Planet Venus Women: Pei Zhi Liou

Introducing Pei: business owner, consultant and inspiration!

Read her full interview about her career journey below!

Who are you?

I am Pei and I was born in Paris and raised in Taipei, Taiwan. Then I went to Belgium to study for university and ever since I stayed in Europe to work. I have worked in international environments since I graduated university. I started working for an audiovisual solution company with its headquarter in Belgium as a sales account manager. My responsibility was being the bridge between the front end sales (sales team and distributors) and the factory in Belgium.

During my first job, I studied my MBA with evening classes, and since then I’ve continued to evolve to front end sales. I think today I would describe myself as an international business development professional.

Describe yourself with 3 words

International, independent, empathetic

What do you do?

I am currently a business owner and a business consultant.

A year ago I founded an esport company in the UK with a friend. Esports is the professional part of video gaming. So, the company currently owns two teams of players in different games and we also have a team of streamers who work with us. Our job is to promote the players to their fans, advise them to participate in the games they need to, and train them to be better players. We also provide more corporate services to sponsors and brands who want to market their products to the esports/gaming community through creative campaigns and activations.

After almost 16 years of having an international career, I realized that there’s a cultural and linguistic barrier between Asia, Europe and the US, which is how I became a freelance business consultant! Since then, I offer my service to companies who want to do business on the other side of the world and they don’t know the language, culture or have the network. Since I speak Chinese and a couple of European languages, and have extensive networks on both sides, I believe that I am bringing not only my business experience but also a cultural touch into the mix.

Each company I work with has a different need. Sometimes they need a market analysis, sometimes they need a network, or they need customers in a certain region – I help with a large variety of business matters.

To me, it also depends on the company’s product as well. In the cases when I can afford to – I prefer to choose which companies I work for. Especially when they have products and/or owners that light up my creative side. I love the fact that as a consultant, I can work with different products at the same time. This also widens my network and sometimes putting 2 companies together can create a new solution!

So you have been an intrapreneur and now you are also both an entrepreneur and freelancer?

Yes, that’s a good summary!

I like to know what other people are doing. It’s my curious side. This is one thing that we don’t teach children enough at schools. We don’t tell them how many different kinds of jobs exist out there! Very often, I meet with someone new and I end up finding out new inventions and possibilities out there!

What do you aspire to do?

I hope to continue to be able to function as I am now. I’m not ‘rich enough’ to say that I don’t have to work anymore. For a matter of fact, money is not my prime motivation. For this reason, I wish for my future to always have the choice of picking the job I truly want to do!

Another focus of mine is to ‘connect the dots’ – I believe the biggest value of a consultant is to connect the right parties together in order to create the biggest synergy. Kind of like a matchmaker!

What have your biggest struggles as an entrepreneur been?

As a consultant it’s easier because it’s just me. It’s between me and my customer. However, now that I have a company with employees whom I need to pay a salary to – that’s a different struggle.

Another big struggle, especially in the beginning was the generation gap. I am 45 years old and not exactly a gamer. In the company the oldest person is 26 years old which is a huge gap in the way we communicate. My background is corporate, which you can also feel in the daily communication. This also influences the structure of the company and in finding the best way to be efficient.

And of course the struggle of every startup – the financial aspect. Startups are constantly looking for financial partners. It’s a huge mental struggle because you constantly write to people who rarely reply to you. This makes you think that you’re doing something wrong or expressing yourself wrong.

How have you handled the pandemic?

I took it quite okay because for a long time I had worked from home. However now it’s starting to be frustrating in a way! Even though we all know consciously that it’s necessary. My issue is that I am an extrovert and the more I interact with people – the more energy I have! So a lockdown situation as we were in, was not the best natural environment that I can wish for.

Normally, I live with my boyfriend. One week before the lockdown, he went to Saudi Arabia for business, originally for three weeks, but ended up spending the whole lockdown period there, so I was alone! It’s an interesting experience for me to be just by myself – I got to discover myself more. I found weaknesses I wasn’t aware of before which are good to work on in the future!

But I am also grateful because I live in Igualada with the city hall managed to stabilize the supply of daily products during the whole lockdown period. We didn’t experience a shortage of products which a lot of the other cities had.

How do you feel about the Planet Venus community?

I haven’t participated a lot since I travel a lot! When I got to know the core of Planet Venus which stems in the idea of being a women dedicated platform, I thought it was an amazing idea.

It is extremely important to help women thrive, because before that wasn’t possible in many ways. That is why any effort towards this direction is a great step. We need to make the world more balanced!

Since I started to work I’ve always worked in a male dominated industry. And therefore professionally I’ve never considered myself as a woman, it isn’t relevant to me. All that matters is that I do my job well. Still, we have the prejudice that men are more suitable for more scientific and mathematical jobs, while women are more suitable for artistic ones. But no one should think they can’t do a job because of their gender. I know a lot of men who are in the beauty industry. And they’re there because they were born for it and have the head and guts for it! Not because of their gender.

The messages today to girls and women are already more progressive than when I was a child. However, we are not fully there yet, so we need many initiatives to help this process!

As an older woman, I would love to be able to help younger women have more opportunities. It’s not that anyone has all the right answers, but because of our age we possibly have experiences who can help younger women with!

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