I have dreamed of a business where I can bring my kids. A business where I can watch over them while I work, where they can play safely, without me worrying about kidnapping or getting lost or getting abused by nannies. A business where they can sleep when they get tired, where they can eat when they want to, where they can enjoy and just be kids. I want to make a living and still be present in their everyday lives. I want to instill the values of hard work and entrepreneurship while they are young. So that when they grow-up, it will come second nature to them. I want to teach them how to hold on their own without relying on employment. “Teach them how to fish, and they will never be hungry their whole life.”
In this section of my blog, I would like to talk more about Entrepreneurial projects, ins-and-outs of a start-up, challenges and victories, business continuity, business life-cycle, what happens after starting-up, common pitfalls to avoid and more. Being on the ground or being hands-on doing the business, will teach you things that books and classes cannot teach. It is so much different from just theoretical knowledge. I am not saying not to study business. It is a very vital foundation. It is like learning your ABCs before you start reading and writing. Once you are on the ground, it is a very different ball game, a very different world. Some get broken by the experience. Some get disheartened. Some get defeated. Some become successful.
I will also be featuring real entrepreneurs. The goal is to encourage you to go for it. I hope you will learn from our collective mistakes and draw inspiration from our courage. If we can just contribute to help you prepare for the entrepreneurship road ahead of you, even if it’s just a little, we will really be happy. Many people made it look so easy. But there are lots of stories behind every success and behind every failure. I am also hoping that you will find a support group in this blog. All the entrepreneurs we will be featuring here share the same values and do not hold back knowledge and are very willing to share their learnings, wisdom, sources and connections.
We all know the value of sharing. We got to where we are because a lot of people around us helped us get there. We believe in doing the same for our friends who are just starting up. “Every big thing starts from small things.” If one day you make it big in the world of entrepreneurship – we would be very proud to have been a part of your journey – no matter how small our contribution would be.
I had my first business when I was 16 while I was in high school. My dear Aunt Ligaya used to manufacture Disney toys and exported to Japan, US, Switzerland and other first world countries. From a very young age, I got trained to have an eye for quality and workmanship. I used to play with the dolls that my Aunt was manufacturing. Dressing it up, putting accessories, sewing, embroidering, putting beads, etc. I would proudly show my Aunts and workers what I made based on the fairy tale characters I have read about. Before I knew it, a couple of the toys I “designed” – the Peter Piper and Jack & the Beanstalk, started getting bulk orders after my Aunt showed it to one of her buyers abroad. So at the early age of 16, I had my own toy factory, I had my own credit line with storeowners in Divisoria, I had my own manpower. I can’t remember anymore how many people I had under me producing the dolls. I can still remember going with my Aunt Ligaya and Uncle Max to buy my own materials from Divisoria. I choose my own fabrics. I talk to the storeowners like I was an adult in a small body. Everybody treated me with amusement. I can still remember one of the store owners saying – “Ligaya ang tapang ng batang ito ha!”
Nothing came easy for us. I learned the value of hard work early in life. We did not come from a rich family. In fact, I was a scholar of Spanish Carmelite nuns until I finished high school. (Maybe we would have been rich if my late Lolo did not have five wives and almost fifty kids! True story daw! We, the grandchildren were fascinated of the stories our Aunts and Uncles tell us!) I can still remember we used to work for things that we want. If we want toys, food treats, clothes – my mom and aunts would tell us to help in the factory by cutting loose threads or doing quality control or something else. She would pay us depending on the number of pieces we finish. Our Lola would tell us how hard their lives were during World War 2.
I was also in the corporate world for over 10 years. And I can say that the fulfillment I get from my Entrepreneurial projects do not even come close to the senior executive and management positions I held. I used to handle 13 countries in Asia-Pacific region, living from one country to another for 3 to 8 months, doing feasibility studies, looking for investment opportunities for the big bosses, setting up new companies, putting systems in place, training the operational team, troubleshooting various concerns across departments, hopping from one plane to another almost three times a week. Many people say I was in a pretty good place. But I was miserable.
I didn’t have real friends. I didn’t have time to make any real connections with anyone. The ones I have met left just when I warmed up to them. If it was not them who was leaving, it was me. Even with our employees I needed to keep a safe distance and try not to get emotionally involved with anyone. It was a sad and lonely life. The pay, the perks and benefits were good – but it was a sad and lonely life.
Where I am now, in terms of entrepreneurship – has lots of uncertainties and challenges. I thought that with all those years of experience – starting and setting up businesses for my bosses, making millions for them, would prepare me 100% for the life we call – entrepreneurship. I am sadly mistaken.
It is different when you are earning money from employment than when you are trying to make money while spending your own money. With this blog section, I hope to spare you some heartache and give you the much needed support group to be successful in whatever entrepreneurial endeavor you choose.
Feel free to reach out to any of the entrepreneurs featured in this section. We would love to hear from you!
Photo/Poster Credits: Pinterest