Side Hustler In Singapore: Hawkerpreneur

by Wei Ying  May 7, 2022
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With fifty dollars left in your bank account and having to live on suan la fen for two months straight, would you still chase your dream?

Well, Geliang chose to stick it out and it certainly did pay off. He now owns, his own recruitment firm, Nomad, and an express Tze char store, Queen of Wok at Great World City. One can probably say that Geliang has lived it all, including testing the limits of his stomach lining with that much numbing spice from those noodles.

Geliang is a 27-year-old full-time headhunter, who got hurled huge lemons, hit absolute rock bottom, and bounced back — hard. Here is his rocky road to success, but it is every bit inspiring.

I got evicted of my house at the age of 16 and couch surfed at a lot of my friends’ houses.

– GELIANG

Did you have to deal with any hardships in order to reach where you are today?

I borrowed $30K but made zero dollars in the first seven months. When September hit, I was down to my last $50. At that point, I was constantly asking myself if I should give up.

– GELIANG

Setting up Nomad in 2020 was not an easy one. I took a loan of $30,000 to start Nomad. All of which were funded by my close friends and family. For the first seven months, I made zero dollars, and it was incredibly difficult.
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Suan La Fen by Hai Chi Jia

How did Nomad come about?

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Geliang at Koh Rong Island in Cambodia

How did Queen of Wok come about and when was it established?

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Queen of Wok at Rangoon road

“I had a millennial mindset that small-scale ventures could work. Since no one was keen, I decided to take on the challenge.”

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Queen of Wok at Great World City
Essentially, the outlet at Great World City is more of a proof of concept for experimenting if an express Tze char store could work.

What is Queen of Wok’s speciality?

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Queen of Wok’s charcoal fish head steamboat

What is on the plate for Queen of Wok now?

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Products of Green Rebel

How do you juggle Queen of Wok and your full-time job?

G: An entrepreneur might tell you that he has an organised schedule every week but it never actually occurs!

I never really know what is next and am always on my feet. Having a strong belief in an objective-driven week, I set targets that I would like to hit each week and make sure that I accomplish them.

In addition, I also make use of organisation tools like Notion.

When our express store first started, I was down at the store almost every day to learn how to cook from 10 am to 10 pm! With the help of a crew now, I only head down twice a week to stand in for my employees when they are off-shift.

I spend the remaining days of the week doing headhunting.

By now, I was thoroughly intrigued as to what kept Geliang from pushing through the notorious F&B hours while juggling his full-time job.

What are your motivators?

G: It used to be money! However, I am at a stage where I would like to continuously put myself in a position where I can enable the people around me. If you find someone a good job, you do not just change their lives but also the people around them.

Queen of Wok at Great World City.

Anything you would like to say to budding hawker entrepreneurs?

“But remember, it is the community that you build and the relationships that you forge that will help you construct a great business.”