December 1, 2023


Moving Forward

How Benjamin Kheng went from freelancer to business owner

Singapore Artiste Benjamin Kheng.

Artiste Benjamin Kheng. (Picture: Endowus)

By Prince Lee

When he was in his 20s, nearby multi-hyphenate artist Benjamin Kheng had an unstable profits as a freelancer and juggled many distinct work – dabbling as a portion-time radio DJ, singing in pubs, and educating literature and drama – to make ends meet.

Though Kheng, now 32, took a cautionary tactic to his finances, such as generating positive he failed to devote outside of his implies, he faced boundaries when he wanted to acquire a house after obtaining married. Kheng instructed Yahoo Finance Singapore, “Currently being a freelancer meant ‘conversations with the bank’ about not having a stable regular profits (that would have additional conveniently secured a household personal loan).”

Kheng also couldn’t go after much more very long-time period company chances, these kinds of as starting up his have organization.

He determined he had to get smarter about the savings and expense.

Just as he commenced to read through up far more about fiscal literacy, Singapore-based mostly investment platform Endowus approached Kheng to check out a possible collaboration, with him getting a single of its ambassadors. Kheng was at the time keen to kickstart his financial journey and have in-depth conversations about his prosperity targets and financial investment designs.

Just one of the earliest items of tips Endowus main government Gregory Van gave to Kheng was to “learn to make his money work” for him. But in purchase to master, Kheng shared that he experienced to position his ego and satisfaction aside.

Get financially literate

“I experienced to check with professionals like Greg to break it down to the essentials and demonstrate it basically to me like ELI5 (slang for ‘Explain Like I’m 5’). I learnt that it is okay to not know. I had to check with foolish queries, humble myself, and figure it out,” Kheng recalled.

This incorporated understanding what sure money terminologies have been (for instance, dividend shares as opposed to development shares), handling unexpected emergency money and portioning out a appropriate volume to spend, understanding valuations and investing horizons, as properly as the breaking down of common myths (for occasion, superior danger equals higher returns).

His monetary literacy efforts have paid off, with Kheng sharing that he is in a “stable economical situation” at the moment – Kheng stated he can be additional accountable for exactly where his income is going in general.

He additional, “I now have an educated foresight into my short- to very long-expression upcoming and am superior outfitted to make choices that really feel frightening in the interim but make perception in the lengthy run.

Situation in place: although late to the price savings and financial commitment recreation, Kheng is now a co-founder of Charle King, a boutique video clip creation corporation, which he started off with resourceful director Ted Charles.

Changing enthusiasm into a liveable wage

These days, with monetary independence in the bag, Kheng is in a position to consider far more calculated challenges, and invest his tricky-attained income into side jobs that he is passionate about, such as the BenZi job, and a neighborhood songs-comedy series with Annette Lee, a singer-songwriter who shot to fame as a content material creator for regional electronic written content internet site SGAG.

He shared, “For the 1st time, Annette and I set out four tracks, but we knew that we would not see fast returns as we experienced no evidence of idea. Audio videos are expensive and not effortless to do, but we did see the worth in generating information for a community market, where our USP (exceptional offering place) was music-comedy.”

Luckily, even prior to the very first period wrapped up, Kheng and Lee had been capable to safe funding, which meant that year two was completely funded by way of private investments and authorities grants.

“Though not every single venture is so blessed, this calculated risk would not have been doable to make when I was in my mid-20s and possibility-averse,” he mentioned.

And even though facet jobs with Lee, or co-founding Charle King, may perhaps not enjoy “major returns economically”, Kheng is delighted in which he is, being aware of he can proceed what he loves undertaking – creating content material, storytelling, find out how to immediate, and perform with unique models and purchasers to convey out a eyesight – with out stressing much too considerably about finances

“I imagine that mastering how to translate your enthusiasm into a job without having getting rid of your soul is also incredibly critical,” he opined.

When questioned if being more well-regarded these times make currently being a freelancer much easier, Kheng chuckled and mentioned, “I assume it is a misnomer. The current market is so volatile, so it is really important for us to remember to help save up for a rainy working day.”

It pays to start early

One particular regret that Kheng has was not looking for monetary literacy at the start of his occupation.

Featuring a piece of suggestions to young grown ups who just started out performing, Kheng said, “If it is within just your signifies, adopting a uncomplicated theory like the 50/30/20 rule immediately after you’ve just graduated and are embarking on your occupation will go a lengthy way.”

This was some thing Kheng wished his youthful self understood – how to implement the 50/30/20 basic principle, wherever with every single 100 per cent of gross cash flow, 50 goes to mounted charges like utilities and hire, 30 goes into non-essentials like having out and looking at flicks, even though the last 20 goes into investments and cost savings.

One more piece of information Kheng would have shared with his youthful self was the will need to instill excellent economical techniques these as paying one’s credit rating card bills on time, comprehending one’s expenditure routines, and earning a concerted work to set some income apart just about every thirty day period.

And though he does not claim to be a monetary professional, Kheng is understands how funds ebb and stream in tune with the unstable innovative business.

For all those who decide on to freelance, Kheng available, “Remaining a freelancer is like rock climbing with no a harness. You do not seriously know what your following actions are. But if you diversify your assets, there are a lot of techniques to continue to be abreast and keep afloat.”

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