How a “Nobody from Singapore” Became YouTube’s Most Watched Investment Mentor

How a “Nobody from Singapore” Became YouTube’s Most Watched Investment Mentor

Enterprise 50 Award winner, Adam Khoo,
shares his lessons on business, education and life.

When he first shared his idea of teaching financial lessons to a worldwide audience on YouTube, his friends chuckled. “No one is going to listen to an Asian guy talk about the U.S. markets,” they quipped.

Fast-forward to 2019, Adam Khoo is one of YouTube’s most-watched investment mentors with over 16 million views on his videos. His online trading school, Piranha Profits™, caters to students from 122 countries.

“What made you decide to start your YouTube channel?”

I was enjoying great success teaching my stock investing live programme Wealth Academy™ in Southeast Asia. As I approached my 40th birthday, I wanted to make the most of my time and help more people achieve their financial dreams. I set a goal of touching one million lives worldwide and YouTube’s global reach allows me to do just that.

People think I’m crazy for sharing so much great content for free online when other “gurus” charge high fees for the same knowledge. To me it’s all about delivering value. I’ve received thank-you messages from as far as Kenya and Canada. When I see how my video lessons have transformed people’s financial destiny, it becomes all worthwhile.

“What is your advice to businesses who are trying to grow their sales and following?”

When you give real value, when you’re sincere about helping people, they will come to you. My online trading school is a testament to that. Every day I have loads of people wanting to enrol for my courses after watching my YouTube videos.

Businesses need to understand that the old model of placing pushy ads doesn’t work so well anymore. New-age customers want to make informed buying decisions. They want to be educated and entertained. Content is king.

“Your company, Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group, just won the Enterprise 50 Award. What is the secret to your business success?”

Two things: Innovation and people.

The ability to innovate and adapt to changes has kept my business thriving for the past 17 years.

My company is a pioneer in running educational seminars in Singapore — we reach over 100,000 people a year through our live trainings, school-based programmes, tuition classes and business coaching. But nowadays, more people prefer to learn online through videos and apps. So my team created new programmes to meet their learning needs.

For example, my school training arm makes use of gamification and video learning extensively in our workshops and this has received a roaring response from students.

The other key ingredient is my amazing team.

We would never have made it this far without the talent and hard work of our teammates. To build a great company, you must first take care of your people.

We invest heavily in our people. Every employee is given a generous learning budget to enrol in professional courses of their choice. As part of our family culture, we give a bonus to every employee who gets married or has a baby during their tenure with us.

My business partner, Patrick Cheo, regularly cooks delicacies like wagyu beef and crab beehoon for our staff and all these little gestures of appreciation raise our people’s morale.

“There are people who question the effectiveness of the courses you teach. What are your thoughts on this?”

I don’t blame them; it’s human nature to be doubtful about things you’re unfamiliar with. I choose to focus my energy on helping people who believe in what I have to offer. I just keep going and let my students’ results do the talking.

When I started my YouTube channel 3 years ago, no one believed that a nobody from Singapore could attract the viewership of the Western world.

Today, more than 70% of my viewers are from the U.S. and Europe and my videos are ranked at the top globally for stock, forex and options trading. Last year, I received the YouTube Silver Creator Award for garnering more than 100,000 subscribers.

So, don’t ever let anyone tell you that something is impossible until you have done it yourself.

(A version of this interview was first published on The Business Times.)