#005 - Survival or bust

How the best entrepreneurs manages to rise from the ashes

BFFs is a bi-weekly email for Asia’s female founders around resources on growing a business, cultivating friendships, and funding opportunities. Brought to you by Chief Best Friends, a podcast helping women succeed in work and business through meaningful friendships.

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Hello, you lovely people—all ~200 of you! In one way or another, we are bound together because of the journey we’re on and I hope that in the confines of this email/post, we get to be each other’s business bestie.

Starting our own thing and going into entrepreneurship is hard work, as I’m now beginning to realise. I always knew it would be and logically I believed this. What I am finding right now is how you just never know how difficult it really is—mentally and emotionally—until we find ourselves in the deep end trying to thread water.

For some of you, becoming a founder was planned. Maybe it involved saving up and side-hustling for a year for you to make a jump. That’s what I would recommend everyone to do as well. However, if you’re like me, you were probably thrust into it because you had no choice.

It’s survival or bust.

And I’m not just talking about surviving this pandemic. As a female founder, we’re not just trying to grow a business, we’re also...

  • Homeschooling children

  • Caring for parents

  • Preparing meals

  • Cleaning the house

  • Trying, and maybe even failing, to find 5 minutes to ourselves

In the previous issue, I talked about how gender bias is prevalent whether we believe this to be so or not. And most definitely, whether we experience it first-hand or not.

There’s a sobering Twitter thread that you should totally read. I’ve pulled up some to highlight here.

And also these excerpts from Sarah Cooper’s book…

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One of the reasons I’m so excited about us women starting businesses is that we can rebuild what work, business, and success are all about. If you think about it, the business world was built by men and it’s no wonder that this world caters to them more.

Female founders are, in many ways, oriented differently so much so that the problems we see and want to solve allow for us to change the narrative. But as we’ve seen this year, there’s still so much work to be done. And so we must push on and make sure that we work on our businesses, collaborate and find ways to thrive as a collective.

As much as we feel that we want this, we also know that if society is to progress to become better, then it’s imperative.

It’s survival or bust.

— Niki


  • Jane Fraser takes on Citi. This news was hard not to miss because I was so excited to see a woman take on Wall Street. We’re still in an era where we have to emphasise her gender because we’re not a society that’s arrived—yet. So until we can finally have equality we’ll always have to defer to a females list. But hey, I’m hopeful that there are more women in the pipeline who’ll take over Wall Street and get us that parity we always hoped for.

  • How to lead a team without leading your ego on. Building a business is so hard because most of the time, we’re up against ourselves. Our ego takes over, our inner critic comes out, every bit of our insecurity is put under the spotlight. One of the things I learned is that we can’t do it all ourselves and at some point, we’ll have to hire a team. Going from solopreneur to a team leader is normally a big jump, but here are warning signs to look out for so as not to get derailed.

  • Why healing your money relationship makes you a better entrepreneur. It wasn’t until I started working on my money relationship did I become more comfortable in asking for a raise and knowing my worth. If you think that money is evil or that you’ll be a sellout, then trying to do business will always be conflicting for you. Bari Tessler’s book, The Art of Money, is the book that changed my life in many ways and I hope you check it out if you’ve got some money issues you want to start healing.


  • Why friends are superpowers. If you’re still on the fence on why friendship at work is crucial to your success, here are 5 ways friends are your financial feminist superpower. I always knew that chief best friends come in various shapes and forms and not just co-founders or colleagues. Sometimes it’s that one friend who squashes whatever doubts your inner critic puts in your head so you can go on and close that million-dollar deal.

  • How to communicate with your work best friend. Having spent hours upon hours interviewing chief best friends for the podcast, communication has been the stalwart of successful work besties. You’d be surprised how sometimes friendship can be taken for granted because of the lack of communication. But this isn’t just for work besties, this goes for anyone you work with too.


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