Having just about recovered from the exhaustion that comes with being awake for 36 hours, gotten over the jet lag and (just about) caught up with the backlog of emails, I’m finally ready to debrief our trip to Hong Kong.

For me, the seven days we spent in HK were all one big ‘pinch-me’ moment. It’s one thing being able to wake up everyday and work on something I love, but it’s another to be able to do that on the other side of the world.

2019 has been an exciting, if not slightly scary time, at Yena for me. 

We’ve seen our number of international meetups more than double which has meant I’m now acutely familiar with communicating across multiple time zones. 

As we work on our financial projections for the next few years I’m starting to play with numbers that my mind can’t quite fully comprehend.

And even though it kind of feels like it’s all running away from me, I’m more at the heart of everything we do now than ever before (read to the end 😏). That’s a weird paradox to come to terms with.

So whilst our trip came at a super busy time, it also came at the best time.

Here are a couple of things I learnt and reflected on whilst we were away.

Firstly, be a sponge. 

Being dropped into the middle of a new city can be intimidating, especially when there are cultural nuances you have to learn and adapt to. That’s why we made the decision to fill out our first day meeting people (80% of which came from my carefully crafted cold email) from as many different corners of Hong Kong as possible. 

We met with government officials, coworking spaces, founders and more, all of which shared amazing insight and even gave us some interesting marketing ideas (… if anyone wants to chat with me on the potential for the ‘Bristol Bay Area’ then let me know 😉).

Secondly, know your value.

There’s a certain amount of intrigue from locals that comes with *physically* stepping into an international market. We got asked “why Hong Kong”, “why have you travelled all the way over here”, and even “why haven’t you gone to Singapore”. When you can be chatting with people from the Asia-Pacific in the morning and the Americas by the afternoon, all from the comfort of your sofa, it’s unexpected when you actually turn up somewhere.

Because of that, there’s a certain novelty that comes with talking to people face-to-face. But it’s important that you know your worth in those moments. The locals we spoke to didn’t know Yena from Adam, but they do now and they value us that much more because of it.

Finally, find your own #businesspartnerofinstagram.

As always, content is key. You’ve probably heard of the hashtag #boyfriendsofinstagram, but, seeing as that doesn’t apply, we came up with our own justification for documenting our entire HK experience. The slew of photos that you’ve seen coming through since then has #businesspartnersofinstagram to blame. 

Now this wouldn’t be a Yena blog without some kind of announcement and whilst I’m sure Ash would like to write a whole press release, I’d prefer a more low-key, cool sign-off…

Thanks for reading.

 – Abby (official Yena co-founder 💜) x