Never be afraid of change or trying something new in order to survive, is a motto that Aaron Kumar, lives by. In March 2020, when the first movement control order was implemented to curb the pandemic, the owner of Pulse Events, an events management company, like many other business owners, was adversely impacted.
“Events has always been my passion for the past 13 years since I completed college. I’ve done a lot of corporate events – from roadshows for telecommunications companies to even events for companies based at airports, ” says the 34-year old from Kuala Lumpur. The company was also involved in wedding planning, which his wife looked after.
“Things were smooth sailing and there were jobs aplenty even without us having to do much marketing since we had already built up a huge network of clients through the years,” says Aaron.
But when the pandemic hit, the MCO was implemented and everything came to a standstill, and Aaron had to close his events management business.
“While we were always busy before, during the MCO, there were no events and we had zero income, ” he says.
“During that time, I was hopeful that I would be able to restart my events management business after the pandemic. But it has dragged on for more than a year already with still no end in sight, ” he adds.
While ‘waiting’, they took on disinfecting jobs at his clients’ homes to tie them over. But the income was low and not enough to survive on, reveals Aaron.
There were also many other struggles.
“The hardest part was when I had to let my staff go in June last year because I could no longer afford to pay them, ” he says, adding that he had six full-time staff, and often took on contract staff on a per event basis when required.
“I also lost my house. We were living in a three-storey house so it was expensive. I couldn’t maintain that kind of lifestyle any more. And I was only surviving on a daily basis on food and other daily necessities,” he says.
This was when Aaron realised that the end of the pandemic might not be quite so near as anticipated and he had to do something else to survive – he had to evolve.
“I’ve been doing online trading and investments for myself for six years ever since I learnt about it and it has been my secondary source of income, ” he says.
In July, Aaron decided to make online trading and investments his primary source of income after shutting down his events management business.
“I thought, since I’m doing this – looking after my own investments portfolio and doing online trading – why not help others with it too, ” he says.
Today, Aaron is an online trading consultant, helping his clients manage their investments and investing on their behalf.
“Rather than keeping one’s money in the bank, even though it’s supposed to be the safest place, I help my clients to diversify their investments, usually with higher returns, ” he says.
He also does livestreams on social media and online webinars, teaching people how to invest and manage their finances.
“This is so important, especially during uncertain times like this, ” he says.
His clients are mainly Malaysians and Singaporeans, as well as a few from Brunei and Indonesia.
“I rarely market myself. Most of them found me through networking among my circle of contacts. Those who have invested with me and are happy with the returns usually recommend me to their friends, ” he says.
Aaron reveals that he doesn’t charge any upfront fees but earns from online trading of his own investments as well as commissions from managing his clients’ accounts.
“The pandemic has opened my eyes to see that relying on just one income can be risky. During the pandemic, many of my friends lost their jobs and didn’t have a secondary income. They also didn’t have any investments to provide them with a ‘passive’ income to fall back on, ” he shares.
“This is why I’m now doing what I do. I believe it’s better to be prepared for anything, especially during these pandemic times and I hope to help others with this too, ” he concludes.