Self-confessed geek Marcus Ho had the worst possible start to his first business venture after a so-called friend cheated him of $7,000. It left him with just $1,000 in his bank account.
But he forged on anyway, starting Techzone.SG, an e-commerce store for Apple accessories, in 2008.
"I printed flyers from home and went to IT shows to distribute them," said Mr Ho, 26.
Sales were dismal at the time.
Mr Ho remembers his father asking him at the dinner table: "Marcus, you have no sales, how do you want to survive? You might as well go back to school."
"I knew I had to make Techzone.SG work," said Mr Ho, who has a diploma in information technology.
In early 2009, he started creating Facebook groups for Apple enthusiasts.
"I'm very 'geeky' myself. I started giving tips, advice and, once in a while, sold products through the groups."
By mid-2009, Techzone.SG was raking in more than $50,000 a month in revenue.
It was subsequently sold to a private equity firm in 2010.
Mr Ho's next venture soon took shape - SocialMetric, a social media agency that he started with a friend and with just $500. It was possible as "people knew me. I had grown Techzone.SG through social media".
Today, SocialMetric has grown into a $1 million operation with 25 employees, says Mr Ho.
It has more than 200 clients, including 3M, Pernod Ricard, CapitaMalls Asia, Qatar Airways and Wacoal.
It helps companies expand their customer base through social media platforms.
This is done by managing their social media accounts and using them to drive traffic to retail outlets while measuring how effective the approaches are.