From school teacher to globe-trotting million dollar e-commerce business owner


It is not everyday that we hear of an entrepreneur who becomes wildly successful after only a few short years of hard work.

Much less a former school teacher turned stay-at-home mum who knows next to nothing about running any kind of e-commerce business.

And successful she became.

So much so that she is now making a 5-figure income weekly (yes you read correctly, its weekly!) and has traveled  to more than 54 countries within 3 short years.

But these are stuff that dreams are made of.

Not something that could happen to  ordinary folks like you or me.

For every one successful entreprenuer, there are thousands of us out there still in our dreams soon to be rudely jolted awake by our mobile phone alarm reminding us to go to our cubicles at work.

Let’s meet Kuan Yi Xian and find out how she did it.

What were your growing up days like?

I grew up in a middle class income family where my dad was the sole breadwinner.

He only had O levels so he always emphasised to the kids the importance of getting a good degree and then finding a job.

I don’t blame him for passing this mindset down to us because he was passed off for a partnership at the height of his career due to his lack of qualifications, even though he was probably the most experienced and capable person for that position.

This left a deep imprint in my subconscious mind and I told myself to be successful if I wanted to be paid more in my career, the ONLY way was to get a higher degree and find a better paying job

What was your first job?

My first job which I took up after I graduated was that of a financial planner.

I did extremely well and my boss was very pleased with my performance. I worked hard and would pack in appointments from morning till night, travelling all over Singapore to meet my clients.

Most days, I worked 12 hours and would only reach home by midnight. Back then, I didn’t understand the concept of building and sowing for the future. I could only understand the concept of active income and worked hard for that.

After about a year, I was passively making about S$1500 monthly from insurance commissions but when I compared myself to the rest of my graduate peers who were making active income of S$1800-S$2000, I felt very discouraged.

The lure of an active salary of S$2200 for starting teachers seemed more attractive then my passive income of S$1500 which I was making regardless of whether I worked or not. I quit after a year of doing financial planning and went into the “safe and predictable” world of teaching.

How did you become interested in business?

Being more of an academic person, I wasn’t very interested in business.

But after I gave birth to my twin girls, I realised that it was difficult juggling a full time career as a secondary school teacher and motherhood.

I remember that when I was at work, I really missed my girls. And when I was home with them, I kept thinking of my work. So it was really conflicting. It was only then that I began to explore the types of businesses I could go into.

How has your business impacted your life and those of your loved ones?

If I have to use a single word, it would be liberation.

It is liberating to have both time and money and not need to struggle so hard to chase money like before. My life’s plan and work is now very clear before me. I know exactly what kind of education I can give my girls, how I can nurture them with not only my love but my time too.

It’s also liberating to never really need to look at the right column where the prices are when we go to a nice restaurant.

What keeps your fire burning and what drives you?

What drives me is that I can literally change lives by empowering other women to start their own businesses like I have.

There’s no bigger satisfaction than seeing their businesses taking off and experiencing the joy that they feel. I am really blessed to be part of their journey. No other career is more meaningful than this.

To find out more about Yi Xian’s upcoming workshop, please click here