In her younger days, Ms Pam Siow spent money with wilful abandon even though she could not afford to.

She splurged on clothes, went on holidays on a whim and ended up with a credit card debt that was ballooning out of control.

With hindsight, Ms Siow, 32, says that experience was "a blessing in disguise" as it spurred her to start her own business.

"You collapse, fall into a hole and dig yourself out," she says.

She took courses in Internet marketing and launched a website business that connects potential students with violin schools that have no online presence.

Ms Siow, who is single, then quit her job as an assistant marketing manager at a multinational firm.

She wanted to focus on her own business and now has 10 such websites.

With the profits, she started the Internet Biz Owners Club, which runs online business seminars in Singapore and Malaysia.

Of course, it helped that she is motivated and a bit of a tough cookie. She recites a quote that has guided her since her teens: "To succeed in life, you need to do everything that you are afraid of."

This is especially so in the business world, she says.

It certainly pushed her to conquer her fear of public speaking.

She now conducts Internet marketing workshops for up to 100 people at a time.

Q: Are you a spender or saver?

I now tend to save but when it comes to my business, I will spend.

I believe in investing in it in order to grow the business quickly.

I generally spend 30 per cent of my income on education - this includes my mentoring programme and ad hoc training programmes - 20 per cent on basic necessities and another 20 per cent on investments.

I save the rest.

I used to spend as a form of rebellion, which resulted in my massive credit card debt.

My family wasn't well-to-do and I felt that I needed to make up for it.

Whatever you do in your own life mirrors your business.

So when I started my business, I had to relearn financial management.

As my businesses grew, I had to be very stringent with spending.

Q: How much do you charge to your credit cards every month?

I had racked up a $14,000 credit card debt by the time I was 28 and could not have paid it off with just my salary then.

I was an assistant marketing manager.

But credit cards are useful.

I used my cards to pay for Internet marketing courses, which I took before I started my online business.

Now, I make sure that whatever I charge to my credit card, I pay it off within that month.

Debt can be extremely useful for business needs.

Credit is an evil only when you cannot manage it.

Q: What financial planning have you done for yourself?

I invest in a few equity funds.

I am a long-term investor.

The key for me is to invest in something with the least effort required.

For my equity funds, I put in a few thousand dollars every month.

I also invest in my Internet coaching business.

I am building up my team to eventually take over the running of the business, leaving me with the money and time to pursue my "retirement plans".

I've been so busy that I haven't had time to think about other ways of investing my money.

But I do plan to invest in property, starting with one in Bukit Timah or the East Coast.

I also make sure I have enough insurance.

Q: Moneywise, what were your growing-up years like?

I grew up in a single-parent family as my parents divorced when I was three.

My two older sisters and I were raised by my mum.

It was quite tough during the growing-up years.

I saw how my mum, who was a beautician, struggled with finances and grew up with a chip on my shoulder.

She taught us to be financially independent and not to depend on men.

Q: How did you get interested in investing?

My sister, who used to be in the finance line, educated me on the importance of managing my money.

She helped me invest my first $30,000 in equity funds and it started from there.

That was three to four years ago.

The concept of using money to make more money is a great idea and everyone should do it.

Q: What property do you own?

I don't own any right now. I plan to get one and am waiting for the right time to enter the market.

Q: What's the most extravagant thing you have ever bought?

A three-month holiday in Spain by myself in 2009.

I've no regrets as it was one of the best times of my life.

I enjoy travelling solo and it was something that I'd been wanting to do ever since I met this guy in Bali.

He owns an engineering business and spends half the year travelling to different places to surf.

He made me aware that life is not only about accumulating wealth, but experiences as well.

And he taught me that we can re-engineer our lives, that life is how you define it.

Meeting him was a pivotal point for me.

He made me think that I should follow my dreams.

I was greatly inspired.

Q: What's your retirement plan?

My plan is to work super hard, systemise my business, semi-retire when I'm 40 years old and spend the rest of my life supporting charities.

I live by this saying that entrepreneurship is about living your life for a few years in a way that most people won't want to.

This is so that you can live out the rest of your life in a way that most people want to but cannot.

I also want to be able to give my parents a good life. I still keep in touch with my dad.

Q: Home is now...

A walk-up apartment in Sixth Avenue.

Q: I drive...

I don't drive. I rely mainly on taxis. Getting a licence is on my agenda this year but I am not in a rush to get it, unless Bentley decides to be my car sponsor.