Home|Unleashing Your Potential with Wonolo’s CEO Yong Kim

Unleashing Your Potential with Wonolo’s CEO Yong Kim

In this episode of The Urban Income Show, Yong Kim, the of CEO Wonolo, a company driving the future of work, shares his background, journey, and advice for job seekers. He discusses his unexpected path to entrepreneurship and the challenges he faced as a teenager trying to find work in a new country. Yong emphasizes the importance of mentorship and perseverance, highlighting the impact of a teacher who gave him a second chance. He offers advice for job seekers, stressing the need for effective self-presentation and research on companies and individuals. Yong also shares insights on job searching, fundraising, leadership, decision-making, sleep, and managing money.

Yong Kim, the CEO of Wonolo, a company that is revolutionizing the way we work, shares his personal story, experiences, and valuable advice for those seeking employment. Kim is an immigrant from South Korea, who launched two companies before turning 40 and advises C7 Ventures and Sequoia Capital. He began his career at Analyst Group and later Deutsche Bank, holding degrees from the University of Chicago and Harvard Business School. Following success in investment banking, he joined Coca-Cola’s Startup Accelerator in 2013, sparking his journey with Wonolo. Since its 2014 inception, Yong has served as CEO, and the company now boasts over 300 employees, with one million workers using the platform, and thousands of partner companies. He’s secured over $200M in venture capital for Wonolo’s growth. At home, Yong finds humility, gratitude, and happiness, inspired by his wife and three daughters. Here are a few of the topics we’ll discuss on this episode of The Urban Income Show:

  • Yong Kim’s background and journey as an accidental entrepreneur
  • Challenges faced by Yong Kim as a teenager trying to find work in a new country
  • The impact of mentorship and the importance of words and actions in shaping someone’s life
  • Advice for job seekers, including effective self-presentation and research on companies and individuals
  • Advice on increasing success rates in job searching and fundraising, such as targeting specific companies and following up multiple times
  • The importance of persistence and follow-up in the sales process for entrepreneurs
  • What makes a good CEO and leader, including self-awareness, skills in managing teams and resolving conflicts, and personal style
  • Insights on decision-making and the importance of sleep
  • Regrets and lessons learned regarding money management
  • Advice for his younger self, including focusing on personal growth and challenging situations rather than money or prestige.

Watch Yong Kim’s Interview Shorts

Quotables from Yong Kim:

08:43 – Yong Kim: “It felt like just giving up at that point, um, you know, would probably out and learn anything from it. So I decided to give it one more chance and then just go, Um, you know, I’m grateful for that, right? The second chance is something that I really believe in.”

09:03 – Lavall Chichester: “That’s amazing. And someone you know, I think this is why it’s important for people to be self aware and know that without that teacher, like speaking that into your life and not trying to force you, it really gives you that room, like you said. I think that’s incredible. Just from like a mentorship and how anyone listening know that words and actions really impact a life. Because look at look at you now like you’re one of the best quotes I like and we’ll get here is, you know, the the Sequoia Capital article it says the title is like how young Kim turned the opportunity. He was given into opportunities for millions. Right. Which is just like it’s just exactly what you did.”

10:01 – Yong Kim: “There are a few things in terms of the process. What I often recommend is that, you know, a lot of things in professional life is really sales how to present yourself, how to make the right pitch about yourself, credentials and obligations. And it doesn’t matter what it is that you’re selling, it’s in the job search process. You are really selling, you know, your capabilities and your potential.”

16:06 – Yong Kim: “In my leadership philosophy, uh, leadership is an intersection of three things. So the first one is what I call self and I’ll elaborate a bit more. And then the second one is called, uh, skills. And then the third one is style. And then for you to be a great leader, you need to hone in on these three things. Best leaders that I have seen are strong in understanding themselves. They have an amazing management style and skills and then they have versatile leadership styles that they can apply in different situations. And those are kind of the three elements that think about leadership.”

23:41 – Lavall Chichester: “But I think that my sort of grit and that sort of thing comes like, you know, you go to karate, I’ve done karate all my life. And when I tell people the martial arts has nothing to do with kicking and punching everything to do with life, right? So the times I use my black belt is when everyone is is like, it’s not going to work out. You just got to be like you just moved forward with. With what sense of a sense of poise? Because from a leadership standpoint, they’re watching you. So you like swerve and crack, you know, then everyone is going to jump off the ship. But I think that’s important.”

30:04 – Yong Kim: “That’s probably one lesson that I have learned about money, because it’s not just about accumulating, right? It’s also once you have it or you need to have it, then you have to figure out like what you’re going to do with it and then when. And that part has been very. And interesting. So like, for example, like let’s say that you invest in a stock, like you have some of money, you invest in a stock, but you don’t you don’t get the return till you sell it, right? So when are you going to sell it? Is it now or later? Or. And then that part is really hard.”

35:36 – Yong Kim: “What really made me happy and then where I actually learned the most and grew the most, was finding a place that I could really be challenged. And I’m constantly surrounded by people that are high performers that are willing to coach me, you know, carve some time outside of their busy schedule to coach me and. Regardless of how much those jobs paid or what types of titles were given to me, as long as I was in those environments, I had the biggest fulfillment and happiness in my career.”

36:56 – Lavall Chichester “I remember is I could say that because I’ve reached places in my career where I earned the right to sort of do that. And I remember when I first started in this agency, you know, 14 years, people at that company, they didn’t they couldn’t build what I was building because I’m self-taught. I saw the work differently, but it took 1,000% of my focus and and just grit to sort of change it. And the reward from that was I grew the group when no one could grow it. And then that put me on Ad Age’s 40 Under 40.”

37:06 – Lavall Chichester: “I saw the work differently, but it took 1,000% of my focus and and just grit to sort of change it. And the reward from that was I grew the group when no one could grow it. And then that put me on Ad Age’s 40 Under 40. If I was fiddling with something on the side, I would have folded because it was just you just got to be like so focused and so precise. It was just impossible. So when you’re listening, um, I think Yong is right, you know, focus on the challenge because it’s those challenges that put you in the position to, to be successful. And money is not like the side hustle. If you feel safe and secure that you don’t, the company will take care of you. It’s better. It’s also, you know, it’s best to give your all because you’re going to come out of that, you know, like a diving under that pressure.”

Continue the conversation on social by following Urban Income, Yong Kim, and Lavall Chichester.

Urban Income

Learn how to improve your income & finances

Yong Kim

Co-Founder and CEO of Wonolo

Lavall Chichester

CEO and Founder of Growth Skills & Host of The Urban Income Show

The Urban Income Show discusses topics on finances, business, entrepreneurship, and career growth with minority leaders. Watch and listen to The Urban Income Show on all podcast platforms.

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