Michael Lee is the quintessential example of a leader with an indomitable spirit. Against all odds, he has brought JM Group to the top of the water purifier market in the country and is currently the No.1 CUCKOO water purifier agency in Malaysia. In a recent interview with Top 10 of Malaysia, the visionary entrepreneur talks about his background and his hopes for the future of his business.
Born into a poor family in Penang, Michael Lee had to quit school at the age of 15 to help earn money to feed his family. However, due to his enterprising spirit, creativity and eye for opportunity, he rose fast in the factory where he took up his first job. When he left the factory 5 years later, he was already earning RM8,000 a month.
Always on the lookout for new opportunities, Lee tried the IT line and others, which led him to embark on an adventure from Malaysia to Europe and beyond. In 2009, he returned to Malaysia to pay his last respects to his father, and decided to stay a year back in his home country, acceding to the request by his mother.
In July 2009, Lee chanced upon the water purifier business through a friend. Excited, he decided to explore it. Starting off as a Service Technician, he rose through the ranks to become a Senior Manager in 2010. In fact, he was the only Senior Manager to achieve top net sales with the highest income of RM300,000 per annum. Eventually, in 2013, he was offered the role of General Manager of Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, Johor and Sabah.
In November 2014, Lee came upon the CUCKOO brand from Korea. It had just entered the Malaysian market in October 2014. Seeing a golden opportunity and loving a good challenge, he began his journey with CUCKOO, starting again from scratch.
In July 2015, Lee achieved a sales target of RM13,000 per month and was promoted to Natural Chief Manager (NCM). In December 2015, he was able to achieve an income of RM51,000 a month while in December 2016, Michael achieved his first 6-figure income in his life, with the CUCKOO Passive Income Marketing Plan. He was also the Second Runner-up Sales Champion.
In 2018, Lee’s JM Group was the biggest sales organisation in CUCKOO Malaysia, with 10,000 team members. “My goal is to be an internationally respected, successful and profitable business partner for CUCKOO Malaysia and Korea,” says Lee, founder of JM Group. “I want to ensure long-term stability and the ability to deliver optimum value for CUCKOO and my team members.”
In 2020, his enterprising spirit has taken flight again. He has diversified JM Group to launch WonderLab, which features the Haru Haru and Well Nature Series of skincare and cosmetic products from Korea.
“I realised that there is a big market for skincare, haircare and body care products for both men and women, which is even bigger than the beverage business. Our agents can sell both CUCKOO and WonderLab products,” says Lee. “When WonderLab was launched in January 2020, it had already achieved sales of RM456,000. In five to ten years’ time, I hope to grow the business to double or triple the 2020 annual revenue.”
“People always think I am having fun and do not need to work, but actually I’m working 24 hours a day. My life revolves around my work, because I have the passion for the business,” says Lee.
He feels that the current young graduates are different compared to those in his time, because they have the advantage of technology on their side. Technology gives them a global reach, which will enable them to achieve entrepreneurial success faster. However, he would like to advise them not to forget the basic principles of hard work, perseverance and determination. The foundation is important, and they should study how those before them had achieved their success.