(PHOTO: Dylan Zeng)
SINGAPORE — Starting a business is never easy, and 20-year-old Dylan Zeng knows this only all too well. Leaving his job in the family business to start Glance.sg, a freelance talent management platform, the Singapore Polytechnic graduate struggled to pursue his dream.
Investing his life savings in the business without his family’s support, he was left with no personal savings and a measly S$20 in the company account. Zeng was kicked out by his parent for a week, abandoned by his co-founders, and was failing classes. However, he continued believing in what he was doing, and bounced back from his setbacks to rebuild the team in 2021.
How did you get started?
I’ve worked in my family business since I was 12 years old. When I was 17, I headed the marketing and communications team at my dad’s second company, dealing with manufacturing and interior design. The money was good, and I was paid as much as S$6000, but I still didn’t feel accomplished. At the end of the day, it was still my dad’s company. I wanted to be more independent outside of his connections and business.
Armed with my passion in photography and videography, I wanted to become a freelancer. But I found it hard to find opportunities in the industry and was unsure of how to start. I couldn’t find any platform in Singapore that catered purely for freelancers.
With this knowledge, I drew up plans for Glance.sg. However, when I pitched my idea to 30 friends, all of them told me it wouldn’t work out or that I couldn’t do it. So, I ended up dropping the idea.
Then, Covid hit. With working styles affected by Covid, I realised Glance.sg could be useful during this period. Hence, I decided to give Glance.sg a shot.
What happened after that?
I quit my job in the family business and went all in on Glance.sg with five other co-founders in March last year.
To say my parents were angry is an understatement. They cut off my cash flow and kicked me out of my house for a week. I slept at my school’s entrepreneurship centre where my office was, and bunked in with a friend for a while before they let me return home.
Three months into Glance.sg, I was threatened with a lawsuit by a competitor. My co-founders were shaken up by this and all of them decided to leave.
At the end of 2020, I was left all alone with no money to my name. During my school holidays, I would spend my mornings working at a bubble tea shop, my afternoons working on Glance.sg and a few freelance projects, and my nights distributing flyers. I wondered if I should quit, but eventually decided to continue for another three months. As long as there was a slight increase in users during this period, I was determined to continue.
In January this year, I rebuilt my team of co-founders and things …….