After 959 days, we can finally roam around Hong Kong without wearing a mask and dentists’ appointments are up 200%
I draft this first blog post while having a quick morning fix at one of these Instagram cafes around Tai Hang — my charming neighborhood.
Speaking of that, check out this local map displaying all coffee places in Hong Kong, pretty dope!
PS: If you like my vibe, join my newsletter community
1/ My humble beginnings as a solopreneur
In 2021, I started my entrepreneurial adventure in Hong Kong and failed miserably...
My first 6 months were a total nightmare because I wasn’t prepared and had poor mental habits.
3 reasons for that:
A/ My family
My parents have always been worried about my business aspirations. While my mom is running her own dance studio back in France, she still considers corporate jobs as a safe choice to secure any future retirement.
Since I started my journey, every Whatsapp call with her is a hustle: The same question pops up again and again:
“How’s your job research?”
"A solopreneur…Like this guy from Apple?"
Complicated and mentally exhausting
Being a solopreneur can be difficult. It means long hours hustling by yourself with no coworkers to gossip with around a coffee cup.
Also, some 140,000 people had left Hong Kong in the past two years due to stringent COVID rules, including many of my friends.
Anyone can start a business in Hong Kong – that’s the easy part.
Reaching profitability – that’s an entirely different story when you live in the world’s most expensive city
A coffee costs more than 7$ while my rent is about 1400$ per month.
With a salary not exceeding 2000$, I stripped my budget down to the basics and filled my kitchen cupboard with rice, noodles, and pasta.
Challenges are coming one after another - finding leads, creating content, admin tasks - you name it!
But despite the numerous challenges that I have faced, I have managed to remain positive since I finally found something I enjoy doing: Building a content creation business.
2/ Content is King…
In January 1996, Bill Gates wrote the following essay titled “Content is King”:
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.
One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create. In a sense, the Internet is the multimedia equivalent of the photocopier. It allows the material to be duplicated at a low cost, no matter the size of the audience.
The Internet also allows information to be distributed worldwide at basically zero marginal cost to the publisher. Opportunities are remarkable, and many companies are laying plans to create content for the Internet.”
While Gates made many mistakes as CEO — Appointing Balmer as his successor was his biggest so far — his prediction came to be true 20 years later
The creator economy — Boosted by COVID-19 — reached over $104 billion in revenue last year while millions of creators are trying to get a piece of the cake
And we’ve just scratched the surface.
With a projected 7.5 billion internet users by 2030, anybody can build an audience for a specific topic — whether you love fishing or fighting with katanas — and monetize it.
You just need a decent phone, 5G, and a niche of consumers — game-changing.
Besides, I’ve seen countless SMEs that are failing at building an audience for multiple reasons: Content is boring or inexistent and the reasons are pretty much always the same:
“We don’t have the marketing budget for that”
“Too much stuff to do”
“I don’t see the point”
The truth is no business can truly take off and reach a wider audience in 2023 without a great online content strategy, including mine.
Posting catchy content related to your field and sharing useful resources that users find helpful helps increase brand awareness and loyalty among followers.
3/ …And the Email List is Queen
In 2020, I posted for the first time on Linkedin, my English was wobbly and the topic — How the Chinese would welcome the release of iPhone 12 — wasn’t all that interesting either.
My first Linkedin post…I stopped using emojis since then
But I persisted over the next few months, and with help from tools like Notion, Buffer, and Grammarly, I eventually developed a system to write more quickly and efficiently.
Now I can post regularly while working for my clients aside. Through this, I created meaningful relationships with many prospects and found my first gigs at the beginning of 2021
During the second half of this year, my content creation business finally took off while my revenue became more stable. I could see my efforts were slowly paying off
However, throughout the months, I couldn’t stop but notice that many solopreneurs were diversifying their sales funnels to reach a wider audience through other platforms (Youtube, Tik Tok, Twitter) and with different types of content (videos, podcasts, newsletters to quote a few).
Meanwhile, I was solely relying on Linkedin to get new leads — an unexpected ban for any reason could easily sink my small business
Finally, at the end of 2022, I decided to beef up my game with a new type of content: “Better Read Paul”, a Substack newsletter about marketing, Hong Kong, and entrepreneurship.
I chose the newsletter for obvious reasons: Substack —I recommend this email marketing platform — lets you create and export your own mailing list — No dependence whatsoever — and the format is perfect for developing ideas too complicated to fit in a Linkedin post.
On top of that, drafting a newsletter doesn’t take too much time compared to a Youtube channel or a podcast.
This newsletter is the second step toward creating a viable content creation business and I’m proud of it.
I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do,