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Paving the road to success, one video view at a time
When Mr Adam Khoo first shared his idea of teaching financial lessons to a worldwide audience on YouTube in 2016, his friends did not think it would take off.
"No one is going to listen to an Asian guy talk about the United States markets," they said.
But three years later, Mr Khoo succeeded in overcoming the odds to become one of YouTube's most-watched investment mentors with over 16 million views on his videos. His online trading school, Piranha Profits, caters to students from 122 countries.
Mr Khoo shares some of the valuable lessons he learnt during his journey to build a leading education brand online.
Q: What made you decide to start your YouTube channel?
I was enjoying success teaching my stock investing live programme Wealth Academy in South-east Asia. But as I approached my 40th birthday, I wanted to extend that reach and help more people achieve their financial dreams. So, I set a goal of touching one million lives worldwide and looked to YouTube and its global reach to help me do just that.
While some may feel that it makes little business sense to share my investment knowledge for free online while others are charging a hefty price, I believe that it's more about delivering value. Not all successes have to be measured in monetary terms. I've received thank-you messages from as far as Kenya and Canada. If my free content can play a role in transforming the financial destiny of others, it's certainly worth the time and effort.
Q: What is your advice to businesses who are trying to grow their sales and following?
When you give real value and you're sincere about helping people, they will come to you. The growth of my online trading school is a testament to that; there are people enrolling in my trading courses every day after watching my YouTube videos.
Businesses should begin to understand that the old model of placing pushy advertisements does not work so well anymore. New-age customers want to make informed buying decisions. They want to be educated and entertained. In this respect, content is king.
Q: Your company, Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group, just won the Enterprise 50 Award. What is the secret to your business success?
Firstly, the ability to innovate and adapt to changes has kept my business thriving for the past 17 years.
My company pioneered educational seminars in Singapore — we reach over 100,000 people a year through live trainings, school-based programmes, tuition classes and business coaching. But nowadays, more people prefer to learn online through videos and apps. To meet their learning needs, my team created new programmes such as the extensive use of gamification and video learning in our school training arm.
The other key ingredient is my amazing team.
We would never have made it this far without the talent and hard work of our teammates. To build a great company, you must first take care of your people.
We invest heavily in our employees, such as offering them a generous learning budget to enrol in professional courses of their choice, as well as giving a bonus to every employee who gets married or has a baby during their tenure with us.
My business partner, Patrick Cheo, also regularly cooks delicacies like wagyu beef and crab beehoon for our staff. We believe that these little gestures of appreciation do raise our people's morale.
Q: There are people who question the effectiveness of the courses you teach. What are your thoughts on this?
I think it's natural to be doubtful about things you're unfamiliar with. The important thing for me is to focus on helping people who believe in what I have to offer, and let my students' results do the talking.
When I started my YouTube channel three years ago, no one believed that I could attract the viewership of the Western world.
Today, more than 70 per cent of my viewers are from the US and Europe and my videos are ranked at the top globally for stock, forex and options trading. I also received the YouTube Silver Creator Award for garnering more than 100,000 subscribers last year.
So, don't ever let anyone tell you that something is impossible until you have done it yourself.