How Peng Joon turned his passion into profit

Shadz Loresco

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How Peng Joon turned his passion into profit
The founder of Malaysian Internet marketing firm Smobble shares 5 essential skills to succeed as an Internet entrepreneur

MANILA, Philippines – Chan Peng Joon, the founder of Malaysian Internet marketing firm Smobble, is online entrepreneurship’s go-to guy.

His company delivers solutions for a broad range of customers’ digital needs, from web hosting to social engine optimization and traffic generation to web design and video production.

On Monday, November 30, Peng Joon told the packed SMX Convention Center in Pasay City that running an online business and generating income online are very real.

But back in 2004, Peng Joon was facing a bleak future.

After nearly failing his final college courses, he graduated with poor grades and landed a job 3 months later. He then jumped from one job to another before settling down to what seemed like a stable career in financial consultancy. Mired in college debt, he figured it would take him 3 decades to pay off his loans with a monthly salary of RM1,200 (approximately $400 or P18,882).

There must be a way out, he thought. He started Googling “how to make money online.” He went through eBooks, webinars, and home study courses on the topic, accumulating credit card bills in the process.

Going for broke, he applied the insights he had gleaned from the materials and crafted a guide to the online game World of Warcraft (WoW). Peng Joon was passionate about video games and had spent 2,300 hours on WoW alone.

The guide initially sold for $7 (P330.40) apiece, with the first sale coming in only after 7 months.

Though far from satisfying, it convinced him that making money online was possible. He bumped up his marketing process, and raised the guide’s price to $37 (P1,746).

MANILA VISIT. Peng Joon is a speaker at a wealth seminar on November 30 at the SMX Convention Center alongside “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki.

Selling products vs service

In 2009, Peng Joon penned the first guide to the popular Facebook game Farmville using the pseudonym Tony Sanders. He made $1.3 million (P61.36 million) in several months.

“Unfortunately, for 99% of the world’s population, the only way they know how to generate money is to trade time for money,” he said in a video reply to Rappler. “Trading time for money: that’s a service.”

He summed up his strategy in a question: “How do you take what you’re already doing in life and package and position it as a product?”

For instance, a piano teacher usually enlists students for one-on-one sessions. For Peng Joon, there’s another way to look at it: “What if you took what you know—your life experience, your passion, your hobby—and converted that into a product that can be monetized on the Internet?”

For example, he shared, “rather than teaching one-on-one, it could be the case of recording a video, teaching people how to play the piano by ear, and selling that as a home study course, selling that through membership sites, selling that through videos online.”

To date, Peng Joon, one of the 8 “Masters of Wealth” on Monday’s National Achievers 2015 Congress featuring Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki, has generated well over $10 million in revenue through his 527 (and counting) websites in less than 7 years.

5 skills to possess

Through Smobble, Peng Joon reaches out to people seeking a way out of their financial woes. Speaking to Rappler, he stressed that anyone who wants to build an online business must have or be willing to develop 5 skills.

These are learning how to drive traffic; learning how to convert customers; establishing a sales funnel that is based on a working system; learning how to market one’s product; and learning the essentials of branding.

These skills can be learned through personal effort and training, according to Peng Joon.

Peng Joon then shared the case of Dennis Yeoh. Years ago, Yeoh left his full-time job. Applying the marketing strategy developed by Peng Joon, as well as the 5 entrepreneurial skills, he built an online business.

Over the years, Yeoh saw satisfactory returns, and then began to invest in things that he cares about. Now that money is no longer a problem, Yeoh is helping build houses in Malaysian rural areas through a foundation called Epic Homes.

“Everything else can be outsourced. You can hire writers, you can hire developers, you can hire programmers, you can build a team around it, but ultimately every successful entrepreneur will need to know those 5 key areas.”

DISCIPLINE REQUIRED. Not everyone is cut out for the "dotcom lifestyle" as working outside a traditional office and hours requires a lot of discipline and motivation, says Peng Joon.

When to take the leap

Not everyone, though, is fit to embrace the dotcom lifestyle, according to Peng Joon.

Some may plateau once they are earning a certain amount. Getting comfortable at $2,000 (P94,420) or $5,000 (P236,050) can be counterintuitive to one of the purposes of business, which is to keep growing and challenging oneself. Others may fall into the dark loop of checking emails, Facebook, and YouTube without doing actual work in a day.

“The dotcom lifestyle is not for everyone, especially for people who do not have the motivation and discipline to be their own boss,” Peng Joon said.

Then he told the audience of the congress on Monday, “the number one reason why people fail is because of information overload – because they are trying to figure things out on their own.”

Working at home or outside the confines of a traditional office may be daunting, but Peng Joon advises people to take the leap and not give in to their fears. He encourages them to move from hatching to executing their plan, even if they have to quit their full-time job.

“At the end of the day, I’d rather live a life of ‘oh, wells’ than ‘what ifs.’ If you never try, you will never know,” he said.

$1 = 47.21

A freelance business writer, Shadz Loresco follows stories on entrepreneurs, technology, and finance. Her background includes 5 years of writing and editing for online business-to-business (B2B) marketing and reputation management.

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