In this Support Their Empowerment section we welcome Leona Yeo to join us in a conversation about growing up and dealing with our expectations! She shared her experiences and struggles of starting a business at a young age as well as advice for those with big dreams.

Leona is a recent graduate and co-founder of a content creation company called DEFY. While there are expectations for young adults to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation, Leona has chosen to take the unconventional route in hopes to pursue her passion. 

Adulting is a difficult thing to do and even more so for recent graduates who are expected to have a well paying job, grown up responsibilities and many other things. By t
rying to figure out her own path, Leona shared with us how she abandoned the traditional and convenient route and started her business. 

As graduation neared back in 2020, she began playing around on the platform Tiktok and a couple of videos she made went viral. This piqued her interest as she found herself enjoying the process of content creation. As such, she decided to work in the digital marketing industry. The idea of creating a business was established as she found a partner who had similar interest and passion in the industry. They saw an opportunity and potential for growth and decided to create the company - DEFY. 

DEFY is a digital marketing company which creates content for all forms of social media. Although it is a small startup, she believes that with consistency and hard work, their effort will pay off in the long run. 

We asked Leona about the process of building the business and the challenges she faced. Here’s what she says: 

Personally, we were financially struggling as my partner and I do not have a full time job as well as years of savings. We had no fundings and had to rely on working odd jobs to just get by. I also took on a digital marketing internship in hopes to compensate for the skills and experiences lacked. However, the internship ended up occupying my time and became my main job and priority and I was not able to commit to the workloads of the business and the internship. 

Luckily, I had a good partner to remind me that short term loss only led to long term gain and I had to look at the big picture and prioritise my goals. We ended up agreeing to take on jobs that were beneficial in helping us gain more skills such as editing for other companies or doing sponsorship exposures. 

Here is a few advice Leona shared for those who are aspiring young entrepreneurs: 

Although this might not be the easiest route for a career, as long as your passion is there, anything can be accomplished. Be sure to plan out your ideas and not head into the business blindly. Although there might be doubts or even arguments between your partners, ultimately with the same vision and goals in mind, it will be alright. 

When asked about a favourite quote, she shared: 

船到橋頭自然 Chuan Dao Qiao Tou Zi Ran Zhi
When the boat gets to the bridgehead, it will naturally straighten itself out

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