S03E09: Penny Choong, Founder of Penny Essentials, Malaysia

My dad was going through financial bankruptcy. We were trying to put food on the table for my family and for my brothers. And we were thinking about how to move ahead.

Penny Choong

In this episode, I spoke to Penny Choong who is the founder of Penny Essentials, a business that helps people enjoy being healthy. She is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

penny choong of penny essentials malaysia
“Take care of your health and your body will take care of you,” says Penny Choong.

Yet years ago, she was suffering from such severe migraine attacks that she couldn’t even get out of bed! 

Today, Penny has not just turned her health around and is a passionate health advocate but has also grown a business that promotes wellness and good health. 

Her business, Penny Essentials, offers classes and products that help you live well and be well. She offers products such as essential oil-infused chocolates in partnership with Siamaya Chocolate, an award-winning chocolatier based in Chiang Mai, Thailand and also offers in-person and virtual workshops that centre on nutrition and fitness. 

I challenged [the chocolatier] by saying, why don’t you produce something everyone would like, like peppermint dark chocolate? I am a fan of After8 mints and I like the mint feeling that you get out of eating them but I really dislike the sweetness that comes with it.

Penny didn’t start out with wellness initially. Her story is quite unique in that she was very much focused on financial education and teaching when she came back from abroad. Yet life sometimes throws us curve balls and she came to a realization that she herself needed to be well first. She couldn’t help others if she herself wasn’t feeling absolutely her best. 

That is why Penny says that we all need to take care of our bodies and our bodies will take care of us. 

She is profoundly inspired by Lee Kuan Yew, Steve Jobs, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner and Bernice Liu. Some of her favourite books include The Millionaire Next Door, Rich Dad Poor Dad and Steve Jobs’ biography. True to her entrepreneurial spirit, she enjoys watching entrepreneur reality series such as The Apprentice and Shark Tank. 

She says that she is convinced that it is never too late to be fit and healthy. Thanks to solving her own migraine attacks, she has improved her health to the extent that “my health is better now in my 40s compared to my 20s”.

Penny is proud of her bounce back to wellness and now endeavours to share what she knows with her customers and her community of 40,000 people. 

Women have this natural tendency to be selfless. Everything about us is a natural instinct to provide and care for our family. The first question is – how do I do this [for them]? It’s in the interest of my child, my family, my husband, my mom, my dad, you know? So I think if I could ask or wish women could ask more of is how could I do it for myself?

In this episode, she talks about:

  • Why business is really like skiing which is incidentally her most favourite thing to do with her husband
  • The important question that women should always be asking more of (and for their own good too) 
  • Becoming financially free after coming back from the Middle East and looking for something to do that she felt strongly about
  • Why she hungered for corporate success 
  • The health emergency that triggered her to re-evaluate her own life choices 
  • Her husband’s point-of-view completely changed how she thought about herself 
  • How she challenged a Thai chocolate maker to make her a healthy bar of chocolate with  her favourite ingredient 
  • Her one business strategy always pays off (and she swears by this and that’s how her chocolate products were born!) 
  • How she grew from someone who was curious about essential oils into a person who now has a 40,000 large community around the world 
  • From a person prone to severe migraine attacks that she couldn’t even get out of bed to being a health advocate with her own line of products 
  • Why she didn’t see herself as successful despite her hard work

Connect with her: https://pennyessentials.com

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