How many of us believe we can achieve much more than just our current full-time employment? What about having an own PR company and owning a bespoke luxury shoe label? One man was able to do both and at this moment continuing to grow both, happily. As they say, when you love what you do, then you become even better at what you do. Your work becomes your passion. Today, let’s learn from Mr. Xavier Mah, the founder of public relations company Xavier Mah Consultancy and owner of a bespoke luxury shoe label, XALF. Who knows, some of us may get inspired to do more.
Q1 – What / Who sparked that first thought about entrepreneurship?
I was always very ambitious when it came to proposing my own creative ideas to clients, but when you are just an employee and a small part of a bigger business you cannot always realise these ideas in the way you want because there are limitations and company regulations you have to follow. I wanted to work more freely and independent with no one standing between me and my clients. I knew that in order to fully utilise my potential and deliver my clients the best possible service, I needed to do my own thing and become my own boss.
Q2 – How did you get prepared for this experience?
My time at Media Prima and my studies prepared me for the professional part of being a PR practitioner, but nothing prepared me for the challenges that lied ahead as an entrepreneur. Reading the right books and surrounding myself with like-minded people who already were entrepreneurs or were planning on becoming one helped a lot. They inspired me and gave me the necessary confidence to become an entrepreneur myself despite pressure and opposition from different parties and finally I took the risk and just jumped in at the deep end. But no matter how much I heard or read, the best way to learn was to try it myself and make my own experiences.
Q3 – What would the 4 things everyone must bear in mind before they start?
1) Know what you want. You need to have a plan for your business. This plan might be very detailed or it might just outline a few steps along the way, but it is a viable tool for managing a business. If you just set something up with a mindset that says ‘Let’s see where it goes’, you will inevitably fail.
2) Work hard. Nothing in life is free, and if you want to make your dreams come true, you have to start now. Behind every success story is a story of sacrifice, effort and the will to be better than the rest.
3) Take 100% responsibility for your life. Your life is only as good as you make it, and blaming others for your ill success is not only a bad trait, it will also never change your situation.
4) Believe in yourself. Every beginning is hard, buy you have all the right tools within you to make it happen. Failing is nothing bad and can happen to anyone. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs have tried multiple times before they landed their one hit. Just don’t give up and use your inexperience as an advantage to do things in new, exciting and innovative ways.
Q4 – Tell us about your mentor / or the books that you read / courses that you attended that has helped you tremendously.
The biggest influence on me during the early days of my career had A Cut Above’s founder Winnie Loo, as she had the confidence to take me in when I was still a fresh graduate lacking in real work experience. She took me under her wing and I was impressed by her professionalism and personality. To see her success as an entrepreneur significantly shaped the way I saw my own future.
Another role model for me was Hong Ju Khee, a former anchorwoman from ntv7. She was known as being the only newscaster who had excellent command in English, Malay and Mandarin. In turn, this had convinced me to take the language papers in my STPM because I realized that being multi-lingual would be a very useful skill for my in regards to my career’s choice
One highly inspirational book I recommend everyone to read is Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson. Don’t be fooled by the quirky title, it is actually a great allegory about the significance of changing and adapting to new situations, a feature that gained more and more importance in our fast and globalised world.
Also take a look at The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield, a memorable and inspiring guide to build your confidence, your ambition and in the end your success.
Q5 – What’s your goal 3 years from today?
Businesswise I want to further expand both XALF and Xavier Mah Consultancy to international markets. It’s my dream to set foot into heart of the fashion scene in New York and Paris and see my collections on the runways of the world’s most important fashion shows.
Personally it makes me very happy to tell my story and share my experiences with others to inspire them to follow their dreams like I did. If time allows I would like to do more workshops and teach young entrepreneurs my principles, maybe supported by a book I’ll write.
About Xavier Mah:
I’ve a voice. I want to see how far it can travel. I’m a public relations consultant by trade and the founder of Xavier Mah Consultancy (founded in Jan 2011). I’ve always wanted to work with the media, and mastering the art of communicating though various platforms accorded to me is where I aim to make my presence felt. I’ve always approach life with a simple modus operandi, “confidence without arrogance”, because it renders you accessible yet competent in your field of work.
I’m not afraid to dream big and I always believe you’re never too young to carve out your niche in life. Always stay positive and have a clear sight of your goals in mind. Yet, be malleable to change and be ready to adapt. Traditional print media, television and radio have seen the onslaught of the internet and social media where information disseminated has a greater reach. It’s daunting but it’s also an indicator that our sphere of influence is flattening in out. Indeed, we can reach out to anyone in all four corners of the globe and they can reply us.
And that’s what I love about my craft: the way in which I can help my clients access their target demographics is that much more dynamic and not static. We live in a multilingual country, but we live in a world so diverse that now anything is quite literally possible.
And that was where I eventually found my calling as a PR consultant after a few years. I’m also a budding columnist and the founder of XALF (founded in Dec 2012)– a purveyor of edgy, bespoke footwear for an affluent female clientele. I love what I do. I plan, I coordinate, and I execute. I love fashion and entertainment and this is where I’ve thrived. I live to connect with people and I’ve come to appreciate life for all that it has to offer.
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