- Rachel Barac
Spotlight: Amanda Sheng
Founder of Under Care, Ayi Agency
How do you differentiate your business in a crowded market?
Meet Amanda Sheng, she has done just that with her business Under Care, an Ayi agency.
Having started in the hotel industry and then ending up working as an Ayi, Amanda didn't set out to start her own business. However after identifying gaps in the industry and seeing where improvements could be made she took the leap into entrepreneurship.
By truly caring about the service she offers, pouring her heart into her business and offering a premium service where previously there was none, Amanda has managed to stand out in an industry that is at the centre of the lives of so many.
Read on to learn about the valuable insights Amanda has gained that are transferable to other industries.
How did you go from working in the hotel industry to starting your own Ayi agency?
The financial crisis wasn’t great for hotels, so by accident, I entered the Ayi industry. I worked as an Ayi and I experienced problems in the industry, but I also saw how beautiful it is when the family-Ayi relationship is working: both the family and Ayis feel appreciated, and it makes everyone happy. Therefore, I decided to found my own company: Under Care.
With a number of Ayi agencies in the market, how have you been able to set yourself apart?
I am a person with an extreme sense of responsibility and a willingness to help others. I consider these the most important qualities to do a good job not only as an Ayi agent but also as an Ayi. So the first differentiator is that we use these two characteristics as a standard to evaluate the Ayis that we take on in our agency. You might think that these are basic qualities, but you would be surprised to learn how many Ayis are rejected and don’t get a job with us as a result of not fulfilling these requirements.
A second differentiator is that we are committed to managing the relationship between the Ayi and the employer. A typical problem within this market is that too much time is spent looking for an Ayi, instead of also spending time on how we are managing our Ayi. As an agency, we are committed to making the relationship work and helping our customers to manage the Ayi. Honestly, this requires a lot of sensitivity, and most Ayi agencies are not willing to do it. But for us, it sets us apart not only from the employer’s perspective but also in the Ayi community. Ultimately, everyone wants to be happy at work and happy with their Ayi.
Can you tell us about the video project you’ve been working on?
I want to instill pride among Ayis for being Ayis. It’s one of the most crucial jobs there is. They are trusted with what is most important: children, house, family. Even so, I still see that some Ayis are embarrassed that they are ‘only Ayi’. Our video project is called "我是阿姨" （"I AM AYI"） We want all Ayis to understand how valuable their job is.
At the same time, I also hope to show the public what great work Ayis do so that we can attract more young people from other industries and also to create a greater understanding of Ayis among the families that employ them.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs starting a business in a crowded market?
My advice is to keep asking yourself these questions: How can your clients differentiate you from others? What are the advantages of your differences from others?
What goals have you set for yourself and how are you working to reach them?
Goals change from phase to phase. However, I often ask myself:
What do I want to do? How to do it? Who do you want to do it with?
To do anything well, people are the most critical factor, so I often use the three questions mentioned above to help me find the way.
What is one of your biggest learnings through your entrepreneurial journey?
To have persistence and focus on doing the right thing. Persistence is your belief in yourself and what you are doing and focus is the attitude towards what you do and the way you solve practical problems
How do you define success?
For me, success is when our clients and Ayis trust us, recommend us to their colleagues and friends, and are willing to work with us for a long time.
Do you have a favourite quote you can share?
It's better to be your own protagonist than someone else's audience.
If you would like to contact Amanda, you can find her at: