My Elevator Pitch Introduction
Hello, I’m Brendan Aw! I’m an Accounting & Finance graduate from the University of New South Wales. Also, a self-taught 360 Digital Marketer by trade, specializing in Content Marketing, Content Creation & SEO.
Throughout my career, I have helped companies in E-commerce, NFTs, Crypto, Finance, and E-sports achieve higher conversions through data-backed analysis and digital tools. While presenting findings creatively to management, and creating optimized online content to be distributed via various platforms.
I’m a resourceful self-starter, often self-learning technology tools and acquiring knowledge necessary for my area of interest. More importantly, proving that I will not be defined by formal education and that a holistic skillset is required to be successful in this Digital Creator Economy.
Hence, not using my degree and pursuing marketing instead.
Work aside, I’m also passionate about Personal Finance, Web 3.0, Gaming, and Anime. Besides being interested in optimizing my wealth, I’m a colossal otaku nerd – not one bit ashamed.
Finally, yes, I have tattoos, and neither did it affect my chances of getting meaningful work nor disappoint my parents.
They weren’t pleased at first but eventually came around.
Alright, that’s all for my short introduction. If you want to learn more about how this random Chinese guy from Singapore ended up in Cambodia, of all places and everything in between – Let me take you on a journey.
1993 – Birth and Near Death Experience
I was born, Brendan Aw Ming Sheng on February 1st, 1993, at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
For my western friends, Ming Sheng (明盛) is my Chinese name.
Fun fact – I almost died when the doctors discovered during the pre-delivery scan that the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck just as I was due to come out.
Unfortunately, my poor mother had to undergo C-Section to save my life. Little did she know that I would be a pain in the ass growing up.
This is also the reason why I am an only child because I vividly remember her saying, “One of you is enough,” when I requested a sibling a few years later.
She still loves me, though.
The 1990s – Early Childhood
To be honest, I don’t recall much during these years partly because my dad did drop me as a kid. Yeah, I’m one of those “you got dropped as a kid” meme babies.
Alright, not exactly due to my dad, but it’s like most people who remember only snippets growing up. Not causation but correlation, maybe?
Just kidding, haha – I still love my dad.
However, I remember being a huge handful and disciplined A LOT.
There was that one time my mum rubbed Chili Padi in my mouth and sent me to the police station for pouring super glue into one of those ancient automatic pencil sharpeners – Don’t ask me why I did it; I just did.
For those wondering, Chili Padi is a staple in Peranakan cooking, especially in Singaporean and Malaysian culture. It is also known as Bird’s Eye Chili in Thai cuisine.
Let me tell you, it’s the closest thing to being touched by Satan. I spent a good amount of time in the shower crying and trying to wash off the heat, but the pain was intense for a little kid.
And being Peranakan also, you could be damn sure that my mum always had it stocked up and ready to go.
However, that wasn’t enough, and she dropped me off at our nearest police station and told the officer to handcuff me to a chair.
The officer was probably thinking, “WTF is wrong with this kid?” but public service, right?
Anyway, he spent about 2 hours talking to me before my mum came back – what a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Safe to say I learned my lesson:
Note: If you want to put super glue in a pencil sharpener, DON’T GET CAUGHT.
Besides the occasional ass whopping from my parents, much of the 1990s was carefree for me. It was all about enjoying life, eating like calories didn’t exist, and, OH YES, Pokemon on the Gameboy!
That was the start of my gaming addiction for years to come.
So thank you, Pokemon Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Crystal, Fire Red, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, and I couldn’t for the life of me keep up with anything else beyond these versions.
Early 2000s – Primary & Secondary School
Between the ages of 7-12 was when I attended Saint Stephen’s Primary School in Singapore.
It was all about Soccer and tons of after-school classes to prepare for what was known as the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) to progress to Secondary School.
Nothing much to say here other than I didn’t like studying. I got a score of 207/300, which meant that I couldn’t get into the school of my choice – correction, my mum’s choice.
And then came my early teens when I attended Saint Patrick’s Secondary School.
My passion for playing Soccer stayed with me but so did my eating habits – yeap, I got fat.
So fat that I got enrolled in a mandatory school program called TAF Club (Trim and Fit club). However, if you really think about it, TAF Club is just F-A-T spelt backwards – THE AUDACITY.
Determined to lose my belly fat so that I could finally see my toes again, I got into fitness and began running every day.
Proud to say I lost quite a bit of weight but had zero to no muscle, which compelled me to also start lifting weights to get rid of my skinny fat frame.
Soon after, I picked up Taekwondo and got my black belt too.
I also got heavily into gaming with Dota and Maplestory during this period. With a crappy dial-up internet connection at home meant spending multiple hours after school at cyber cafes to hone my skills.
I was pretty good at Vengeful Spirit, Drow Ranger, and Phantom Assassin, plus a level 200 Night Lord on Maplestory – ah good times.
And just like that, 4 years passed.
Early 2010s – Late Teens
I began attending Singapore Polytechnic right after secondary school, majoring in Accountancy.
It wasn’t my first choice, but what would a 16-year-old kid know against his better judgment when his parents were telling him that the Accounting profession was stable – tell that to AI.
My love and addiction to gaming persisted throughout this phase. I began playing First-Person Shooters like Counterstrike and Team Fortress in addition to MMORPGs like Cabal SEA and World of Warcraft.
But my all-time favorite? Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction! Despite being released a few years earlier than the rest, it was just my ultimate dopamine hit during the 2010s.
I didn’t see it at that time. Still, looking back, the desire to achieve progression, farm for the best loot, trade at auction houses, and min-max characters to clear game content actually set the stage for optimizing my life, career, and personal finances.
At the end of 3 years, I did alright at Polytechnic but not well enough to enter a local university in Singapore.
So off to the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia to study… you guessed it, Accounting and Finance – how stereotypical.
But before that, it was time to get enlisted into the army.
2014 – The Singapore Army
As a Singaporean male, we are required to serve mandatory national service. It sounds very noble but just know I had no choice.
There are 2 types of people who join the Singapore army, the first really likes it and the other doesn’t.
Guess which I was. Yeap, the latter.
No offense to those that found it a fruitful experience, but I found it a total waste of time. It was 2 years I could have spent crafting my career.
It was partly due to sustaining a back injury a few years prior at the gym which gave me a slipped disc.
Note: Don’t ego lift and attempt to deadlift more than your lower back can handle.
During the pre-enlistment medical examination, I was then given a combat status that didn’t allow me to achieve a rank beyond Corporal so I saw no point in pursuing this endeavor.
Also, I don’t do well with authority so maybe it was for the best.
Being stuck in an office for the next 2 years.
Not too bad actually as I made many close friends with who I am still in contact to this day. One of them even came with me to Sydney to study at UNSW.
Other than that majority of my time was spent playing Hearthstone and Chinese Chess(象棋).
Just a few months before the end of my service, I had to leave for college as the first semester was starting in August 2015.
No, I didn’t drop out but just deferred and came back after graduation to finish the rest.
2015 – Off to Sydney, Australia for College
And there I was, in the land down under. G’day Mate *in a failed Australian accent*.
I was beginning a new chapter at the University of New South Wales. Their Accounting and Finance program was ranked 11th in the world at the time, so not too shabby.
However, it was my first time out of my comfort zone and away from home, heading to a country where everything wants to kill you.
It’s not a joke.
Ok here’s why, there I was entering the gates of my new dorm, New College Village which was conveniently located right across the school.
I opened the door to my room, dumped all my luggage, and started to wipe everything down because you never know what’s been on those sheets, chairs, walls, or whatever.
As I approached the window I saw something in the corner of my eye. It was big and brown and no wasn’t a Kangeroo, but a f**king Huntsman Spider.
Imagine coming from a country where the spiders are no bigger than a coin and seeing this – culture shock.
Although I found out later on that these things aren’t venomous, they can just kill you by existing.
What an amazing first day.
Anyway, for the first few weeks, I was actually pretty homesick. I didn’t really talk to anyone other than occasionally greeting my dorm mates – it was tough adjusting.
I even joined the Singapore association to feel more at home.
I also took weightlifting and my diet more seriously and started to go to the gym again. It’s amazing what complete isolation can do for your gains.
In those few months, I packed on close to 10kg and my max lifts for bench, squat and deadlift were 120kg, 140kg, and 220kg respectively. All at 75kg body weight. No roids, just boredom.
As the months went by, I got more comfortable, made new friends, and started playing games again.
I’m neither a drinker nor a clubber and didn’t like going out. I found solace in the virtual world and would much rather socialize online.
I also started my personal finance journey by investing in the stock market, using sound portfolio management principles I learned during my degree. This meant no trading but using dollar cost averaging and having a long-term investment horizon – kept it up till today.
This was the lifestyle I kept for almost 2 years.
During that time, I studied hard to get into an exchange program, and in my final year, I got the fantastic opportunity to go overseas to finish my degree at… Singapore Management University!
What can I say? I missed home.
So just like that, 3 years passed, and I was back at UNSW for graduation. I received my Bachelor of Commerce, double major in Accounting and Finance with distinction.
Parents proud. Checked!
Right after coming back to Singapore and having done a few internships in Accounting, Private Equity, and Fintech companies, I knew none was for me.
Although the money would have been good, I didn’t want the 9-5 life building someone else’s dream but much rather pursue something I was passionate about.
So I taught myself content creation and dove into live streaming on twitch.
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Livestreaming and Influencing
I was fascinated by the lifestyles of gaming/esports creators like Ninja, Shroud, and FaZe Clan, where they could actually make tons of money playing games. So I thought, why not give it a go?
For 8 months, I worked for a close friend in his luxury watch business. Hours were flexible, so I had the time to give this a decent shot.
I started to consume a ton of Peter Mckinnon‘s content on YouTube and got better at photography, videography, graphic/video editing, color grading, camera gear, and technical jargon.
He also inspired me to drop almost $8,000 on a Canon 1DX Mark 2 with lenses and various accessories – it wasn’t the smartest thing for a noob.
After a while, I knew I had G.A.S – Gear Acquisition Syndrome.
I started to buy more professional equipment like a Sony A73 mirrorless camera with G-Master lenses, Aputure 120d light dome, Rode NTG4, and Audio Mixers, among others.
These were not required for a beginner live streamer, but I just felt I needed them to get the best quality out of my content to grow my brand.
In those 8 months, I branded myself as the “Fit Gamer,” grew my following to 14,000+ on Instagram, and 500+ on twitch, made some local Singaporean streamer friends, and got invited to many esports/gaming events.
I even received a few product sponsorships from ASUS, Razer, JABRA, Omnidesk, Benq Zowie and Tesoro Gaming Chairs.
Guess who I met too?
Yeap, the big man himself. #proudsingaporean.
While this whole experience was fun, there was a problem…
I wasn’t making any return on my investment, and I had spent a significant amount of money on this whole endeavor.
Not even a single cent aside from receiving a few sponsored products, which we all know can’t pay for food.
So, I stopped and went hunting for a job.
2019 – Esports
I knew I wanted to continue with gaming/esports, not as a creator but as a service provider.
However, they don’t exactly teach you esports or gaming in college. My Accounting and Finance degree was as good as paperweight.
This meant that I had to suck it up and start from the bottom as an underpaid intern. Yay.
Note: Nothing wrong with being an intern in a field unrelated to your formal education. Don’t think that a degree automatically makes up for the lack of experience.
One night browsing the local job boards, I saw an opening for an Events & Marketing Specialist Internship at a game marketing agency called, Eliphant.
They were an Events and Marketing agency that organized many significant game/esports events such as GameStart Asia, SEA Major, Capcom Pro Tour Asia, Tokyo Game Show, EVO Japan, Taipei Major, and many more.
They even managed one of Singapore’s most prominent fighting games esports players, Razer Xian.
With no professional marketing experience aside from building my own personal brand in my bedroom, I decided to take the leap and apply.
To my surprise, one of the production managers knew about me in the local streamer scene and recommended me to the hiring manager.
A few days later, I got the job!
Note: Always shoot your shot and know that what you’ve done is always better than what you might be able to do during job interviews.
Though lacking official work experience, the effort I spent and the knowledge I acquired by being a wannabe gaming influencer paid off.
I got to learn professional live production and events marketing. I even travelled regionally to countries like Malaysia, Taiwan, and Korea to organize and create media content for various esports events.
I did that for a few months, but eventually, felt stagnant, earning pennies, and wanted to upgrade myself further. So while the experience was great, I had to move on.
Fortunately, one of my live-streamer friends told me he started an agency. He knew about my work at Eliphant and wanted me to join him.
His company was focused more on organizing First-Person Shooter game events like PUBG (Player Unknown Battlegrounds) and Apex Legends, which I had experience in as those were the games I was streaming previously.
He also told me he wanted to create something similar to FaZe Clan, and create a team of gaming content creators in Singapore.
The salary was going to be the same, but who cares? I was excited. With my experience in content creation, events marketing, and content marketing, I was confident in my skills, so I jumped on board.
I produced and hosted an esports podcast for him called “Your Life, My Dream,” where I interviewed various influential individuals in the Singapore scene.
I also made marketing material for an Esports Commentary workshop in collaboration with *SCAPE Singapore for aspiring Shoutcasters.
Unfortunately, I was still feeling unfulfilled, and the income wasn’t great.
Not to mention many of my peers were already successful Bankers, Accountants, and even Business Owners, which further affected my motivation.
The occasional profits from my stock investing and gaming were the only things giving me marginal hits of dopamine to keep me going.
However, looking back, I was fronting.
I didn’t know how to pick stocks, but I got lucky. I used it as an excuse to give meaning to my otherwise wasted degree, which my mum spent hundreds of thousands on.
And gaming was just a way for me to escape the crushing effects of reality, in a virtual black box where it was the only place I saw constant progression.
I suffered from Imposter Syndrome and wasn’t in a good place.
It was time to get a proper paying job.
Note: Passion only gets you so far until reality kicks in.
2020 to mid-2022 – Real Life Begins
Depressed, demotivated, and desperate, I spent a few days surfing Linkedin and other job portals.
Sent out resumes to literally any entry-level marketing role that had some form of content creation responsibilities.
I had a few replies, but none seemed to interest me. I didn’t want to be stuck in a miserable job, so I had to be selective.
Then one night, I was scrolling Instagram when I came across an ad for this Local Gaming monitor brand known as PRISM+. I had heard of them but only in passing.
Nevertheless, I loved gaming and tech, so why not check if they had any job openings?
Lo and behold, a Digital Marketing and Social Media Specialist position was open!
A big part of the role was paid ads, and I had literally no experience aside from shamelessly boosting my posts on Facebook and Instagram when I was trying to grow as a gaming influencer.
However, they also required someone interested in and passionate about the gaming/esports scene in Singapore.
So, I went for the interview and met their digital marketing manager, who asked about my experience. I humbly said I didn’t know anything about paid ads.
Surprisingly, he said not to worry as it can be taught, but he needed someone familiar with the scene, could create content and would be comfortable on camera.
And a few days later I got the job!
I spent 1.5 years at the company and in that time, here’s what happened:
- Achieved Lazada’s top electronics seller for the 2020 award.
- Led PRISM+ Android TV launch campaign that generated over 7-figures in sales on launch day in November 2020.
- Generated average monthly revenue of approximately 7-figures via Facebook/Instagram Ads and Influencer Marketing.
- Managed and collaborated with an in-house team of 2 graphics artists, 1 motion designer, and 1 community lead.
- Increased Instagram following by 600%, from 4,000 to 24,000, between Apr 2020 and Apr 2021.
- Built and activated a partner/influencer database consisting of over 300 accounts.
- Closed partnerships and sponsorship deal with various brands, esports organizations, telcos, tertiary institutions, banks, media publications, etc.
- Collaborated with multiple bloggers, publications, and influencers to increase backlinks.
- Launched and grew the Telegram marketing channel to 2,000 subscribers.
- Assisted Director and Marketing Manager with Australia and Malaysia expansion.
As you can imagine, it was the most fulfilling experience for me then, and it was also when Covid hit, so I achieved all that from my bedroom again.
Remote work is the best and should be offered as a permanent option for employees.
However, I got burned out and felt there was nothing more the company could offer me regarding education and salary.
Note: Working for a company is a two way street. Don’t be satisfied and be at their mercy. It is your right to leave if you feel that you want something more for yourself.
I also found out that the digital marketing manager was leaving, so I asked if I could be a suitable candidate.
Unfortunately, they needed someone with more experience to oversee the entire regional expansion.
So I left.
At that point, I had a particular set of skills and was confident enough to perform well at any local e-commerce business with the same model.
But, I knew I required a fully remote role and flexible hours to properly upgrade myself.
Just days later, I saw an opening for another local e-commerce company selling baby products. Though it wasn’t my preferred product category, I had the skills and my criteria checked.
I applied and got it almost immediately.
The boss also wanted me to help oversee his digital marketing agency, so I was essentially the marketing manager for both companies simultaneously.
Holding 2 roles while managing multiple projects with different teams and a bunch of freelancers at the same time wasn’t easy, but I made it work.
Driven and with a newfound passion for digital marketing and entrepreneurship at that time, I also:
- Started a few Instagram niche and meme pages – Some made money but most didn’t.
- Attempted dropshipping.
- Freelance Photography and Videography services – I met my wife here!
- Took multiple digital marketing courses.
- Enrolled in a 6-month long Data Science Bootcamp at Le Wagon.
My work-life balance was great for the next year, despite having 2 jobs. So, no complaints.
Then, I had the opportunity to get into Web 3.0.
At that point, I had already been personally investing and trading Cryptocurrencies and NFTs for about 1.5 years.
I was also in many NFT projects’ discord channels, engaging actively with the communities. Thus, being very familiar with the jargon, business models and operations of these companies.
I even had a MIRO board with a roadmap and a 3D concept for a Generative NFT Project that I was about to launch with my friend, Gavin.
Unfortunately, this did not materialise due to market conditions, financial constraints, and lack of experience.
We felt that it would be irresponsible to invest resources and time on a whim just because it was trending.
Thus, I searched for my first job in an NFT company, and eventually took up another contract role on top of my full-time job as the marketing manager at a fine art NFT marketplace company called RedKiteNFT.
I was tasked with implementing the GTM marketing strategy to promote the marketplace launch.
I also worked with international artists looking to get their generative NFT collection made as we got them onboard the platform.
My other responsibilities included partnerships, PR, editorial, and publishing calendars for social and community channels (Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Discord, and Website), managing Discord moderators and bots, NFT drop and utility mechanics, and content creation.
I did that for about 2 months before I got a private message on LinkedIn from an acquaintance back in my gaming/esports days for a job opportunity.
He had a blockchain development company called NEX10 Labs that developed a few PFP NFT projects (Uninterested Unicorns and The Asian Mint) a few months prior.
What piqued my interest was his upcoming Metaverse PVP game called 3VERSE, where all ecosystems could interact.
And, of course, the first thing that came to mind was Ready Player One.
Being familiar with my past marketing experiences and knowledge of the space, he wanted me to execute the GTM strategy for the new game while also managing the marketing teams for the other NFT projects.
I said OK.
Much of my time was spent coordinating with external stakeholders, such as partners, project founders, influencers, and brands, to establish short/medium/long-term strategic partnerships.
In addition to managing a team of marketing specialists, content creators, social media managers, community managers, partnership managers, and discord moderators.
I also piloted the Uninterested Unicorns’ first YouTube podcast episode by inviting the organizer of the first Web 3.0 Festival in Asia, MetaJam Asia, for a fireside chat.
However, this stint was short-lived as I had plans to relocate to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with my wife in the coming months.
Because my father-in-law owns a luxury lighting business in Phnom Penh, and he wanted us to take over.
More on that later, but first… I got MARRIED!
I met my beautiful wife, Nicole, on a freelance videography gig 3 years back. She is Taiwanese and together we have a cute little son named Toffee.
He’s a naughty White Shiba.
We got married in Singapore on February 11th, 2022.
It was a only very small celebration with close friends and relatives as we felt that the money could be spent elsewhere rather than blowing it on a luxurious wedding.
Being young, and about to move to Cambodia, we decided that we were going to save up and start our family there instead.
What I Am Doing Now?
As mentioned before, my father-in-law started a luxury lighting shop called Leo Light Lighting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 25 years ago.
We came over to learn the ropes and eventually inherit the business like filial children.
I am now beginning my new life here as the Marketing and Procurement manager with my wife as we tackle a new challenge together as a couple.
However, my passion lies in establishing an online career and eventually the coveted “Metaverse“, whatever it may turn out to be.
A structure of working where I am not limited by geographic locations, centralized intermediaries and bosses.
I spent years building up skills in digital marketing to get to where I am today. And my goal has always been to be financially free by creating an online business built around my personal brand.
So, I started this blog to help those seeking success in the Creator Economy by Creating, Optimizing, and Monetizing their online content.
But what many other educators fail to do is provide supplementary education on Personal Finance, Career Tips, Personal Development, and Web Technology to truly provide a complete package for a creator.
It is not all about just content, and I want to change that by being the go-to resource for creators that want a single point of contact for all their needs.
Thank You For Reading
If you got this far, you’ve got my eternal gratitude.
I don’t have a success story yet, but what I do have is an authentic one.
My blog is just as much about helping others with similar goals and also being a personal diary so that I can look back in a few years to see how far I’ve come.
Though many have been in this game longer, far ahead of me, and have already achieved what I strive for.
Everyone has unique stories, experiences and perspectives to share on any given topic that can benefit the next person.
It’s not a race but a long-term plan to optimize our “online characters” by upgrading our skills and equipping ourselves with the best “loot” to eventually tackle the end game.
So thanks again for reading, and I hope my story will inspire you to also jump on this MMORPG game called “Life“, stop procrastinating and build something for yourself – be it a business or as a content creator.
If you want to get in touch feel free to drop me a message!
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