. Then I merged with Kim for HW, and she was not comfortable to me initially being so open in the public media, and I restrained for a while.
But then I also realised, Hannah is who she is, bcos I am as real as it gets. I don't like to flatter, I learnt that if you want people to learn and excel, you need to tell them the truth even the hard truth, if not they will assume they are already there and often they ended up complacent and disillusioned. And I give compliments to those deserving. Maybe my method is not the best method, but that was how our generations were trained. We don't take short cuts, we don't allow ourselves to be complacent. We work hard, we discipline our body and brain, we work smart. We don't over promise, we always over deliver. And we learn not to assume or take at face value, we inspect before we expect, because we believe in excellence and not compromise.

That was my training as a student and the business world for first 10 years of my career before I went into creating my own business - i.e. Heaven's Gift. Now 14 years have passed as the founder of Heaven's Gift, and I looked back. I am very grateful that God has given me amazing clients who truly believe in me as a person, before my works. Every amazing creation you have seen, show you who I am, and who my clients are. They maybe well to do but they are often private, all they want is a good invested time for their friends. They have a style of elegance and sophistication that further inspire me to excel even better. And till today, they are still my fans and encouragers.
My Clients then are my today's supporting Fans and Encouragers. I am grateful!
Beginning of this year, I wrote a post that mentioned I am in a new journey of business growth. Last year, we launched Leap Inspire 2016, it was truly a very steep journey. We learnt and have seen more challenges in the wedding industry, and we knew 2016 and 2017 will be a tough time for many. So we decide to change path to make our team stronger. I came back from a sabbatical leave learning more about our own weaknesses and team dependency on me as the owner and founder. That makes me determined that I have to restructure my team and our processes, bcos we will not make it when the wave of crisis came. It was another steep learning, bcos as a captain, when you change your course for your ship, it always take time.. and thankfully we are a small ship.

Looking back, I am glad 2017 opens a new path. And I have also discovered the very thing I want for my life and my team. I don't want to create a business that is dependent on me, I don't want to own every business ideas that I have. In fact, I want a life that I can always call beautiful because I truly want to spend more time with the people I care about and love. Yet I know I am uniquely different, and God has raised me up to a time like this, to give me a platform that I can share, impart and empower. Not everyone has the opportunity of such, and as much as I am private, I learn again and again to be open about my business and how I have run it to where it is today.

Today, half of Heaven's Gift business is corporate consultation beyond weddings. And I am glad to say, Heaven's Gift Academy has been birthed. It was something I know I have to do, because it is about time to train the next generations the real skills of creating a business idea, and more importantly to make it work. And we are so glad, the regional market is open, and we travelled and speak. I always remind Kim and team : Just because we have an idea, doesn't guarantee that we will have a successful business model. We need to put in as much focus and determination to refine it to a model that will sustain in the long run. The lazy team will take shortcut and expects business to suddenly become uber overnight, but even then uber has also been struggling to sustain.

The saying goes : Passion begets Passion, Faith begets Faith.
So for those creative entrepreneurs and the Aspiring to be, if you truly want to be trained under a discipline that I have gone thru, write to us to enrol in our Academy, because we are in for something real.
Every Wow Creation comes with a Discipline and Training that is as intensive

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Heart of Everything!

It seems a norm to me now, that I only start picking my pen to write, in moments I least expected. Waking up at wee hours now, recovering from sore throat and fever, and yet the sudden awakening from it just refreshed my soul and my body finds new strength. I needed that strength esp we have back to back events and meetings for next few weeks.
Later today I will oversee a wedding setup, while my staff will run the wedding for her client.

And who will ever have expected that the video of Leap Inspire 2016 https://vimeo.com/163133011 will energise me at this juncture in my physical weakness.
Looking back it has been 2 years since we plan for that conference in 2015, and a year from where Leap Inspire inaugural conference was launched in Siem Reap. And honestly, 2016 was a sifting year for many. I have seen the rise and fall of many of the wedding vendors, and often I wish we can do something to help the businesses out there. I am reminded as an entrepreneur, if we want to grow, we have to keep evolving, and not stay complacent, and be quick to know where the next wind of change is leading us.

I have my fair share in 2016, esp I intentionally took a long break away from my business - Heaven's Gift. It might be a test of courage I was taking for myself and a test for my team to pass, to prove to me what we really have within us. And looking back, did I regret taking the sabbatical leave - Initially I was, just like any business owner, the challenge of sales and cash flow was real, and yet I knew I have to do it. Bcos if I never dare to dive into the unknown, I will not have sought the opportunity in the unknown.

Now stepping into 2017, I felt a sense of reset and relief, bcos I know we have persevered and overcome the unknown. A good pal reminded me before I went into the States for a conference in Jan : Hannah, if you know your "why" of being here, you will find your "what" and "how" to where you are heading. And that's so true, bcos when I came back finally in full force in September 2016 from the rest since April 2016, I knew I needed to restructure the team for the next leap. The old mindset and strategies of doing things must change, and a new wine needs new wineskin, bcos the old wineskin will burst if you insist to pour in the new wines in it.

2017 is launched with many new opportunities that seem scary and yet thrilling. We are given many new platforms beyond weddings, and it instills in me esp as the founder, a fresh breath of new beginnings. Many do not know before weddings, I have 10 years of corporate life that I sometimes still crave for. I have missed the brainstorming of new ideas with market leaders, the thrill of penetrating new markets with our clients and the leap into the unknown with strategists. As much as I love weddings,  the wedding world can sometimes be pretty micro and inward looking for me. So when the new platforms was ushered in our ways in the most unexpected manner, I know we are gliding into the new wave.

Am I scared of the steep learnings ahead? Yes definitely, but that is where I rely no longer on my current strength but fully submit to the Almighty above. This brought me back the memories of how I started Heaven's Gift 13 years ago, when all I have was a vision and a dream, no knowledge and no ideas of the wedding market, but a passion that persevers. And now as I move on to the 14th year of Heaven's Gift, God is preparing me to take the next decade of my career into another level that I have yet to imagine. I know when I am humbled to the base of relearning, I am at the same time ready to leap and glide along the winds of faith and soar into new heights.

Just as I am typing my blog, this familiar song is ringing in my mind.
At the end of the day what really matters is : I am true to myself, and I have lived a life worthy of the calling He has called me to fulfill. To God be His Glory! 


When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that's of worth
That will bless your heart
I'll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what you have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart
I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about you,


It's all about you, Jesus