Turning a lifelong habit and passion into a business with Jamie Lee (The Kind Friend)

In this episode, Jamie Lee (The Kind Friend) talks about:

  • The importance of mental wellness and journaling
  • How she turned an Instagram account into a business with multiple revenue streams
  • How listening to customers ensures excellent product market fit 
  • How she achieves harmony between work and personal life 
  • Who her greatest role model is and why
 

Podcast information:

About the guest

Jamie Lee is the co-founder of The Kind Friend, a wellness company that aims to help people live a more mindful life through kindness by offering well-being journals and workshops. 

Previously, Jamie was the regional partnership lead at Carousell and founded two education businesses in Australia. Throughout her professional journey, she has been bestowed with several accolades like 30Under30 Anthill Young Entrepreneur Award, WYSE Global Youth Best Work Experience Provider, Australia’s Favourite EduTech Startup and ASG Inspirational Teaching Award. 

In Jamie’s leisure time, she enjoys reading and engaging in conversations with people who inspire her to expand her knowledge. She also devotes much of her spare time to journaling and fitness classes to keep her mind and body refreshed. 

Find her here:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiecilee/

Books, tools, people, frameworks mentioned in this episode:

Jamie Lee  0:00  

We co created our first product with our followers. And what I meant by co creating is that we actually surveyed them. You know, we ask them, What exactly do they want to see within our journal, even the colours of our journal or whether it’s going to be hardcover or softcover, we ask every single question.

 

Ricky Willianto  0:17  

Jamie Lee found the kind friend, a startup that focuses on mindfulness education through journaling. Jamie started with a simple Instagram account, which quickly grew to 87,000 followers in less than a year. She knew her followers are serious about their mindfulness journey, and leverage that relationship to create her first product, a mindfulness journal, the product was so successful that she sold 1000s of journals at launch, giving her an amazing momentum from day one. Tune in to this episode to hear more from Jamie, as she shares other insights and learnings from her experience, building the kind friend. 

 

My name is Ricky Willianto, co founder of Ravenry and the host of this growth multiplier podcast. Through this podcast, I hope to uncover the pathways, startups and companies have taken in their journey of growth, share some stories from the trenches, and hopefully identify patterns and hacks that can be replicated by businesses in Asia and the rest of the world. I hope you enjoy the show. 

 

Hey, Jamie, so nice to have you on the podcast here with me today. Can we get you to introduce yourself real quick? And you know, maybe tell our audience a little bit what you’re working on?

 

Jamie Lee  1:30  

Sure. So a little bit about me, I grew up in Sydney, and I actually relocated to Singapore almost three years ago. Initially, I was actually working for Carousel. And that’s one of the reasons why we decided to move here. And back in Sydney I actually co founded two education businesses. So right now I’m actually on to my third venture. So my third venture is called The Kind Friend which is a wellness company. Apart from the business, more importantly, I’m a daughter of a very, very strong and independent mom. So I was raised by a single mom. And I’m also an older sister. Yeah. So really excited to be here with you and to chat a little bit more about how we grew The Kind Friend over the past two years.

 

Ricky Willianto  2:13  

So yeah, tell us a little bit about this company, The Kind Friend, how did it start? And why do you start it?

 

Jamie Lee  2:18  

I started, I still feel really surreal to be talking about The Kind Friend as a full time job because it started out as a side hobby. And my husband was actually the one who started The Kind Friend. So initially, he created an Instagram account. And all he wanted to do was to spread a little bit more light and positivity within the online space, we just feel like as we scroll through our social media, a lot of things tend to be slightly more negative. So every day, he would just write a simple quote centred around kindness, positivity, and humility. And we were relatively surprised at how quickly our community grew within a very short period of time, and I kind of knew we were onto something when we received over 1500 direct messages within 10 months. And I usually would be the one who respond to every single message. Well, I’ll try my best. And that’s when I realised that many of these messages were centred around emotional well being, we have students writing to us letting us know how alone they feel in today’s connected world, we have parents telling us how overwhelmed and burnt out they are. And we even had influencers showing their battles with anxiety and depression with us. And that’s when we started to have conversation around, you know, how can we create a product that can continue to add value to our community, it reminded me of my ritual of journaling. I actually started journaling since I was 12. And it helped me to stay hopeful, grounded and connected when there is just so much uncertainty going around in my life. So I wonder if the product will actually help others. So essentially, we co created our first product with our followers. And what I meant by co creating was that we actually survey them, you know, we ask them, What exactly do they want to see within our journal, even the colours of our journal or whether it’s going to be hardcover or softcover, we ask every single question.

 

That’s amazing. So tell us a bit about the platform that you’re using now to build your community. You mentioned that there are a lot of people who’s sending you direct messages and engaging with you, like, where is that happening?

 

So it’s on Instagram, our biggest channel where most of our community members are app-based on Instagram. And apart from Instagram, we also do nurture programmes to really build relationships with our customers. So email nurture programmes. Yes, I would say the biggest channel for us is Instagram.

 

Ricky Willianto  4:50  

Got it and when did you guys start?

 

Jamie Lee  4:54  

end of January 2019. So that was the start of the community. And then we turn that into a business end of November. I think it was like 26 November 2019. Yes.

 

Ricky Willianto  5:10  

So less than a year and a half ago, right.

 

Jamie Lee  5:14  

Yeah, we think 10 months, I think we gone over 50,000 followers. And yeah, so literally, because of this online community, where we are extremely community focused, and because I was able to resign from my full time job, and now doing this full time, and I’ve been doing this full time for 18 months now, and I absolutely love it.

 

Ricky Willianto  5:36  

Amazing. Yeah, I see you have like 86,000 followers. Now, that’s not an easy feat in like, 18 months, you know, it’s impressive.

 

Jamie Lee  5:44  

Yes, on average, each of the quotes that you’re seeing on our Instagram page, on average, it gets shared around 150 times. And some of the posts actually went slightly viral. And that’s how the community grew. And before that, we also co created this campaign called the Kind Act campaign with some of the influences across Southeast Asia. So we will ask them routins around their self care, you know, how do they show kindness themselves? And how do they show kindness to others. So when we share this campaign, influencers will also share it, which allows us to tap into their audience and their followers as well.

 

Ricky Willianto  6:21  

Why do you think this is such an important topic to bring up now? And why do you think people are so actively engaging with this topic of self care and mental health?

 

Jamie Lee  6:33  

I think especially right now, right? If you really think about it, COVID impacted millions of people physically, by actually impacted billions of people mentally. And I was reading an article by World Health Organisation saying that one in seven people actually experience a mental disability. And I found it really funny. Recently, I went to the dentist, my teeth is fine. I just went for a checkup. I do it every six months. And I think most of us would do it every six months. But how often do we actually check our mind? Even when there’s nothing going on? Right? So for me, I kind of feel like yes, mental health is such a big topic right now, because of COVID. But I don’t think this trend is going to go away. It’s like a fitness. You know, we talk about physical fitness all the time going to the gym, do a certain workout to build our muscle. But the most important muscle that we can ever invest in is actually our mind. But how often do we make time or invest time in our mind gym? And for me, personally, journaling has been my mind gym ever since I was a kid. And it’s probably one of the best self care ritual that ever given to myself.

 

Ricky Willianto  7:44  

And like, how do you discover that? I mean, I think not a lot of people, I journal when I was young, right? But it never really stuck with me. And I never really looked at it as a tool to kind of like help me understand myself better, and help me, you know, understand, like, why I go through certain emotions or you know, having certain problems. So how do you come to discover this and turn this into a toolkit for yourself?

 

Jamie Lee  8:05  

Yeah, I think that’s a really good question. So I’ve been journaling since I was 12. And it actually started out pretty innocently. So my family during that time, you know, my family immigrated to Australia, and I had to learn a new language, make new friends while trying to get used to all these new situations. I also had to learn how to cope with my parents divorce. So you know, before I knew what hit me, I became, like super moody, distracted and stressed out, definitely not the person that I wanted to be. Often I would just like cry for no reason. In a way, I feel like my personality was being altered. And looking back, I’m so grateful that my mom took me to see a therapist. I know, it’s not the norm, especially coming from an Asian family, a lot of people will just say to their kids, you know, it’s all in your head, just go to sleep, you’ll be fine. But it was during my therapy session that my therapist actually recommended me to journal. Not only that, she taught me the scientific benefits behind journaling, how it’s not just great for my mental well being, but it also has significant benefits for my physical health. So for example, right, if you write down all your frustrations and your worries from your mind onto paper, it’s kind of like closing all the tabs that you have on your laptop. So I don’t know how many tabs you have on your laptop? 

 

Ricky Willianto  9:24  

Oh man, don’t ask me this question. Don’t ask me this question. I’ve got plenty right now. 

 

Jamie Lee  9:31  

So it’s like giving your mind a reset button, you’re closing each tab. And inevitably, you know, it also helps you to sleep better, which is so important for your immune system. Yeah, so that’s essentially how I got started with journaling. It was helping me to regulate my emotions, so that I’m not becoming victim to my emotions, but later on, it becomes a tool for me to kind of write down all my dreams and turn my dreams into reality. You know, I started my first business when I was 21, I feel like I was writing everything that I wanted to create. So it allows me to become the writer of my life. And now during COVID, it’s a tool for me to just count my blessings. You know, before I go to sleep, I will write down all the things that I’m grateful for. And they also help me to end the day on a really good note.

 

Ricky Willianto  10:21  

Sounds awesome. Now that we know why you started this and kind of like, what is the purpose as well of The Kind Friend, what’s your passion, and what’s the goal of this business? Tell me a little bit about how you turn this into a business. Not a lot of people have the opportunity to be able to do what they love, and at the same time, create like a really positive impact on others, right? So tell me how do you turn this from a very basic Instagram account that started innocently and meant to spread good vibes into a business that can support you working on it full time.

 

Jamie Lee  10:56  

Yeah, so before I even resigned from my previous role, I told myself, I would never want to jump into the water with both feet again, because that’s exactly what I did in my first business, it was so hard, I was trying to do everything before I even had product market fit. So I was trying to find ways where I could get product market fit, before I even resigned. So what we did was, you know how we did a lot of surveys with our potential customers, we literally just created a landing page using viral loops. So viral loops allows you to identify your landing page as well. And within 21 days, almost 4000 people signed up wanting to purchase a journal on our landing page, we have all these mock up images, so we didn’t spend any money on inventory. And how it work is that, when you sign up, if you share the landing page with your friends, and the more friends that join, you will receive more free journals, maybe one journal for 10 friends, and then it might be you know, a whole bundle of journals, if you invite 50 friends, so it created that network effect where our community will share it to their own community. And when I saw almost 4000 people already wanted to purchase our journal, that also gave me the confidence to resign from my full time job knowing that, you know, 4000, and each journal is $30, it’s a pretty good capital investment for me to start this business.

 

Ricky Willianto  12:24  

So what is your predominant channel to get to your users right now, or to your buyers right now? Is it still Instagram or people go direct to your website to purchase the journal directly?

 

Jamie Lee  12:36  

bit of both, but right now surprisingly, we also started to work with corporates, I will say yes, 60% of our revenue right now is actually coming from corporates, and 40% coming from D to C. And we’ve also done a few PR, so sometimes it might be through reading about us through the Instagram community and word of mouth, we’re going pretty strong as well. We also get repeat customers, which is great. The b2b side, it’s really interesting because we launched our journal end of November, and one of our very first clients came from a startup in Singapore. And they told us they love our journal, but they will love to emboss their logo on it, and give it out as a Christmas gift for the entire employee base. And that kind of gave us the idea of creating b2b journals as well. So last year, I think we worked with almost 45 corporate clients, and they might be using our journal as part of their employee wellbeing initiatives. And they might be doing a gifting experience. So you know, we were part of LinkedIn’s international Woman’s Day, where they gave out our journal to their senior female leaders within the organisation. And they also use our journal as part of the, did I mention gifting experience? I think I did. Yes. Yeah, gifting, employee wellbeing, also events, doing, you know, client facing events will be a part of that as well. In addition to that, not just a journal because we constantly ask questions, I think it’s really important, doesn’t matter how big you get as a business, you have to stay close to your customers. And sometimes you have to do things that may not scale, you know, so I will take them out for coffee, take them out for lunch. And then our clients started asking us if we could also run wellness workshops. So now we don’t just have the journals. On top the journals. We also run wellness workshops around journaling, setting goals, reflection with some of our b2b clients.

 

Ricky Willianto  14:44  

I really love your approach to business building. I think a lot of people they overlook the importance of getting product market fit and really validating that in the easiest way possible. Right. And I think you use the viral loop to very quickly identify you know, if anyone at all wants to use your product, and you know, thankfully you have like 4000 really early supporters that kind of gave you that validation. But I think the other thing that people don’t talk a lot is the product channel fit. Seems like you’ve also been able to kind of like develop that quite well. So via Instagram, I think that’s where you get most of your, I guess leads, right, your early users to be reminded that you are trying to spread positivity, but at the same time, you also have this product that can help them more tangibly support themselves mentally and care for themselves. How did you develop all of this channels to your business, it’s not easy to come up with these channels and develop it so successfully, especially with b2b clients as well, like, how do you do all this?

 

Jamie Lee  15:43  

Okay, so for the D to C channel, in terms of Instagram, I really feel I cannot take any credit, because my husband did everything. They also feel so surreal, you know, it’s really difficult to get a name right now, on any social media channels. And for some reason, I don’t know if it’s serendipity that for some reason, The Kind Friend is not taken, what any channels that you can think of, we even have the domain name for every single country. And it’s such a simple name, you know, I have people reaching out to me on LinkedIn just because of the name, they will be like, I love your brand name – The Kind Friend. I also wanted to add that even though I’m the co founder of The Kind Friend, I’m definitely not kind all the time.

 

Ricky Willianto  16:29  

I think we all are on our own journey to become better, so it’s okay.

 

Jamie Lee  16:35  

And with the b2b side, for the first year, 70% of our b2b clients actually came from our existing network. So when you launch anything, right, you just have to tap into your network, you have to annoy your friends and family. So that’s exactly what we did. And then through there, word of mouth started to spread. But for b2b, I’m very active on LinkedIn, and I loved the LinkedIn tool Sales Navigator. So that allows me to really target a specific industry or specific person. So my email will be much more personalised, I don’t tend to send out and blast out the same message over and over again.

 

Ricky Willianto  17:18  

And, at the same time, I’m curious to understand a little bit about the impressive thing that you’ve done, which is that you’ve kind of looked at one product, and you’ve turned it into a business with multiple revenue channels or revenue strategy, right? So you are selling your journal directly to consumers, you are selling your journal in bulk to all these corporates, you’re running workshops, you’re at events, like where did this idea of new revenue streams come from? How did you actually get inspired to figure out new ways to monetize your business?

 

Jamie Lee  17:56  

I don’t know. I feel like I’m very, very curious by nature. And I feel like if you’re interacting with the world around you, you’ll actually be able to draw inspiration or, you know, create new ideas bsed on everything or everyone that you’ve ever met. Yeah, so you know, I always make the time, I remember doing COVID, within our journal, you can track a habit that you would like to build. And when we just launched a business, one of the habits that I was tracking is I make sure, on a weekly basis, I would talk to at least one customer, I will either call them I will contact them. During covid, it was great that our shipping got delay, I actually called every single customer and then you know, apologise for their shipping delay. But that also gave me a chance to really talk to them. Like why did you purchase our journal? How did you find out about us? If I were to give you a magic wand, what would you change about our journal. So even though we co create our first product with our community, our journal was changed within three months since launch. So initially, if you were to use our journal every single day, the journal actually lasted for three months, but people want it to be a bit longer, they would like to see more templates. So we actually expanded the pages of our templates. So now, if you were to write every single day, the journal will last you for six months. So I think a lot of things is just humbling yourself, and then just listen and ask good questions. And your customers will always give you new ideas, and sometimes it;s not even about asking, you know, we always get tagged within our IG stories or within Instagram, and I will look at what time of the day our customers are using our journal. You know, what’s around their journal, stickers. So you become really observant, right, you need to know exactly how they are using your product.

 

Ricky Willianto  19:51  

How do you train yourself to be like that, right, to be that observant to focus on listening? I think especially now with social media being a platform that empowers like, quote, unquote, empowers people to just, you know, express their thoughts and express their views and opinions, right, I think oftentimes, it’s very challenging to just sit down and listen to someone. Like how do you train yourself to be better at it?

 

Jamie Lee  20:18  

I Well, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a question before. But showing up with curiosity is one of my key values. And I remember as a kid, I love reading and my dad always goes, you know, if you want to be successful, you have to read as much as you can, if you don’t understand something, research about the author and reach out to that person. So even now, I’m actually co creating a journal with an author from the United States. And purely because I read his book a few times, I had a few questions, reached out to him, and I started bouncing his idea. And even one of my mentors I have right now, I watched his TED talk and felt inspired but I had a few questions. I just reached out to him on LinkedIn. For me, you know, what’s the worst thing that could happen? People can just reject you. They don’t respond to your message. But at least from my end, I show my appreciation that you’ve inspired me today. And I also feel good sending out that email. Yeah, so I think I’m just very curious. And I like asking questions around why, you know, why do you do the things that you do? Or why does this work? If it doesn’t work? And I look at the other way, I see myself, I guess, as a scientist, and I love, so one of my habit tracker right now, I will be like, what’s a B experiment that I can experiment this week. So I want to make sure that on a weekly basis I experiment one thing that I’ve never done before.

 

Ricky Willianto  21:43  

I love that that’s amazing. It’s like constantly challenging yourself to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and you know, explore new boundaries, right?

 

Jamie Lee  21:52  

Yeah. And then that makes your life more exciting as well, right? I think I have this ability to create my own adventures, even when, you know, during covid when I can’t travel, but I still want to have that ability to love my life.

 

Ricky Willianto  22:04  

Yeah, I think that’s really important. I think a lot of people forget about that, especially going through the daily grind, you just focus on the same things you do over and over again, like the old habits, but you’re never able to develop new habits that can positively impact you. Right. So I think that’s great. So tell me in the past, like in a year and a half, what are some of the things that you’ve done for The Kind Friend that has, you know, truly 5x and 10x, the business

 

Jamie Lee  22:34  

I feel like it’s actually not just one thing that has completely changed the dynamics of the business, you know, I feel like what can help you create change is actually consistency, the things that you’re doing on a daily basis, that can help you to build that snowball effect, or that flywheel to 10x your business.

 

Ricky Willianto  22:55  

So tell me one or two things that you don’t compromise on, that you always have to do, because you believe that this is important to ensuring continued growth and continued maintenance of high quality customer experience, you know, what’s the one or two things that you do not sacrifice in your business?

 

Jamie Lee  23:13  

One thing, I definitely do is that I will still make the habit of calling our customer or even meet them for coffee, I still do that till now. And I think I will forever do it. It’s just because it’s a humbling experience when someone gives you their credit card to purchase the product that you’ve created. And then see that in the hands of so many people, right? So I wanted to be close to that, that makes me feel alive. And the other one is I feel our lives is all about people. So I make sure I surround myself with people who are smarter than me, or at the position where I want to be in five or 10 years time. So whenever I have a question to a specific problem, I don’t ask my friend. I think we have this tendency, we just goes to the people who are closest to us, and we ask them that question. But I will actually ask people who’s done that, if it’s a marketing question, you know, I will research around who’s the smartest marketing person in I don’t know, in Singapore or was doing D to C, and I’ll reach out to that person. So I’ve actually done that a few times when I was listening to Shopify’s podcasts. You know, some of them making a killing with a D to C brand, and I email a couple of them to see if I can get feedback. And I think that’s really important, like to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and who can, you know, mentor you?

 

Ricky Willianto  24:30  

Yeah, I think a lot of people definitely underestimate the power of asking for help. I think a lot of people are just too scared or like their ego gets in the way of them admitting that they don’t know how to do something. I think that’s amazing that you’ve used that to empower yourself to learn more and do more for your customers and also for yourself.

 

Jamie Lee  24:47  

There’s a method that I normally use to help me reframe my mind if I feel quite nervous about reaching out to someone, especially recently, I reached out to a few authors. I reached out to Simon Sinek Adam at Grab and few others I really, really respect and I was kind of scared as well. Every time when I’m scared, I will ask myself, for example, what will Sheryl Sandberg say to me right now, or what will Michelle Obama say to me right now. And you know, Michelle Obama is always, she’s all about owning our vulnerability and being courageous in pursuing the things that you want in your life. And when I ask myself that question,  and I’ll write down all her tips, because I’ve read her books, I found that it’s so helpful to kind of help me to reframe, and put myself in a third person’s perspective, rather than let my emotions get in the way.

 

Ricky Willianto  25:39  

Yeah, that’s really good, too. Yeah. I think essentially, like looking at yourself from someone else’s perspective, rather than being stuck in your own head and your own insecurities, which happens a lot. I think, especially for founders, right? We are always doubted by doing so many new things, reaching out to so many new people that sometimes there’s a lot of insecurities that get in the way, right. So I think it’s good that you’re able to step out of that. And thanks for that tip. What are some of the things that maybe a few failures that you’ve experienced as well in building the kind friend that you know, strongly advise other founders to heed or to pay attention to?

 

Jamie Lee  26:11  

I think initially, when we launched a business, we only looked at a few countries for our unit of economics, it has our margin and everything. But we didn’t realise how quickly like right now we ship to over 40 countries. So I wish I’d done more countries in terms of calculating all the margin and everything to see if it makes sense for us to kind of go into a new market earlier on. And yes, so that’s one thing that I wish I’d done earlier. And the other one is just as a business, right? You really, really need to know your cash flow. I can’t emphasise that enough. And I’m still learning with that, too. You know, when we work with b2b clients, some company has no 30 day terms, sometimes they have 60 day terms. So you need to take all that into consideration when you’re kind of doing your cash flow to

 

Ricky Willianto  27:02  

Was there any specific situations you were in that got you to realise, oh, no, I wish I had done this a bit differently. Like, you know, what are some of the the oh no moments you’ve had during the development or the building of his business?

 

Jamie Lee  27:14  

It was really recently, to be honest, early last month, so yeah, so earlier this year, our business grew over 200%. And I think it’s still a small business, right? We’ve only

 

Ricky Willianto  27:27  

it’s only April. It’s only April. Right, Jamie?

 

Jamie Lee  27:30  

So the number is small. Like, I think people when they hear Oh, 200% massive, but it’s because you know, in the first year the numbers are quite small. But then, you know, now I’m going full speed. So it grew, and I’m really happy with the result. And I’ll say, wow, our business grew 200%, I want to continue the momentum. So I went a bit aggressive with our inventory. And I forgot that some of our companies payment terms was 60 days, rather than 30 days. So I think I did a few mistakes there. So you know, when it comes to cash flow, and oh I was so so ambitious without inventory. And another thing that I’ve realised, you have to realise our business started doing COVID. So all the data that I’ve gathered for the first year, it’s kind of different to the data that I’m gathering now. And this also made me realise that, in terms of the direct to consumer side, business is actually a very seasonal business. So you know, starting from 1010 all the way to end of January, you’ll see a huge spike, because people are looking for gifts, people are looking for new planners to set new year’s resolutions, setting new goals. So those few months are incredibly busy for us. But after that it’s actually a really quiet period for us. So when it comes to marketing strategies or campaign, we really have to think around how can we really leverage and utilise those peak moments. So luckily, we’re so grateful that we have the b2b side to really help with constant cash flow on a month to month basis. I will say during the quiet period, say for instance, right now, 80% of my time is actually spent on b2b.

 

Ricky Willianto  29:12  

Got it? Got it. And maybe tell us a little bit aboutwhat specifically you do as well, you mentioned that you run workshops, you attend events, you speak. But what exactly is the kind of workshop the kind of content that you deliver for all this b2b clients?

 

Jamie Lee  29:26  

It’s kind of going back to what I was saying before, I literally had no idea I will be running a workshop. So Spotify was one of our earliest clients, you know, they got all our journals for their employees. And they came back to us and they were like, We love the templates. You know, we love your journal. But when it comes to the dotted line pages when it’s blank, some of our employees have no idea how to start. If you just start journaling, it can be a really daunting experience. You’d be like do I write Dear Diary, like what do I actually write on this piece of paper? So they asked us if we could run a journaling workshop just around how to use journaling to cope with stress and anxiety and enhance self awareness. And what are the other templates that you know, people can use to help build their emotional literacy and build resilience? So it kind of started from there. And then we did that for other clients like Salesforce. And Salesforce came back to us and say, Hey, could you help us to close the year, we’d like a reflection or reflection workshop. So that became our second topic, you know, we started doing a topic around reflection. And then LinkedIn asked us if we can do another one about setting goals about New Year’s resolutions. So I love how when you stay close your clients, they consistently provide you with feedback and new ideas that you can add on to your business model. So right now, we have other topics such as you know how to overcome your inner critic to build resilience. And another topic that we have which we started recently, it was an idea from a client as well, which is how to harness the power of mental models to make smarter decisions and achieve your goals.

 

Ricky Willianto  31:05  

And how do you see this two parts of the business growing? Right, so what is the current split actually, between product and the services in terms of revenue? Can you share with us a little bit on that?

 

Jamie Lee  31:15  

So what I know is that last year was 6040, direct to consumer was higher. But right now, our b2b side is going really strong month after month.

 

Ricky Willianto  31:26  

Mostly because of services or because of the journal sales?

 

Jamie Lee  31:30  

Both I think sometimes we package it up together as well. And then you know, our clients can get a discount. And more often or not, if a client is getting a journal, they will also add in a journaling workshop to enhance that experience. You know, when the employees get the journal, they also get a workshop to really understand why are we giving you this journal? And what’s the science benefit behind journaling? And how you can actually get kick start with this new habit that you may want to build.

 

Ricky Willianto  31:57  

So and what is your vision then in the next one or two years for the Kind Friend? Do you see this evolving into, you know, a business that not just provides product, but also like the services and education to people who need more ways, more knowledge around how they can care for themselves? Do you think it’s going to be b2b focused? Are you going to ever go into like a b2c workshop type model, like tell us a little bit about your vision?

 

Jamie Lee  32:22  

I think it doesn’t matter if it’s b2b b2c, we started the timeframe with a very simple, you know, mission to help make the world a kinder place and we believe that kindness starts with yourself. And we want to use our product, either our product or say, our workshop or our service, to debunk the stigma associated with mental health, and use the journal as a catalyst to start conversations around the importance of self care and even make time for reflection. So my vision, I would love to see, you know, our, our journal, I don’t know, we might have other products in the future, that millions and millions of people are using it. And I completely understand that journaling may not be for everyone. But what I do hope is that when people see our journal sitting on their desk, it’s a reminder for them to make time to rest, to make time for self care, and to make time for introspection.

 

Ricky Willianto  33:15  

That’s awesome. So I want to understand a little bit as well about how you’ve been able to cope as a founder growing this business, and what are some of the things that you do to invest in yourself, and continue learning and growing? So yeah, tell us some tips or some of the things that you do on a day to day basis that really helped you grow, we know that you journal, but aside from that, what else do you do?

 

Jamie Lee  33:37  

So I have these strategies that I use. So we think all of us we have these four different happy hormones, you know, one would be like you get it from exercising, and one you might get it from you know, intimate relationship or close friendship or having meaningful conversations. And one might be gratitude practice and journaling. And one might be to spend time in nature. So I literally have a formula, I think, in my Dropbox that I need to tick off, I need to take up at least four things on a daily basis and make sure that I’m leaving a very harmonious and balanced life. So for example, the four things

 

Ricky Willianto  34:17  

Was that was that the four things that you mentioned?

 

Jamie Lee  34:20  

Yes, let me try and remember all their names. So there’s four happy hormones in us. So I wanted to make sure I reflect on six key areas of my life which is what did I do today to help my mind feel intellectually challenged. So that means every day I might be reading a book or reading some intellectual articles. And then the other one would be your physical health right? Did you do anything today that makes your body feel strong nourished or healthy? So I’m a big fitness junkies I do gym or run every morning. And the other way might be, you know, I might ask myself in my journal, did you feel connected to the world or what’s around you? So did I schedule time to build meaningful dialogue relationships, and another one’s play. I’m also a deep believer in play, I think life should be fun. I recently read this research, it says that kids on average, kids will laugh more than 300 times a day. But for adults, we only laugh four times a day. So I will ask myself, you know, did I engage in any activities that brought me joy? So I like dancing, you know, I love fashion, I love creating things, I will make sure I schedule that into my calendar, I found that if I don’t put that into my calendar, I don’t do it. So even play time, you know, I’m putting it in my calendar to play.

 

Ricky Willianto  35:43  

Oh, I think it’s so important. And my friends find it really weird that I schedule our catch up on a calendar, and they’re like, why are you sending me an invite?  it’s so important because I need to know what I can do during this time. So I can figure out what else I can do to kind of make myself happy, right. During the other times I’m available. Yeah, so I love the calendar tip.

 

Jamie Lee  36:02  

Yeah, exactly. Because my experience with my first two businesses, I found that my calendar was filled with things that’s for other people, very little was for me. Sometimes I feel like I can tell exactly what a person values just by looking at his or her calendar, because the only thing you can never get back is your time. So right now, I always wanted to make sure I scheduled things that’s for me, you know, exercising, journaling, or playtime, or meaningful coffee chat into my calendar. And that also allow me to reflect at the end of the week looking at my calendar and to see hey, what have I done? Well, this week?

 

Ricky Willianto  36:41  

Yeah, that’s a good tip. But how do you balance it, then? I think it’s always a challenge, right? Especially if you’re running a company that is extremely busy, is growing really fast? Like how do you balance all of that and make sure that you still take care of yourself at the end of the day?

 

Jamie Lee  36:56  

I think balance definition will be different for different people, right? I don’t think I believe as much about balance. I think it’s not easy to get balance, like 50 50 when you’re running your own business, but I do believe in the concept creating harmony – how can you infuse your work with your life right now, especially during COVID? And that’s why I have like my personal stakeholders. So like, you know, my best friend, my husband, they all check on me to make sure. I’m not just always working, because definitely sometimes you get into that hedonic threadmill where you just like focus on work, and then you work 12 hours a day and seven days a week? Yeah, so I have people to check on that. And I found journaling, I’m not trying to sell my journal. But I found that just having that set of data about myself, because that’s what journaling is right? It provides me with data about me. And then having that set of data when I can reflect back, it also helped me to realise you know, whether my life is a bit off balance or not. So an example would be when I was running my first business when I was 21. The business failed after four years, and I really struggled to accept that. And I wanted to figure out why did it fail. So I took out all my journal entries. And I realised that I was so obsessed with the business, I was putting the business in front of everything else, you know, every day, my journal entry of businesses, all I could talk about in during that time and my work really define who I am as an individual. And when I have all that amazing narratives that I’ve wrote about myself, that also gave me the chance to really look at myself in the mirror and say, Hey, you need to make changes. Like if you don’t make changes, don’t start a second business. Because you’ll go through exactly the same thing. You’ll struggle, the same thing as well.

 

Ricky Willianto  38:46  

You know, I love that I love that about achieving harmony and using journal as a source of truth in a sense, right? And like a little mirror that you look into, and kind of figure out like what what you did wrong, what you did well, and help you feel like grow better? I have a random question. So I’m always curious to see if journaling on paper and journaling digitally, like if there’s any difference between the two? And if so what they are and which one would you recommend.

 

Jamie Lee  39:15  

So I think as with anything, there’s always a trade off. And there’s pros and cons with both. You know, if you want speed, you’re on the road, you want to quickly jot down something that’s bothering you an app or your phone might be able to give you that efficiency. have you ever wonder, you know, when you’re sitting in a meeting room, and then the team is experiencing a challenge that needs to be solved. No one would ever say let’s have a typing session, we normally would say let’s have a whiteboard session and write out the thing so that you can actually visualise it. So not just journaling but physically writing with your hand actually helps with your ability to problem solve. Yeah, so not only that, I think it goes through a different wavelength in your brain, it also stimulates your working memory. So when you write things down, I remember when I was a uni student and I will always try to write things down. So I can memorise my exam essays. It’s better for me to memorise things than compared to typing. But you know, typing will give you the speed. And if you wanted to save it forever, I think it’s easier when you type it, you can save it into your Drive or Dropbox.

 

Ricky Willianto  40:26  

Got it Got it. Alrighty, so I think we are close to the end of the podcast, I want to go through a few quick fire round questions. Are you ready? Yes. Okay, first one. What is the one metric you care about most right now for your business? 

 

Jamie Lee  40:43  

Can I pick two? 

 

Ricky Willianto  40:44  

Okay, special Just for you.

 

Jamie Lee  40:48  

retention and referral, simply because it means your customers are loving your product and that you’re adding value to their lives.

 

Ricky Willianto  40:55  

Awesome. What is your favourite software or tool to help you grow your company?

 

Jamie Lee  41:01  

Right now will be the Sales Navigator. It really helped me to increase my leads for the b2b side.

 

Ricky Willianto  41:08  

Okay, and what is your favourite growth strategy that you’ve tried before?

 

Jamie Lee  41:15  

Definitely our pre launch campaign because I would not be doing this full time without seeing the results on our pre launch campaign. But you know, things can go bad with the pre launch campaign, imagine only two people sign up. So it also shows you Hey, your product is not getting product market fit, maybe you should stay in your full time job. And that’s fine. But I really needed to test it. I needed to test the water before I go into the business full time.

 

Ricky Willianto  41:38  

Got it. And that was kind of the viral loop and the landing page that you created before you started the business. Right?

 

Jamie Lee  41:44  

Yeah. And I feel like the strategy can be used for any new product, right? Even if you’re launching a new business or launching a new product. So Amazon is really big on this, you know, before they launch a new product, they will actually blast it out to PR. And then they will see how people actually respond to that, you know, that media release? And if it’s a crappy response, they will not launch the product.

 

Ricky Willianto  42:05  

Yeah, that’s cool. That’s cool. Next is what are your favourite go to resources to help you grow and to help your business grow can be a book newsletter, website, podcasts, etc.

 

Jamie Lee  42:17  

So right now, the book that if I just like need advice that I will flip through would be read dahlias principles, I’ve already read it three times. But I think sometimes I just need to check in with myself, I will just flip through this book. It’s like a Bible that I have on my desk. And then I’m also really into listening to podcasts. So I love Shopify’s podcast, it helped me to understand how I can grow an e commerce store. Tim Ferriss, Simon Sinek, and masters of scale.

 

Ricky Willianto  42:45  

I think that one is amazing. I love masters of scale. Yes. And one more question, Who are your growth role models in Asia?

 

Jamie Lee  42:57  

Oh, I, I don’t know if I can just think of one role model in Asia. But my entire life, I have one role model that I’m always looking up to, and is my mom. And so my parents actually started their own business before we moved to Australia. And back then if you think about starting a business, I don’t know 30 plus years ago, there’s no VC. And my mom was also trying to raise two kids running a business and there’s no internet, no social media, where you can just scale and spread the work really, really quickly. I even called my mom the other day and asked How on earth did you like boost your business without, And she said you have to put your ads on newspaper.

 

And then when I was trying to, like, share with her about like the cons of VC, and she’s like, No, you just have to make sure you build a sustainable business. And she said, business is really simple. You just make sure the money that’s coming in is more than the money going out.

 

Ricky Willianto  43:56  

I love that. I love all this very conventional business advice. It’s just so practical. I was just talking to Jeremy how he runs this podcast called brave dynamics this morning. And we talked about this exactly. Like he asked me like, why we bootstrapped. I was like, my parents bootstrapped their business, you know, like, they never got any investment and it works. And honestly 90% of businesses out there are SMEs they never got any funding because they are profitable, you know, basically they make sure that there’s more money in you know, money out, right?

 

Jamie Lee  44:24  

Yes, I think my mom’s the best. every time I’m struggling with something, her advise is so on point. And so traditional, and I love it.

 

Ricky Willianto  44:32  

They just have a knack to simplify this problem that we have in our head. I think sometimes we overcomplicate it, and they just like give you this one liner, you’re like, Yeah, why am I so confused? Why am I stuck here when the answer is so obvious? Yeah, definitely. Exactly. Yeah. So final question. What is the best way for people to reach out to you and what kind of people you want reaching out to you as well?

 

Jamie Lee  44:56  

Say anyone who’s listening is looking for a meaningful gift for your employees or even just for your clients, you know where to find me You can find me on LinkedIn or you can email me directly at Jamie@thekindfriend.com

 

Ricky Willianto  45:12  

and what’s your Instagram handle again just so that people can find you know your account easily

 

Jamie Lee  45:17  

thekindfriend. so we name it The Kind Friend also because we wanted to create products that can act as your kind of friend.

 

Ricky Willianto  45:27  

Yeah, we get the pun Jamie 

 

I actually love the name because it’s  like you’re not just a kind friend, but you’re also helping people to be a kind friend to themselves. So I really liked the name.

 

Jamie Lee  45:46  

Yeah, me too. And I have a love hate relationship with a name. I feel like it’s also great for me I’m learning to be kind like even more kind on a daily basis because my name is so attached to this brand right now.

 

Ricky Willianto  46:02  

Why do you keep saying that you’re struggling to be kind. I want to hear this story. being unkind.

 

Jamie Lee  46:08  

I think my husband is definitely kinder than me. He’s super chill, super calm. I think I can have a feisty personality. I feel like being tough and assertive can coexist with being kind. I probably have to kind of get over that image.

About Growth Multiplier

The pursuit of growth is never-ending for any business – from a small startup all the way to a large global corporation. The Growth Multiplier podcast examines pathways, strategies, and hacks companies have explored and tested in their efforts to scale up their businesses. 

In each episode, host Ricky Willianto – co-founder of Ravenry – speaks with CEO’s, growth hackers, product managers, and marketers all around Asia to find nuggets of wisdom and insights from their journey multiplying growth. 

Ricky and his guests discuss viral marketing, community building, pricing strategies, channel development, and also company culture and people. Growth Multiplier explores not only replicable successes, but also phenomenal failures that we all can learn from.

Growth Multiplier is produced by the team behind Ravenry.
www.theravenry.com

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