S05E05: Pearlin Siow, Book Mama of Boss of Me, Singapore

I feel everyone has a story to share. I believe that my skill is to bring out the story of each person. I mean, we all have our own journey, right? And it’s not for us to say your journey is boring, your journey is not good enough. So it’s a matter of really structuring it, packaging it nicely. It’s matter of just drawing them out.

Pearlin Siow

Today’s episode is with an entrepreneur, bestselling author and book publisher from Singapore, Pearlin Siow. Pearlin calls herself the Book Mama at Boss Of Me, a boutique book publishing company.

Her journey is a little unusual in that she started writing her bestseller first and her business came after when more and more entrepreneurs began asking her to write their books.

Pearlin started as a journalist at Singapore Press Holdings upon graduation. In 2000, she left to found an online barter site (which she talks about in this episode) and later, entered the corporate world when she became the business development manager for CNET Asia.

This journalist-turned-entrepreneur published her first book – a bestseller – in 2008 – when she was inspired by Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Work Week. 

Up till then she always thought only famous people wrote books. Tim’s book reframed her thoughts about book and book writing.

pearlin siow boss of me singapore book publishing
Pearlin’s favourite quote: “Master your mind and you can master anything”.

Her first book, Boss of Me, was written when she went out to interview 20 Singaporean entrepreneurs and it quickly became a hit! Boss of Me is available on Amazon as well as regionally in Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Thailand and Australia. 

Soon after, she wrote three more books – Sleep & Get Rich, Secrets Of Asia’s Most Successful Internet Gurus and Do You Have What It Takes To Be Boss

She admits she has been fortunate that her business grew organically after writing her first book. People were recommending her to their friends and her business started growing.

Before long, she was getting a steady stream of clients who wanted to get their stories told and written. Eventually, she moved into helping them publish their books by setting up her own team, working with book production experts such as designers, printers and book distributors.

In the beginning, when you start a business, you always worry whether you’ll be able to be sustain you, whether you are able to, how long more can you do this? Those are the thoughts in your head when you first start. That was my initial thought. I was trying to do everything all my own and trying to keep costs so low because I was afraid that if I hire people, I will not be able to pay them. Now I’m very surprised that I have been doing this for nine years! Looking back and things have been so great, you know, so smooth. So I’m no longer afraid whether my business is sustainable anymore because I know it is.

In our interview, she said she set a 100-book milestone but it seems she could be hitting the target soon since she is already working on her 60th book at the time of this podcast interview. It is no surprise then that she is inspired by her clients and happy that she is able to help people distil their wisdom into bestsellers.

I find it easier to write for other people because I’m basically just like a vessel. They tell me all the information and I write it in the way that is grammatically correct, easy to read and nice to read. So it’s much easier [than writing my own book].

One key message that I really liked is Pearlin’s focus on self-care. She schedules her business around this and it is a non-negotiable. In our interview, she spoke about the early years of her business when she was burnt out and I believe she took that lesson seriously and vowed to prioritize her health and well-being. 

Her favourite quote is “Master your mind and you can master anything” which is tattooed in Sanskrit on her body. When not hanging around inspiring people or travelling, Pearlin can be found in the yoga studio perfecting her asanas. 

As an author and book publisher, Pearlin says she has too many favourite reads. “I love biographies of inspiring people like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. Tim Ferriss is also a huge inspiration.”

Music-wise, Pearlin enjoys anything that her husband — a DJ at Zouk, plays, be it eclectic, funk, soul, techno, etc.

Connect with her: http://www.bossofme.sg

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