WIN: You have built a successful business with MN Best and launched an important organization, Freedom for North Korean Refugees (FNKR). Could you share with us what has most motivated you?
building Freedom for North Korean Refugees
to prove myself as a success, especially as a woman and a minority in a male-dominated field where I had been constantly challenged and undermined
WIN: Could you share lessons you learned through failure?
learned to build a business without debt
lost everything in first business and realized what is most important
gained pure determination for survival
found a great mentor
the desire to be a positive role model for other women and minorities
to work on a vision and mission bigger than yourself as an individual (FNKR)
developed an appreciation for how honoring a mundane schedule (keep going, day by day) and volunteering keeps our spirits lifted
fueled desire to create a legacy for work and carrying mission
maintained a commitment to integrity
realized that to achieve epic success means to risk epic failure
learned that money is just money and capable of bouncing back
WIN: What advice do you have for us as we build our businesses and our missions?
Cash flow is king
Always know your financial numbers and don’t have blind trust
Value yourself and pay yourself
Don’t put yourself last. Practice self-care
Get rid of “dead weight” quickly (and notice where money is leaking)
Never hire based on emotions
Be financially savvy and be willing to downsize more quickly if things are not going well
You learn more from failure than success
Find ways to work smarter and not harder
Quality and not quantity of years is what matters both in our age and for our life experiences
Look into resources/programs for women or minorities that fit your goals. Take advantage of the ones that are a good fit but first, make sure to ask yourself how successful and effective will they help you to be.
Don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of yourself or to fall into the Cinderella Complex. Have a clear motive and mission to look out for yourself. Don’t let yourself be helpless.
Build and connect with a global network with financial resources to help ensure the success of your mission. Even if you have the perception of success, you are vulnerable if you don’t have financial resources.
Build a strong reputation for yourself. This includes upholding a great reputation through maintaining integrity with how you handle failures (Hyon shared example of how she paid all of vendors and employees even when she needed to subsist on food stamps after losing everything due to a fraudulent employee. When she was ready to build her current business, she had maintained a stellar reputation.)
When you are on a mission, know who feels like your “family” that you really connect with and want to be support (e.g. Hyon’s connection with North Korean refugees in South Korea)
Identify how you want to build your own legacy and who you could “pass the baton” to next
When your mission is very important to your heart, it will help you align with successful people and increase your success drive
Ms Kim shared her humor and advice for being on a mission and growing business. Photo by Laine Torres Photography.