This week, join us with Pearlin Siow, book mama behind Boss of Me. Pearlin started writing business motivational books about 11 years ago in 2008. Driven by her thirst for entrepreneurship, she Googled and found 20 inspiring "bosses" and interviewed them for her first book, Boss Of Me which became a bestseller - and three other books followed, Sleep & Get Rich, Secrets Of Asia's Most Successful Internet Gurus and Do You Have What It Takes To Be Boss.
Hi, I’m Pearlin Siow, book mama behind Boss of Me, a boutique bookwriting and publishing company. I am also a fervent fur baby and tree hugger who is always on the quest for the best bites.
To be honest, I wanted to be a vet when I was growing up, then I realised that I didn’t have the stomach and heart to witness animals dying on a daily basis. But, when I was in Primary School, my essays would get passed around class, that was the first inkling I guess of my writing career. Then I realised that I made up for my lack of studies with my flair for writing during my examinations. I guess the biggest “wake up call” was when I landed a coveted job as a reporter for Singapore Press Holdings right after school - after doing an internship with them.
I didn’t set out to create a boutique book publishing business. My business grew very organically and it was largely due to the demands of my clients, which is what I love about it. After writing my trilogy of books (Boss Of Me, Sleep & Get Rich and Secrets Of Asia’s Most Successful Internet Gurus), one of the entrepreneurs from the last book approached me to write his biography. He then referred his mentor to me and before I knew it, I was getting a steady flow of clients who wanted to write books. Then my clients asked if I could help them self-publish and that’s when I started the production side of Boss Of Me - working with designers, printers and book distributors for my clients who wish to self-publish.
I actually owe my career to Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. In 2008, I was toying with the idea of writing a book but thought, “Who will read a book written by a nobody?” Tim wrote inside his book that you can interview experts for a book and be immdiately deemed an “expert”! That was my lightbulb moment and gave me the impetus to interview 20 top entrepreneurs in Singapore, and Boss Of Me became a bestseller! Thanks Tim!
For me, the ability to write simply and effectively is important as a writer. You don’t need to use bombastic words in order to write well, in fact, that’s off-putting to me. I like to think that I’m writing for my 16-year-old niece – if I am able to captivate her attention, then it’s good writing.
On top of writing well, it is important to have blind belief in yourself, because if you don’t trust in yourself, who will?
Case in point: I did not want to be a run-of-the-mill writing agency with Boss Of Me, so I focused only on books even though I got many requests to do copywriting jobs. Fast forward to now and Boss Of Me has become a small giant in the book writing niche. In fact, I scored a huge deal with an Indonesian tycoon who was referred to me by the former Supreme Court judge. It is humbling to have my name bandied about in the upper echelons of society and getting top-tier clients as a result. This allows me to focus on taking less jobs and doing them really well.
Just like most business-owners, I had lots of self-doubt in the beginning. I wasn’t even sure that writing could even support me, much less be a business. After all, how many books can one write, is there even a market for this? It took me about six months to face my fears and push through with my vision. Unwavering certainty in myself worked and I have been working on eight books a year consistently for the last five years! Tim Ferriss, my favourite author, says that the best jobs are the ones that you created for yourself - this couldn't ring more true in my case. I've never admired celebrities instead I seek out entrepreneurs and devour their rags-to-riches stories, struggles and achievements like a star-struck fan. This is my dream job and my network is now worth billions.
When you are inspired and excited, wonderful things will happen for you. Celebrate the small wins and let them propel you further into your goals. Operate from a level of contentment, so that you see everything you get as a bonus. This makes you grateful and when you're in that blissful state, you will attract endless abundance. My favourite quote is by Neale Donald Walsch and he says, "The struggle ends when the gratitude begins."
"The struggle ends when the gratitude begins." - Neale Donald Walsch
Most people will pay thousands of dollars to be mentored by my clients, I on the other hand, get paid to spend hours immersed in their words of wisdom, asking them all the questions I want as well as gain a deep insight into their personal lives - I’ve even had CEOs break down and cry during our interviews.
After meeting so many successful entrepreneurs, here are five lessons I’ve learnt:
Lesson 1: That you can be nice and still get to the top. Most of the successful entrepreneurs I met are some of the nicest people I know.
Lesson 2: Desperation is the best driver for success. All my clients have tasted unsurmountable hardship and that gave them the will to succeed.
Lesson 3: You don't need a degree to succeed, as long as you possess passion and fortitude. Many of my clients did badly in school due to learning disabilities and found other skills to excel in life.
Lesson 4: You need to develop a clear sense of what you want to achieve. The mind is an amazing tool and if you have a goal in sight, you will achieve what you focus on. All of them had very specific goals and were not afraid to work their a**es off!
Lesson 5: Use what makes you different to your advantage and embrace the unknown. Whether it's finding an untapped niche and dominating it, or having an extraordinary idea and the guts to follow through with it, I’ve actually used this lesson for my business and profited from it.
Success to me means being autonomous and having the freedom to NOT do what I don’t like. It’s a very simple concept that is very powerful. Choose to focus on what you enjoy which you’ll naturally excel in and hire amazing people to do the stuff that you don’t like doing. When you follow this practice, you’ll be successful...and happy!
Also, learn to let go. It doesn't mean doing shoddy work but freeing yourself up to do what you're strong at and finding people who are better at you to do things that are holding you back from achieving your long-term goals. That was the best thing I did for my business.
About the Author:
Currently, Pearlin runs Boss Of Me – a boutique book-publishing agency based in Singapore that helps people write as well as publish books. Together with her team of content specialists, she has written several bestselling biographies for top entrepreneurs and companies in Asia. Her clients range from billionaires to stay-at-home mothers.
When not hanging around inspiring people or travelling, Pearlin can be found in the yoga studio perfecting her asanas.