My powerful belief system can determine my outcome
By Nika Jazaee
Luann Ip is the woman behind Dutch Business Incorporation. www.DutchBusinessIncorporation.com Her company helps foreign companies set up their business in the Netherlands. They will have their own business in their own countries, and they want to come to the Netherlands to expand their business or enter into other European countries via the Netherlands. Luann was born and raised in Hong Kong to a family that couldn’t afford to live in an apartment so they lived in a hut located on top of a mountain. She had big dreams of studying abroad and when she turned 19 a turning point hit her life and Luann got the opportunity to move to London. This was a big change that set her on the path to running two businesses.
You come from a poor background and grew up on a mountain in Hong Kong, yet it didn’t stop you from dreaming of studying abroad. Can you tell us more about why you wanted to move from Hong Kong, and how you got the opportunity to move to London when you were 19?
Moving from Hong Kong and studying abroad had always been my dream ever since I could remember. I guess it must have been because of my poor childhood living in a self-made hut on top of a mountain in Hong Kong Island, My parents worked very hard every day as construction workers, struggling to make ends meet. My sisters and brother always reminded me how lucky I was that I have never experienced hunger in my life. This must have been my main motivational force which is embedded in my DNA. I did not want to be decided by the situation given to me, I wanted to have a chance to create my own situation.
When I was around 19 years old, it was the turning point of my life. A contact, who I had acquainted via work, introduced a Chinese family who was looking for an au-pair to work in their London home. I took the chance without hesitation and within two months, I resigned my job, bought an air ticket, and was ready to go and start a new chapter of my life.
I remembered my family, friends and ex-colleagues were extremely sceptical about it. I guess no one really knew what the job of au-pair involved. To be honest, I also did not know but I thought that this was the only chance I could study abroad and gain further education. Besides, it was impossible to get financial assistance from my family. I was more than willing to take the risks. It was very hard for my family to accept that their youngest daughter and sister would be leaving Hong Kong and to stay in a country where none of them had ever been. I believe that my brother and sisters also wanted to study abroad, but they did not dare to dream because it was so unconventional in my family. In fact, a few years after I departed to UK, my brother and one of my sisters also pursued their studies in the UK. This is the power of having a dream, you never know what would happen in your life.
You also started studying as well, what did you study in London and why did you choose to pursue a career in this subject?
Upon my arrival in London, I started learning English for one year. I then enrolled on an Access course which allowed me to study for higher education. It was followed by a professional course called the Institute of Chartered Secretary and Administrator (ICSA) and a masters degree in corporate governance. It was a long and challenge journey but it was all worth it. I completed all the examinations and finished my thesis around 2000. I was then granted my chartered status in the same year. It took me quite a while to find out what I wanted to do but my interest has always been business in general. Having this qualification could get me a job as a corporate secretary and there was always a demand for such positions in different countries.
You moved to Beijing after years in London to work for a law firm and then got an offer to work in Luxembourg and then ended up in Amsterdam, a journey between different countries. Has this made your mind grow and how?
Indeed, it has been such an amazing journey in my life, having a chance to live and work in different counties, meeting so many different nationalities of people, understanding their businesses and cultures and to experience what the local people are passionate about in their day to day lives. These experiences have been an eye-opening experience for me.
How do you balance work life and family life?
Balancing work and family life has not been easy. I used to struggle to meet the demands of my clients and my family life. I have my own business so it made things a bit easier for me. I learned to set my priorities, and to set out what are the most important things to me. My family is currently at the top my priority. To give you an example, if today I need to pick up my son from school, I make sure that there is no business meeting on that day. On one occasion, it was not possible to arrange for another date and I was not able to get a babysitter within a short notice. I therefore took my son along to the meeting which ended up really well. If I was not able to finish my work on time, I will always try to make up my time after my son has gone to bed.
I found doing meditation in the morning and Yoga very helpful to calm my mind for the preparation of a day.
In addition, I am a strong believer of looking after myself well. If I am not satisfied and happy, I know that my son and my husband would suffer, I would not be a good company for my friends, my clients would not get the quality services that they deserve. For these reasons, I learned to treat myself well every now and then. For example, a facial treatment, going shopping and away for a short break with friends. I recently took on a Wing Chun (Kung Fu) lessons which I look forward going to every Saturday. Also, exercising regularly is a good way to release stress. I found doing meditation in the morning and Yoga very helpful to calm my mind for the preparation of a day.
Your life journey is very inspiring and rich, but you still say that you have gone through a lot of doubts within yourself and your confidence has been affected – why is that do you think?
This is the question I ask myself time and time again. I have now come up with the conclusion that some of the factors that affect me the most have been how my brain is wired, my bad habits and my concerns of failure which hindered me from moving forward.
Can you tell us more about how self development and the right mind set has helped you?
Knowing what my issues had been, I started reading many books and watching Tedx speakers to look for the solutions for my issues. I have learned how to rewire my brain. A quote from Henry Ford said that “whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you are right”. I realised that my belief system is so powerful that it could influence my behaviour and therefore determine the outcome as it is done subconsciously, which I am not even aware of. “I realised that my believing system is so powerful that it could influence my behaviour and therefore determine the outcome, and it is done subconsciously which I am not even aware of. I am not as afraid of failure as I used to be and I now see failure is the way of gaining new skills and experience.”
I am not as afraid of failure as I used to be. I now see failure as the way of gaining new skills and experience. Once I changed failure into something positive, you have no idea how liberating it was for me. I began to try more new things and become more experimental. Jack Ma of Alibaba has been a great influencer to re-wire my emotional issues. I learned not to let those criticisms in and not to believe in anyone telling me that certain things are not available to me. Furthermore, I have written down many quotes which I refer to every now and then, especially when I am having those bad moments.
The below are some of my favourite ones:
- The choice you made today defines your tomorrow.
- Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do – Bruce Lee.
- Master the kind of persistence which cannot be stopped- Earl Nightingale.
- Make the unfamiliar familiar.
What are your dreams in this life and how will you make them become a reality?
I think I am in the process of achieving my dream now, I have finally started my own business after going back and forth with this idea for more than 15 years. I want to be successful in my business, set a good example for my son, help young people in my community to break through the limitations which are set for them, and enjoy this beautiful and blessing life with my family, friends and everyone who enjoys my company.