Successful Women Entrepreneurs
- June, 2013
The Internet changed Fione Tan’s life. In November 1999, when she was just 22 years old, Tan quit her job in financial services industry and ventured into the world of Internet marketing. This was during the height of the dotcom boom, and businesses were just beginning to see the potential in Internet marketing.
“I did not have a technical background, nor did I know how to design a website. But I believed that the popularity of the Internet would continue to grow globally, and I wanted to be among the first to have a slice of the eCommerce pie,” she recalls. Not having the funds to start the business, she wrote a four-page business plan with her partner, and future husband, Harrace Lau and went to different networking events to meet business owners to pick up tips on how to start a successful business. It was through such an event that she met her investors.
With the investment, Tan together with Lau, who was just a newbie to using computers, and started eOneNet.com. A huge chunk of the money from the angel investors went into developing a website builder software that eOneNet.com could market. In just three months, she recouped the RM80,000 investment and she hasn’t looked back since. The software was later upgraded to the latest 3-in-1 DIY website builder software that integrates social media, video and eCommerce, called MegaWebsiteBuilder.com. Today eOneNet.com has grown into a multinational corporation with offices in Malaysia, Hong Kong and China – selling a variety of products and services as well offering its flagship service, Internet marketing coaching.
Other services that eOneNet.com offers include guaranteed search engine optimisation, email marketing services from Japan’s leading email software and social media marketing.
Tan, who is the President and CEO of eOneNet.com, is ranked as one of the world’s top Internet marketing coach. Type ‘Internet marketing coach’ into any search engine and Tan’s name will pop up among the top 10, if not right at the very top of the list. In the decade since she started coaching businesses on Internet marketing, the management and marketing graduate from the US, has trained more than 30,000 entrepreneurs on how to harness the Internet to successfully sell their products and services.
Business owners, MNCs and manufacturers have also hired Tan to consult on Internet marketing projects for Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer transactions. According to Tan, “I am most amazed at how my internet marketing techniques has been able to improve the income and lifestyle of the participants. When my coaching students, share with me of their 1st sale, i share in their happiness because I am confident that they are now on their journey to reach their MILLION dollar online income !”
Over the years, Tan has spoken at many international events in China, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Pakistan, Iran, and the UAE, just to name a few. In 2002, she was also invited as an Internet Business expert in the World Economic Forum.
For her successes, she has won various awards including from Malaysia, Singapore, China and Hong Kong. In 2008 she was awarded the Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs Award by SME Corp and more recently in 2012, the Business Women of the Year Award (Puteri Kesatria Perniagaan). She has also been called the “Internet Marketing Magician” by Jessica, “No. 1 Internet Marketing Coach” by Kosmo and “Internet Marketing Queen” by NTV7. In Nov 2012, she also launched her new Internet marketing book entitled The Internet Millionaire Checklist which is available on Amazon.com
The bubbly 36-year-old admits that her life today is a far cry from her growing up years in Jinjang. “There was a different outlook on life, in school for example, for one-and-a-half years we didn't even have an English teacher,” she says of her modest beginnings. Thanks to her parents who instilled in her the importance of education and a strong work ethic, Tan did not settle for less. “When you’re in a disadvantaged environment it does not mean that that’s your life. If you want something better, then you have to work at it,” she says.
And work at it she did, not just in school – bettering her command of the English language or taking up a leadership role in the Girl Guides – but also when she first started eOneNet.com. “I used my own experiences when it came to creating successful websites,” says the self-confessed shopaholic, adding, “I love buying things online and I do so from many different websites to understand the customer experience. By putting myself in the shoes of the customer I was able to give input on how to build a successful website.”
She also decided early on to diversify, and has over the years sold a variety of products via the Internet. These include Japanese organic skincare products and H1N1 facemasks. During the H1N1 outbreak in South America, eOneNet.com made sales of US$10,000 in just seven days for this one product. The move to diversify was a wise one – with the multiple sources of income the company was able to survive the burst of the dotcom bubble in 2001.
As for social development, Fione believes in giving back and is now the only female Councillor in the National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM), with goals of improving the usage of ICT among Malaysians and promoting how to globalise Malaysian companies through the use of technology.
Going forward, she hopes to expand the company’s services to offer more range of Web Marketing services including mobile apps development and online branding for companies. “I want to also look at reaching a bigger audience and to change people’s mind set so that they will be more creative and take advantage of the Internet. If you are a small business, you want to grow big, and if you are already big, you want to maintain your No.1 Brand, and definitely you will not be able to reach these goals, without utilising the Internet! ”