Desiree Bhullar is a Singaporean Sikh who moved to Australia in 2005 to complete her 4th year Degree studies. She has been self-employed since 2018, and owns a web design and organic marketing agency called Naked Digital Marketer. Desiree has lived in Adelaide, Darwin, Brisbane, and is now settled in Newcastle for the long haul with her partner, 10yo son, and a cat named Cauliflower.
What is it about what you do that makes you want to jump out of bed excited to get started with your day?
I just love being a part of helping people succeed and smash their goals. I work exclusively with small business owners who are very hands-on and passionate about their businesses. Knowing that we can build them a website that’s a set-and-forget money-making machine they don’t have to worry about excites me!
As a WoC Founder, what were some of the hardest things you had to overcome when starting on your entrepreneurial journey?
The biggest thing was choosing to pursue something I’m passionate about versus following my parents’ wishes or my educational background. I’ve always chosen my own path, though. My parents wanted me to study law, but I chose hospitality instead. My dad didn’t speak to me for weeks!
I graduated with a degree in International Hotel Management (BUS) but ended up in web design and marketing. Web design was always a hobby of mine ever since I was a teenager. Back in the days when we used Dreamweaver and Flash!
There’s a lot of self-doubt and imposter syndrome, even to this day after being in business for 4 years. As an Asian woman, there’s a constant struggle to acknowledge you’re good at something and to charge what you’re worth. It can be seen as being greedy or big-noting yourself.
I sometimes think my accent holds me back. Even after 17 years of living in Australia, I still don’t sound Aussie enough. And I don’t sound Singaporean enough either! Though for the most part, my accent is an icebreaker as oftentimes within a few seconds of speaking I get asked “where’s that accent from?” – most people can’t pick it!
Being a born and bred Singaporean, was it hard being away from family and settling into a new country?
I didn’t really struggle with this as we had Skype and Facebook to keep in touch. What I struggled with was lack of money but that’s every uni student, right? 😛 I also grew up travelling a lot as my dad was with Singapore Airlines.
What is it about your home country that you miss the most?
I miss the hawker food the most! It’s so hard to replicate at home or anywhere else. I also miss the cleanliness, safety and efficiency of Singapore.
How do you think your upbringing has influenced your being a successful founder?
Definitely the ‘work hard and it’ll pay off’ ethic that was instilled in me from a young age. Although these days, I am learning to work smarter, not harder!
Being grateful to be able to do what I love and have opportunities come my way as opposed to expecting things to happen for me.
One of the best things about growing up in Singapore is knowing how to work with (or tolerate) people from different backgrounds.
Follow Desiree at Naked Digital Marketer
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