Bonnie Tsai

Bonnie Tsai dives deep into the most underrated skill in business, shares how she turned her passion into a profitable business and how setbacks are lessons learned.


SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:

Bonnie, I absolutely love your beliefs and view of how people should treat others, tell us more about your unique services?

BONNIE TSAI A:
First off, Sarah Jane thank you for your kind words.

Beyond Etiquette is a consulting firm that offers training in both international etiquette and protocol along with effective communication. I’ve always believed that etiquette will help create opportunities for anyone and make a great first impression, but good communication skills are what will help you build a strong foundation for any relationship. I not only want my clients to feel confident in any social and professional situation, but also to be able to utilize their communication skills to build meaningful and lasting relationships.

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
Previous to starting out as an entrepreneur, you were working in marketing and advertising, what made you wish to discontinue on this path?

BONNIE TSAI A:
I honestly thought I was going to stay in advertising and marketing for the rest of my career. At the time, I was debating which part of the industry I wanted to get involved in next and I spoke with others to get some advice and different perspectives. It wasn’t until Susan Franceschini, my previous boss and mentor, enlightened me by showing me that I didn’t actually want to stay in the industry. She encouraged me to think about what would make me feel fulfilled and make a positive impact for those around me, which is how it led me to create Beyond Etiquette.

Bonnie Tsai

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
Bonnie, you have been passionate about etiquette since a young age, how did you turn this passion into a business, tell us how it all began for you as an entrepreneur?

BONNIE TSAI A:
When I left my job, I thought a lot about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to contribute to society. For me, it’s always been important to help people; however, helping people can be a vague and ambiguous term since you can help people by opening a door or giving them a ride. I needed to get more specific. So, I started thinking about my experience, skillset, and background, and how I can create something that will positively impact people’s lives.

My friends pointed out to me that my knowledge in etiquette is a skill that many need but have forgotten. From there, I wanted to create something more than just an etiquette consulting company; I wanted to be able to offer more, which then led me to think about the importance of communication. Communication is essential to any successful relationship, whether it is professional or social because it is something we spend 75% of our day doing. Therefore, I focus on communication with decorum — not simply etiquette — because as technology has progressed we, as humans, have forgotten the power behind our words. Conversations have become abbreviated, messages often need to be succinct and effective so you don’t lose your audience’s attention. Yet, some of the most difficult conversations we have require elaborate sentences and explanations to ensure our audience understands our message. That’s how Beyond Etiquette found its start.

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
Etiquette is such an underrated skill for businesses, tell us why it’s so important?

BONNIE TSAI A:
A Harvard and Stanford study revealed that your technical skills only contributes 15% to your success in the workplace. And the other 85% is your soft skills, a combination of your emotional intelligence, people skills, and communication skills. Being the smartest person in the company will not necessarily get you promoted or earn a higher salary than those who may not appear as smart as you, but is a great team player and communicator. Etiquette is a combination of these soft skills; having good etiquette helps you navigate a variety of social and professional situations with grace and confidence.

An example I like to use with my clients relates to when they’re having a business meal at a high-end restaurant with an important client or vendor, but they’re uncertain about which fork and knife to use or anxious about how to use it properly. As a result, this would distract them from engaging with the person across the table. However, learning proper dining etiquette will ease their anxiety and allow them to be present with their client or vendor and focus on the conversation at hand. Etiquette is not a rule book on life that you must abide to at all times; instead, it acts more like guidelines that are fluid and ever-changing. It depends on the people you’re with and the type of situation you’re in. Ultimately, it’s about respect, kindness, and consideration for others which we can all use a little more of.

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
What are the main problems people come to you with and how do you help them?

BONNIE TSAI A:
I work with both individual and corporate clients which differ in the concerns they want me to address. For my individual clients, it’s helping them feel more confident in a variety of social and professional settings whether it is creating genuine connections or communicating with others from different backgrounds. I offer my clients tools which can help them feel comfortable in any situation with guidelines on how to communicate and interact with others. Whereas for my corporate clients, I help train the younger employees who might need help dealing with clients, meetings, and business meals. I also work with senior executives to fine-tune their skills as the marketplace becomes more global and they work with more international clients.

Bonnie Tsai

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
What are you looking to change in the world through your work?

BONNIE TSAI A:
There are quite a few things I’m looking to change in the world through Beyond Etiquette. The most important is changing the idea of “etiquette”. Many people immediately think of balancing a book on your head when I mention etiquette; however, in reality, it’s about respect, kindness, and consideration of others.

I look at our current social and political climate, our country and many others are becoming more divided than before. Instead of blaming or stereotyping the other side, what we truly need is to reach across the table and communicate with empathy. By using the essence of etiquette, which is to “put others’ needs before your own”, we can communicate with an open mind and allow for the opportunity to create a connection that leads to understanding, even with opposing parties. We’ll realize, as humans, that we all share the same universal need to be loved and understood.

With #MeToo and #TimesUp being focal points in the media these last few years, ethical issues and sexual misconduct in the workplace are things which organizations can prevent by educating and communicating with staff and management. Setting office protocol can help lower the chances of these types of crises happening as there would already be a system in place, especially a system which teaches and instills values of respect, kindness, and consideration for others.

As companies develop, grow, or set up shop in different countries, they’ll encounter obstacles they have never faced in the Western world. Business dealings contain a lot of cultural nuances that westerns may simply not understand. They’ll need an expert who understands cross-cultural communication to help the company overcome these obstacles and succeed.

Another would be assisting children and young adults to be a better fit when they join the workforce. Many interactions nowadays are a lot more casual than they used to be due to technology; it becomes an issue when they start working. A lot of the “common sense” knowledge about how to behave or create others are simply not taught to them. This then creates a gap between experienced veterans to entry-level staff. This is a concern for companies, as all employees represent the brand’s image. Training all employees will help companies maintain a positive work environment internally and a unified image publicly.

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
What do you love best about being an entrepreneur?

BONNIE TSAI A:
One part I love about being an entrepreneur is the challenge and the journey to prove that this idea of mine works or can be a success. It’s the “pressure” that demands you to rise above what you thought was your potential and be pleasantly surprised by yourself when you reach or exceed your goals. It’s also the flexibility and ability to create something I love and want to share with the world from anywhere.

With my family being in Taiwan and my partner in San Francisco while I’m in Los Angeles focusing on my clients and company, being an entrepreneur has given me more flexibility to spend time with my loved ones while still being able to work wherever I am. It’s the feeling that I can be creative and offer my services without being tied to a desk from nine to five or have a limited amount of vacation days to see my family or time for self-care. Ultimately, it’s knowing that I’m putting something out there that can create a positive impact on people’s lives and those they interact with.

 

being an entrepreneur has given me more flexibility to spend time with my loved ones while still being able to work wherever I am

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
Do you have a personal mantra?

BONNIE TSAI A:
I have many, but my favorite one is, “We’re all in this together.” Don Lupo, a good friend and mentor reminds me of that constantly and it rings true every single day. It’s not just about helping one another, but that at the end of the day we’re all human, regardless of race, gender, or culture, living on this beautiful planet we call home. If we don’t help one another and protect our home together, how can we truly succeed?

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
Have you had any setbacks or knockbacks throughout your entrepreneurial journey and how did you deal with them?

BONNIE TSAI A:
Being on this entrepreneurial journey has been a rewarding and humbling experience. I’ve experienced the typical growing pains of any startup like landing your first client, building up your credibility and reputation, creating a large social media following, etc. Each time I’ve felt like I came up short or “failed”  because I didn’t sign that client or speak at that event, I take a step back, reassess our strategy, and discuss with my team how we can pivot to move past our current obstacle. I see all of these setbacks as lessons to be learned; not all strategies will be a success and not everyone is going to be your client, but if you persist and remain flexible and open to what comes your way, you’ll be surprised what lands at your door.

 

SARAH JANE NYMAN Q:
You have been trained in schools all over the world. What is the best advice you have ever been given?

BONNIE TSAI A:
It’s important to be able to laugh at yourself; this was one of the most important life lessons that’s been given to me when I was a sophomore at Taipei American School. I’ve always been a perfectionist, and I still am, but I used to have a hard time with myself whenever I made a mistake, no matter how big or small it was. It wasn’t until my social studies teacher showed me and reminded me every day the power of being able to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously because life is too short to not enjoy it, even when you mess up. It’s something I remind myself of, to find that silver lining, to find that silly thing that makes this all much easier because, truly, life is too short to not enjoy it.

Bonnie Tsai

For more information please visit Bonnie’s website www.beyondetiquette.com | Insta @beyondetiquette.co

Bonnie, thank you so much for being part of our Women Like You series. I am so honoured to have been given the opportunity to share your incredible gifts with our audience. You are a true inspiration!

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👩🏻‍💻Sarah Jane Nyman dedicates her life to showing women who need to work from home how to authentically showcase a service online.                                                                                                                                             .✨Sarah Jane's mission is to create equality for those who are driven by a mission to serve the world but NEED total freedom and have self-limiting beliefs, are overwhelmed and feel fear around putting themselves out there.                                                                                                                                          .✨Sarah Jane says sensitive, introverted & anxious souls are often the ones in this situation, yet the strengths they could bring to the world could change lives.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          .💕Sarah Jane believes love is the answer. She gives clarity to those she serves by guiding them through how to take a vision from their mind and showcase it online, reaching ideal clients around the clock; leading the way to a life they dream of; serving the world with total freedom.                                                                                                                                          .✨Join Sarah Jane's community of Babes Born To Serve on Instagram: @sarahjanenyman                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     .✨WORK FROM HOME. HAVE TOTAL FREEDOM. SERVE THE WORLD.                                                                                                            

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