It was supposed to be a school trip to Israel, but it turned out to be a momentous lesson in an artful disguise.
You could say that the golden nugget of wisdom was wrapped with a ribbon of hope and trepidation.
It was at this moment that Singaporean Samuel Huang discovered that the pathway to reinvention can happen at any stage of his life – and when it does, he must unhook from his discomfort and seize it with his bare, ambitious hands.
And seized it he did.
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The End Product: Yodaa (As In, Master Yoda)
A play on the legendary Jedi master and the Hebrew word ‘yada’, which means ‘to know’ – Yodaa is the latest home tuition marketplace aimed with one, and only one purpose: to let folks find their ideal home tutor in a day.
Currently, parents are investing in a wealth of time to search for a suitable home tutor for their kids. Judging by the growing number of questions they leave in online forums, it appears that they see the word-of-mouth tool as their most dependable source.
But there’s a problem – this kind of second-hand information takes too much time.
Mixing The Traditional With The Modern
Samuel thinks Yodaa could help decode the problem.
“We want to introduce certainty into this market,” he says on his startup’s vision. And one way to guarantee quality is by enforcing a stricter curation process.
Yodaa’s approach involves inviting top-notch teachers based on their experience in the education field. It then filters the selections to verify those who have been vouched for in order for them to make it through to the next round.
All users have to do is input their details and preferences, and Yodaa will handle the grunt work.
Long gone are the days where parents have to spend weeks searching for their ideal home tutor. At Yodaa, Samuel and his co-founders have reduced it to a mere day with five custom profile quotes.
“We didn’t really change anything, but just took what folks are already doing today – getting quality word of mouth recommendations and making it simple.”
How It All Came Together
Samuel’s story is an interesting one.
During his time at the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) internship programme, the school trip to Israel brought him into contact with the startup ecosystem and gave him a hands-on business exposure to the ruthless field.
Smack-bang in the middle, the experience instilled in him that venturing into a new business unrelated to his studies was not necessarily a bad thing.
“It’s alright to try something new and alien, but [we should] make a good run with it,” the entrepreneur quips.
A Test Of Tenacity
“Only after months of such user testing rounds did we decide to write the first line of code,” Samuel reveals.
Coding aside, another of Samuel’s problems was finding the right people who share his vision. To locate these folks, Samuel attended and volunteered at every startup event he could find.
His tenacity paid off when he met a like-minded individual who would eventually become Yodaa’s product designer. Eventually, the rest of his team started to form.
The real test, however, was his own reinvention.
An “Alien” Reinvention
“It wasn’t born so much out of a desire to change career paths as it was to introduce a viable alternative into the industry, and see how that could shake things up in time,” Samuel says on his decision on switching to the ed-tech field.
When Samuel announced his new plan to his family and friends, he was met with a myriad of reactions – shock, apprehension, and feverish expectancy.
Nonetheless, the young lad is taking these sentiments in his stride.
A wise decision, as he has, after all, a lot on his plate.
Describing his career reinvention as “alien”, Samuel shares that while some of the skills he acquired in the business and finance fields came in handy – he could draw up legal documents and research the market with his eyes closed – but the rest, like trying to understand the demographic and local ecosystem, were foreign to him.
“There were no set paths ahead. It’s as if someone handed you a blank piece of paper and said ‘Make what you will with it’. I didn’t always get it right, but it was worth swinging the bat anyway. The goal was to keep going. If it was something good, it’d find its way through.”
Making It All Work
Sometimes, it not only takes hard work and luck to make it as an entrepreneur. Sometimes the real secrets to success – as the late business mogul Andrew McKelvey had put it – is timing and the right mentality.
In Samuel’s case, this seems to be true.
This is the hardest Samuel’s ever worked in his life. His career change was as though a black mallet had hit him in the head during a whack-a-mole game – it was sudden and life-affirming.
What this chap has done here hits the head of the nail on Maria Popova’s life-earned mantra. He got comfortable with the uncomfortable luxury of changing his mind about himself, and ended up someplace unexpected and rewarding.
Samuel’s story is a classic case on how an act of audacity can evolve into a tremendous win in life.
Visit Yodaa to find your ideal home tutor. Registration and membership are completely free.
Featured Image Credit: Yodaa