SINGAPORE – For Fiona Loh, juggling marketing, accounts, customer service and product development is part of day-to-day business.
The 28-year-old swapped computers for cookies last year when she quit her permanent job as a technology product manager for a bank to run her own whiskdom bakery business.
“Every day I felt something nudge inside me: what if, what if, what if?” Loh told CNBC.
And she is not alone. Loh is among a growing number of people who are quitting their 9 to 5 jobs to pursue their passion after the pandemic disrupted traditional industries and careers.
Last year, although job security was difficult to achieve for many, more than two in five (41%) employees were reportedly considering leaving their jobs to start their own business a Singapore study by the recruitment company Randstad.
For the self-taught baker Loh, the choice was clear.
When Singapore’s lockdown last year fueled the appetite for homemade baked goods, she saw an opportunity to get away from it all and take it away Instagram Side Hustle one step higher.
In July 2020, with the pandemic, Loh left her clerk job to take on Whiskdom full time.
“I worked back to back between my day job and my nightly hustle and bustle – a good 20 hours a day,” she said. “There came that day when I sat there and couldn’t think. My mind was so tired … I just felt like I couldn’t go on.”
28-year-old Singaporean Fiona Loh quit her banking job to run her own bakery business during the pandemic.
The young founder moved operations from her parents’ home to a commercial kitchen in central Singapore by October as demand for her melted Levain-style brownies and biscuits and an 18-month waiting list increased.
Loh’s is a success story in a year in which many industries, particularly food and beverage and retail, have been hit by the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns.
However, according to Xiu Ru Lim, a lecturer in economics at the Singapore Polytechnic, the economic landscape was suitable for first-time business owners through 2020 and 2021.
“This could actually be an opportunity for many companies,” said Lim. “Around the globe we can see many new companies starting up. Quite a number of companies, although the statistics do not fully show this, are actually individual companies. “
Indeed in 2020, Business closings actually fell while the number of new The founded companies remained stable than the government of Singapore – like many other developed nations – offered loans, grants and rent waivers Keep small businesses afloat.
Digital payments and other technologies have lowered the barriers to entry for many new business owners.
Meanwhile, the rapid adoption of technology during the reporting period opened the market for new businesses, Lim said.
“The competition has calmed down a bit,” she said. “With government grants and incentives actually encouraging businesses to go digital, small business owners have been given the opportunity to look into getting started.”
Business ownership can take a tremendous personal and financial toll – and this remains a significant obstacle preventing many other potential business owners from achieving their goals.
In turn, Loh received a government Grant for her stoves, but she had to spend $ 50,000 Singapore dollars (around $ 37,500) in personal savings to fund the project. That put her dreams of weddings and home buying on hold, she said, adding that she has not yet reached her previous salary.
“If I had really wanted the money, I would have stayed in the banking business,” Loh said, noting that she is now drawing “a minimum amount” – enough to pay her daily living expenses and insurance bills. The remainder of the income was reinvested in the company and three full-time employees were hired, including her 62-year-old father.
As a new employer with a growing business, Loh now has to plan its business even more carefully for the future.
It is estimated that 20% of new businesses fail within the first two years and 45% within five years – often due to a lack of market knowledge, rapid expansion and lack of finances.
Even so, the young entrepreneur insisted that she wouldn’t be returning to the office anytime soon.
“When you go into business, you have to be everything in the end and do everything yourself in the end,” said Loh. “It’s very different from being employed. But it’s really fun for me.”