“Jack of all trades, master of none? Not in this pandemic”

FEW years ago, my friends laughed and took a jibe at me for being a Jack of all trades – as a copywriter, food and travel writer, event director, celebrity manager, lecturer, trainer, emcee, commercial actor and social media celebrity “Shopping Diva”.

They said I didn’t have focus and “Jack of all trades is master of none.”

I took it with a pinch of salt but still believe it is good to be an expert in all kinds of trade.

Then the pandemic came. Everyone tried to adopt and adapt to the new normal. I have seen my friends in event management cried for help, and those in fashion struggling, and some even lost direction in business.

Imagine what if they have learned more skills back then? They could just switch to the other set of skills. For instance, rather than depending on walk-in customers, they should have entered into e-commerce long ago.


I consider myself lucky. I was a copywriter for almost 20 years before I honed my writing skills in other industries. My former boss tried to save up and throw me into writing feature articles after they won Visit Malaysia Year 2014 Public Relations campaign.

I told my boss that I am first and foremost a copywriter and not a PR or feature writer. But she insisted on me to do the job.

So, I took up the challenge and gladly, it became my stepping stone to be a multi-versatile writer. Two years later, I became a food and travel columnist for GoAsiaPlus lifestyle magazine.

Along the way, I was involved in event management as well, in Malaysia Fashion Week 2018, STYLO Gentlemen’s Weekend, Styleicon Prestige Annual Dinner and others.

I did all kinds of jobs, as a guest lecturer in The One Academy, a corporate trainer, an emcee. And the height of it all, I became an award-winning writer and fashionista, including Top Outstanding Gourmet & Travel Writer Award at World’s Top Gourmet Awards 2019 and STYLO Fashionista of the Year Award at Malaysia Fashion Week 2019

Rather than seeing me as multi-talented, some friends laughed at me, especially when I donned a six-inch heel as Shopping Diva, a social media celebrity who did many commercials last year.

Rise above the pandemic

I took it with grace and when the pandemic came, I benefited from being versatile. I switched to digital writing, developing website contents and now, book writing too. Works are aplenty and I count my blessings for able to adopt and adapt to the new normal.

My advice to anyone or young entrepreneurs, be BOLD:

  • Be a risk-taker in this pandemic. If you notice, many successful leaders are risk takers. Analyse the market and if you feel good about the business you have in mind, go for it!
  • Odd-inary. Don’t be ordinary, be extraordinary. Why jump into the bandwagon when you can have your own show? If you are in retail fashion, why just sell online when you can create gimmick like going viral over a bizarre fashion piece?
  • Look into the mirror. Instead of cry and whine, learn to love yourself and treat this pandemic as a test of patience. I had a near-death experience last year because of unforeseen events. But now I learn to take things easy even though lots of work in the pipeline.
  • Do away with the negatives. Forget about your own alter ego. Put aside your ego, anger, fear and all the negative thoughts. My One Academy students wanted to quit or defer their studies because of online learning. But after hours of counselling and telling them to think positive, they decided to stay. Guess what? They became top students in my class. Remember, the saying, “Turn failures into success”?

Last but not least, I always believe everyone has their own skill. Sharpen it and even better, explore your other hidden skills. You may be surprised to know; you may use them in this pandemic.

So here I am, I can proudly say Jack of all trades is master of all. To my friends, who has the last laugh now? – July 25, 2021


Francis Yip is an award-winning writer and HRDF-certified Trainer. He is also the CEO of Franciswriter Dot Com and WORDerful Learning Sdn Bhd.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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