Derrick Kwa Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Derrick Kwa
Derrick Kwa is our guest today on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview.
He is a man, who unlike so many people really started creating his dream as soon as he could.
He left school at 16, with no network and no idea what he would do.
He just knew he couldn’t keep going through the motions anymore.
Even though it was extremely scary, he had to forge his own path, to start living the life that he wanted, on his own terms.
As he says “I’ve always been a believer in doing what you love and building life on your terms. And since leaving school at 16, I’ve been doing that with my life.
Since then, I’ve done two programs with Seth Godin, played in professional poker tournaments, travelled through 10 countries in 2 years, and started a marketing agency in Singapore with clients such as Wacoal Singapore and QuickBooks Asia.
How The Dots Joined Up For Derrick
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Derrick Kwa such as:
Why he always had a natural curiosity with life and couldn’t shake the feeling that there should be a challenge posed everyday which he wasn’t getting unless he went searching for it
Why it is so mad that the world has to be at their desk at 9:00am and work until 17:00pm, where we now have the option of choosing time and location so easily.
Why he remembers creating his marketing company and realising that he hadnt quite achieved what he wanted as the stress was building into something he didnt want.
Why the first step to creating a business is looking at the people all around you, and finding people you know that need your help.
How To Connect With Derrick Kwa
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Derrick Kwa Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:36]
Yes, hello there. Good morning to you and welcome to Episode 615 of Join Up Dots. Yes, that means it’s a proper show. It’s not gonna disappear. This show is gonna keep on going. Keep on bringing motivational conversational chat to your ears, and keep on finding the kind of guests that we’ve got on today who is I believe in Singapore at the moment, I thought that he’d finished his day’s work because it’s The early afternoon bear. But now he says he works between 10 o’clock and two o’clock in the morning. Don’t know how he does it, but we’re going to find out how he does it, and how he burns the candle at both ends to create a future for himself that is quite remarkable. Now, unlike so many people who connect with me on Join Up Dots, he is a bit different because he really started creating his dream as soon as he could. He left school at 16 with no network and no idea what he would do he just know he couldn’t keep going through the motions anymore. Even though it was extremely scary. He had to 40 his own path to start living the life that he wanted on his own terms. And as he says, I’ve always been a believer in doing what you love and building life on your terms. And since leaving school at 16. I’ve been doing that with my life. Since then, I’ve done two programmes with Seth Godin played in professional poker tournaments travelled through 10 countries in two years, and started a marketing agency in Singapore with clients such as wakko, Singapore, and QuickBooks Asia. Now I host a passion blueprint where I share the story He’s a people who have taken a step out to do what they love to inspire, and help others do the same. Well, it seems as if our guest has 100% the same belief as your friendly neighbourhood UK podcast. Yes, we see the world but he’s just going through the motions. And why should you do that when you have the ability to connect with people across the world that you’ve never had before you have the use of technology people, your fingerprints more powerful than we’ve ever had before, too. And we have more people showing us the way to build a life of your dreams if you only decide on what you want to do. So let’s ask some quick questions. Why at the age of 16, did he feel that he’d been coasting when I would suggest that the world is expected to coast at that age and just stumble into a job, any job? And now he’s done it? Does he see an easier path and he could have taken or was the work ethic required to really get him where he wanted to be? Well, let’s find out as we bring them to the show to start joining up dots with the one and only missed that Derrick Kwa. Good morning to you, Derrick. How are you sir?
Derrick Kwa [3:00]
Hey, I’m good thanks for having me man.
David Ralph [3:03]
It is lovely to have you on Join Up Dots is Join Up Dots 615 is that the number that you hope to be on right at the very beginning?
Derrick Kwa [3:13]
Oh, that’s a nice number like I I love you know, kind of perfect we even like round numbers like the fives and 10s and stuff. So being 15 is actually a nice you know a nice feeling for me
David Ralph [3:26]
because because he saw the the Asians they do a lot of sort of numbers stuff don’t know they saw
Derrick Kwa [3:32]
Yeah, I mean, I’m a huge math geek. Right so so you know, I love numbers. Very important thing to me. That’s like a spiritual level, just psychologically. a certain number just you better for you.
David Ralph [3:45]
Yeah, I think my my lucky number is number one. I always say that people always go number 12 number 18. And I think number one if you can be number one, that’s good. Why wouldn’t everybody have fat as their lucky number? good
Derrick Kwa [3:59]
soul Standard, good.
David Ralph [4:05]
You can’t say that my number is standard being number one isn’t that Well, isn’t that what the world wants? And I would say to you, sir, like, you’ve started me off, right? Every beginning, we’re gonna have an argument here. But isn’t number one one of those numbers that is so easy to attain, because it’s right at the very beginning, but people are frightened of it and even frightened of saying that they want to be number one.
Derrick Kwa [4:29]
I think it’s one of those things that I like, you know, cuz it’s, you know, it’s the first number and it’s the first thing everyone thinks out there. People have a bit of the innate thing where you don’t want to be like everyone else. And no, like, if you tell someone to think of a number between one and 10 your instinct is to choose something kind of in the middle. Yeah, of like six or seven is I think the most common number of people choose me to wear tennis seven, seven along
David Ralph [4:58]
what would be the number between one and 10, then I mean, I won’t talk about numbers anymore. This is probably the most boring start doing an episode we’ve ever had. But what is your favourite number between one and 10?
Derrick Kwa [5:10]
For me, um, I will say true.
David Ralph [5:15]
I love the fact that you say for me, there’s only you and me on these podcasts? Who the hell would I’ve been asking?
Derrick Kwa [5:22]
I look like trees. I’ve gotten really into the whole like pattern of trees thing in the past couple of years. And like marketing and writing and basically everything right, this rule of rule of threes thing comes up so much psychologically, and it’s really cool to me. But let’s
David Ralph [5:40]
start talking about you because you are somebody sir, who has had hustle muscle, right from the very early days. And of course, we’re going to talk about what you’re doing for a living now. That’s why you’re on the show. But it fascinated me that you said you know, right from the early days, I didn’t want to go through the emotions. Now. I was a child that might surprise you. And I think most of the listeners out there today, they were children too. And we all coasted we all just went through the motions. You know, I’ve got a house full of children at the moment, but you don’t want to do anything other than lay on the sofa with their tablets, watching YouTube videos. Where did you get that for us all to sort of look around and go, I want more at such an early age.
Derrick Kwa [6:24]
Oh, I think I’ve always kind of had, you know, a certain natural curiosity. And no being intellectually challenged has always been a thing for me. I grew up. I grew up in the gifted programme in Singapore. And so we always kind of pushed to strive for the best. And I remember being 16 and now being 15. And the year above me just finished the old levels. And you know, like all of us is greater with like, six points being the best thing the straight A’s. I remember hearing one of my seniors talking and saying anything worse than six points is basically considered a disgrace to the gifted programme. The standard we were always held to. So like being constantly challenged was always a thing for me. And after a while to just, you know, didn’t feel like it was doing that anymore. I was just in school because it was what everyone else did. And getting bored with it and like, you know, in Singapore spending in some of my days in school at 15 at 15 and 16. I was in school from like, eight in the morning to six in the evening on Sundays.
David Ralph [7:44]
Oh, I thought you I thought you were still carrying I was so hanging on your every word where you suddenly stopped. Okay. So long days long days in school eight till six because our kids say get about nine and then they’re home by a half past three in the afternoon. So is that a good thing those longer days? Or do you look back on it and go now? No, they should have been shorter, more compressed, more invigorating, more exciting, and probably more. Well, entrepreneurial.
Derrick Kwa [8:14]
I think the issue of longer is that it leaves, you know, time to explore other things when your life becomes basically school and homework, and then school the next day. And, you know, especially as a kid when I feel like you want to try new things, you have that children have that natural curiosity, and school kind of train that out of them. But if you have cheated out of them by doing things like that, so by making everything revolve around those four or five subjects that you learned in school, and it Yeah, like the issue for me was I just, you know, I didn’t have the chance to do other things. And like leaving school at 16 is probably one of the best things Doesn’t mean in my life. I would never have gotten into blogging into social media, all of that. If not, no, I would never had time to if I hadn’t left school.
David Ralph [9:10]
So So let’s talk about sort of where you are now. So you had early hustle. And it seems to me that you like to have a challenge. You didn’t want to just sort of coast through life being bored. You You, you could see that there was bigger things to do. Now, what do you do on a daily basis so that our guests who are sitting here or outside our listeners listening to us talking well actually nail what you do? Are you are you on the go over day? Do you wake up early? Do you work late at night? What do you do?
Derrick Kwa [9:42]
Yeah, I definitely don’t wake up early. I get up at about 11 ish in the morning. Most days. I like
David Ralph [9:49]
something I’ve got to stop you at
Unknown Speaker [9:50]
11 o’clock. If you if
David Ralph [9:53]
you were my son, I’d be getting you out of bed early. That’s you wasted off the day.
Derrick Kwa [10:00]
But I go to bed about four or 5am doing work till like two or three in the morning most of the days. So, you know is that trade off?
David Ralph [10:07]
Yeah, but do we know that you’re really doing work because I’d be in bed anyway. You could be sitting there watching pornography for all I know. How do I how do I know that you’re doing anything at four o’clock in the morning?
Derrick Kwa [10:19]
Yeah, timestamps on tweets and blog posts and stuff like that.
David Ralph [10:24]
We can automate it, we know what you’re doing. So you’re you’re you’re up to no good in the wee small hours.
Derrick Kwa [10:33]
Awesome. Yeah. No, I just feel like you know, I, I work best in the middle of the night. And most of you know, I love interacting with people from around the world and interacting with people like you people from the States, Canada. You know, I have to stay up to date with a bunch of the other podcast interviews I’ve appeared on. I’ve had to record at two in the morning my time because the podcaster was in New York.
David Ralph [10:59]
Now, what When you sort of look at it now and I suppose the million dollar question is, can the world have a life like yours as in? Should we all be able to choose our time because it’s quite obvious, but I’m an early morning person. I love getting up early morning. But by about our past eight at night, nine o’clock, I’m falling asleep on the sofa. I just can’t go late night at all. And I’ve tried it and I can’t do it. You are somebody officially in my eyes is the most lazy person in the world. And he’s getting up at 11 o’clock in the morning. But you’re working all the way through the night if you are but but we’re move past that. So do you think that the world now with the ability to have technology if there is a single mother, for example, or a father or somebody that sort of balancing life? Do you think it’s madness that everyone has to be at their desk at nine o’clock in the morning and then leave at five o’clock? It makes no sense to me, but what do you think?
Derrick Kwa [11:55]
Yeah, definitely. I think like I think that’s the most ridiculous thing. I think What matters is you know what you get done. If you get your stuff done, I don’t, I don’t care whether you do it at like two in the morning or like seven in the morning, or anytime in between, it doesn’t matter what matters is you get your past done. And in today’s will, you can connect with people from anywhere. Your audience can be anywhere. There’s no reason to fit, just to force fit yourself into one schedule. But if you’re not a morning person, then find clients in other time zones that fit that fit your schedule better.
David Ralph [12:37]
And we’re scheduling now, Bo, but you don’t even have to do that. And that’s why I sit there in pubs every now and again and I sort of say to people look, you can you can do it whenever you want. You can schedule stuff to go out while you’re asleep. You can schedule stuff to go out. You know, a podcast is a classic example. You know, I could literally turn off after this show, and my show would still go live to about halfway through November. But now we’re sort of scheduled up. And so I can sort of balance my lifestyle around it. And I think with the scheduling, the corporate world hasn’t caught up. I think that’s what I’m trying to say, Derek, it hasn’t caught up to the fact that people have gone alive and people work better at the times that are right for their body clock and not the times that are right for the business. Now I do know that some businesses have like telephones that need to be answered in the UK so people have to be there eight o’clock and stuff. I know that but not every single member of their staff has to be there. Let’s let’s create a new business and movement. Derek, you and me leaders, we can take control of the world. And we would have millions and millions of followers instantly because I think we’ve tapped into something once you think.
Derrick Kwa [13:44]
I totally agree. Like when I was running my marketing agency, we had a couple of full time people working with me. And it always be like, you know, you work whatever time you want. Just get your shit done. And it doesn’t matter and I’ll Going further, it’s not just the corporate world that hasn’t adjusted. It’s the whole, this whole culture, it goes from kind of school days to, like the personal development blogs that write about how every successful person gets up at five in the morning, and has this morning routine. And it just doesn’t recognise the fact that, you know, what can you work best at is pretty much a genetic thing, right? Like it’s the scientific studies that demonstrate right, different people have invested different times of day. And it’s a genetic thing that’s pretty much no logically different from your race or gender or whatever. It’s something you’re born. Right. And if you wrote an article that said 80% of the richest people in the world were white, everyone to flip out. But if you say 80% of the people in the world woke up at 5am and the I think it’s a logical, like they’re both logically the same kind of genetic thing you’re bonded. And for some reason one gets accepted so much more than the other. And that’s all the thing that hits us in you have the most about the past 911
David Ralph [15:15]
Oh, don’t be annoying. Don’t be annoyed. This is a place with you. I’m going to give you a hug, sir. I’m going to give you a hug to make sure that you finish your day off. Well, we don’t want annoyance on here. So when what what was the first business you created then actually started to be something that you’ve all Blimey, and this is actually going to go somewhere because at the beginning, we all kind of dabble with stuff and we make a few dollars here and there. And more often than not looking back if we carried on watering that garden where those dollars were starting to appear. Most of them would probably have turned into something but we kind of keep on changing direction. What was the first one that actually did anything for you?
Derrick Kwa [15:51]
Well, I think the first one I actually thought of as a proper business was probably the marketing agency that I thought that in 2014 before That I was always kind of working as a freelancer. And the mindset you have as a freelancer is slightly different. as a freelancer, you’re concerned about making enough money for yourself to live off, etc. It’s not necessarily about building the business huge, you just need enough to live on. Right? And the business is not kind of a separate entity that you want to grow in itself. And the marketing agency was the first thing where now I thought, okay, I want to try and build this into a proper business that can run without me potentially annual have long term success. It didn’t quite work out that way. But the first one I had that kind of feeling about and boy didn’t
David Ralph [16:49]
turn out like you expected.
Derrick Kwa [16:52]
I mean, just like my business partner got a different life opportunity and she decided to leave and you know, As much as I believe in the message of the marketing agency and what we are trying to do, running a marketing agency just got a lot more stress than I wanted to deal with alone. Like I could have probably kept it going on my own, and then continue building on my own skills wise, but like psychologically, and emotionally, I’ll probably shoot myself in two years. And so it just wasn’t worth the stress to continue on my own during that. And so that’s when I moved on. And the work has now evolved into the podcast. Oh,
David Ralph [17:39]
yeah, I agree with that totally. And I also think that it’s not worth the stress and it’s not worth doing anything that you don’t like doing now. Do it, there is a journey that you’ve got to go on. At the very beginning. Unless you’ve got sort of money to throw at something. You’ve got to do a lot of stuff that you don’t really want to do. But hey, whoa, that’s that’s you’re building the business. And hopefully you’ve chosen a subject that you’re really passionate about. So at the beginning, when it is tapping, you’re doing everything you can sort of push through. But I know with Join Up Dots, I got to a point. And I’ve mentioned this quite a few times. But I think it’s a real good lesson for people that I realised that I was earning the wrong sort of money. I changed it into a very lucrative business, but it bought me and the things that I was doing that I was making money from, I really didn’t like and I suddenly woke up one day and so I’ve created the vibe of what I had before in corporate land again, I was doing stuff every morning I woke up thinking, Oh, God, I’ve got that today. And suddenly I was doing the same. So I changed direction. And now I only do stuff that I really sort of fancy doing and stuff. Is that key message for people out there? Or is that just something that you have to learn? through the journey? can we can we nip these journeys in the bud and say, as long as you follow your passion and you only do things that is exciting, you’ve got a head start direct, or should we say to them, just take anything you can get any money grow your business.
Derrick Kwa [19:01]
I think it ready with one rep a caveat in terms of the like big picture what you spend most of your time doing? Yes, I definitely say I think it’s important to do stuff that that connects with you and gives you meaning, when I think that’s a slightly different thing that’s slightly from doing stuff that you enjoy, it’s still going to be work. And no matter what you’re doing, there’s still going to be little bits here that you have to do. But I think it’s important to have that big picture. kind of the core of what you’re doing is something that resonates strongly with you, because it makes that effort so much more worthwhile. But the caveat is, of course, just, I guess it comes down to what’s you know, the most important to you? Right for some people, like the money aspect, that’s what really they focus on the most And what really drives them. And he talks about people where they’re like, I really don’t care what I’m doing, I just want to make money. And if that kind of your core belief, then good on you, it’s not enough motivation for me. But I can see that, you know, it’s for some people it is and it’s doing, what works for you and going for the things you value, I guess. So less about doing things that you enjoy doing work based on what you value, right? So if you value that freedom, and you value, the connection of your work, then yes, definitely build your company, build your business, build your career, in that direction of meaning. If the deeper meaning matters less to you than making money, then, by all means, go chase the money. But don’t you find and
David Ralph [20:54]
we’re gonna play the words now actually, I’m gonna play the words. Now. It’s my show. I can do anything one. Let’s listen to Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [21:00]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [21:27]
Now, he’s talking about doing stuff that you love, and you were talking about sort of doing stuff that you really enjoy doing or going for the money? Isn’t it a truth, sir, but if you go through the money, it only gets you so far, and then you feel flat. But if you go through the love, do you not end up getting the money anyway? Because I proved that in this I created something that I absolutely adore. And the money has come and I used to hate that all the time. You know, if you follow your love, the money naturally occurs and I used to think yeah, we Yeah, I bet it doesn’t. But I think it does now, is that not the truth?
Derrick Kwa [22:05]
I mean, I think for people like us who you know, have that in a passion and who have you know that meaning is important to you, then? Yes, I think so. But I think there are definitely people out there who they, what they love is basically money. And as long as it’s, you know, a conscious choice, I think what stuck out to me and you know, that quote, you play from the Intel what he talks about his that thought that was not possible, right. And, you know, as long as you recognise, I think to me, if you recognise that it’s possible to, you know, Chase to follow your dreams and go for something that’s meaningful to you, if you recognise that it’s possible, but you make a conscious choice to do otherwise, then good on you and who Am I to say you’re making the wrong choice. But I have an issue with people who believe that it’s not possible. And that’s why, you know, I’m running passion blueprints. That’s why I’m kind of sharing my story on different podcasts to show people that it’s possible to do. But once you recognise the possibility, the choice you make from there, it’s up to you.
David Ralph [23:23]
So when you were sitting in these smoky rooms playing poker, was about you going after the money, or was that going out to the enjoyment? How did that come about?
Derrick Kwa [23:34]
I love the game of poker. You know, as I said earlier, I’m a huge math geek. Kocha is kind of that perfect blend of, you know, math and human behaviour, and has a very nice intellectual challenge element to it. Like, as egoistical sounds, I love the intellectual challenge of just competing with someone and seeing if I smarter than them and see if I, you know can prove that I’m smarter than them. And poker has a very direct correlation to that. So I love the game. And that’s pretty much why I was doing that good. It’s a horrible way to try and make money.
David Ralph [24:15]
Did you ever end up totally naked? Did you did you have you ever played strip poker? That’s the question that all the listeners out there. That’s the deep stuff that you get from Join Up Dots.
Derrick Kwa [24:27]
I’ve never actually played strip poker. I’ve always been to sobo and I played.
David Ralph [24:33]
I remember playing strip poker once and I don’t think we played I don’t think we knew the rules. We just kind of I don’t know why maybe sharing this god my wife might hear. But yeah, we were playing. There was two girls and me and a guy and we kind of just turn the cards open over until the what is it the queen of spades turned up, which we called the Black Mariah, and then if it was the black Mariah van and item of clothing come off, and I realised very quickly creaser and this is rules to strip poker. If anybody is getting into this, men seem to wear a lot less clothes than ladies, and it takes ladies to become a lot. It takes some time to get naked. That’s what I’m saying. And so you can quickly end up with hardly anything on while the ladies are just taking a bracelet off or a ring. There’s got to be rules at the beginning that jewellery doesn’t count. Do you think so?
Derrick Kwa [25:24]
Yeah, that’s the annoying part about strict games for me. And right don’t do it very often. You got to like, you know, have drinks have the goal and go from there.
David Ralph [25:33]
I love the word. You see, you said the word often and see, I instantly thought this is where the subjects gonna go. I’m gonna I’m gonna take it to the often word. Of course I can’t because I’m a professional. And we are going to be talking about business matters. But you know, you know deep down that’s what I want to talk about. Anyway, let’s talk about the your actual business friends. So you started the marketing company and then you had a business partner. How did you choose your business partner because I’ve struggled with that. finding people that have the same vision, and certainly the same work ethic as me, that’s the bit that I always struggle with.
Derrick Kwa [26:08]
Yeah, it’s definitely challenging. I’m lucky in terms of, you know, my business partner or someone who I’ve been friends with. And I’ve been friends with her for like, seven years before that. We had worked together on freelance projects a bunch before. So she’s someone I knew I could work with, who I knew her skill set, you know, we knew how each other tips and how we could work around each other’s idiosyncrasies and annoyances. And like, I know, I enjoyed her a lot as well. Yeah, so
David Ralph [26:39]
how do you know that you annoyed or did she tell you or was it just that kind of that that female way of looking at you?
Unknown Speaker [26:46]
Derrick Kwa [26:49]
But yeah, I mean, no, we, we knew how each other work. And so when I start when I had the idea for the marketing agency, right from the start, it was You know, I went to her, and it was kind of, do you want to do this? If you say yes, then I’ll do it. If not, I’ll figure out something else to do. It’s not right from the start. It was not something I was going to do otherwise. So it was the business idea came from that partnership and friendship before.
David Ralph [27:21]
Because I’m very wary now of working with anyone and I’ve tried it numerous times thinking, if I get somebody to do this is going to be easier. And I’m not a micromanager. I allow people to go off and do their own thing. But I do struggle with the work ethic. I seem to work four times as fast as anybody else. And so I kind of look at it and think, oh, Blimey, perk it up, perk it up. You could be doing a lot more than this, but they just work on a different way. How do you allow that to just be free so that you aren’t getting stressed and looking to shoot yourself within two years as you said?
Derrick Kwa [27:59]
Well for one Can I send my business model or someone that I, you know, I really respect and look up to. And on another level, there’s just, I guess a certain level of arrogance of me where like, I know I work faster than, like 90% of people anyway. So if someone works slower than me, I’m like, you know, I don’t expect them to meet my pace of work and everything cuz I you like, I’m smarter than most people and I work after them anyway. So it’s just part of life.
David Ralph [28:29]
It must annoy you vo master No, yeah. So you’re saying that you’re you’re, you’re clever and you’re faster than most people write
Unknown Speaker [28:37]
David Ralph [28:38]
Drive, you mentor but you’re sitting there going, oh, I’ve done six beats and you’ve only done one.
Derrick Kwa [28:44]
Well, you learn you’re not the other way. Right and you grow up. Like from the age of 10. The education system in Singapore told me I was the top 1% of my year. You know, you will learn to Do that and, you know, you learn to just make the most of it and be like, Okay, I’m done with my shit. Other people have given me time. I’m just going to take this time to have a scotch and watch a TV show.
David Ralph [29:14]
Right? I’m going to test you to see how clever you are. What is the most scary word that is written in Braille?
Derrick Kwa [29:23]
I have no idea. I don’t know anything about Bill, when
David Ralph [29:27]
it’s actually two words don’t touch. That is the scariest thing that can ever be written in Braille. I heard that the other day. And so you have fallen you have fallen through my IQ test, sir.
Derrick Kwa [29:42]
No chocolate that night. And this is like, this is when I’m only at my sleep. Yeah, so that’s gonna be my excuse.
David Ralph [29:49]
No problem at all. Okay, so right let’s jump back onto it. So you’ve created your business. You’ve had this partner that you’ve had a big falling out with because you were so annoying. And she couldn’t barely any more and she’s moved on her way. Did you then go straight into poker? Did you carry on doing something behind the scenes? Because you You seem to have many things on the go at the same time? How did it sort of like work? What was your timeline?
Derrick Kwa [30:14]
So the timeline was freelance web development, then poker, then I lost a bunch of money at poker. And then I came back to Singapore to start a marketing agency. And so after she there, you know, there was a month or two where, honestly, I was just like, lost and semi depressed and figuring out what to do next, and just in a huge wreck for a couple of months, and just didn’t do anything and, and, you know, eventually and eventually, like, I came out of that and I launched passion blooping, which started as kind of a one on one consultancy thing and evolved into this podcast
David Ralph [30:59]
and how did you Get your clients. So a listener out there, fancies doing what you’re doing. You create a website, but there’s so much more to it than that. How did you start connecting with people who believed in you enough to become coached by you or mentored by you?
Derrick Kwa [31:16]
Um, so, I think the first step is to really start where you are, start with the people around you, people you’ve talked to who, you know, who know your message, who know what you’re about, right? Like one of my first clients for passion looping, back when I was still doing it as a coaching thing was like a personal friend who are defensive for a year or so. And she needed a career help. And I think you know, the easiest way to start is to start from there. And the second way is really just put yourself out there. When you start up the marketing agency. It was called thousand true fans. When we started the agency For the first three months, I would spend, you know, every day I would reach out to at least five new businesses, right and just kind of cold, email them and follow up and get on calls. And within like three or four months, we managed to get like 20 pitch meetings, and you close a few projects on there.
David Ralph [32:20]
I’m fascinated by this. Go for friends, because I would have thought going for friends is the worst thing to do at the beginning, because they kind of they know you don’t know, they they know what you used to be like and what you are now and they can kind of see through it. I don’t think that if I was mentoring any of my friends, first of all, I could teach anyone out there now how to create a business. But I think my mates my friends would want it for free. That’s the first thing Ah, come on, come on. You know, I’ve known you since you were little and they’d want a dad. That’s trouble to charge them. And secondly, I don’t think that they would buy into my knowledge base because they would still think about Me as that person before that I used to work with, do you not need closure do not need to separate yourself and find a complete new environment of people that don’t know you.
Derrick Kwa [33:10]
So I think I think it, you know, you can separate into two and you’re right, I think the people closest to you, ah, probably harder to reach. But that’s kind of the sweet spot of people who’ve known you, you know, recently who’ve known you for the past a year or so who kind of know your message and like, for me, right people I’ve met in the past two years, know my story of like, leaving school and all of that and no one that’s what I’m about, but they’re not close enough to, to me to know all the things I’ve picked up on. Yeah. And so like, those are the people who are the best to sell directly to the people who are closest to you. And, you know, who know you better, almost better to go to for referrals because you know, they will Wanna support you? And they will know other people who might need your help. So I guess it’s twofold in that sense.
David Ralph [34:10]
But for the for the listeners out there, there is a marketplace waiting isn’t it? That’s that’s the thing. That’s the big mindset that they have to sort of get over the fact that nowadays, it’s not just a case of getting onto LinkedIn, you’ve got LinkedIn you’ve got about me, you’ve got Facebook, you’ve got Twitter, you can find clients anywhere. But you do have to start it seems simple, but it kind of is in a way, isn’t it?
Derrick Kwa [34:35]
Yeah, that you know that the thing that stops most of us is, you know, that fear of putting yourself out there. And so, like I said, I like when I started marketing agency, I would cold call or cold email, like five businesses a day for like two or three months. And that you know, in that time emailed 100 200 companies and just that he’ll put rejection to put yourself out then send an email to potential clients. It’s what stops most of us. It’s never been easier to connect with anyone in the world. But you just have to take that step. And like that’s, you know, one of the things I recommend the most people to do is find someone you really admire your favourite author, blogger someone, and send them an email, take like 510 minutes to write the email, have a shot of vodka. And then hip said, Yeah,
David Ralph [35:32]
the very first email that I sent for Join Up Dots to get a guest was to elton john. And I knew I wasn’t going to get a response or anything, but I did it because it kind of got me used to pressing the button and saying to people, would you come on my show. And then the second one, I sent about 30 seconds later after elton john, and about 30 seconds after that, and it was a Saturday lunchtime I got a response from a guy but said you Great, brilliant. And funnily enough, he still hasn’t been on the show now. 615 episodes down the line, but he still said instantly. And it was like, oh, bloody hell, I’ve now got a guest. I’ve got to do this. It started off. And so I started emailing people out left, right and centre. But yeah, the very first one I did was somebody I kind of knew wouldn’t respond. If I tell you what, Nelson, if you’re listening, you can come back on, you can come back on whenever you want. Sorry, Derek, he will say,
Derrick Kwa [36:27]
Well, sometimes it almost makes it easier, because you realise, you know what, you’re I have nothing to lose. If the person doesn’t respond. No, that’s kind of what you expected anyway, and you have nothing to lose, but it breaks down that mental barrier. By the first email. how I got started in blogging was I emailed Seth Godin back when I was 16. And just sent him like a random two paragraph thought. And he replied, play. I think that’s a great thought. And the content of the email became my personal And that’s how I got started. And it just, you know, break down that mental barrier of this person is so out there, I could never reach him. You know, and it makes you realise you have nothing to lose by putting yourself out there.
David Ralph [37:13]
And do you think that was from Seth? Or do you think it was from a PA? Because even in my small little scowl here, I now have to record voicemail messages because people don’t seem to believe when I respond by email. Did you think it was Mr. Golden? Or do you think it was an underling pretending to be Mr. Golden?
Derrick Kwa [37:33]
I think Jeff does most of his stuff himself. Come on, I know of him like, he’s pretty much you know all about authenticity. You know, like I’ve done a virtual internship with him. I’ve been on his art MBA programme. I follow like every blog post and everything he’s done. And he’s all about, you know, authentic connection. I think sets all those people that you know, if he’s, if it’s not going to be him, and it’s not going to be real and authentic. He’s not going to do it. Like why he’s not on Twitter. For example, right here, he said, because, you know, he doesn’t want to outsource that if he goes on Twitter, he needs to he wants to be able to put in, like all of himself into it. And so now someone has that mindset. I don’t think it’s gonna really outsource like replies to emails very often.
David Ralph [38:18]
I love that. I’ve never heard that before. But I think that is so powerful, isn’t it? But yeah, if you’re not on the social media platform, then it’s not gonna be me.
Unknown Speaker [38:29]
Yeah. Well, I think
David Ralph [38:30]
that is a brilliant, I know a comedian over in the United Kingdom, but actually had to set up a Twitter account, and basically sent one tweet that basically said, EFF off. I’m never going to use this. Other other people are using my name. This is me kind of thing. And he sent one tweet to sort of make people realise this was the official account, and it’s got hundreds of thousands of followers, but he’s only ever sent one tweet just because he says it’s not part of the story. I think that is brilliant advice. And I think that is really powerful isn’t instead of the trying to be here, everywhere, sharing yourself on every single platform and sort of spreading yourself thin, it’s almost better to choose one platform and really put your heart and soul into it.
Derrick Kwa [39:16]
Yeah, and I think that’s true about everything investments, I think that ability to hyper focus on, you know, the things you want to commit to hundred percent and not do anything else. I think that’s one of the biggest lessons of the past few years, you know, running my business, and I, and that’s how you get, you know, you that’s how you avoid burning out. I think, when you kind of try and spread yourself everywhere. You do things that you know, you don’t connect with as much and that don’t work for you as well. And then you start wondering why you’re doing this. But if you’re going to, I firmly believe if you’re going to take a path come in fully to that path, and then ignore everything else.
David Ralph [40:02]
Well, let’s play some words from a guy who really spoke about the path went on the path himself and has left these words. This is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [40:11]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [40:47]
All those words that resonate with you, Derek?
Derrick Kwa [40:50]
Yeah, definitely. If you you asked me like even three years ago, I would never have thought I’d be doing this now. And like five years before that, I would not have have ever imagined though to be playing poker. There’s my path has taken so many different times. And, and I’ve gotten to a point where I’ve almost stopped trying to plan like that far ahead. Anything beyond six months is pretty much not really on a data.
David Ralph [41:22]
So you haven’t got like a five year plan 10 year plan, you basically work, you know, on short term goals.
Derrick Kwa [41:29]
Yeah, that I think life changes too quickly, that it just doesn’t feel worth the effort to make such a long term plan. And for me, it’s about you know, working on short term goals, getting to where you want to be and putting yourself in the best possible position to take advantage of opportunities as they show up.
David Ralph [41:52]
I think that’s brilliant advice. And it is so easy to get bogged down isn’t it by looking at the you know, the five year whenever You know, we play a speech by Oprah Winfrey when she says just focus in on the next right thing. Just look at what do I need to do next? And it builds, doesn’t it? And I think if you look at, I’ve got to do all this. And I’ve got to do all that and I need to get X amount of downloads. I need to. It’s just too much, isn’t it? Just do the next right thing, small goals? I think on way forward.
Derrick Kwa [42:23]
Yeah, definitely. One of the things I talk about a lot on my podcast that people I work with is the idea that the way to achieve your big dreams is to break it down into the smallest step possible. And just focus on the next step. And then take the next step, and so on. And so many times we have these big dreams, and it’s great to have, and it’s great to hold on to to give you that motivation. But it can also be very daunting when you think about this big dream we need to achieve. And the way to make it less scary is to really break it down into the tiniest tiniest parts.
David Ralph [43:01]
So what what would be your big? When you look back on everything? Would it be the time that you lost a bunch of money on public on Poker? Would it be the time that you created your first marketing company? What would be your big shot that really led you to where you are today?
Derrick Kwa [43:20]
I would say, I would actually go back right to start to email except, I think that was kind of the start for me, of everything. Seth has been one of my idols for the past, like 10 years now. And, you know, he a lot of what he writes resonates very strongly with me and, you know, so that has guided me a lot and just, you know, the action of taking that step. Like as a random 16 year old, I probably didn’t realise how scary it was to be a random 16 year old kid from Singapore. emailing like Seth Godin. But you know, taking that action, right and breaking down that barrier, that first step to me, I think was probably the, the most important. And since then it’s just, you know, constantly taking small steps, doing things that scare you and putting yourself out there more and more. Absolutely couldn’t
David Ralph [44:23]
have said it better. Now, this is the part of the show that we’ve been leading up to, we’ve taken the steps of gods to this point. And this is the part that we called a sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to young Derrick, what age would you choose and what advice would you give? Well, we’re gonna find out because we’re gonna play the theme, and when it fade your app, this is the Sermon on the mic.
We go with the best bit of the show, man My
Derrick Kwa [45:12]
thumb. So if I had to go back, I’ll probably speak to like my 18 year old. So 18 to 20 is probably when I kind of hit a bit of a look and know started feeling like I was failing a lot. And I think the biggest the biggest lesson I’ve learned in the past year that I wish I knew earlier was it’s okay to feel like a failure. Right? So often, really, and myself included, I back when I was a kid I used to always, you know, I feel like I’m failing at something and kind of hit this wall. And then I get pissed off at myself for hitting that wall and being in that room. I would spiral more and more. And now, the biggest lesson I’ve really learned over the past year or two is, it’s okay to feel like a failure. we all struggle, we all fall down. Sometimes you all hit a wall at times and it’s okay. It’s okay to feel like you fucked up. It’s okay to feel down. You don’t have to be up and on the go and, you know, hustling and everything all the time. It’s okay to feel how you feel and just accept and acknowledge that and take steps from that place. Wherever it is, whatever emotions you’re feeling. take steps starting from where you are. And don’t beat yourself up about hearing how you feel.
David Ralph [46:46]
Absolute great advice there. So what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, Derek?
Derrick Kwa [46:54]
The best way would be, you can connect me at passion blueprints calm. So that’s the podcast My personal blog and the recorder so that we the two places to find me. Now that’s good.
David Ralph [47:06]
I only asked for one but you you you go for two Sir, you go for two you promote yourself. That’s what that’s why you’re here. Well, thank you so much for spending time with us today joining up those dots. Please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe it but joining up the dots and connecting our paths is the best way to build our futures. Mr. Derrick quar Thank you
Derrick Kwa [47:26]
so much. Thanks for having me, man.
David Ralph [47:31]
And that was Mr. Derrick Kwa, and I said to him after the recording next time you come on the show next time you come on the show, I want to know how many times that you have been naked playing podcast poker. And he said he’s going to try and get that number up, which so it’s gonna be a good one, it’s gonna be the gold. So look out for his name on Join Up Dots because you know what you’re gonna get. And hopefully you got enough content there because he really did sort of share some real good nuggets about taking that first step, even if it’s true Do scary for you do something that you know that you’re not going to get any response from because that is, you know, it gets past that mental barrier and gets you sort of moving, then just do another one and do another one. So if you’re thinking of creating a business, and you want help, then connect with these big top guys. Yeah, most of them may not respond to you. But it gets you used to asking and it makes it easier to ask the people that may be not so a profile. And believe me, some of these high profile people do respond and it sort of blows your mind and it makes you realise but there is a world out there waiting to help you as we want to do a Join Up Dots as well. So thank you so much for listening to this episode of the show. Please connect with us. Please join with us. If you could leave a rating and review wherever you are, and send it to me just send it to me as a print out whatever. And I’ll give you a name check on the show. I will make it famous you can play it to all your friends and you will be you will be sleeping with every single person that you want to on the basis of it. That’s the power of We have thank you so much for listening. See you again soon. Cheers. Bye bye.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.