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Doing business by numbers

SINGAPORE — Armed with pencil and paper, a calculator and a deck of cards, Ms Brenda Tan aims to deconstruct a person’s psyche to not only find out what makes him tick, but also how to make him tick faster and better.

Ms Brenda Tan picked up numerology and tarot-card reading in 2010 after becoming a business coach. Photo: Brenda Tan

Ms Brenda Tan picked up numerology and tarot-card reading in 2010 after becoming a business coach. Photo: Brenda Tan

SINGAPORE — Armed with pencil and paper, a calculator and a deck of cards, Ms Brenda Tan aims to deconstruct a person’s psyche to not only find out what makes him tick, but also how to make him tick faster and better.

Her methods are based on the ancient science of numerology — divining insight into someone based on his birth date and name — as well as the more “airy-fairy” art of tarot-card reading. However, at the heart of it all, she offers a mystical equivalent of having a good chat to clear the mind and, hopefully, spawn solutions to problems.

Since starting her business, Holistic Healing Mind, in September last year, clients have flocked to her mainly by word of mouth. They come from all segments of society; from expat housewives to business executives, and as far away as Dubai and Russia (where sessions are conducted through Skype).

Paying S$168 an hour, her clients ask for help in all aspects of their lives — mostly on relationships, but also work and business. “I’m not the usual fortune teller, telling you when you will get married, but I provide insight so that you know what you must do if you want to have a successful relationship,” said Ms Tan, 34.

A human resource consultancy even engaged her services to help one of its clients, a senior executive in a multinational company who wanted advice on how to correct a career path that had gone slightly awry.

“She was very unhappy not to have been promoted. She is very capable, but too emotionally sensitive. I made her see that although she was very confident on the outside, she had a lot of self-doubt deep down,” she recalled.

Ms Tan picked up numerology and tarot-card reading in 2010, soon after becoming a business coach during which she advised new entrepreneurs on how to put proper systems in place.

Wanting to help people beyond those in the business realm to unlock their potential, she went full-time into her current endeavour two years later.

She sees between two and three clients a day, but as the New Year rolls around, she has seen a spike in business as many people take stock of their lives.

“My (number of) clients tends to increase during this period, when many people get quite reflective as the year comes to an end, and they seek out what is next and (wonder) how else they can they do better in the following year,” she said.

Ms Tan’s own story is an inspirational one. The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduate worked at Citibank where, over the course of eight years, she rose from a telemarketing salesperson to head a call centre in Malaysia with more than 80 employees. Her achievements caught the notice of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who mentioned her story during the 2008 National Day Rally.

Numerology helped Ms Tan realise her own potential as an entrepreneur. The introverted numerologist found the transition from the structured, goal-oriented environment of a bank to the more open-ended, relationships-based one of doing business particularly tough.

“I used to worry about how people would judge me, so I became very secretive,” she said.

“However, numerology helped me realise I have a lot of potential and see the barriers that prevented me from expressing myself better.”

Next year, Ms Tan plans to offer seminars that can accommodate up to 50 participants at a time, as well as strengthen her online presence. She is also working on a book on numerology.

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