“I moved to Singapore in August 1997 - two months after the Asian Financial crisis,” says Roger James Hamilton, author, educator and entrepreneur.
Roger’s friends cheekily suggested that the move from London to the island republic probably wasn’t his brightest idea. “But as it turned out, it was the best thing ever," says Hamilton.
"When you have disruption, things change. Everyone is looking for the best way to think fresh, think new," he adds with a smile.
Frequently dubbed as “Asia’s leading wealth consultant”, Hamilton created the Wealth Dynamics model, a psychometric test for entrepreneurs and businesses that is largely inspired by Carl Jung’s work and the I Ching.
Founded in 2002, the model has been used by over 250,000 entrepreneurs and businesses worldwide. “I had many friends who were entrepreneurs at the time, and each one of us had a different way of doing things.”
“The model helps you identify the smartest way to move forward. For example, someone who’s very creative like Richard Branson is very different to someone who’s analytical, like Warren Buffet, or someone who’s predominantly a people person, like Oprah Winfrey.”
Entrepreneurship wasn't always part of the Hamilton's career choice though. In 1989, he graduated with a degree in Architecture from Cambridge University but decided to dive in, head first into entrepreneurship by age 21. “I just decided to go from building buildings to building businesses,” he laughs.
“When I was at university, I learnt that academics need to know, in order to do. If you’re going to be a leader or an entrepreneur, you need to do, in order to know.”
Roger says that as an architect can take five to six years to go through a learning cycle, but as a tech entrepreneur, he goes through tech cycles every day.
“The idea of being an entrepreneur today is that you can continue learning long after school, or even university.”
Despite the detour, Hamilton still looks for inspiration from his time as an architecture student.
“Architecture is really just crystalised society - so if you can understand people, you can understand why they want to design things the way they design them; with businesses and entrepreneurship - it’s the same.”
The Hong Kong-born entrepreneur is the founder of education platform Entrepreneurs Institute and the creator of GeniusU, an assessment-based mobile app for entrepreneurs. He also owns Entrepreneur Resorts, a co-work and co-live platform that connects entrepreneurs to work in paradise locations around the world like Bali and South Africa.
Architecture is really just crystalised society - so if you can understand people, you can understand why they want to design things the way they design them.
All this success wasn’t built overnight though. Hamilton explains that with building a business, there is a constant need to balance supply with demand.
"It’s crucial to balance the demand, which is the people who are wanting to do business with you, with the supply - things like funding, your team. Most companies tend to fail because they don’t get the balance right. They either grow too fast or too slow.”
“As time continues to accelerate and the waves keep getting bigger and bigger, the most important thing is to have the same sense of timing that a surfer might have when picking the right wave, or that a musician might have, by being in tune. The challenge isn’t getting any easier and it’s so important today, that anyone who wants to start a business, must surround themselves with mentors and others that already know how to surf the waves, or how to play the instruments.”
The 51-year-old, who is part of the Clinton Global Initiative, has had his fair share of mentors that include Google co-founder Larry Page and YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen.
With over three decades in entrepreneurship, we asked Hamilton what's the key to unlock the door to success. His reply is one word long - perseverance.
“Perseverance comes from knowing that failures are opportunities to learn and then to say that I know I’m not going to give up. So the question then becomes - what did I learn, and what do I need to change? If you’re thinking that way, you’re always either earning or learning, it’s either one or the other.”