From Side Hustle to a Charity in 7 Cities, Here’s Our Story.

This is a sharing by Fion Leung, Co-founder of Time Auction, during Opening Remarks at Time of Our Lives — a fifth-anniversary celebration event featuring 20 inspiring guests for lunch and afterparty, where 90 participants volunteered 1,566 hours to charities to join. 

“We are so happy you are here today. Thanks for coming to our fifth-anniversary event with us!

5 years ago, Suetyi and I were working in finance. One thing we kept hearing is “do what you love”. “Do what you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” that’s what Confucius says. “Do what you love. The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” famously said by Steve Jobs. We were definitely not loving what we do back then and since work takes up 70% of our time, we really wanted to have a career we’re passionate about but not sure how.

So we went to a lot of startup events and one night after an event, we decided to start a side project. What if we can meet people who’ve crafted their own path and made a name for themselves, meet them as a friend and ask them anything we want, while making the world a better place?

As you know, the idea is simple — we ask an inspiring leader to donate a lunch or dinner, anyone can join, they’ll just have to volunteer 10 hours to any charity.

So with a full-time job, we worked on this at lunch, on the weekends, and also secretly at work when our boss isn’t looking.

Here’s one of our first ever events with Ray, Founder of 9GAG — because we had lunch near the 9GAG office in Tsuen Wan and we worked all the way in Central, we ended up taking a 4-hour lunch break that day. When I rushed back to work, I think my boss might have thought about firing me.

But somehow in the next two years, we managed to host about 50 of these events, and people volunteered over 6,000 hours at different charities and joined us. We realized that people love this casual way of learning and we also love what we do. So we became a registered charity, did some fundraising, and started growing this properly.

Fast forward to today, we now host 1–2 events every week in Hong Kong, and have expanded to 6 other cities — Singapore, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Sydney, and San Francisco, with Kuala Lumpur coming up soon.

All of these international chapters are entirely run by volunteers outside of their day job, just like we did 5 years ago!"