Spotlight: How Samantha Chan Is Betting On Herself

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by Emily Soojung Hwang

Headshot of Samantha Chan

Samantha wears many hats. Although her engineering and investment banking days are behind her, she continues to fill the roles of marketing and sales director, investor, author and mother. While she has a diverse portfolio, both professional and personal, one thing is certain: she is a go-getter who doesn’t let anything deter her. Her dedication to sharing her passions has ultimately guided her to financial freedom. Her two cents: focus on what you love and the rest will follow.

Samantha is an undeniable Jane of all trades. Her creativity and drive have helped her find financial freedom, which has allowed her to dedicate her spare time to her artistic passions, love for the outdoors and family. She was recently a panelist at Ascend Canada’s virtual event, ‘Managing a Side Hustle’, where she shared some valuable entrepreneurial tips.

Currently, as the marketing & sales director at Elevate Realty, one of Samantha’s roles is to educate clients on the A to Z of real estate investing in the city through the firm’s YouTube channel, thanks to her philosophy that no resource should be wasted.

The same philosophy was the driving force behind Samantha’s pandemic project, Jok Sing Jai, a multimedia Cantonese learning tool. Growing up in Toronto as a second-generation Chinese, her exposure to Cantonese was limited to “reading dim sum menus during weekly ‘yum cha’ lunches with the extended family.” Although her Cantonese has improved since then, she was stumped in her search for resources that would help non-fluent parents such as herself teach Cantonese to their kids. Realizing there was a gap in the market and largely unmet demand, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Through Jok Sing Jai, she aims to help other parents like herself share their culture and language with their children. It has not only helped her with educating her own kids, but it has also allowed her to connect with her culture in a more purposeful way. In naming her project Jok Sing Jai, Samantha hopes to reclaim a label that has traditionally been used to describe Chinese-Canadians who don’t belong in either culture. 

Samantha’s passion for sharing knowledge and resources has organically steered Jok Sing Jai into an additional source of income. “I don’t consider my side hustles to be side hustles; I’m focused on having multiple streams of income, which has always been my life goal. And when COVID-19 hit, the importance of income diversification became even more evident,” Samantha says. She believes that the key to a successful career and financial portfolio is pursuing genuine interests and skill-sets rather than blindly following cookie-cutter investment tips. For anyone looking to diversify their income, Samantha advises, “It’s important to find things that you enjoy, that you are great at, and that can be profitable. As you continue to add more streams based on these criteria, diversification should occur naturally.”

Today, her income streams include her growing number of investment properties, YouTube partnership, Jok Sing Jai and her earned income. When asked how she manages to juggle all these projects, she says it took her some time to strike a balance and find her own formula for success. “From experience, I’ve figured out that the 80-20 rule works the best for me. That is, rather than exert my energy across the board, I focus on the 20% of the input that generates 80% of the output, and delegate the other 80%. Consequently, I firmly believe that investing in trustworthy, credible hires is worth every penny.”

Of course, Samantha’s entrepreneurial success has not been without obstacles. When she left her stable, well-faring job as an investment banker to start her first small business, she received a fair share of negative feedback. To this day, her determination to prove the naysayers wrong motivates her to continue to bet on herself. Samantha reminds budding entrepreneurs, “When you begin to doubt yourself, you have to remember that your biggest competition is you. No matter what others are saying or doing, you will see light at the end of the tunnel if you stay focused and grounded.”

Emily Soojung Hwang is a University of Toronto alumni and an Ascend Canada volunteer and with a passion for social justice and investigative journalism.