Building an International Fashion Blog from Singapore with Sylvia Van de Logt

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Ecommerce, Podcast1 Comment

This week we are talking Singapore and blogs! Sylvia Van de Logt is a seasoned internet marketer and blogger who has done quite a nice job growing her Forty Plus Style fashion blog while based in Singapore. We discuss how she got started, tactics for growing a blog, but also some insights on how she setup in Singapore and the benefits she has gotten there.

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Introduce Sylvia

    You had a great speech at DCBKK about your journey building up your blog over the years, it was quite a journey – want to share a bit about the blog and how you started the blog?

  • Why Asia, why Singapore?

    I’m also sure listeners are curious, how did you pick Singapore? Any business reasons, it is quite a cosmopolitan area.

  • Challenges Early On

    When you got started with the blog, what were some of the struggles?

  • Scaling Up

    As things have grown, what would you say have been some of the reasons for the growth?

  • Operating Your Company

    Where do you run the business from, you are registered in Singapore or elsewhere? Any reasons for why you incorporated where you are (or maybe you’re still running this in your personal name?)

  • Expanding to a New Podcast

    So at the conference, I learned you are starting a podcast of your own – very cool – care to share about it?

  • Tips for those who want to make full time living blogging

    Where should people start?

  • Expectations with making money online

    And what expectations should someone set – it isn’t a get rich quick scheme – at least not your story or my own experiences. It takes quite a bit of time

  • Long term goal

    What is the end goal, what do you see in the next 5, 10 years?

  • How can people reach you and your business

    Who are you looking to connect with and how can people find you online?

Thanks Sylvia!

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode


Show Sponsors:

Today's podcast is brought to you by Aurelia Pay. I use them for sending money to my Chinese supplier from Hong Kong - it is a cross border payment solution between China, Hong Kong and South East Asia. So when I need to make a payment to a Chinese supplier, I just hop in to place a remittance, pay to their HK bank account, and Aurelia Pay settle RMB within the same business day! Check them out 

Episode Length 33:11

Thank you Sylvia. It is interesting to see how immigration to Singapore as well as other places has seem to been getting more difficult over the years. Wonder what the future holds for digital nomads and bloggers who want to live and work away from their home country for the long term.
Thanks for listening!

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Podcast Transcription
Sylvia : If you have a location independent job like I have, you can actually travel a lot. And I think a lot of women would love a little bit of that.

Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice and now your host, Michael Michelini.

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Aureliapay. I use it personally for sending money to my Chinese suppliers from Hong Kong. It’s a cross border payment solution between China, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia. So, if I need to make a payment to a Chinese supplier, I just hop online to place the remittance, pay to the Aureliapay Hong Kong based big account and Aureliapay will settle RMB within the same business day. So, check them out online at A U R E L I A P A Y .com or check them on their link at our show notes.

Mike : Hi I’m back in Manila. As always you guys seem to like it when I’m in traffic. I think a lot of people think of Manila, they think of traffic. So I’m doing this outside on the streets of Manila, Philippines. Back here to see the team, does an amazing job. Helping us to make this show and other amazing things here at Global From Asia so thanks everyone. A lot of things happening lately. It’s the end of January now, almost. I’ll be in America after 2 and half years in Florida. I’ve been working hard on our China Business Workshop, which will be on February 8 and 9 in Northern Miami Sunny Isles. Thanks Claudia for helping. Well, it’s getting wild out here. And also another shout out Xiao DiDing, he’s a Chinese student in America is a fan of the show gave me some tips and help me realized on some tech issues. So thanks for that. Thanks for listening. Back with the Florida event, we have actually more and more people coming, Andy Church, Insight Quality is gonna be talking about manufacturing in China. My wife will be talking about app more getting in China, her sister my sister in law Nancy is Chinese real estate agent. It’s her first time to America and she’s a pretty good sales rep to Chinese investors and she’s looking to invest with her investor in America. So we’re gonna be looking some properties and she’ll be there to meet some people that come. And also Lauren from China Influence Marketing podcast coming down from New York. She’ll be talking about KOL and influencers in China. She might bring her husband, her Chinese husband. It’s gonna be great. So amazing things happening in there. and without further adieu let’s go into this week’s show. I got some more announcements and stuff. So much stuff happening but I’ll wait til after the interview. This interview is episode 210 For the show notes we have Sylvia Van De Logt she’s a Dutch entrepreneur, a content marketer, blogger. Some I’ve been learning a lot from. She did amazing presentation in DCBKK in Bangkok and she’s also done amazing blogs and she shares how she’s based in Singapore. She even open up a company there for her business and talks about a lot of different things she went through building up her blog from Singapore. So without further adieu let’s listen in to interview with Sylvia.

Mike : Okay thank you everybody for tuning into another Global From Asia podcast. We are doing more Cross Border discussions for the recording we have Sylvia Van De Logt. Thank you Sylvia for being here.

Sylvia : Thanks so much Michael. I’m happy to be here.

Mike : Yeah. I was inspired by your talk in Bangkok at DCBKK and you’re running quite a great operations with your blogs for women and fashion. Do you want to introduce yourself to the listeners?

Sylvia : Okay, yeah I’m Sylvia. I live in Singapore. I’m actually Dutch and I ran a popular blog for women over 40 on style and fashion. I just recently started a new project. I also ran 40 plus entrepreneur which is a new project I’m starting up which just basically teaching women over 40, the larger, the older women, how can they create certain businesses and turn that passion or hobby into a business. So that’s other things I’m doing. But my main, most of my time I’m still taking up with 40 Plus Style.

Mike : Sure. Yeah 40 Plus Style we were reviewing the site. It’s done really well. And you have quite some experience so you’re based in Singapore and you started this, you originally like an internet marketer, web designer before the blog?

Sylvia : Yeah that’s right. I mean my first business was in web design. I started quite a while ago. I really fed up with working for a boss and after the last time being tool off by someone I was like that’s it, I’m fed up, no more. And yeah, what now, what can I do. I attended the school design, I wanna do something creative. I wanna do something fun. And then I discover that I couldn’t really paint or anything. But I was always good at computers. I know how to create things with computers. So I’ve decided that I was going to start creating websites, so I taught myself how to create websites and then when I felt I could offer value to client because I knew quite a lot of marked things, that was something that I studied in college. So I could combine my marketing skills with my web design skills and I started offering that to customers and that’s how I started my first business.

Mike : Very cool. You’re in Singapore in Asia. So how did you get there. I know there’s a little short story to that.

Sylvia : Well we are living in Australia at that time. I was already outside of the Holland and I was actually pretty happy then. But my husband got an offer for a job in Singapore and it was 7 years. The 7 year itch was definitely there I mean many of the 7 year itch you just need want to do something else. I’m always ready for new adventures. So when my husband got the job in Singapore I thought yeah let’s just go for it. My job I could take my business overseas. It wasn’t really a problem because I could web design. You can do from anywhere. So we moved to Singapore and here I am, 11 years later, I’m still here.

Mike : Somewhat little bit like, I think it happens to a lot of us, well expats anywhere basically. I’ve been in China over 10 myself. And it’s just kind of, don’t expect to sometimes being in a place so long and then evolves and then you end up there longer than you thought. And we are chatting before the recording a little bit about this cross border. You’re not sure if I’m in Hong Kong or Shenzhen. I’m in Shenzhen today for this recording but I think you have a similar situation in Singapore, right? And there’s Malaysia and we should talk about that maybe in the future episode about that, that border crossing with the, I forget the name of the area crossing Malaysia side.

Sylvia : Yeah Johor Baru that’s the main city there. So, a lot of people cross over from JB with I mean I don’t even know the proper name to be honest. It mostly referred to as JB, my husband actually, his factory is also in JB. So he crosses over quite a lot. And then that’s still real bored I have to send in the cued or sometimes takes forever to get your passport check and lots of Malaysians work in Singapore everyday. So a lot of people cross that border every single day ‘coz the differences between Singapore and Malaysia are still quite significant in terms of wages, job opportunities, all that.

Mike : Yeah similar here on the China Hong Kong border. I think, you’ve been to Hong Kong before it’s very much, very modern, very advanced. Shenzhen has been growing fast, too. But you can still feel the difference when you cross the border. Hong Kong is still very cosmopolitan thinking of fashion but there it’s more of, a lot more fashion there I think, too. Great. So on the business side I understand the dealing with clients or a boss is never enjoyable. She started this 40 plus dial and how did you kind of get kick off or how did you get started.

Sylvia : Well after a while working for customers on doing web design, it started the feeling a little bit too much like a job again, right. I mean basically people will tell you what to do, you do it, you charge per hours, you charge for the price. Sometimes you feel that you are working too much. And so I really, really want to create my own website. I really wanted to create a website that I could be happy with. And that would turn into an assets. So that I wouldn’t only get paid when I’m putting the hours, but I will also get paid for holiday, or when I’m sleeping or whatever. I also saw some other people doing it. So I really wanted that for myself. So, I set up to create my own website and I started playing around with the few topics that are fault would make me successful or what I thought would be some money in it. And it was only after a while that I stumble those things that aren’t really working to be honest. And then I thought what could I write about that it’s fun and what will still be successful and then I thought, well wait a minute, I always really, really interested in fashion and style. I felt that I have a sense of style. I learned to love about style over the years and I thought hey I could write about that every single day, that wouldn’t really be a problem, that would be easy. So that’s what I set up to do and because of all my little playing arounds with all my other website and all the things that I’ve learned over the years, I was able to turn that one into a success. So, it wasn’t an overnight success but 40 Plus Style to be honest from the start did quite well. So that was really nice.

Mike : Very cool. What year about, when was that?

Sylvia : I’ve started it in 2011.

Mike : Awesome, I mean I think when we’re in your presentation I think success is been, still takes a lot of consistency, right. Like people especially blog I think they just start, they’re so nervous to put a website online. I think it’s like everybody in the world is gonna see their website but it takes a lot of work to get people to come to your websites and be consistently with the blogging. I like how you said you enjoy talking about it, it’s kind of like me with the Global From Asia, I enjoyed a lot of discussions and topics. I think that’s very important, right. For people to start a content based business that enjoyed the topic, I think it would be one.

Sylvia : It is so important because my other website, one of my other website was kind of getting a little bit attraction but I just really didn’t like the topic at all. I didn’t like the name, I didn’t like to write about this topics and it was like, this is not working, it’s not working I’m not enjoying it this is not how I wanted it to be. So yeah I mean it wasn’t good thing that side really didn’t take off. Probably because I didn’t like it enough that it didn’t take off. But I mean you also have to be proud of your topic and you have to love it, you have to shout from the rooftop, you have to be, you have to want to connect with people in that same niche talking about the same topic. It was really like depend on your job when I really started talking about fashion. I talked about other things before like beauty products before and other website because that’s where the money is, that’s what people spend the money off, and I thought well there’s no money in fashion because everybody is doing it and it’s not really urgent problem. It’s not like oh my god I need to have it right now. But I think in almost any niche that you like there’s always an opportunity to get revenue from it in some ways. In the end with style and fashion, people do buy clothes and you can still earn through revenue from affiliate commissions or when a lot of people visit your website because they find it inspiring you are able to generate revenue from advertising. And then when you start dig deeper, you see hey a lot of people like to have easy solutions or finding outfits that they can wear everyday. So you can start wardrobe or women like to have more trading out run, how they can find their style, how can they develop their signature, how can they look better everyday and feel better about themselves. You could start offering training programs. At that time nobody really had done that. It wasn’t really a style program but now there’s quite a few when you see that once a lot of people get interested in same topic and a lot of people in your site then you can actually start to see what does the struggle is, what, where, and develop programs for that.

Mike : Yeah I agreed, you all start it with the e-book, right.

Sylvia : Well yeah exactly. My first I mean, I started with a challenge, I started doing a challenge and then that mold into an ebook and more into reports. So, it really starts with these little things, right. I mean sometimes, I was already busying writing blog posts, how can I possibly find some actual time today just to develop a course. But then somebody told me, yeah you could just spend 10 minutes a day doing working on that, everybody has 10 minutes a day and if you do that, if you start working 10 minutes a day on a product or a challenge or something that you could do that really offers value, then by the end of couple of months you have a product it has something that you could sell or challenge that you could do some or you think that you cannot do. There’s always, you have to really find the time to create those product because these are the assets and that will lost you for a lower time and might potentially really skyrocket your earnings by bit.

Mike : Agreed. I like the 10 minutes a day. I’m a Pomodoro Nut like 30 minutes sets. I have a timer and I put down what I want to do like writing or like you said content creation is a lot of work. So yeah budgeting time is very important. One other trick I actually learned recently was have different days, themed. So I have a like a day where I try to focus on my content creation like Tuesdays is like my content creation day. Of course we’re doing on other days, too.

Sylvia : Yeah that was what I’m trying to do. And I’m trying to batch more and more so we try to do sort of things in certain days. It’s still a challenge for me to be honest because I’m always spinning with the ideas. I mean I have a team to manage now. I’m trying to recruit people that so much to do and there’s always a lot of things to do and I’ve got so many new plans now for the future. So it’s still a challenge but yeah you definitely have to be very intend on what you want to do.

Mike : It’s true and so we talked about a lot of company structure on the show. Do you have a Singapore company or are you doing it.

Sylvia : Yeah I have a P2Y Limited, yeah limited to, corporated.

Mike : Awesome.

Sylvia : But it’s basically only me. I’m the only shareholder.

Mike : Okay, but still cool. I mean we’ve had some shows in the past Singapore and Hong Kong like top places people in Asia registered their companies. How was the process in registering in Singapore.

Sylvia : It was really easy for me because I was already a permanent resident. I registered my company. That used to be relatively easy. I think it’s getting more complicated now. The rules are getting a little bit stricter for foreigners. Actually we have to renew ours and hopefully that won’t be a problem. But you know when you have your permanent residency status then it is pretty easy to set up a companies in Singapore.

Mike : Awesome ‘coz I think that’s one thing that we talked about when we compare like in Hong Kong or Singapore. In Singapore you need a local agent I believed. Or has to be somebody that’s a local Singaporean is like I guess who qualify because you have a permanent resident.

Sylvia : Yeah I mean as a permanent resident you basically can do almost anything because when I came here with my I would say my husband, but he wasn’t my husband at that time. We are Dutch, we don’t really see marriage as super significant so we were up together as a couple and we definitely long term committed. But we weren’t married. When I came in Singapore basically the only as a non-married spouse, you only get social part and basically you don’t have any right, you can’t even buy your own phone or open your bank account. You can’t really do anything. And I of course have my business so basically I got married to my husband just to get more rights. And definitely you need to work, one of you needs to work, us or something like that and then when you’ve been in Singapore for a while you can apply for permanent residency. So yeah I mean I can’t really tell too much about all that. My husband is basically arranged most of that for me. But I think it’s once you get the work permit it can be doable. But like I said the rules have definitely tightens in Singapore, they’re getting a little bit for political reasons. A little bit tight with its foreigners. So I don’t know how easy it is at the moment.

Mike : Yeah I think it seems everyone in the world is getting more difficult for immigration. I have this feeling. Which is so opposite like you know, you said we want to travel anywhere, there’s a keyword digital nomad or location independent of this countries seems to get, I guess they’re packing up on more and more people like us that travelling anywhere and living anywhere. I just feel that everywhere is getting more difficult for immigration and least funny ‘coz I just, I don’t have passport right now it’s being renewed my residency and China’s being actually go tomorrow. And it’s so nerve wrecking, right like you just said renewing your permanent residency. Everybody is so stress because you don’t I mean some of my friends say what you do wrong. Is there some reason like. It’s just that unknown that really be able to renew and stay, it’s always, I do it yearly. And it’s just scary in a way.

Sylvia : Yeah I think we only have to renew like every 5 years so it’s been very relaxing for 5 years. But now yeah it comes up again and we. In Singapore of course things are arranged pretty nicely, so it can be just 5 minute thing. I mean last time we had to renew it, we just log in, renew it and it was like a 5 minutes transaction, super, super easy. But like I say you never cry now, rules change over time. And we’ll have to see how it goes this year.

Mike : Yeah I know sometimes I guess for me ‘coz I’ve blog a lot, I talk a lot and I sometimes worry, sometimes I say a little bit risky stuff online about currencies and governments and stuff that I get into trouble. I don’t think they’re gonna search English blogs but some of my posts are sometimes a little

Sylvia : That can be influencing repertoire but I write about style and fashion style. I think diving into politics also in Singapore will be a little bit more tricky style. I tend to just not go in.

Mike : And you can’t chew gum I heard.

Sylvia : You know I don’t really mind that because to be honest, chewing gum I don’t particularly like watching people chewing gum. I don’t particularly like stepping into chewing gum. So for me that is actually a good thing.

Mike : It’s a benefit.

Sylvia : I mean you don’t really see it that much I supposed maybe there’s still chewing gum you can still bring it I guess, I don’t know. For me chewing gum is just a non-issue, never liked it, I don’t miss it at all.

Mike : Okay, yeah I don’t really know the story of that but there’s, for listeners that might not know I think, it’s a truly ban you can’t chew gum in Singapore or even buy it.

Sylvia : I don’t think so, I never seen it. I mean it’s not like, in almost any other city in the world you walk over the pavement and it’s like 1 big carpet of those spots night and you don’t see that in Singapore. And that’s actually nice I mean they appreciates a clean environment. It’s very, very clean and it’s actually very nice. And I honestly enjoy it.

Mike : Very cool. So it seems things are going great, I was worried to ask you about your company but yeah some people don’t even register a company especially in doing blogs, they don’t feel that they might either do it later. So I think it’s great that you register and then you are even using Singapore is definitely a top structure globally. What’s the plans, what’s your next podcast, what’s going on next?

Sylvia : Yeah my, I really want to like I said I really passionate about giving more women confidence to start something, to start a project. See a lot of women they might have children or they might be in their jobs. Or they have children that a raise and they don’t ready to do something again. And I think a lot of women don’t really know the opportunities that the online world can give them. And it’s going to give you a lot of freedom, right. If you have a location and independent job like I have you can actually travel a lot. And I think a lot of women would love a little bit of that, more travel, having a little bit more money on the side while still having the freedom to be there for your kids or to travel and I just want to share a lot of what I’ve learned with more women and give a lot more women the confidence that I can actually do that. Because a lot of them think ohh I don’t have, I used to feel like that. I don’t have the skills, I’m not good enough. I’m not an expert in anything. But once you start thinking outside the box a little bit and start seeing hey you don’t need to be the expert or the best you just need to be better than some other people that need your help. And I’m actually at the moment I’m writing a book about that topic. So that is gonna be the first step and I’m working on my website. I already but I haven’t got the design or time doing that. And like I said I really want also to start my podcast. I actually ready interviewed people like a while ago. And I just never been able to get it up. I’m a little bit of a perfectionist. I supposed I want to get introduction right, I want to get the artwork right. The thing is I mean my blog is doing really well and it’s all nice and good. But it is actually still require a lot of work and it’s still hard to take myself away from 40 Plus Style and to leave it all other, I mean while I do my contributors last time. I’m rebuilding my team so I get more time to spend on this other project which I really, really can’t wait to dive in almost.

Mike : Yeah and I hope I can help you with the technical of the podcast, just let me know. And also for guests, we had really amazing guests on the Global From Asia, Kara she’s in Taiwan. She’s an American, she’s a mother, and she’s doing her own business helping people buy from China sourcing within pre-specialized with the PCV’s and I think she’ll be a great guest and others that I know. But yeah I mean podcasting is a different form of content and it gets, it’s another form of art when you write. But yeah I’m excited to see your show and we can link it when you’re ready on here.

Sylvia : Yeah, I think I would enjoy, I enjoyed talking about this job so much. I have a lot to share. And I think probably it’s easier for me than video. I find video a little bit intimidating. But just talking I might be able to do that. And I also really enjoyed talking to other successful women entrepreneurs or even the ones that just standing out and really have found new passion for something. So I like connecting with women in that way. So I think it’s also a good opportunity to talk to other women in this way. So that’s why, yeah I really wanna do it. But like you really know, it all takes quite a bit of time and what I’ve learned in my beginning days when I’m starting the book, I was doing like actually like 4, 5 blogs at a time. Is that when you start to focus a little bit when you take your purpose away from my project and start to do too many things at the same time, no project will succeed. So that’s why I have to force myself just concentrate on one. But at the moment has also come where I have to say okay I really have to start doing, start with this now because this is what I want to do for a year now. And I also have to say okay, I just have to maybe leave the other lots of some other prize of the business to other people and I moved on with my new project.

Mike : Yeah or like you said with the 10 minutes with blogging on a certain day or sort time of each day.

Sylvia : Yeah definitely I’m doing that and it’s all in the process. You just have to get better at it. I’m working on a lots of processes and lots of, like I’m trying to become a real business, right. So, the more you wanna do, the more you have to be very, very clear about processes and about all these things in place, about team members knowing exactly what to do on all these things.

Mike : Agreed. It just seems never end either. Processes, I just feel like I’m making those for years and still making more. But it’s very rewarding when someone else can actually know, it’s like reading your brain and been able to help do it ever than before. So thank you so much Sylvia, I know you’re busy. You got podcast and blogs and business and SOP’s to work on. I really appreciate you take time to come on our show and of course there’s, we’ll link it on the show notes. Is there any other ways we can have people find you online or connect with you?

Sylvia : Well the 40 Plus Entrepreneurs are just up as well and that’s they can already sign up and get my any updates so when I’m ready with my book and all my other projects that I’m timing for it they can get notified. This already a Facebook group.Those 2 places you can see all my of course on Facebook and Instagram and all those places. Most places I’m on 40 Plus Style that’s where people can find me.

Mike : Awesome. Thanks so much Sylvia.

Sylvia : Alright. Thanks so much Michael.

Mike : Okay I’m getting some looks but whatever man. Maybe we should host the show on the streets of Manila. Thrilla in Manila they say. Thank you Sylvia for that amazing interview and sharing your knowledge and experiences. I hope to be one day like her. I mean so many Dutch travel around the world doing business. There are some stats that can proved. But they say there’s more Dutch living outside of Holland than inside. They are really world travellers. It’s great to see successful female entrepreneur in Asia. In Singapore doing amazing things and I hope we can do some more things together Sylvia, so thanks again. Also for those members are GFA VIP members you had earlier access to the show also could go on live and listening, ask questions to Sylvia. It’s one of those benefits for our super fans. And some other announcements, we’re gonna have Global From Asia in Colombia. We signed the deal, we got to going Esteban. He’s a regular listener, too and supporter. He’ll be also speaking at the Cross Border Summit in Shenzhen. But we’re gonna start doing South America, Latin America, events and conferences. We’re gonna have something for this summer. So it’s gonna be amazing. We’re gonna start step by step. But the idea is to have more Spanish language content between Asia and Latin America. So I’m really excited about that. And also, of course our Cross Border Summit, Third Annual in Shenzhen, April 20th and 21st. There is a lot of build up, even gonna do half day mastermind with amazing Amazon seller/experts as well as even talking about some add on event and networking 3 months away. And so much has been prepared already. We’re just working super hard on this. My wife is amazing Wendy, thanks so much for all your support. And we’re really working hard to bring the other top Chinese Cross Border E-Commerce and top international e-commerce players and put them into a room and amazing topic. Of course amazing content and speakers for have the time people are more interested on the relationships that they are built there. It’s very powerful time. I know there’s a lot of ask to come out to China if you’re listening overseas. But that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to do China Business Workshop in Florida. Events seems to be the best way to bring people together. Even though there’s technology. We’ve been doing a lot more events and more will continue. There’s also apprentice gonna be joining soon. A little bit early to announce but we do have an apprentice program. It’s always people apply on it, talented people that wanna join Global From Asia reach out but he’s a very talented video editor in Russia. So he’s moved to China recently and he likes what we’re doing and wants to support and get active and connect with the community. So stay tune for that announcement but it’s all about team building. That’s why I’m down here in the Philippines. Meeting a lot of our team, training, doing the workshop and just making things happen. So I hope you are, too. Everyday is a new day, everyday is a chance. Alright, there is a security guy coming over. So much security here. So that’s it, take care guys. Bye bye.

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