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Sonalie Figueiras | Hong Kong | Choose Wisely!

I have a typical founder story! I was inspired to create Ekowarehouse because I could not find what I needed. In 2012, I was looking for organic coconut sugar online for a food business I wanted to start and I realized there was no safe, trusted online platform to source certified organic ingredients so I abandoned the food business and pursued Ekowarehouse instead. With Green Queen, I did not intend to make it a business at first. I was simply collecting information about how to live a healthy and eco - friendly life in Hong Kong. I thought others may want to use it so I put it online as a blog. When my business partner and I realized that we had a regular audience, we made the decision to turn into an actual media business.

What three pieces of advice would you give to college students (young and old) locally or internationally who want to become entrepreneurs?

I would say that it's important to get as much varied work experience as possible: learn about marketing, learn about customer service, learn about data analysis, learn about product analysis. The more tools and skills you have when you start out as an entrepreneur, the better. Secondly, find a business partner. It's really tough to go it alone - no matter how smart and talented you are. Two heads and hearts are always better than one. Finally, choose your business partner wisely: make sure they are good at communicating, look for someone with complementary skills.

If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

I would have spent more time figuring out what I was good at and what I enjoyed earlier on - I wasted some time in jobs that were not a good fit. I would also have looked for a great mentor- I feel I missed out not having one.

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

That's a tough question because obviously it depends what industry you are in but in terms of character traits: be bold, be focused and be consistent. I think starting a business is actually quite easy. But having the grit to keep going when things are difficult or when you haven't been paid for a long time or when you are working 16 hour days for weeks on end- that's the really tough part. I also think most extremely successful entrepreneurs have vision: they can see where things are heading before the average bear. Finally, I think it's important to be looking for more than just success or money: a true entrepreneur is trying to change the world they found for the better.

Timing Matters!

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