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FRANK x SHENTONISTA: Quarter-life Confidence — Ingredients of Success
As young professionals hoping to make a mark in the world, we carry with us ambitions that are more often than not fuelled by passion. Yet what happens when the passion runs out of steam? Having had the first-hand experience of feeling his passion dissipate in his twenties, Edward now knows how to keep going. His restaurant, Dosirak, first started from the drive to prove to his parents that things can be done differently—a desire that many young people will no doubt be familiar with. As he continues to grow his business and hopes to export it to an international mark, it’s not passion that keeps Edward going day after day, but the diligence and persistence that are necessary to keep a business flourishing.
Shentonista (S): Having crossed the 30-year-old mark, were there any goals you had hoped to achieve by this stage in your life?
Edward (E): The biggest one would be growing my business and turning it into a franchise, which we’ve actually managed to do last year, so I’d say I’m almost there with my goal. Of course, you always want to expand more, as much as possible. I hope to sell more of our sauces out in the future to the international market as well.
S: What does quarter-life confidence mean to you?
E: I think it’s a new start, because when you reach quarter-life, the way you think has matured, and you see the world in a new perspective.
S: Did you face any quarter-life crises yourself?
E: I think convincing myself that I’m doing the right thing and that I’m at the right place has been the hardest part.
S: If you could change something about your twenties, what would it be?
E: I wouldn’t change that much, but maybe I’ll really take the time to listen—not only listening to the advice around me, but also listening to myself.
S: What’s one advice you wished you had known before starting your own business?
E: Due diligence. The success of your business really comes back down to regular research, checking and really understanding your market before diving into the business. I wish someone had told me that.
S: What was your inspiration behind staring Dosirak?
E: My parents used to run a Korean restaurant, but I realised that the way they worked was a little inefficient, and manpower was way too costly. In a way, it was a project to tell my parents that there are easier ways to do things. My brother was also a co-founder, so you can say it’s a family business.
S: Do you think there’s a great difference between how you and your brother view work and how your parents viewed it?
M: Definitely more time. It’s not that I’m financially stable or well-off, but I feel that I don’t have enough
time. Once I hit my late-twenties, I realised that every year passes really quickly. The last five years felt like just one big year.
S: As you leave your twenties behind, what do you think quarter-life confidence means to you?
E: I think my parents’ generation always believed more in hard work and grit. The idea of sacrificing more than they have to is very strong in that generation. I think we believe more in working smart rather than working hard, and tend to find short cuts whenever available. I think both methods have their benefits, and you have to apply them the right way.
S: How important is passion in the work that you do?
E: I don’t think passion’s always the answer, because sometimes you have to keep going even when you don’t have the drive to carry on. For us, this business started because of passion—because we wanted to prove something—but then somewhere along the line, it became more of a means to an end. The passion still exists, but I think the drive that I started with, to prove people wrong, still keeps me at it.
S: What would you say has been the biggest accomplishment for you so far?
E: Successfully setting up a franchise model and managing to replicate it. Sometimes I look back and think about how I’ve managed to work out logistics and supply chains, and I feel quite good about myself.
S: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
E: I think I’m very focused on work at the moment, so I’m thinking more of where I see my business in that time. I’m hoping to export my brand out of Singapore and making it international. So right now, we’re talking to partners overseas and working out possible joint venture deals which will bring us one step closer to where want to be.
S: What do you think would help you the most in achieving this dream?
E: The biggest thing would be finances—it’s never enough right? I set aside a certain amount every month, and there are some percentages I stick to, but it’s mostly manual. But I think time is important as well, because you have to strike a balance between waiting patiently and rushing when you need to. It’s just making sure that you’re at the correct space at the correct time.