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Ask anyone what they think is the definition of success and you’re likely to receive a different answer. For 28-year-old Thien Qiyun, who is probably better known as a beauty blogger and social media influencer, her biggest pride, is in building a Social Media Agency from scratch.

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The journey to success is never easy. Qiyun, who has built a lean team of seven, including a team of three in Vietnam, considers the growth of her team and the positive feedback from her clients her greatest achievement.

“Though we are small, our clients love us for our efficiency and experience,” she says enthusiastically.

Looking at the headway her boutique agency has made, it’s hard to believe that there was a period of time she had to survive on only bread. “Financial challenges are often the hardest; I survived on one loaf of bread every two days – without any spread. This continued for a few months until I received my first paycheck from my first client,” she recalled.

And while the most trying period is over, the financial state of the company is still her top concern. She said that if anyone were to think that being your own “boss” means having lots of time and money to yourself, it would be an over-simplification of reality.

“I must make sure I have enough to pay my team and any business overheads for the first six months, before I can even pay myself. My company is built from scratch with a $500 debt and no external investors. At the moment, most of my spare time and earnings are poured back to the business,” she explained.

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But it’s not all thorns and thistles. There are several things that motivate Qiyun every day.

“Every successful campaign, compliment from clients and smile from my team members motivates me to work harder, and to create better campaigns and content.”

“I also have great business partners who provided me with rent free office space when I was struggling financially: and I’m constantly reminded of the favours and blessings I received when I first started out.”

Busy schedules are the norm for an entrepreneur and Qiyun admits that she typically jumps out of bed to dash for meetings in the morning. But regardless of her schedule, her skincare routine is one ritual that she will never skips. She explains that taking good care of her skin gives her the confidence to face her daily challenges.

After all, a presentable appearance is important for leaving good impressions on potential clients, and it shouldn’t be something to compromise on when you’re busy.

“I will never leave home with a greasy face; I will always make sure my face is well-cleansed, layered with a good serum, well moisturised and protected with a strong SPF.”

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And if you wonder how the power woman is still able to exude a youthful aura despite the late nights and long hours, she shares her secret: “I cannot live without my serums. I have combination skin and I need a variety of products a day to help keep my skin radiant and my acne issue at bay. Serums and oils penetrate deeper into the skin and are probably the only skincare products I can pile on without weighing down my face or causing my makeup to slide. They also absorb faster and give a refreshing feeling – definitely a great way to start my day!”

In fact, if there’s one advice she could give her younger self it would be to start skincare even earlier. “It is not about being vain, it is about keeping your skin and body healthy and hygienic,” she added.

Finally, if you are beginning to pursue your own dreams and write your own success story, this is what Qiyun shares: “I have made many mistakes over the years of building and growing the business. Learning from these mistakes and moving on from failures have made me a wiser and stronger person – despite my age. Quoting Dory (from Finding Nemo), ‘Just keep swimming’, you’ll get there someday!”

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Like Qiyun, if you believe that taking better care of your skin is an important step in giving you the confidence to overcome life’s challenges – be it meeting important associates or giving a crucial pitch – you are going to love what we are sharing next.

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This article is brought to you by Lancome.