Young Upstarts

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Immanuel Media – Going Places

Most people believe that the life of an entrepreneur is one of sacrifice. Owner of Immanuel Media, David Ng, somehow manages to balance entrepreneurial ambitions with his family life.

He shares with us his experiences.

Go Digital

Publisher David Ng loves his job. Running his own business means being able to manage his own time and do the things that mean the most to him. The father of one makes sure he gets to spend a lot of quality time with his two-year old son Brendan, even as he sets his sights on putting a publishing empire together. “I get to enjoy every moment of my son’s growing up. I just need to rearrange my working hours,” said the 34-year old entrepreneur.

Immanuel Media’s main business is publishing. It publishes on niche subjects that are of special interest to David – consumer gadgets, photography and babies. Other than consumer electronics magazine Go Digital, Immanuel Media will be publishing a baby book for KK Hospital as well as marketing materials for various companies.

Born in Hong Kong, David moved to Glasgow when he was only four and lived there for 21 years. It was in Scotland where he met Jim McColl of Clyde Blowers Ltd, with whom he worked for a few years. “I read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money–That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki. In it he raised a couple of good points, one of which was to find you a hero figure. Jim was the man I emulated – he is a man who has made it.”

“It is also important to have a mentor to guide you along,” David pointed out. He has a mentor who has considerable experience in the media industry, with whom he consults regularly.

David came to Singapore in 1997. He was working as an engineer, and only 31 he was already facing a mid-life career crisis. He had reached a point in his career where he needed a new challenge. “It was very manual work,” he remembered. “I was sitting at Starbucks in City Hall one day where I picked up a free copy of a consumer electronics magazine. I thought to myself ‘hey, I could do this’. That was how Go Digital started.”

He proceeded to put together a business plan, working out the costs, key success and failure factors, and setting up his network. He took out $50,000 of his own savings to start his venture – and Immanuel Media was born. That was in 2003. His wife was initially doubtful and fearful, but finally became supportive of his decision to become an entrepreneur. “She was very brave to have dealt with my decision.”

“It cost $20,000 just to print the first issue of Go Digital,” he cringed. “I’d be dead if I didn’t have any money coming in by the second issue.” His business bled for two months, until one day he got a call from major electronics retailer Best Denki. They wanted an alliance with Go Digital. “It was a gift from God,” David insisted. With their financial backing, David recovered all his investment within two years. “I would have taken three times longer otherwise. Or I’d be dead!”

To date he has done far better than expected. His turnover this year is on track to hit half a million this year. He intends to increase that by 50 percent next year, and has aggressive plans to grow around the region. And his wife is now reaping the rewards. ” I’m her employee. I work for her,” he joked.

David intends to continue as a sole proprietor. “I’ve seen many businesses set up by good friends turn sour, and relationships fallen apart because of money. Owning your own business fully allows you to make your own decisions,” he reasoned.

The publishing entrepreneur has also taken another lesson from ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ to heart – contributing back to society. “One page in every issue of my magazine Go Digital is dedicated to highlighting a particular charity”, he said, “It’s my way of doing my bit for society.”

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.