I never realized that something like Doerscircle existed but when I joined, it turned out to be a great community of Independent Doers.
Zoe Leong: Oh, I never realized that something like this existed and it turned out to be a great community of independent doers.
Travis Bennett: Hi, everyone, it's Travis here from Doerscircle and I'm here with Zoe Leong. Zoe, it's a pleasure to have you, and welcome. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you're working on?
Zoe Leong: Hi! My name is Zoe. I'm actually a lawyer by trade. I've been a lawyer for about 18 years now. My business provides legal support to startups and small businesses in around Hong Kong, and also in Singapore actually. I have started to work with a few more clients in Singapore now.
Travis Bennett: Ah that's good. And when clients come to you, what kind of support and services do you help them with?
Zoe Leong: I basically provide them with all kinds of legal support in the form of advising them. I help with business terms and conditions, employment contracts, shareholders' agreements for their fundraising rounds, data privacy issues, and even website terms and conditions, amongst much more. I've got clients who just call me up because they have a concern and they're not quite sure whether it's a legal or financing issue. They just want somebody to talk to and I just provide them with my common sense, as an advisor.
Travis Bennett: So it’s like an advisory role also. Awesome. I think something that interests me when when I look at a business like yours is what challenges did you face to get to where you are today? What obstacles have you had to overcome?
Zoe Leong: One of the challenges that I had probably is trying to get buy-in from clients. To talk about legals, I think a lot of business owners, startups, and new founders, people have this very perception about the law or legal support as a kind of thing that they don't want to deal with. And if they ignore it, maybe it'll go away. Some people do have that kind of view, if I ignore it, it will go away. Or some of them just don't want to deal with it, because they're either scared or a bit afraid. So that's one of the challenges that I faced: Getting that buy-in from business owners and people to actually look at their legal matters and their legal concerns,
Travis Bennett: And not just hide their problems in the cupboard.
Zoe Leong: Yes, or push it under the rug and then hope that it gets goes away. But often, it [the legal problem] doesn't go away and it becomes a bigger problem if you do not tackle it head-on. But also, you know, legals are not all that scary. And part of my job is also to counsel you. I mean, that's why we're called legal counsels, right? It is part of my job to counsel you and break it down or make it simple so that you understand it and you don't fear it.
Travis Bennett: I like that. Legal doesn't have to be scary. You just need to have the right person in your corner who can help guide you on what you need and give you solid and sound advice. So that you're not sweeping the issue under the rug but instead, getting on top of it just like accounting or any other part of your business. Okay, so then, I guess, if you look back at starting your business, the challenge was getting to talk to people. What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself, when you were first having this idea of going out on your own? Starting your own business? What advice would you give to yourself?
Zoe Leong: I guess all of it was a bit of a mindset. For the large part of my career or working life, I was always employed by somebody else. And a lot of times I had this view that the only way to make money or have any sort of sense of fulfillment, was to be employed by someone else and not start my own business. But, now that I've done it for about almost five years now, I wish I had done it much earlier. At the same time I'm also inspired by some of my clients, you know? There was one client of mine who was fresh out of university and they were building a Fintech app to help Millennials like themselves in organizing their financial life. And I was like, “Wow! At 25, this is what you're thinking about already?” When I was 25, I had just finished university, I was busy partying and spending my money.
Travis Bennett: Haha, I think we've all been there at some point.
Zoe Leong: Yes, haha. So, my advice to my younger self would be probably to have a bit more courage and think that there is a way in life to become self-employed or start your own business, rather than being employed all the time.
Travis Bennett: That's very solid advice.
So then, I guess, I think circling on Doerscircle a little bit. How, how would you describe Doerscircle if one of your friends asked, “What is Doerscircle? What are they about?”
Zoe Leong: Actually, funnily enough, I stumbled onto Doerscircle quite by accident. I think I linked into one of your events that were free and open. Then there was a tag along with a sort of networking session after that and then you got to know everyone in that in that networking circle. And I was like, “Oh, I never realized that something like this existed!” And it turned out to be a great community of, as Helle Priess (Founder & CEO, Doerscircle) puts it, “Independent Doers,” like ourselves, who want to run our own businesses or be self-employed. I found it to be a great community to come by and meet other people who were/are doing the same thing as you and also help each other in ways.
Travis Bennett: So then, I’m just thinking, what’s the best thing about Doerscircle in your opinion?
Zoe Leong: Well, there are always really nice people to meet through Doerscircle and this community. Since joining, I've actually had a couple of referrals from Doerscircle as well. Also, like today, Doerscircle is doing an interview about the members, which would be really really helpful for us. It would really help us by getting our faces out there and doing a bit of marketing on our behalf, in the community itself and to everyone out there, worldwide. So yeah, definitely, one of the good things about being in this kind of community is the support like this.
Travis Bennett: Awesome! And that's also what we're trying to do. We are making people realize, just like you realized, that it's not as hard to start a business as you might think, but also that you don't have to figure it out all alone. You have these people who've been there and learned different things and we can all lift each other up. And I think that's one of the things that excited me about Doerscircle because I also had my own business before I joined to help grow the team here. And I'm glad that you also feel the support and care that we try to give to our members. It's nice to get that feedback that you actually value and appreciate all the stuff that we're doing too, so that's awesome. I guess then my final question is, would you recommend people in your network to join Doerscircle?
Zoe Leong: Yes, I definitely would. I have mentioned Doerscircle to people, especially those in Singapore because I think you're more active in Singapore. But definitely, if you're in Singapore and you're a solopreneur yourself, you should join Doerscircle for the community and then take it from there.
Travis Bennett: Awesome! Zoe, it's been a pleasure speaking to you today. For anyone, if you need any legal help, you can definitely reach out to her. I'll put some links and some email connections in, so you can find those easily. Thanks for sharing and thanks for your time, Zoe.