They take pride in terming themselves ‘full-time vacationers.’ For the outside person, it seems like a job too good to be true – the idea of making a comfortable living from taking vacations is, after all, one that has defiantly gone against most societal norms. How can one accomplish that? Journalist Teddy Tham has the privilege of speaking with multi-millionaire and travelpreneur James Lee to gain some insights on what it really means to be a full-time vacationer.
Known widely as one of the key persons to popularise the terms ‘travelpreneur’ and ‘full-time vacationer’ in Asia, James came across as a charismatic and humble figure who’s always ready to share his entrepreneurial experiences. Building a 1,000,000 membership business in a mere five years since embarking on his extraordinary journey, James is now ready for the next phase of his life – giving back to the community. He now travels regularly to different parts of the world to speak to aspiring entrepreneurs on what it takes to build a sustainable business.
What made you want to start your own business in the first place?
James: I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur when I was much younger. My dad played a pivotal role. I’m just like him – always wanted freedom and not really working for someone else. I guess I got heavily influenced by him throughout my developing years. Because of this interest in entrepreneurship, I started reading a lot of content about this topic, again strengthening my beliefs in this area. I got into building businesses as soon as I got the chance.
You started off your career as a Navy Officer, achieving the highly coveted Sword-of-Honour that’s only presented to one cadet every cohort. You also did very well subsequently, accomplishing never before positive ratings throughout your term. Why leave the safe haven of your illustrious career for the uncertain?
James: I joined the Navy when I was enlisted to National Service. And I chose the Navy because at a recruitment talk, they pitched on being able to travel the world and see the world. I thought, at least I get to do something I really love – and that is to travel. My friends who knew me thought it was an unorthodox decision at first, knowing my entrepreneurial nature – I mean, I seem to them like the last guy who would sign on as a military officer.
It was only until years later that I got in touch with network marketing, saw the beauty of it, and started putting it to good use in businesses I subsequently started. Again, it was something that many would have disagreed with. But having done extensive reading on various network marketing models, I’m confident to say that it’s really ‘mis-execution’ of the model that brings along its bad name. There are so many boons to the system that can literally propel an average person from poverty. As far as I know, it is also one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to build a sustainable business.
Pic: James at one of his sharing sessions.
In your particular line of work, it seems you’re really living the life from network marketing. Just have a look at your Facebook page. How then do you spot a good network marketing company in the first place?
James: I would say there are five areas to look out for when deciding if it’s a good opportunity.
First, look at the company. Who owns or runs it? What is its background? Does it have a good track record? These are some of the first questions you have to ask yourself. If you want to succeed, you will want to participate in a company that mean what they say and deliver what they promise. Are they sincere with people? I believe the culture and what the owners believe in are extremely important. Do they align with your own beliefs? It has to match to have some form of synergy and to maximize your chances of success.
Second, it’s to look at the kind of products or services that they are providing. Are they something of demand? Do they provide value? It is critical that the product or service is one that is attractive and valuable to a large number of people. There is no point in selling something that is perceived as low value or where there is low demand.
Third, look at the kind of support that is given by the company. What is the environment and culture like? What is the kind of training that is provided? Do they take care of the people? Network marketing is essentially a people’s business. It is important that the company takes great care in developing people and creating a synergistic environment.
Fourth, look at the system. Is there a sound one in place for anyone to go through the whole pipeline? Can success be duplicated? It also shouldn’t be one that focuses on individual efforts, because then there will be a limitation. A company that encompasses a system of teamwork has a greater chance of letting you build a sustainable, passive and recurring income.
Last but not least, it will be the compensation plan itself. How is one compensated? Is the compensations sustainable? Is there potential for passive income? How long and what milestones do I have to work hard for before I can see the desired results? These again are critical questions you have to consider in order to decide if it’s a good opportunity.
Building a business is no doubt an uphill task, especially one in network marketing. What kept you going? How do people get to where you are?
James: I would say it’s not just a single person’s effort. It takes like-minded people coming together to actually build something worthy. My goal has always been to align people’s visions and goals and to collectively work towards them. Especially in my unique role as a travelpreneur, people like what they see and they experience for themselves the beauty of the system, they become part of this massive community. I merely get the right people together and explain to them in the simplest terms our vision. It is really the camaraderie, fun and positive experiences as a whole unit that kept us going and growing.
To find out more about James and his experiences as a travelpreneur, visit https://www.jameslee.asia/. He has also written a book called “Flip Your Switch To Be Rich,” where he shares personal experiences on his entrepreneurial journey. The book is available for purchase at Amazon.
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