Genecia Alluora is the Founder of Soul Rich Woman, South East Asia’s leading network for female entrepreneurs connecting 11,000 women across the region.
Genecia was drawn to entrepreneurship in her mid 20’s following her time as Miss Singapore when she established Coffee:Nowhere, a specialist cafe for coffee lovers which has grown into a renowned retail cafe chain with a presence across three countries in Asia.
Keen to explore different marketing avenues and empower like-minded women, Genecia began her own live stream channel, Soul Rich Woman TV. Today, Soul Rich Woman TV has a combined social media reach of 200,000, consists of 1,000+ episodes and has built the foundations of her current business.
Established in Singapore, Genecia has expanded Soul Rich Woman in recent years to Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
Soul Rich Woman has also recently partnered with giant companies such as Facebook, Shopify, and Visa, to continuously provide its members with opportunities and exposure to help them with their entrepreneurial journey.
Where did the idea for Soul Rich Woman come from?
The idea of Soul Rich Woman was born out of the need to create a solid support and network group for aspiring women entrepreneurs.
When I first set up my own online business, there weren’t many business mentors that I could easily have access to. I had to piecemeal resources together, walk the school of hard knocks and after every workshop I’ve attended, there’s lack of continuous support. As we go over running or setting up our business, we have daily new ah-ha moments, and situations that we want to ask questions about — and I saw the need for a network and a solid support group that should be consistently present and available for women to go to when that instances happen.
Hence, Soul Rich Woman was born. What was once a vision is now Southeast Asia’s largest network of female entrepreneurs with 11,000 active members collaborating across 15 countries.
We first started in Singapore with the mission to help women entrepreneurs and have now expanded to other Asian countries with the newest market entry being the Philippines. Its main purpose is to bring like-minded women together and empower the members in a way that they achieve their ambitions with proper guidance. Its network of community leaders and staff engage a wider 200,000 strong female community. Soul Rich Woman is helping remove obstacles for female entrepreneurship through mentoring, skill sharing and network building programmes across the region.
Soul Rich Woman’s mission is to move the needle on female entrepreneurship across Southeast Asia and enable women to succeed in business, life and health, through knowledge sharing, networking and inspiring confidence in one another.
We center our approach on progressively building up a network of amazing female members and high quality mentors across the region that work with and support aspiring and existing female entrepreneurs.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day consists of working on the different aspects of my business – whether operational or on the marketing side.
I start my day with my daily live streaming coaching on Facebook where I discuss various aspects of running businesses online efficiently – this can include social media marketing, getting interviews and media exposure for your business, etc.
Afterwards, I do my regular 1 on 1 coaching with members of Soul Rich Woman to ensure that they are on track with their businesses.
There are days when I will attend meetings with different companies to explore their interest to partner with Soul Rich Woman, to support our mission to empower as many women as possible through various sharing of expert insights.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Plan and brainstorm with team members. When I come up with business idea, I want to make sure that it makes sense and is compelling. Hence, I make sure I get together the team, discuss and brainstorm ideas — this way, we come up with something stronger — ideas that are born out of team collaborations.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am excited about the trend of moving towards online merging with offline or what is called “OMO.” Nowadays, it is almost impossible, and not ideal, to only have an offline business — the default attitude of consumers is to do a background check online; so if you’re not present there, there’s a big chance you’ll lose them.
OMO’s purpose is to create a new retail experience, where we return to the essence of retail but take the digitization of people (“always online attitude”) into equation and apply it to how you market your merchandise and direct them to your physical store. In addition — with such business model, online and offline branding as well as customer service are important keys to stand out.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My “no fear of failure” attitude. We need more confidence and less fear of failure! Across Southeast Asia, women are more likely than men to lack the self belief they need to launch a new venture. Most of the time, this relates to women perceiving they don’t have or not having the right skills to set up a business which is one of the problems we are trying to solve at Soul Rich Woman.
I always say that you should never be crippled by fear and failures. Always find the courage to do what you want to do. In spite of self-doubt, always take action and have full commitment with all your endeavors because a lot of times, we tend to stay in our comfort zones due to the fear of failure. We are all in this box we put ourselves in that we think we can’t get out of – that’s what we want to address in Soul Rich Woman, to remove these self-limiting beliefs that stop us from being the best version of ourselves and go after what we want.
Women shouldn’t be crippled by their perceived limitations. Don’t be a victim of your own circumstances. Step out of your comfort zone and go towards the dreams you desire. Envision success. Don’t dwell, because the longer you dwell, the harder it’ll be for you to take action. Get educated, make mistakes, learn, repeat. You don’t want to be that person who regrets not doing enough for herself when you get older.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Hard work never ever goes to waste. Sometimes things don’t always go how we want them to, or as fast as we want them to — a business venture might not yield fruits immediately as planned or predicted. But I think that you should never give up. Remember, all efforts yield results — you just have to be patient.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Find your support community, nurture it, and regularly engage with it. Having access to a network of like-minded people is very powerful — you always have a treasure trove of resources within your reach.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Finding a mentor who I can always go to for business advice.
And this is what I always stress to other aspiring women entrepreneurs, too. You are the average of the 6 people you hang out with the most. Find someone who inspires you and is willing to help you grow and learn — a mentor that after the mentoring sessions, you still have great rapport with.
You must also find a support community — this is something that really pushed me to create Soul Rich Woman. When I was setting up my online business, there weren’t many business mentors that I could easily have access to. I had to piecemeal resources together, walk the school of hard knocks and after every workshop I’ve attended, there’s lack of continuous support. I mean, I can’t have “all the problems” in one day right? As we do it, we have daily new ah-ha moments, and situations that we want to ask questions about. So I’d like to invite you, a female entrepreneur, blogshop owner, coach, instructor, business owner or a lady who is passionate about sharing your products and ideas to the world to join our women by women community. For you who want to reach for your dreams.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure was the failure of a bad partnership because we didn’t really establish a black and white. And because I thought that people stay true to “word of honor” — unfortunately, it is not what other people’s model of the world.
There is also suffering losses financially — a big bad experience.
These experiences could have been my excuses of not moving forward and saying, “Oh, entrepreneurship is not for me, partnerships is lousy, we should always do business alone, I’m not worth it.”
I could have carried these baggages with me. But I told myself: you are not what you have done, you are what you have overcome.
After this, I stood up once more (although not very easily and quickly), and started taking a chance on entrepreneurship again. I then invested in a cafe business with multiple partners involved. The result? A successful venture: we created a coffee retail chain with presence in 3 countries.
The lessons I’ve learned from these are:
1. Create Partnership With Respect: Form partnerships with people that has respect of each other’s individual expertise. Each of us had our own expertise — mine was PR & Marketing for the cafe. Then we had a partner running the operations side, another running the franchise & licensing, etc. We all came together and leveraged on our expertise in our partnerships to make things happen.
Of course it was not all bed of roses. But when there is respect and one common vision, we were able to stay aligned and focused.
2. If I had “used the past” I could have held myself back and prevented myself from succeeding. But no, I didn’t, so it helped and I succeeded! Never let a bad experience become a burden. Let it be a lesson for future success.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why? (personal or professional)
The best $100 I’ve spent is giving the money to someone in need.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I run some aspects of my business remotely and rely on Asana, a project management tool. It helps me stay on top of all the tasks and activities that my team are doing, wherever they are in the world. I also heavily rely on Skype for daily team communications.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki or Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins.
What is your favorite quote?
Our Soul Rich Woman tagline: Alone You Are Strong, Together We Are Unstoppable.
- Entrepreneurship is about having the courage to live a life that a lot people cannot find it in themselves to do. Entrepreneurship is about continually facing your fears. Because while fear can be paralysing, it can also be immensely motivating.
- Don’t be crippled by your perceived limitations. Don’t be a victim of your own circumstances. Step out of your comfort zone and go towards the dreams you desire. Envision success. Don’t dwell, because the longer you dwell, the harder it’ll be for you to take action. Get educated, make mistakes, learn, repeat.
- “You are not what you have done, you are what you have overcome. The only failure is the failure to participate.”
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.