The thought of coming to arguably the largest city (population wise) with over 24 million people, with two indirect contacts, was just a tad bit intimidating. My priority for this trip was to make business connections first, and if I made a few new friends on the side, that would be a bonus. Thankfully, I was able to accomplish both at a much larger scale and I am incredibly thankful for these new found relationships.
Photos by Hamid & Tian.
Last summer, my entrepreneurship cohort at UVic had the pleasure of having a live Q&A session with David Foster, our school’s 2015 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year. David told us what he thought to be the most important secret to success, and that was NETWORKING! I personally agreed with David’s advice as I had already experienced the power of networking during my short-lived professional career (mainly co-ops). So with that in mind, my first move upon arriving in Shanghai was to step up my networking game, put myself out there, in order to be led down the right path.
Thankfully for me, Shanghai is an extremely easy city to meet new people as there are a plethora of business and social events going on and it is such an international hub for expats and foreign entrepreneurs.
A friend of mine who had lived in Shanghai to study Chinese, recommended checking out Meetup.com (no, not a dating site), to get connected. Let’s just say Meetup Shanghai is on a whole other level and coming from Miss. Social Butterfly over here, I never thought it would be possible to out extrovert myself. Ironically, I did and I now know the craving introverts have to want to go home to be alone and recharge.
Having said all this, I wanted to take the time to publicly thank a few of the incredible individuals who I met in Shanghai and who have impacted myself and ethreeone. more than they probably know. This list could be a lot longer but I wanted spotlight these individuals in particular. Please note that there were key individuals back in Canada who also played a tremendous role in what happened while in China. I will pay a tribute to them in another post for the sake of length and your time! (:
Lloyd: Thanks for being such a supportive friend, tour guide, Chinese help-line, translator, adventure seeker, encourager, bargaining coach, and sounding board! We became insta-friends and I will forever cherish the memories and laughs we had hiking up the Yellow Mountains, hanging out in People Square, and eating a ton of fantastic food.
Nathan: Thank-you for taking me in under your wing and being such an incredible friend/older brother. You blew me away with your kindness and generosity, having barely known me in the beginning. Thank-you for always being willing to help out with literally anything and for attending my very first fashion show with me!
Anya: Thank-you for being so generous with your time and connections from the moment we met. I know I’ve told you this before, but I want to make a public declaration that ethreeone. would NOT be where it is today without your dedication in the past 2 months! Business aside, thanks for helping me with my Chinese and not laughing at it too much, haha!
Carol: Thank-you for your constant willingness to help me out, whether it was with my Chinese mobile account issues, telling me the metro stations and exits to get off at, and believing in ethreeone. and me! Most importantly, thanks for introducing me to a ton of fantastic Chinese restaurants!
Taisa: How crazy is it that two ‘Berta girls would meet have way across the world! I learned so much from you and our late night conversations after cell group about faith, living in Shanghai, and business. Thank-you for understanding my slurpee withdrawals and for showing me that the Chinese 7-Elevens do in fact, have “slurpees”.
Deji: I will never forget the day we literally had two coffee chats in a row at two different coffee shops. You provided me with so much wisdom, advice and incredible perspectives to the series of events that had taken away my spirit and passion. Thank-you for your willingness to connect me to your network before I could even ask.
Ricci: I respect and look up to you so much for your commitment to yourself and to God to conduct your business in the most ethical and integral way. I now know this to be the ultimate test while doing business in China. Thank you for always making time for me with your crazy schedule and the quick WeChat check-ins.
In the end, a few things happened that were out of my control. Some of these events have already changed things for the better, and others, I am still in the process of bouncing back and figuring where to go next. Even though this trip wasn’t necessarily “successful” in the sense of accomplishing my two main objectives, I am so incredibly grateful for what I’ve learned and how much I grew as a person. THAT, in itself is a huge success and I know I need to be easier on myself. I am realizing more and more that when you put yourself in uncomfortable and challenging situations, you are able to develop your character and your capacity to take on more physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually increases.
I know many of you are non believers, but since this is the first post to a series of what really went on behind the scenes, I wanted to be real and share a few Bible verses that kept me going during the moments I was ready to pack up and go home.
So all this to say the obvious really: a lot has happened behind the scenes in the past four months and the emotional rollercoaster of entrepreneurship is a very real analogy. However, with the help of the names mentioned above and so many more, I was able to accomplish a lot that I’m very proud of. I know you probably wanted a better update and you are probably thinking this is all vague, but as I mentioned, I am literally taking things day by day still and I will reveal events in due time. I too, am still trying to decide/see how this all plays out.
In the next few weeks, I will finally reveal where the business is at and what transpired in the past four months of non-stop hustle, sweat and tears. Literally. (And by sweat, I mean more of the sweat that just conveniently comes along with 40° Celsius weather plus humidity!)
On a side note, I know I’m not wearing business wear in this post, but I thought I would change things up as the next few posts will be filled with plenty of new business outfits. Potentially the very first line of ethreeone. branded suits?
Thanks for being patient ethreeone. community and until next time, work hard and be nice to people!