A good business owner knows when to continue going or to cut his or her loss right? Well that’s a sense which is not common. Many people persist in a business venture even when loss and failure can be seen at the end of the tunnel. This mentor thought me how to follow my “Exit” or “Stay” instincts.
We are so excited to profile Cheryl Yeoh in our Meet-A-Mentor segment. I am sure many folks will benefit from her entrepreneurial tenacity.
I learned a lot from her over the years, and I had the pleasure of meeting her at the 2016 Brain Bar Budapest. we had an interesting conversation about start-ups and mentorship, I thanked her for mentoring me indirectly.
At the age of 18, Cheryl left her native country Malaysia for Cornell University in the United States to study Science and Engineering.
Cheryl stated that she saw herself as a creative or business owner, but she took a shot at engineering studies anyway.
She finished her studies, she created tech companies that helped the lives of so many folks and the rest of the puzzle just falls into place.
She co-founded Reclip.It, a personalized shopping list app that helps people save money by matching list items with digital coupons and weekly ads from top retail stores like Walmart, Macy’s, Walgreens, Target, BestBuy, Home Depot, CVS, etc.
In 2012, Reclip.It was selected by Instyle Magazine as “Best of the Web” and previously received funding from 500Startups, Great Oaks VC and angel investors in Silicon Valley and NYC. In 2013, the Reclip.It team joined Walmart Labs to continue their work to help tens of millions of people “save more money and live better” by combining advanced personalization technology with big data to develop new, differentiated experiences for the savvy shopper on walmart.com.
Prior to Reclip.It, she co-founded CityPockets with Jhony in 2010, the very first digital wallet and secondary marketplace for daily deals. CityPockets has been Netted by the Webbys and featured by CNN, WSJ, Forbes, GigaOm, AllThingsD, Lifehacker, CNET, Mashable, and TheNextWeb.
Cheryl was the founding CEO of Founding CEO Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC), Malaysia Start-ups accelerator for young entrepreneurs.
♦ Top 44 Female Founders Every Entrepreneur Should Know 2012, Mashable
♦ Top 10 Women in Digital Award 2012, L’Oreal
♦ Top 25 Women Driving NY’s Tech Scene in 2011, Betabeat via NY Observer
♦ Selected as one of 10 Global Women Ambassadors to hike Kilimanjaro on charity fundraiser in March 2013, Ladies Trekking Club
7 Mentorship Lessons from Cheryl
1. Let go to grow
Research shows that when an entrepreneur has poured a lot of effort into a new business, they find it hard to let go when things go south. However, being a good entrepreneur is not just about being determined, they also need to be equipped with the ability to sense when it is time to walk away.
2. Success stories often start with failure
It is very unlikely to find someone who became successful right off the bat. Most people fail at their initial ventures before finding the right “fit” for them. Sometimes to rise higher than before, you might have to fall first.
3. “Entrepreneurs by definition look at problems and solve them”
Almost every successful business is into the problem-solving equation. For instance, startups like Uber and Lyft are solving an extremely critical problem for both drivers and riders. Better yet, create a startup that can solve a unique problem that others have not solved yet.
4. Be smart, be lean
In a book written by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden about applying lean principles, they used Cheryl Yeoh as an example of someone who used the Lean UX approach to validate the idea that she had.
5. Don’t be afraid to fail, be brave to start
Cheryl had won a scholarship to study science and engineering at Cornell University. After graduating, Cheryl worked as a management consultant in New York. Following that, she resigned and took that big leap to start her own tech venture.
Cheryl shared on her blog regarding her not-so-glamourous life prior to starting CityPockets. She had to sleep on couches for a month, then she decided to buy a $50 futon from Craigslist. For 2 ½ months, she was on a shoestring budget living on a strict food budget of $35 per week.
6. Don’t spend all your health, in search of wealth.
Cheryl is quite a health enthusiast. This stunning woman entrepreneur has always been a very active person. During an interview with Health Works, she shared that she enjoys high intensity workouts like kickboxing and sparring. Despite her busy schedule, she tries to meditate for 10 minutes every other night.
7. Give back to your community and help others along the way.
Cheryl has gone on to become a mentor for a number of startups around the globe. Passionate about building great entrepreneurs, she was appointed to become the first CEO of MaGIC in April 2014. Doing what she knows best, Cheryl offers mentorship to budding entrepreneurs, sharing her experiences at the at the Founder Institute, the Lean Startup Machine Weekend, MaGIC Accelerator Program, as well as various other platforms and talks.
CA – Closing Notes
I was authorized by Cheryl to curate her data available on several domains for this post, she also promised to answer follow up questions. Please send in your questions and I’d pass them to Cheryl.
Acknowledgements – cherylyeoh.com, techinasia.com, thestoryexchange.org, vulcanpost.com.