Ep347: Chuen Chuen Yeo – Seek Out Expert Guidance Before Taking on a New Project

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Quick take

BIO: Chuen Chuen Yeo is an executive coach specializing in developing the agile mindset in professionals, thereby raising the quality of leadership in every organization.

STORY: Chuen Chuen quit working as a public servant and set up a coaching business. She then put her heart and soul into creating an online course. After three weeks of ignoring everything else, including her husband and kids, Chuen Chuen made only one sale. Her biggest mistake was failing to conduct background research and understand the online course space before jumping into it.

LEARNING: Do not allow fear to stop you from reaching your full potential. But, also, do not let too much optimism blind you from seeking guidance. Sell your online course before creating it.


“I overcame imposter syndrome by accepting what my strengths profile was trying to tell me.”

Chuen Chuen Yeo


Guest profile

Chuen Chuen Yeo is an executive coach specializing in developing the agile mindset in professionals, thereby raising the quality of leadership in every organization.

Named one of “Top 101 Global Coaching Leaders” and “Woman Super Achiever” at the 28th World HRD Congress.

She works with business executives from nearly 40 countries, including Fortune 500 companies and senior officers from the Singapore Civil Service.

Chuen Chuen is also the author of ‘8 Paradoxes of Leadership Agility’ where through stories of transformation, she shows how mindset shifts are made possible with her proprietary Re4 Coaching Model.

Worst investment ever

Leaving her safety net

Chuen Chuen decided to move from being a public servant and become an entrepreneur. The move meant leaving the stability of a full-time job, but she was determined to explore this route of becoming an entrepreneur.

Setting up her own business

Chuen Chuen set up a coaching business, and to scale the business; she put together an online course with the hopes of making some passive income.

Chuen Chuen spent about three weeks wholly engrossed in creating the perfect course. In the three weeks, she ignored her husband and three kids. Fortunately, her husband was very understanding throughout that period.

Time to sell the course

After spending all her time and money creating the perfect course, it was now time for Chuen Chuen to sell her course. She asked her greatest supporters to have a look.

After all the work she put in, Chuen Chuen got just one sale. She was utterly disappointed.

Learning from failure

Even though Chuen Chuen was disappointed by the failure, she decided to learn from it. She asked a few people for feedback, and she got to know that her biggest mistake was being overly optimistic about her course. She believed that it would be great just from creating good content. So she failed to do any research or seek guidance from other online course sellers.

Lessons learned

Do not let too much optimism blind you from seeking guidance

We have to guard ourselves against our optimism to avoid trapping ourselves in a box, thinking that everything will work out fine. Too much optimism may make you paint this overly rosy picture that you do not need guidance because things will work out fine.

Andrew’s takeaways

Do not let fear stop you from reaching your full potential

You are unique and capable. Stop feeling bad about yourself, stop feeling inadequate, or letting imposter syndrome stop you from reaching your highest capabilities. Your job in this life is to bring the most and the best out of yourself.

Sell your course before you create it

If you want to make money selling online courses, the best thing to do is sell the course before creating it. Drum up interest before you even create it. This will help you know if people indeed want it.

Do not be afraid to charge premium rates for your courses

Sometimes people are afraid to charge a higher price for their courses, not recognizing that cost is a serious accountability tool.

Actionable advice

If you are planning to launch an online course, check out Amy Porterfield first.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Chuen Chuen’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to scale and automate her business.

Parting words


“Please connect with me if this interview has done something positive for you.”

Chuen Chuen Yeo


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:02
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community. We know that to win in investing, you must take risk but to win big, you've got to reduce it. And I bet you're exposed to investment risk right now. To reduce it, go to my worst investment ever.com and download the risk reduction checklist I've made specifically for you my podcast listeners, based on the lessons I have learned from all of my guests, fellow risk takers, this is your worst podcast hosts Andrew Stotz, from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guests chinchin Yo, chinchin. Are you ready to rock?


Andrew Stotz 00:47
Let me introduce you to the audience. Jensen is an executive coach who specializes in developing the agile mindset in professionals, thereby raising the quality of leadership in every organization. Name one of top 101 Global coaching leaders and woman super achiever at the 28th world HRD Congress. She works with business executives from nearly 40 countries including fortune 500 companies, and senior officers from the Singapore civil service. Jensen is also the author of eight paradoxes of leadership agility, where to stories of transformation, she shows how mind shifts are made possible with her proprietary re for coaching model chinchin. Can you take a minute and fill in for tidbits about your life? Sure. Thanks,

Chuen Chuen Yeo 01:45
Andrew. Well, I think I'm just this regular person, I believe in simplicity. So I know people who first time they come into contact with me, they'll be thinking, Oh my God, who is this person changer. And you know, I think I'm just this. Me in Singapore, we have this term, the anti the anti who goes to the market with T shirts, shorts, no down to like essentials, leading a very simple lifestyle. But I truly love my work, because I think it's going to the fundamental to the roots to the heart of every human being. And truly love being in this business of raising people potential.

Andrew Stotz 02:21
Hmm. And how did you? How did you get into it? That's my first question. I mean, that it's not like the type of thing that you Graduate University and say, I'm going to start leading people on how to you know, think, you know, agile and mindset and all that. How did you get into it?

Chuen Chuen Yeo 02:36
Yeah, I think it's true. The Hard Knocks of life. You know, I actually started my career as a teacher, I taught mathematics. So I think you can imagine how big a jump it is to be good in mathematics and to write a book because I don't think writing English is my forte. So I think there's a huge transition. But how did you get into when I realized that there are some patterns in my teaching career as I was working with younger dogs, or working with my fellow colleagues, I realized that I was able to always draw out the fullest potential, I always saw something in them that they themselves did not see. And just by acknowledging it, noticing it that really increased their motivation to want to succeed. So then I started toying with the idea. Now I am good at working with the young people, right? What if I work with somebody else who could make a bigger impact in the workforce? So that's why I decided okay, in how about, you know, exploring? What are the fields I can go into? So of course, there were executive coaching, speaking, training, etc. I found my love in executive coaching. I think it's my strengths profile. I'm a relator, if you are familiar with the Clifton strengths, so I really love the one on one connection. Yes, absolutely. I see that. That's great. So I think knowing your strengths, knowing the motivations that helped me identify, which is a possible path that I could take, and where will I truly excel in. I think this is a journey with no regrets, but it started with identifying patterns.

Andrew Stotz 04:12
And there's a lot of things in there. But I'm going to put in a link to Clifton strengths. So for those who have not taken that and read he have gotten the book or going online to take it highly recommended. And I'll just review my strength here, hold on. my strengths are activator, strategic, Maximizer significance and focus. And I think for the listeners out there, this is a great book and not only is it a great book, and survey to understand yourself, but just the way the book is designed with stickers for all 30 of them that they put in the back and then you can put those stickers on the front. It's just one of the most unique books that I've come across at that. I just thought it was so cool. So, highly recommend that. And the other thing I want to ask you about is, you know, how did you deal with imposter syndrome? I know there's a lot of listeners out there that do feel like they have value to bring, but then they look at CEOs. I mean, they're already successful. But who am I? How am I going to help them? And I'm asking for a friend.

Chuen Chuen Yeo 05:20
Ah, okay. I think this is all very good timing, you know. So my one of my top five talent themes is connectedness. And what that means is, I'm always seeing looking for patterns, which I think that helped me with the current transition, as well as seeing that there are no coincidences in life. So I happen to be doing this webinar next week about overcoming imposter syndrome. How do you stop sabotaging yourself overcome self doubt and be the leader who you truly are meant to be and really shine with courage? So I think for me, while can lately I went through the global strength coach, certification program, so I'm in the middle of my certification right now. But in my coaching, practice, strength values have always been the foundation. So I truly believe in this approach. So for me, how I overcame imposter syndrome is accepting what my strengths profile is trying to tell me. You know, when I did it, I think I did an assessment maybe five years ago, I didn't like it. I know, I'm not all around, you know, the four domains of you know, that you categorize all the 34 strengths team into, and I had so many in the strategic thinking, in my top 10, I had like, seven, seven of them was the thinking, thinking thinking type winner. And then the relationship building, I didn't have any influencing domain, nor the executing, I had one in executing domains. So that's not too bad. At least I can execute some stuff. But I was so upset, I want to be a coach, but I have no influencing themes. How bad can that be? And only when I started working with my coach, mentor, I really thank my lucky stars for you know, meeting some really helpful, outstanding people who helped me see why how my strengths profile can actually help me build this career and that whatever strengths you have, it is good. They're all good. There's nothing wrong with you. And I think accepting that notion that there's nothing wrong with me. And I don't need to try to fix myself that helped me, step by step, overcome the imposter syndrome. Of course, there is the parallel side, which is building capabilities. I think you are, I think my communication skills are not too bad right now, compared to pretty awesome, you know, compared to four or five years ago, probably I wouldn't speak with so much confidence, and calm. And I think some people use the word charismatic, to describe how I communicate with people. Right now. I'm just using my relator. I'm just thinking, among all this is a compensation between two human beings. And I am truly curious about who you are, what you bring how you see things, and I just come across that way. So religious, leaning into my strengths. And I think with that positive feedback, looking for frameworks to help myself that helped me overcome the imposter syndrome, step by step. Is it totally gone? I don't think so. I don't think it will be truly ever be completely gone. Because if it is gone, then it will mean that you might be in a place of being complacent on that. So I think I keep it just a healthy, those, dial it up, dial it down a little bit and things will work out.

Andrew Stotz 08:39
Beautiful. All right. Well, now it's time to share your worst investment evidence since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be. Tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to it, then tell us your story.

Chuen Chuen Yeo 08:52
Sure. So I think the greatest transformation for me was to, you know, switch tests from being a public servant, where I had a lot of stable stability, certainty my future and exploring this route of becoming an entrepreneur, setting up my own coaching training practice. And like all business owners, we want to scale our businesses, right. And part of it was to put together an online course how great would it be to be making money while you're sleeping, you know, to wake up and check your email and you see oh my gosh, no money coming in. And that's like, I think the ideal states that I was working towards, and then the most the worst investment was I created a full online course investing all my time, transcribing everything I said into subtitles that cost me quite a bit of money, not to mention the pain of writing that script again and again and again. I think I have this perfectionist, a grainy me so I really had to retake all my videos so many times and then when I put it together and I put it out. And I asked my greatest supporters to go have a look. And I tried to sell it. I got like one sale. That was like, Oh my gosh,

Andrew Stotz 10:12
and how much time would you say that you put into it?

Chuen Chuen Yeo 10:15
How much time I think I spent about two to three weeks, full time on it. I didn't do anything else. In the two to three weeks. I literally ignore my family, my kids, I have three kids. So I ignore my three kids. My husband was very understanding, he will see me on the computer typing away all the time editing, editing, editing nonstop. And then the next day, I will wake up, I will dress up, you know, quickly do my video shoots and I thought oh my god, this is no good. Oh my God, that's not good. So two, three weeks of non stop.

Andrew Stotz 10:49
So maybe, maybe 100 hours or so. invested in? Wow. Yep. Okay. And tell me Just tell me the moment that you realized that you had made a mistake, like you realize, when you saw there was no sales, or you got that message from somebody that says just sorry to tell you. But you know, what was that moment?

Chuen Chuen Yeo 11:11
I think the moment was when you hear crickets. You know, it's like how you watch a cartoon. And then you get that crickets, or the crows flying by the count effect when you send it out to your supporter. So I think I'm blessed that I have clients turns kind of like, you know, strategic partners and stuff. I thought I know I can always rely on them be constructive, critical feedback. And I asked them, okay, go take a look at this. And they came back, nothing, nothing came back with just crickets. They were like, I don't know, maybe too polite to say something or they were like, Oh, my God is too brutal. I can't give it to you or something like that. Yeah. And I think those the crickets and not getting any feedback back. That was like the greatest feedback. It was like this ominous silence. And you're wondering, Oh, my gosh, what is going on? And you know, there's something wrong, but just can't really pinpoint what it is.

Andrew Stotz 12:11
Did you talk to your husband about it after that when you got that response? Since he had seen all the effort you put into it?

My husband? No,

Chuen Chuen Yeo 12:18
no, no, not Not really. He has a different strengths profile. So I know him. If I talk to him about it, I'll be asking him to lean in his into his lesser theme. So I make it painful. But it doesn't. It kind of doesn't work for either of us for him is the executing type. Right? Like Never mind. Forget about all this emotion. just execute. No, I just charged on. Fine. I'm like, Oh my god, I need to analyze, analyze. I did call one of two of them. And I asked, okay, okay, so what are you getting? And then you're like, oh, okay, so they gave you a little bit of feedback here and there. And I'm guessing, but I think I think this is a newbie mistake. So what makes it the worst here? Not only is it a worse investment in terms of time, effort, money, everything, even my sleep? To be honest. I think it also is painful, because it is a newbie mistake.

Right could have been avoided.

Chuen Chuen Yeo 13:20
Yes, it could have been avoided if I wasn't so naive, overly optimistic. You know, Andrew, when I wrote my book, I hired a coach. And I should have known better the extensive amount of research, right, that goes into designing structuring a book or even picking the name of the paradoxes. I hire a copywriting coach to sit on my website. And again, so much research into picking is getting the language from my target audience. And how could I make that newbie mistake when I'm clearly not a newbie?

Andrew Stotz 14:02
Maybe you can summarize the lessons that you learn from this experience.

Chuen Chuen Yeo 14:07
Right? I think Old habits die hard. And sometimes it's really we have to guard ourselves against our own optimism sometimes, or that we trap ourselves in this box thinking that everything will work out fine. So sometimes, we paint this overly rosy picture that Oh, don't worry, things will work out fine. You know, and be forget to check ourselves. But well, that moment as I was developing a content that my gut was saying, Oh, I don't think this will land. You know, with people. It's kind of soft, intangible, not quantifiable. What do you think people are gonna say about it? And by the time I was on model five, I was like, I don't know. I just have to charge on right?

Andrew Stotz 14:58
It's too late. You've already been bad. Sitting

Chuen Chuen Yeo 15:01
down that rabbit hole, I just can't do anything. And I think then I learned I silence My God, you know, my God was telling me all these things. So I think that's the greatest learning, listen to God.

Andrew Stotz 15:15
Okay, let me Maybe I'll share a few things that I take away from this story. First of all, I mean, I've been developing online courses now for five years. And I can tell you that it's probably the biggest mistake that I've made, and I know others have made, and that is not developing it with the market. And I'm just reminded of this book by Steven pressfield, I was just looking it up, nobody wants to read your sh, Star T. And, you know, it's kind of an overconfidence bias, we get excited about our idea. And we think we've got so much to say. And the truth is, we may have a lot to say. But because it's such a crowded world out there, we have to figure out how to connect what we have to say, with what the market wants, and what the markets willing to pay for. So there's a few things that I would say, the first one is, I want to start off at the beginning of what you talked about. And I just love what you said is that you don't need to fix yourself. And that was talking about the strengths and all that and I think it's a great lesson for all of us, for the listeners out there to remember, stop feeling bad about yourself, stop feeling inadequate, stop feeling imposter syndrome, because guess what you are you can you are unique. And your job in this life is to bring the most and the best out of that. And it's not even your job is not even to bring the best time. It's just to be more you. So I think that's first lesson I want to take away with what you shared. And then I also have a second lesson that you talked about the relator and trying to understand people and I want to tell a story about a friend of mine. His name's Stuart Jay Raj. And he's an amazing guy's Indian, half Indian, half Australian, he came to Thailand. He learned Thai language in 30 or 90 days, I watched him from zero to fluent and reading, writing, speaking. And later I learned that he speaks many languages. And I was asked him, I said, I got to go to China to give a one day seminar at Beijing University. I said you speak Chinese? He said, yeah. I said, Do you ever live in China? He said, No. I said, you want to you want to come and be my, my interpreter. And he said, Sure, let's do it. So we got on a plane went to China, I met with my friend who is helping me prep. And she helped to go through some of the vocabulary of what I was talking about. And then I got up on stage. And he interrupted for six hours, and the audience was floored, the audience was just amazed. And when I learned about how he learns, is like He can speak read and write 20 languages. But what I learned was different about him, he learns language for different reasons. Most of us learn a language for convenience. You know, if I could talk to the taxi driver in Bangkok, I could get to the place I want to go. I could order the food I want. But he does that he learns language to get into the heart of the people in the country that he's you know that that language is spoken. And he truly wants to, to relate. And so you reminded me of him when you talked about relator. And I think it's a great message. Now that let's talk about courses for a moment. One of the lessons that I've learned in courses is that many people create courses, which are informational. They bring their information that they have, and you know, it's a lot of good information. But nobody's nobody wants to pay for information. It's free on the internet. What I've learned from great, you know, courses and great mentors, like Amy Porterfield as an example, and David siteman, Garland in his course, create awesome online courses is that people will pay for transformation. And if you are, let's say someone's overweight, and you come to me, and I say, in 60 days, I can get you to this weight. And I'll guarantee you, and I'll help you to get to that point versus I can teach you everything you need to know about losing weight, it's meaningless, it's valueless for most people, but if you could truly transform me, right, or if I could transform someone that is valuable, and so a big lesson I've learned is that now the last thing I would just say, for anybody out there who's trying to do an online course, the best thing to do is sell the course before you create it. And that's what I'm doing recently I've launched a course called achieve your goals. I've also created a course before, that's a free course, called what I learned from reading 36 books about goal setting and time management. So you don't have to read them. And that's the free part. And then after that, once someone learns that, they say, Okay, if I want more, what do I do? And that's the course. So I did that, I launched the course, I got some people paying. And then I had to finish the chapters, and I had to finish the modules. And then I started to finish I said, I'm only going to produce, and I tell them, this is a founder's price, I'm only going to produce module one, there's going to be three modules, you're going to get module one, and then a week later, you're going to get monitored to. And that allowed me to kind of judge the allocation of my time. So that's the biggest lesson that I've learned. And it relates to what you're talking about, is there anything you would add to those things?

Chuen Chuen Yeo 20:47
Yeah, I reminds me of something one of the participants in my facilitation group mentioned, we expect ourselves to be finished products by the time we enter the workforce. And I think I was having that mindset, my course must be finished, before I launch it. But what if it is a work in progress. And then I think that resonates very nicely with the Agile leadership principles that I'm advocating, that we are adjusting, you know, are the flow, navigating all these complexities, uncertainties and responding correctly, and in time to what people really want. And while retaining that sense of authenticity, and ease, it shouldn't be a stressful process of trying to put together a course. Now, if I am always looking for feedback and using it to fit forward, this term coined by Marshall Goldsmith, if I use that to create my course, wouldn't it be enjoyable and very authentic on both sides and all kind of journey?

Andrew Stotz 21:51
Yeah. And the fact is that, though, your course may be a $500 course, the challenge is, could you get, you know, 20 people to come in at 50 bucks to pay and get involved. And it reminds me also that another thing that I've learned, and I learned that through Amy Porterfield courses that the cost of the course is your biggest accountability, resource as a teacher. I have two different courses that I've recently purchased. One of them, I bought on an online website for 10 bucks. And one of them I bought from a very well known person for more than 1000. Neither of them have I completed, but which one do you think annoys the hell out of me at night when I'm in bed? That I haven't completed it? Which one?

Does everyone?

Andrew Stotz 22:41
Exactly? So, you know, sometimes people are afraid to charge a higher price on the course. And I'd say the price is a serious accountability tool. Yeah, other thing, you just reminded me of a conversation I had yesterday, we have a group of interns. So I brought him to meet with some of my friends who were senior executives to ask questions. And one of the interns asked a question. And she said, what do we do if they asked me like, what's your weaknesses? And I'm thinking, you know, here's a young kid, just finishing University. And And my answer to that was, if I was asked that question, at your age, I'd say everything. I'm just a kid. I've learned this, I've learned that but I mean, did you know that I'm ready to learn, but you know, now, if you're 30, or 40, and someone asks you that, okay, it's a little bit of a different answer. But the idea is, you know, be open to realize that you just don't know that much and learn so much to learn about online courses. I know for many of the listeners out there, that you know, you're thinking about doing an online course, and all that I think today's talk has been really great, you know, discussion so that people can, can wake up to say, well, just, you know, put it together, ask for advice. So based upon what you learn from this story, and what you continue to learn, what one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?

Chuen Chuen Yeo 24:10
Definitely checking out Amy Porterfield. Somebody recommended her to me, I wish I had known her. I mean known about her work earlier. I'm in the process of pre selling another course. So next week, I have a webinar on exactly what we were talking about impostor syndrome, self doubt, I truly believe the content that I'm putting I'm planning to put in the course will benefit people and give them that transformation. But I'm always in this test and learn, test and learn more, get the feedback and get better and better. I think it's also very important for me not to fall into the trap of thinking that this one work, but to do the research and the homework correctly, and I think in creating any course any product for all business owners out there that copywriting? how clear is it? What is the value? Who are you working with? What my will people get out of it? I think all these things, it requires a lot of discipline to get it very right. Before you can make a judgement whether this vehicle works on known work.

Andrew Stotz 25:24
Great. Yeah. And also, I would just say any just type in Amy Porterfield and go to her podcasts. And, you know, you can listen to a podcast. And you'll get almost all of what she teaches in her course, she's demonstrating, she has a podcast, it's similar to, you know, the same topic as the course. She's every podcast episode, she's giving a checklist or resource to help you to go to her website to download that resource. But that is also helping you to then connect, and then start to see the courses and the products that she has just so many things. If you just follow her for free on her podcast, you're getting a lot of value. And if you take the course, I think I would say that a big part of her course is the whole accountability. That's a huge part. So that's major, but she's amazing. So great advice. All right. Last question. What's your number one goal for the next 12 months.

Chuen Chuen Yeo 26:17
My number one goal for the next 12 months is to scale and automate my business. Beautiful online course is the way to go for me beautiful.

Andrew Stotz 26:27
Well, I can't wait to hear about that 12 months from now. All right, listeners, there you have it another story of loss to give you winning. My number one goal for the next 12 months is to help my listeners to reduce risk in your life. So go to my worst investment ever.com right now and download the risk reduction checklist and see how you measure up. Gentlemen, as we conclude, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a stocks Academy where I have all my courses. I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Chuen Chuen Yeo 27:10
Sure, please connect with me if this podcast this interview has done something positive for you. Please connect with me on LinkedIn and feel free to check out my book on my website. I'm sure Andrew will put it in the show notes as well.

Andrew Stotz 27:23
It'll all be there. So just go to the show notes and connect. And that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast hosts Andrew Stotz saying I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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