(testing combining a blog post and a video blog as 1 WordPress post, feedback appreciated!)
Technically today is Jan 1, 2017 – while it is always confusing me to make separate blog posts about last year and one for the coming year – I’m gonna merge them up in my morning brain dump today.
Quarter 1 2016 – Full Time Hong Kong Business Agency
The year started out on a high, registering Hong Kong companies like no tomorrow, on calls with new clients, tons of new leads coming in. The years of blogging while doing Social Agent startup and then the merger with the app company Gigabud had now transitioned off into my going full time Global From Asia via a traditional incorporation agency.
MY DAUGHTER was born, Maggie, on Jan 24. The coldest day in Shenzhen’s history.
Also started video blogging on the regular. Inspired by Casey Neistat and Gary Vee, I did it daily…for a couple weeks, but that is exhausting, at least by yourself while you’re also running a consulting agency and other businesses and content channels. Still trying to do it weekly till this day.
Had the full time office in Hong Kong spending about 2 – 3 days a week in HK and the other half back at home with the wife and kids (and grandpa) in Shenzhen, China. Was a lot of cross border traveling and experience.
Also was busy planning our first Cross Border Summit for mid April and cross selling it to clients and blog readers and podcast listeners while finding a venue and getting speakers lined up. A very busy time.
Quarter 2, 2016 – HK Banking Crackdown Crisis
Technically this started happening right at the tail end of Q1 (Mid/late March) but really heated up in April. Literally on my birthday (April 2) I was getting calls from our clients that were getting issues on their pending bank account application. The “gangbuster” productized service sales I was doing on finally monetizing all my blogging and podcasting came to a halt. I couldn’t be as quick to take a new client if there was such a challenge in getting a bank account for them. So I was trying my best to help our current clients (really, going above and beyond, we have testimonials to back that up) with their banking, but updated our sales process to explain banking was extremely difficult and giving the client revised expectations. That hit hard on sales as many potential clients want a better sales pitch – I got some emotional backlash in the pre-sales process – but would rather deal with it before they become a client than after.
Other agencies also having similar issues, and I started to realize this is not my core strength or interest. Kept servicing current clients, and selling other services (audits, deregistration, address, company secretary) but our main money maker, new company setup, went into a tailspin.
The crazy part is I was upsold a massive life insurance policy at the bank a couple weeks before the crackdown. I did the insurance policy to “build my relationship” at the bank, but … That door closed once the major crackdown came.
And jeez, these clients of mine are not sketchy – we are online business owners. Intelligent, legitimate business people.
Started working on Cross border trips, did some complex HK tax case clients, launched a membership site for GFA after Cross Border Summit, trying lots of things out.
Q3 – Added More New Ventures, Enter China Membership Site, and Others
As I was trying to transition out of being solely dependent on my income from HK banking challenges, I was actively looking around for new revenue streams. Nick Ramil approached me about coming on a a partner at Enter China, a membership site for entrepreneurs wanting to build a product based business via Chinese manufacturing. It had been running for a few years and had good case studies and active members, and after a few months of discussions with new and old partners, a deal was signed.
On top of Enter China, things were heating up in Philippines and sorting out how to work best with Josh. Had gone down a couple times in the year and was working on the best setup working together with my being in HK and China and sorted things out.
Also took on more consulting clients for traditional HK/ China business setup and growth, and started doing some Wechat training, and setup accounts.
Q4 – Took A Partner in the HK Agency, CPA Ray Ng & Unipro, Focusing Now on My Core
To wrap up a wild 2016, I worked a deal with Ray Ng from Unipro Consulting Limited to merge our agencies. Effective Oct 1, 2016, we were both on the same side. He was one of my suppliers in the agency business, and my favorite to deal with. We saw each other’s strengths and weaknesses and putting our forces together immediately has seen 1 + 1 = 3.
So the last quarter of the year was sorting through this merger, getting both our teams (his “offline team” in HK, my “online team” mostly in Philippines) learn how to work together, I feel like an IT tech support teaching everyone how to use help desk systems, chat support, Slack, CRMs, etc etc.
While that transition happened, things have been picking up on the events and online information marketing business. Did another cross border trip, this time in HK in November, and have been planning 2017’s April Cross Border Summit since October with a bigger team and more experience after our first one.
Been trying to wrap up some lose ends with other ventures I started as I was exploring for new revenue streams – that HK banking seems to be getting harder and harder – and Ray and I feel we should only target companies who want to open a physical office in HK – seems Hong Kong doesn’t want to deal with e-commerce or online businesses anymore.
Excited for 2017
This past year I have really been active to working on what I want to do for 10, 20, 30 years in the future. Maybe its because I’m married with kids now, or just “maturing”, but I am not interested in short term projects anymore. Thinking if I am going to do something, I want it to be an asset that will last for decades.
I’m excited to be a partner with Ray and Unipro for the HK business agency, where my role is marketer and content producer.
And I’m really excited to have more time to focus on my strengths in all the projects I am in – creating content and doing marketing and business development.
Let’s rock 2017 and use 2016 and all those other decades as positive learning experiences to make our lives more rich in the future.