The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team. Specifically, I study the mental models, thought processes, and principles of top performers and experts, undergirded by science and empiricism. I then apply this to business and relationships to achieve 10x impact. James Goh is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is James Goh, and I founded Y Suites, a student accommodation management brand. I am passionate about the intersection of mental mastery, technology and entrepreneurship. Specifically, I study the mental models, thought processes, and principles of top performers and experts, undergirded by science and empiricism.
I then apply this to business and relationships to achieve 10x impact. I am also interested in using digital marketing and technology to supercharge businesses. These are modern tools that help to achieve near-unlimited leverage.
What did it take/how did you get started?
The problem behind many traditional real estate management business is what I term the "trifecta of lacks": lack of innovation, lack of personalisation, and lack of personality. So I decided that we need to take a radical new approach to a traditional business. This means creating a technology-enabled business that treats customers as the core of our strategy. And we try to humanize the business by creating a unique brand personality that speaks directly to our customers.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
The student housing business is getting more competitive and evolving, and in the long run it will look like built-to-rent which is very mature in the US. I think there will be alot of thoughtful differentiation on core offerings both in product and in experience. Technology will also play a huge role especially in competitive markets where tenants have choices whether to stay in apartments or dedicated student housing. Technology can take the form of an efficient and seamless payments process for tenants, or an algorithm that better matches tenant profile in shared apartments.
I'll give an example. E commerce has completely dominated generation Z's lifestyle, and many of them order purchases online. In response, we implemented a hardware/software solution called GroundFloor which enables directly delivery and pickup of parcels in dedicated locker units. Students can pick up their parcels the same day it was delivered, where previously it could take days or even a week.
Experience will also be increasingly important, as students seek unique experiences, relationships and service differentiation. It's not just about bringing them out for a movie night or having games night every week. It's about having a dedicated ground leader who can support, rally, and engage students, and it's about the quality and speed of service on every touchpoint. At Y Suites, we are mindful of our customers evolving expectations and do our best to meet these needs.
What drives / motivates you on a daily basis?
I am driven by three things. First, using technology to ,make processes more efficient excites me. Technology can be a mix of no-code tools, code, hardware, AI, or others. I think we should all work hard but also work smart. If we can free up hours of our time from mindless tasks, this can give us more time for the things that truly matter: creativity, hobbies, relationships, deep work.
Secondly, the drive to achieve self-actualisation. I believe that every being should strive to achieve their full potential in this limited, short human life. Only through diving deep and getting your hands dirty, can you learn, grow and move towards higher order state of being. This means I am always looking for things that helped me to grow, are aligned with my core values, and take me to the next level in terms of depth of thinking and experience.
Thirdly, I am driven by the purpose of living a good, happy, and fulfilling life. The human existence is very short-lived, both on an individual level, and on a species as a whole. Compared to the universe, we are really just a speck of dust, a flicker in the universe timespan. In our short-lived life, how do we live as meaningfully, as happily, and as fulfilling as possible? This is the question that guides my every day decision. There are three specific parts that constitute the answer: being more aware of who you are, saying "no" alot (95% of the time), and doing daily work in r/s, health and wellness that compounds over time.
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?
Be prepared for the work involved, have interest in the people you are serving and the business/product, and look for meaning that aligns with your unique values. Don't do things for the sake of profits or because it looks cool. The only way to sustain work long term and to do it well, is to pursue something that is uniquely resonant with your core values, interest and strengths.
What has been the hardest part of your business journey?
Lots of challenges and learning curve, but I would say number 1 challenge is learning how to keep going despite relationship challenges, project failures and uncertainty.
How have you managed burnout thus far?
This is a great question and I am actually working on a blueprint/model for health mastery in the next 10-year phase of my life. My current obsession is to read and learn from all the experts across nutrition, fitness, yoga, meditation, mental health, biohacking, and others. The best solution to a burnout, as I have learnt after numerous burnout across successive years, is:
1. Do only the things that are your superpower. Delegate all others, as much as you can
2. Have a daily routine that best matches who you are. For a reference of what a good daily routine looks like, check out Andrew Huberman. I do walks/runs in the morning to get sunlight, steps, cardio and cold shower all at one go, do yoga 1 and 2x a day, and keep my weekends free from work.
3. Leave your weekends free to pursue non-work such as hobbies, exercise, and social gatherings.
4. Develop a life outside of work, be a more balanced person. I learn tennis and am picking up golf.
5. Less screen time the better. Have a hard cut off for work daily, and do not go back to screen despite urges.
6. Don't do too many things and keep focused at 1-2 major projects/work at any one time. For an in-depth exposition, read Oliver Burkeman's "4000 weeks: time management for mortals." The idea is that we live, on average, 4000 weeks. Don't sqaunder your limited time on too many things, keeping too many options open, and ending up achieving nothing/burning out.
7. Learn to calm your mind down and quieten your inner chatter/monkey brain. One of the most powerful tool is meditation.
8. Cut things off and say no to anything that drains your energy or just makes your unhappy. The only thing stopping you from doing so is fear. I'll give an example. After years of networking, I now say no to 99% of networking events/meetups because I realised it was not something I enjoy and did not align with my highest goals. Previously, I kept going on because of FOMO, of "fear of missing out." It goes something like, "What if I lose out since everyone else is networking? What if this affects my career/business" After years of networking, I can safely say that the only thing you give up - if you dont enjoy networking and am not running for high office - is your time, happiness, and opportunity cost of giving up other things that are more important.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
I highly recommend 4000 weeks by Oliver Burkeman and "The Almanack of Naval Ravikant". Both are great books on how to live life meaningfully and purposefully.
I listen to too many podcast but I recommend "The Dairy of a CEO", which really is about personal mastery through expertise across wellness/health domains. It has amazing guests and the conversations are thoughtfully carried out.
List the founders
James Goh Wee Shian
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?
# of Employees?
When did you start?
How much did it cost to launch?
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?
1-10 million AUD
1-10 million AUD
What's the #1 thing you need right now?
Finding a COO and CMO