Age does not define your success; actions do. This is definitely the right word to describe Anna’s inspiring life achievement.  She is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna achieved her financial independent through saving and investing in her young age. It helped her become a millionaire by 29 years old. Not everyone is gifted with it. Even if they are, not everyone has the bravery or the opportunity to embrace their passion like Anna.

Anna Haotanto is the Founder of online platform The New Savvy, a financial platform that aims to empower women through meaningful content that are relevant and practical. She was recently nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference.  She has more than 10 years of experience in the financial sector including wealth management, private equity, research as well as corporate and investment banking before setting up her own business.

I can’t say enough about how intelligent, gracious, and engaging she is. I am fascinated by her success story and the attributes that make her unique. She is the inspiration for new-age women who want to make a mark both in the corporate world and entrepreneurship.  I hope you enjoy the interview!

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

As a woman, I want to know how smart financial management can impact my life and how relevant it is to my needs. I want something I can relate to, something that can inspire and motivate me. That’s what The New Savvy has been to many women.

I received countless emails, feedback and readers reaching out to me, telling me they love THENEWSAVV.COM. Some shared with me their financial hurdles, family issues and life stories. Some give me feedback on what I should cover, or ask for advice or even criticisms. I really appreciate these interactions and no matter how busy I am, I always make it a point to reply them.

I was at a networking event and I met a 27 year-old woman. She told me she had seen the site, and said: “When I saw it, I knew that was something that I needed to read, and I kept reading it; I couldn’t stop reading it.” And she said it has been very helpful.

That is a validation of the good impact THENEWSAVV.COM is making. Every of this feedback and sharing is precious to me as they are my motivation when I am thinking of giving up. I hope to keep empowering women financially.

Twitter: thenewsavvyinc  |  Fan Page: thenewsavvy

Instagram:  thenewsavvy | Website/Blog: thenewsavvy.com

What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you implement this particular type of culture? 

Flexible – We can be anything we want! All ideas are good ideas
Focused – Pay attention to the needs and wants of users
Fun – Have lots of fun and enjoy ourselves

We focus on deadlines, not a fixed schedule or timing at work. I expect discipline in handing up work. I expect my staff to hand up to produce excellent work each and every time. I want them to put up 110% in everything they do. We give each other constructive feedback to improve.

What is typical work day like for you?

I don’t have a structured schedule as I travel a lot. Every week, I always make it a point to set goals and priorities. In a week, I focus on what I want to achieve, what I need to clear and who I want/need to meet. I meet a lot of people and sometimes, it gets overwhelming as I have high introversion. I get support and friendships from my loved ones and friends. And when things get too much, I sit alone and get my me-time. I always make it a point to exercise and read. Those are my indulgence.

What is your greatest fear and how do you manage fear?

I learn that I have to keep failing upwards and I cannot live in my mistakes or failures. I’ve had many failures and made many mistakes and I hope to always choose humility and grace. It will hurt you but as long as you are doing something good, you have to be resilient. The trick is just to persevere, focus and do it again and again.

What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

I don’t dwell on unpleasant things. My mind is inundated with things to do, tasks to complete and I’m constantly thinking on how to improve The New Savvy. I don’t have the time to think of unhappy incidents or disappointments. I just can’t afford it; I don’t allow myself to be mired in nonconstructive thoughts.

Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 years?

In terms of the content, we have 35 categories in 3 areas of focus: technical articles, lifestyle pieces, and inspirational stories.

1. Technical articles are informative, must-know Finance concepts in bite-sized to make it more palatable to readers.
Eg: What’s the difference between ETFs and mutual funds, Bonds 101, Which Real Estate in Singapore Should You Purchase?

2. Lifestyle pieces are fun articles that discuss issues plaguing the modern women. All of them include a finance or female empowerment angle to them. Eg: When Women Earn More Than Men In a Marriage, 10 Financial Questions You Should Ask Your Date, How to measure your cost per wear for clothes…

3. Inspirational stories include stories of individuals breaking barriers, speaking up, living authentic lives. We also have interviews sections where we question our subjects on their occupations or businesses, financial planning and thoughts on women issues.

We are also developing bite-sized financial online courses and looking at holding workshops for financial education every two months.

If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

In the beginning, I struggled a lot. My background was pure Finance and Banking. I was clueless on developing a website, producing content, digital marketing, and publishing. But I knew it was something I wanted to do and HAD to do. It was a desire that couldn’t be ignored any longer.

When I shared the idea with people, most of them dismissed me thinking that it’s just another blog. Or, they think that I am limiting myself by focusing only on women. Many told me not to make it as broad to ensure that we get more website hits.

Second, coming from a finance background with very decent earning power, it’s difficult to turn into an entrepreneur. I was giving up a good five-figure income and some people told me not to be naïve and “get a real job”. That affected my morale.

For a long time, I was wondering if I am just impetuous or silly. Should I just continue earning money and be in banking? There’s a societal pressure, especially when you don’t know what’s going to happen and I am doing this mostly to help other women.

Third, I wasn’t trained for this. It was an uphill struggle for me. I ended up working till 4 am every day. Most of my close ones were concerned and told me not to overwork. I think I made every mistake that shouldn’t be made. But that’s life, isn’t it? You falter, but you pick yourself up.

If I have to redo, I would have:
1) Done it along a full-time job
2) Done it earlier
3) Trusted myself more