Building a sustainable business
Yi An Chen’s sporting career has taken her to many countries across the globe, from participating in the Olympic Games when taekwondo was still a demonstration sport to winning gold medals in the Asian Games and Asian Championships. The handmade soap she came across on her travels intrigued her and inspired her to create her own business in her home country – a business she is now growing with the support of the Athlete365 Business Accelerator.
- Yi An Chen has recently launched new products for her handmade soap business with the help of the Athlete365 Business Accelerator.
- The accelerated mentoring she received through the programme helped her think about the circular economy and running her business in a sustainable way.
- You can sign up to the Athlete365 Business Accelerator course today to kickstart your own business idea.
As with all athletes, I spent most of my sporting career competing, training and working hard. When I retired, I tried many different professions, including working at a sports channel anchoring and reporting on sporting events. But then, around 10 years ago, I started my handmade soap business.
Using your qualities as an athlete
I remember trying to qualify for Sydney 2000, but I didn’t get selected in the end, which was really a tough moment in my life. It was then that I decided to think about a move outside competitive sport and to try new things.
The great thing about being an athlete is that you can carry your sporting skills over to the business world and other areas. I love taking on new challenges, and I’ve found I have the endurance and hard work to continue until I reach my goals.
Even when I started up my handmade soap business, I wasn’t going to stop there. I thought that maybe I could try different things to share it with others and help it grow, and I even featured on a television programme, which helped it become bigger.
The next step in growing the business and my own skills in the business world was to join the Athlete365 Business Accelerator.
Looking beyond sport
I’m part of the World Olympians Association, and our local Olympians Association in Taiwan informed me about the opportunity to join the Athlete365 Business Accelerator. I knew this was something for me, so I asked my NOC to apply on my behalf.
The online course was mostly an introduction to the business world, to guide you through the early stages of an idea and a plan, and the workshop was such a great experience because I got to meet athletes from other places. It was fascinating to see what interests people and what they are trying to achieve.
Here in Taiwan, we have some courses for elite athletes, but they’re only focused on the sports industry. What I liked was that this programme encourages you to pursue whatever you want – and that’s great, because we can push athletes to do different things and let people know that we can have careers away from becoming coaches or teachers, for example.
A guiding hand
I had a mentor during the workshop who was great in helping me with some new ideas, but what I really enjoyed was the presence of a local mentor, Edison, who stayed in touch after the course was complete. He spoke my native language too, which made things easier.
Edison gave me more ideas suited to the region, as well as connections. Through them I got to know a lot of new people, and I think that one of the most important parts of business is networking.
My mentors have also encouraged me to think about the circular economy and running my business in a sustainable way.
My mentors have also encouraged me to think about the circular economy and running my business in a sustainable way. My newest product is a dry shampoo which reduces the need for excess packaging, so that we don’t pollute the ocean or the environment.
I am so grateful that there is a programme like this, and I think that anyone who has an idea in their head should subscribe to it. Starting a business is like being an athlete; you just have to practise and grab any opportunity that comes your way.
Do you want to build a sustainable business like Yi An? Sign up to the Athlete365 Business Accelerator and take the online course today.