Believe in the power of community. On some days when you feel big goals are impossible, or when you feel like giving up, you need to lean on your like-minded community. You can even “borrow” motivation, and in turn “return” with your own inspiring stories to pay it forward.
In this special column called the “TLC x Fempreneurs Series”, we will be featuring inspiring Female Entrepreneurs (Fempreneurs) in short. You will be able to have a sneak peek at their mindsets and their daily habits.
Meet Alverna Cher (City Funeral)
Meet Alverna Cher, the founder of City Funeral Singapore Pte Ltd. She was featured on several media platforms, such as channelnewsasia.com, The Straits Times, Shin Min newspaper, ZaoBao SG online, The Asian Entrepreneur, podomatic.com and zinniaafternote.com.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, my name is Alverna Cher, 38 years old. I am the founder of City Funeral Singapore Pte Ltd, as well as the Founder and Main Trainer of CARE Planner Associate certification, which equip ladies in will planning, LPA, as need funeral and pre-planning funeral. I partner them to help them earn a second income with a proven method, like how I did it. I teach them how to leave a legacy for themselves and their loved ones.
I was also the recipient of Exemplary Young Mother Award 2018 for mothers who have shown resilience in overcoming life’s challenges, which was awarded by Jamiyah Singapore and presented by President Halimah Yacob.
What got you started on your business?
In March 2015, a tragedy hit my united, loving family. Never did I expect to become a Funeral Director overnight. I had to step up and took over a hardly one month old funeral business that is in five-figure amount of debts. I only had administrative experience in the funeral trade, no operation experience and no guidance. With only $400 in my bank, and a monthly payment of $5000 to be paid in 15 days, I faced an uphill battle to make ends meet. Determined, I took on the task and learned the trade, while single-handedly raising my two daughters who were 5 months old and 8 years old back then.
While I can work a job to earn a living, I did not want to exchange my time for money and I felt that having my own business was the best way to allocate time for my two daughters.
Moreover, not everyone has the chance and ability to help people in grieving. God gave me this strength and let me learn to transform my vulnerability into strength by helping people who are in the same situation.
Whenever I answer the phone, I can make a genuine difference. The bereaved family on the other end is looking for support, guidance and needs a person that can assist them while keeping the cost within budget. They need someone who can be trusted. The motivation of giving a human approach to them in their time of grief kept me in the trade.
After one year into the funeral industry, I see that there is a gap in last journey holistic planning. People are not educated in planning a legacy and there are many misconceptions on writing a Will. Hence, I created CARE planner associate certification, to equip ordinary women in the area of Will Planning, LPA, as need funeral and pre-planning funeral. Once they gain the knowledge, they can even earn a second income with a proven method, like how I did it. I teach them how to leave a legacy and not a burden. Leave a legacy for yourself and your loved ones.
Before you started on your business, what did you do on a full time basis?
I started my journey as an entrepreneur in 2007, when I was just 25 years old, as an employment agent. After 4 dedicated years, I suffered a hit in my recruitment business and the business was suspended for a period of 5 years. With a motto of ‘Never Stop Learning’, I switched my profession to the education industry in 2012. At the same time, I picked up more skills as a parent, and was accredited with the ‘Focus on Family’ as a facilitator, while working with MindChamps as an education coach. I later decided to stay at home, and fully commit to grooming my daughter in the year 2013.
What were some difficulties you faced in your life and how did you overcome them?
I failed my marriage. However, I did not hate. I tried to love myself and stay focus with my daily roles. I kept doing reflections on how I can be a better version of myself. Stop thinking I am a failed mum who is unable to provide a complete family to my daughters. Instead, I use parenting skills to nurture them, promote positive vibes in relationship and character building.
I’m thankful that I have a soulmate now who appreciates me, affirms me and gives me enough attention.
What is your vision / personal motto?
~ Provide care and help to family and friends that are preparing for the last journey of their loved one.
~ Educate the community to plan in advance for the last journey, so as not to burden their family members.
~ Empower the women who are sole breadwinner, how to manage business online and at the same time able to spend quality time with the family.
Who inspires you?
Mother Teresa! She once said “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
Do you have any word of advice for other ladies who are starting their business / starting to pursue their dream?
Gain 3 major breakthrough:
C– Connection, Connection is the key to all life. Staying connected will double up the efforts you put in and spread up your success. You may be thinking, I don’t have many friends to connect with, but not until you run through the mind-map of connection.
B– Branding, learn how to brand yourself as an expert. When people like you, they listen to you, when they trust you, they do business with you, branding yourself is the most valuable investment you must have. Every interaction in any form is a branding.
A– Accreditation, trained to be a professional in the niche business, speak like an expert, sell like an expert.
How do you think you can help ladies to feel confident and empowered?
What you think is what you get, how you speak is who you are. Find out who you really want to be and stay focused.
What have you learnt recently that you hope the other ladies can take back?
Manager do things right. Leaders do the right things.
What excites you most about your industry?
What excites me is that my team and I touch lives. When I see bereaved family, the ability to transform vulnerability into strength encourages me. I have seen many of them stepping up to conquer their sense of loss and turn grief into strength.
I have also seen many of them started off without knowing how to plan ahead, and then to be able to identify themselves and make a decision to leave down a legacy by planning ahead.
I’m glad I can walk this journey with my client.
What is one thing you are grateful for?
I’m most grateful to have a supportive family. My parents are always supportive of my decision and often lend me a helping hand in raising my daughters. My sisters are awesome cheerleaders in my life.
What do you do in your free time as self care? How do you unwind?
It’s easy to neglect “self-care” but I think it’s important not to lose your sense of self and to pamper yourself occasionally. Once a week, I distress in a hydrotherapy tub, which I refer to as my “home spa”, and once in a while, I treat myself to a massage. Even though my days are packed, I seize five-minute showers as a chance to reflect on what I have done for the day and what I can do better.
I joined a group of single mums at church for spiritual support and I am a Women of Courage Asia community leader, which involves helping women to overcome adversities and fears through sharing experiences, knowledge and skills. I also started a Facebook group that supports female breadwinners and frequently features encouraging posts. We all encourage one another and we exchange parenting tips and cooking tips.
I think it’s important to have compassion heart. It’s because of this that I teach my daughters to give back to society through volunteer work. This is one of the ways I unwind too. Every Sunday, we provide breakfast for the elderly who stay in rented flats and help them with house decluttering.
Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I believe in choosing to treasure the good in life. By volunteering as a family, I help my daughters see how fortunate they are even without their biological father. I want them to be able to learn self-satisfaction, responsibility, and compassion.
Let us know more about what you do!
City Funeral Singapore Pte Ltd is a one stop funeral service provider. Join us, be equipped with knowledge on how to leave a legacy and not a burden with our holistic end to end service, CARE planner associate certification program- Will, LPA, preplanning funeral.
Connect with City Funeral!
Three winners will be able to stand a chance and win a free will planning guide worth $388. Head over to The Ladies Cue Instagram to learn more.
Are you a Fempreneur too?
Connect with us – we’d love to feature you! Say hi to us at he[email protected] or reach out to us via our social media.
Read TLC x Fempreneur Series:
- Pearline Foo, Spring Breeze Marketing
- Evangeline Leong, Kobe
- Charlyn Ding, Om & Away
- Maddy Barber, Madly Gems
- Ezza Yusof, 2morrow Official (Malaysia)
- Julie Yim, Lilin+Co (Malaysia)
- Nadia, HelloBello (Malaysia)
- Zairin Azman, UMMA (Malaysia)
- Farrah Rahman, Hellokraf
The rest of the Fempreneur interviews can be found here.