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Positive Proof

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
The Peak (Jan Issue)
By: The Peak

The story of how Dato' Joey Yap transcended the mysticism of Chinese Metaphysics, spawning a multi-million industry in life transformation, and enriching the lives of both client and consultant.

The Joey Yap brand name has become synonymous with bestselling books, sold-out conferences and is strongly linked with the success of corporations and property developments. From Canada to the United States, England to Australia, and all across the Asian region, there are an estimated half a million students who now practice Feng Shui as a direct result of Dato' Joey Yap's tutelage.

For a guy who first began learning about Feng Shui at the age of 15, the remarkable entrepreneurial streak which made him his first million at the age of 26 is stronger than ever. The recent Joey Yap Conference Centre is the latest in a line of successes that includes the publication of over 120 books, professional speaking engagements with multinational corporate such as Microsoft, HP, Bloomberg, Citibank and HSBC, and consultations for top Malaysian property developers, tycoons and business leaders. Here, he talks to The Peak on what it took to build a multi-million ringgit enterprise which has been gathering steam, ever since.

Growing up, the subject of Chinese Metaphysics, or Feng Shui, has always been a topic that my family and friends talk about. I became interested in it when I was 15 and I would hang around local masters, observing them at work. However, I didn't become a disciple - I did a lot of research using books on my own. By the time I got to university, at the age of 19, I knew enough to offer astrology consultations for a fee. I didn't know then that this would become my first and only job, even thought I was studying accounting in university.

By the time I graduated, I had been practicing for some time and had my own following. The starting salary for an accounting job in the late 1999s was about RM 2,000 and I was already making much more than that. It just made sense for me to keep doing this, so I cut a deal with my dad - whose perception of Feng Shui was of old men in little shops. He said he would give me six months and, if I didn't succeed, I would return to accounting.

The consulting took off and I began consolidating my business knowledge through my exposure with tycoons and other successful corporate personalities. Even if I had my youth working against me - most people think of Feng Shui masters as old men with white beards - I made myself technically better. I had better memory and understanding of the ancient formulae, and I worked very hard to cut away the mysticism and unexplainable, cultish aspects of Feng Shui. Using this technically savvy approach helped me maintain a direct connection with clients.

I also kept track of the results, with empirical research to show that our methods were better. Every one of our results would speak for themselves, as would the testimonials from our clients that went towards building our credentials. My accounting training definitely helped with this, being methodical at keeping records. While others would offer just a consultation, we measured our results through follow-up programmes, making sure we were consistently producing results through adjustments and client feedback.

After some time, I realized that Feng Shui consulting alone would never get me to the level of the tycoons and successful businessmen that I was helping. The only way was to leverage on other people through the transfer of knowledge and expertise. This was not conventional because traditional Feng Shui masters were very secretive, choosing only to disseminate certain information knowingly. However, my approach was to aggregate all that information and, through trial-and-error and my own research, create a body of knowledge that would be better. We quickly gained a reputation for being a legitimate service and, through an academy, trained our own students. They could then choose to work within our consultancy, which was very professionally set up, or strike out on their own. That was how the whole ecosystem was formed.

Since then, we've continued to flourish, year on year. Our consultants work on their own homes and offices as well, so we experience the benefits of Feng Shui even before we go out to help others. The key is in producing better optics. We're not about placing a wind chime at the door. We all know that top achievers tend to reflect on themselves. What can make the difference is when we reveal the hidden options, the ones that open up new opportunities, thereby giving them the best chances of success. Bazi, astrology and Feng Shui are, in a nutshell, the tools that help us do it.

For instance, hiring becomes a problem for some because they don't see the forces at work. The task may be compatible to the skills, as might the objectives. But there remains the problem of corporate culture, an invisible force that impedes the fulfillment of the role. Our systematic approach enables us to affect change by looking at internal and external factors.

Another one of our realisations is that people have a tough time understanding the role of thoughts as energy. But we feel this all the time; happy thought that are generated affect people around, so your mind is also a centre for qi at work. Successful people have more control over their emotions, are more charismatic and have the energy that turns thoughts into action. So, from nothing, you create action and that leads to reality.

Over the 17 years that we've been in business, we've had so many interesting experiences. In 2010, a client-turned-student had overspent on the cost of building his house, by USD 1.5 million. He said he would never make enough money in a year to pay for it. But he ended up buying into a share that we had analysed on the stock market. When the share price appreciated by 50 per cent, he told his wife that he wanted to sell it but for some reason she didn't. And that share price continued rising and, in a few months, he had made more than 150 per cent and now had enough to pay off his debt. On the outside, it looked like a miracle, but this is what we call windfall, or dumb money, which happens sometimes.

Looking ahead, we will be seeing more training within our business, as there is a huge demand for the programmes that we do today. People are now sending their children to us when they see how we are capable of transforming lives and making a difference through the things that we do.

My Two Cents

(1)  Don't let what you cannot do stop you from what you can do in life.
(2)  The most important thing is you have to keep on learning. I shun the term 'master' because I consider myself an eternal student of life. We never truly master anything and, be it in metaphysics or business, there's always new stuff to be learnt.
(3)  In the 2014 Year of the Horse, the element is fire. This energy will affect us in a spiritual - not religious way. Elementally, people will be more drawn towards a sense of well being more than they will industry or technology. So, those who are able to latch on to the main theme of wellness, and are aware of the trends, will reap the rewards.

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