When Lunch Actually co-founder and CEO Violet Lim graduated with a law degree from the University of Manchester and a masters degree from London School of Economics, she was expected to take the usual route of pursuing a career either in banking or law, as her parents who were small business owners knew of the hurdles she might face when starting up.
But just when she received blessings from her parents in her entrepreneurial pursuit, she faced a whole set of new challenges: the stigma attached to dating agencies that prevented them from getting an office and advertising space to properly run the business ten years back.
Friends also discouraged Lim from starting the company with then-fiance Jamie Lee, simply because a dating relationship could complicate things. But she went ahead because she believed that both complemented each other within the business in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Arguments and conflicts definitely arose, but how Lim and her husband resolves them at present day is to be goal and objective-orientated, be it in family or business decisions.
Can an entrepreneur have it all? Lim thinks one can strike the balance between work and personal life, only “with a lot of discipline” and “a lot of help” from “a strong support network” from family. She added:
Actually, being an entrepreneur has actually given me a lot of flexibility to arrange my own schedule to balance between work and family. […] I think entrepreneurs are in the best position to have it all, as we are the captain of our own ship and we get to dictate our own schedule.
Now Lunch Actually is well on its way to open its fifth office in Jakarta, but like any entrepreneur, she didn’t have it easy. When she first started, the technology and fundraising scene in Singapore was not as well-developed unlike now where seed and series A funding are more readily available. She urges aspiring entrepreneurs who have great ideas to give it a shot, as “there’s no better time to start”.
But of course, one needs to have the right mindset and attitude to bring businesses to another level. If she had to pick, she says the thirst for knowledge and never-say-die attitude are the most necessary traits for entrepreneurs:
There will always be people smarter and have more money than you. However, with perseverance and a great learning attitude – be it reading, asking, or listening – you will make it one day. Always be humble, and have a strong sense of gratitude to those who have helped you, and remember to pay it forward.
Enjoy the video!
[Video production credits: OHBOY! Pictures]