Vietnamese American from Boston, MA
Vietnamese American from Boston, MA
Chi is someone who is full of strength and entrepreneurial spirit. She is putting in full-time hours at an event planning company in Boston and still somehow has energy to run a few online businesses afterwork. I caught up with her to dig deeper about her upbringing, but mainly to get some tips about side projects and how to turn a hobby into a career. Thanks Chi!
“I feel like I have a mature outlook and spirit. My parents both wanted me and my sister to be educated and to do well in life, but there was no specific pressure. My parents wanted me to either be a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. My sister went that route but she ended up as a pharm tech. Whereas for me, I didn’t want to be a doctor or a nurse because I’m scared of blood. I wanted to do my own thing. I just followed my own path but always had my parents’ voice behind me, telling me to always do well in school.”
She reflects a bit on where she draws her inspiration. . .
“Some of my female cousins were strong. I looked up to one of them and said, ‘wow, she knows what she wants.’ She is a pharmacist and I thought she was doing so well especially since she came over from Vietnam on a boat. I wanted to be as strong as her. I think it was my personality as well. When I want something, I usually go after it.”
“My dad is also strong. I’ve heard stories from my mom and aunt that he was a head officer in the Vietnam War, and the communist party locked him up for 8 years because he was working with the south against the north. I heard that he suffered a lot mentally and physically. He tried to kill himself several times in jail. So just hearing those stories it’s like wow, everything in life is not that hard. That’s why I look up to him.”
And talked openly about her family’s journey from Vietnam to the United States . . .
“After my dad got out of jail, because he worked with the Americans during the war, the US brought him over under the program called HO . He was able to bring his family over. I was about 6 years old when we arrived and was put directly in kindergarten. On my first day, I cried. I didn’t speak any English and somebody tried to translate for me but it turns out she wasn’t Vietnamese she was Cambodian! She was trying to speak to me in Cambodian and all I did was nod to everything she said. Eventually, we became best friends throughout elementary school. “
There was a short period in her life that she didn’t like being Vietnamese . . .
“There was a moment in time when I didn’t want to be Vietnamese, I think I was embarrassed. I think I wanted to either be Cambodian or white like my friends. As I got older, my heritage and my background became so much more important. Remember those Viet pride cartoons? In high school, I started to hang out with more Vietnamese people.”
We laughed about those AZN Pride days, and then changed subjects to talk about what she’s been working on today . . .
“I’m not a full time entrepreneur yet and I know people say that if you’re going to be an entrepreneur you have to quit your job but I think I’m logical, and I do worry often. I try to handle both my side passions and a paying career. Right now I’m working on an internet marketing business with my boyfriend and he is a full time entrepreneur. We partner together on the business and whatever he can’t do, I help out. Right now, we are working on a project online where we are selling physical items to certain niches and hopefully it generates consistent income so that I can quit my job. That’s the goal for me. I’m hoping to have that happen in a year or less.”
“That’s my goal. Instead of working for someone else and making them rich. I don’t want to say that in a selfish way, but I work hard so why not put my hard work for myself? About four years ago, I realized that I’m not working for myself unless I am actually working for myself. This is something that I really believe in. “
And here are the entrepreneurial tips and tricks she promised to tell me. . .
“Just do what you love. If it feels right just do it! It can be scary if you’re worried about money so I don’t recommend to quit full time. You can try it part time first. I know some people who are full time and that’s great, they’re hardcore and focused on one thing. I know that my situation slows me down because I can’t do everything. It depends on you. If you think you can do it, go for it. Work your ass off, and you’ll make it.”
“I think anybody that works really hard will make it. A lot of people get just stuck on ideas without taking action. You need to take some kind of action. Don’t just sit on an idea.”
Of course, this entrepreneur has a great mindset. . .
“I am a try it all kind of girl. I always try to surround myself with good people. When I was younger and was peer pressured to drink and smoke but I never tried it. I think it was just my mind. If you have a strong mind and can block everyone out, you’ll be good. That’s why I have an open mind and open perspectives. It is also why I like to try new hobbies all the time and be adventurous.
“I tried fishing recently and I love it. I thought I wouldn’t like it because I thought it might be boring and you just sit there and wait. But I went with some of my friends and it was fun! It’s really exciting when you do catch something.”
“Even though I can be adventurous there are times where I do freak out in terms of finances. Especially now as you get older, you can’t rely on other people. I hope in the future I can take more risks but I’m glad that I’m surrounded by people who take a lot of risks, they’re teaching me.”