SickBubble helps people find and connect with healthy and sustainable businesses in Malaysia.
Human Asia caught up with SickBubble founder to ask him what this is all about.
Tell us about the origin of the name Sick Bubble.
Roman: Although the name is a fun paradox, it is meant to strike a strong emotion that lives within all of us. We have brought our planet to its knees in over-consumption and it is time we burst this Sick Bubble we are living in. SickBubble believes in calling a spade a spade and as of now, our planet is in a very bad shape.
What is SickBubble all about?
Roman: Sick Bubble is a social directory that brings transparency to the health and organic market. Our goal is simple, make it easy to find honest businesses that pertain to a healthy lifestyle, while allowing the businesses a more targeted solution to finding their customers.
SickBubble believes in a future where businesses work harder at being sustainable, and consumers are able to easily spend their money towards a businesses they truly want to support.
Is SickBubble then more of a social mission?
Roman: SickBubble has a very powerful social mission of changing the way we choose the businesses to spend money on, but also has a full fledged business plan behind it. The revenue model comes from a monthly membership for businesses to own their listings as well as a percentage taken from all goods and services sold throughout the platform.
We are seeking more traction before we start charging, so the platform is 100% free for now.
Currently you are in Malaysia, Singapore, and Bali. Are there more expansion plans in the future?
Roman: Our goal in the next few years is to significantly expand across all of Southeast Asia, but for now we are focusing on quality over quantity. We want to make sure we provide the most qualitative and efficient data for our users to consume. Much of our expansion will depend on the users and how they interact with the platform, after all, we are creating this platform for users to live a better lifestyle.
Define what success would be for Sick Bubble
Roman: Forbes calls it “The $300 Billion-plus Opportunity Most Entrepreneurs Have Never Heard Of”. SickBubble is competing for the number one spot in the LOHAS market (Life of healthy and sustainability).
Aside from The Thrive Market, The Honest Company and Mindbodygreen, the market is pretty open for that “800 pound gorilla” to dominate the market.
The biggest challenge we have seen and expect to see is the maturing of this market. Although the assumptions for this market are high, it is still in its beta stage almost everywhere in the world. We believe that a big component of helping this market thrive is collaboration and education.
For those wanting to join Sick Bubble, what kind of company culture is in place?
Roman: We plan to stay as lean as possible for as long as possible, but will always consider someone with a passion as strong as ours. Changing the world is over-romanticized and takes some heavy lifting and getting dirty. If change runs through your blood then we would love to talk to you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “Change Runs Through My Blood”.
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Tell us about your childhood and background
Roman: I was born in Moscow, Russia, raised in Brooklyn, New York, and lived my young adult life in New Jersey. My parents escaped the Soviet Union in 1992 and were forced to start over in a new country with little to no understanding of the language. Being a child, I was able to see the hard work they put into succeeding and it was very inspirational. The sacrifices they made for me to live a better life is a constant reminder that quitting is never an option.
My dreams as a child was always based on helping others. I was a very shy and awkward kid, so my life was always based on stepping out of my comfort zone. Stepping out as much as I did helped me grow exponentially. I changed schools a lot and constantly re-invented myself to “fit-in”. This kind of thought process made me become analytical and naturally good as an entrepreneur.
Have you always been entrepreneur?
Roman: I have always been an entrepreneur – I had a lemonade stand, shoveled snow in the winter, and desperately tried getting a summer job while my friends were only interested in playing in the park.
At a young age I realized that having money was the way to having freedom and unfortunately the child labor laws in the United States made it very difficulty for the youths to work. The system in the US is designed to suppress the youth and create a generation of fearful workers who follow around the big corporations.
Thankfully, with the rise of the internet, there are many opportunities for the youth to make significant amounts of money and live their dreams.
How did you end up in Malaysia? And is it a good place to start a startup?
I hit a wall in growth and wanted a drastic change in my life. I was offered a job with a promising startup in Malaysia and made the move. The startup I decided to work for did not take care of it’s employees and falsely advertised their culture.
Circumstantially I re-started the idea of SickBubble and went into the startup scene here in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is a great place for a startup because the cost of living is cheap and it is still an emerging market. You are able to stand out here and last longer on a smaller budget. Having said that, it is difficult to grow new ideas, Southeast Asia is still very much a copy-cat market.
What’s a typical day for you like?
Roman: Everyday is so different, but I have learned to wake up for myself and not my work. What I mean is my day usually starts with meditation, the gym and goal setting.
I typically find a nice local cafe or a co-working space with good Wi-fi. I target the most pressing things on my to do list and meet with interesting people during the time in-between. My goals everyday are simple, be as productive as possible and grow in any way I can.
The key to success in creating your own schedule is having patience in the slow days and being good with your time management on the busy days. Stressing never makes a situation better so you might as well do what you are doing without stress.
Define what success is for you personally
Roman: I saw a quote recently: “You don’t always need success to be happy, but you always need happiness to be successful”. We are so caught up in getting to success that we don’t realize it is just a means of transportation from failure to failure.
What I really want in a successful life is to give back to my family, live an adventurous lifestyle, save up enough money to not worry about it and contribute to society.
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Roman: Besides knowing how to work like a mad person, a good entrepreneur knows how to make friends, knows how to listen, and most importantly knows how to ask for things. Asking for help, money or even a lending ear is as simple as asking.
Once you get over the fear of rejection, you realize that you truly do get by with the help of your friends.
Visit SickBubble at http://sickbubble.com/