Before I tell you their story, about the two partners of Taman Mastiara’s Yelaoshr Shi Lin and Hui Xian, I will tell you of their age first – 23 and 25 years old. At such a young age they are already into entrepreneurship, they will have doubts due to their age. Apart from our readers, I am afraid that there are parents who feel the same. Do they have enough experience? Are they matured enough? These are some of the doubts they are faced with in the past.
Both Shi Lin and Hui Xian do not have any university education, but it also meant that they have joined Yelaoshr as teachers for a number of years. Shi Lin recalled that when she first encountered Yelaoshr, the advertisement says “You do not need to have a degree, just a learning heart will do”, thus bringing her to the interview. The same sentence had also moved Hui Xian, “I just graduated and have no direction, I just wanted to accumulate some working experience and decide thereon and I went for the interview.” The two of them got to know each other while working at Laman Rimbunan, Kepong. Because they get along very well with each other, they became great partners at work over time.
Two individuals of contrasting backgrounds working together closely
Shi Lin used to work in the beauty sector and has an outgoing personality while Hui Xian worked in a management company as an administrative stuff. The centre’s person-in-charge saw this special combination of an outgoing and a more reserved personality. Subsequently, they were tasked at different natures of jobs – Shi Lin is responsible to meet the parents while Hui Xian is in charge of training the teachers at the centre.
Shi Lin revealed that even though the person-in-charge gave her this mission, but to her, she personally felt frightened and stress.
“I was only 19 then and was very much younger than I am now. I also lack the confidence in my work. At that moment I was unable to successfully recruit any students, in my heart the pressure steadily raised.” – Shi Lin
She said that the person-in-charge will listen to her conversations with the parents, and then advised her on some technical skills and correction of her verbal tone. After a few months, she was some distance behind the target set for her. She was given a one-month grace period and if she did not improve, she will be demoted back to a teacher.
Shi Lin set her mind to work harder and put in more effort. She started looking for opportunities to observe the conversations between the person-in-charge and parents to pick up some ways and techniques to be applied in her own conversations with the parents. It was as if she was given a magic pill to make her understand things and within the grace period, she successfully recruited 16 students. You can say that she improved rapidly. This greatly increased her confidence, giving her a boost to help her get through.
Hui Xian is responsible for coaching the teachers and supervising their teaching quality. She knows how to teach students but coaching teachers is another set of new knowledge.
“Initially I was too enthusiastic to share my innermost thoughts with the teachers. Therefore, no matter educational backgrounds or information, I would say what I wanted to in one shot. The result was that some teachers do not understand what I was conveying. At that moment I only prepared the content I want to say but I did not consider that some individuals cannot absorb.” – Hui Xian
Later, the person-in-charge taught her a way that she can fully enjoy; that is to learn how to analyse the different characters of each and every teacher and from there match them with different teaching techniques. Hui Xian started to organise her coaching materials to enable teachers with different needs to be able to utilise the skills that are most suitable to them. This also greatly improved Hui Xian’s guiding skills and she was more confident with her coaching job.
After years of working together, when the time was ripe, Shi Lin was encouraged to open her own centre and she found herself the best partner Hui Xian to the joint venture.
The responsibilities of enterprising are greater, actively work to become your better self
Entrepreneurship signifies a new beginning to let Shi Lin and Hui Xian start from zero again and to start learning how to manage their own centre. From recruiting teachers, electricity and water supply to recruit students etc. They had to learn it all. Fortunately, these do not stop them in their tracks but they were enjoying the process and feel grateful for the opportunities to learn. April this year, Shi Lin and Hui Xian opened up their doors at Taman Mastiara. The cooperative structure of the Kepong branch was their reference; one dealing with the inside and one on the outside.
In the beginning, just like what this article mentioned earlier, many parents who saw that there were no students and teachers in their newly established centre and moreover noticed their young age do not really trust them, resulting in no students signing up for classes.
“While working at the Kepong learning centre in the past, they did not need to focus on business performance and only focus on teaching. Now that they are independent, they need to take care of many more tasks. What if there are no students? We can only use the free time to distribute brochures and flyers.” – Shi Lin and Hui Xian
They responded honestly that as teachers it felt awkward to distribute flyers. However, for the centre, despite facing wild dogs and hot suns, they persevered on.
The best response to doubt is to be yourself
Hui Xian said that they were unable to stop others from doubting them, so they could only use their performance to make people change their minds.
“The most important thing is to continuously develop ourselves, to raise our own value. Only then people will have confidence in you and trust that you can do a good job.” – Hui Xian
When they started recruiting students, Hui Xian noted that they used their heart to teach the children and additionally report their progression to the parents to let the parents see the growth in their children at Yelaoshr.
To make herself look more mature, Shi Lin purposely wears formal attire to work. Of course, when the first impression is settled, she has to use her experience to persuade the parents to trust them.
“Some parents will ask about Yelaoshr’s teachers’ qualifications, and I will patiently explain to them the training process of Yelaoshr. It does not matter if they have qualifications or teaching experience. To become a Yelaoshr educator must undergo training to ensure the concepts and methods are unified.” – Shi Lin
Through professional and confident conversations, the parents became their ears and mouth, spreading a good name to build up their centre.
Encountering endless honing, Shi Lin and Hui Xian start to taste the sweetness of success. To understand our own strengths and weaknesses, in addition to seamless teamwork, allowed them to draw closer to times of harvest.
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