Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Path To Entrepreneurship

I was born in a family which believed that if you studied hard and get good grades you will be gainfully employed and will never have to go hungry again. In fact, if you worked-hard enough and become loyal enough to the company you work with, that company will provide every thing you need. I believed in those words for quite some time.

Because of idealism and the expectation that I will be monetarily rewarded handsomely when the 'time' came, I joined young companies and start-ups. When the call center industry was just beginning to take a foot-hold on our shores, I was the first ones to grab the opportunity. But then I got bored. The job was very repetitive and I wanted something with some more challenge. The work in call centers was what others were looking for, but not me. I wanted to go out. I wanted to be on the field.

When the opportunity came for me to work outside of the office and meet a lot of people, that was when my view about employment change. I was working with a company that a operations nationwide. Although it was a national company, I had a chance to develop my own area. I met people a lot of people who wanted to earn extra money because they need it. I met people who wanted to be their own boss because they grew tired of working for someone else. I was talking to them, helping them make money while I was receiving a fixed income.

I opened a shop which became the number 1 shop in the Philippines. It bested even the company-owned shops. A couple of others were in the top 10. I saw people who made a lot of money because of my efforts.

After I left the company, I went in to sales and handled a number of sales people. I would go out with my salesmen and talk to the clients they were serving. Some of these clients have their own catering business, others have their own stalls in wet markets, others own big restaurant chains. Their backgrounds were diverse but they all own businesses - and they were earning more than I did. Yes, I had a car. Yes, there was gasoline allowance. But my income was a pittance compared to what they were earning monthly. A business-owner who sells nothing but coffee in a wet market in one of the cities in Metro Manila was even able to send all of her kids to reputable schools! And she has savings more than she could ever imagined!

That event became the turning-point. I wanted to be an entrepreneur and own a business. I knew I had skills to make a business successful. I went to work for a start-up and was mentored by a businessman. It was a very mutually beneficial relationship at first. I helped in setting-up the system and managed the company as whole. I developed new programs and businesses for the company. But things started to change when I realized that the owner was rushing decisions and then changing them like changing hats.
GreenRides chosen as the official car cleaning service provider of Toyota.

The whole experience burnt me out... It was then I finally decided to go into business and work for myself.

I didn't get my business flying immediately. There were more misses than hits. I found the hard way that venturing into business is not a walk in the park. It was work - pure hard work...

Why become an entrepreneur? Why be a business-owner?

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, 99.6% of businesses in the Philippines are in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises segment. And they contribute to about 63.2% of employment or about 3.6Million jobs nationwide. MSME's are the biggest contributors to economic growth and employment.

Aside from the monetary consideration, entrepreneurs or business-owners earn more in the long-run that employees, I also find it as a Filipino that it is my duty to contribute to the national development of the Philippines. President JFK said it best, "Ask not what your country can do for you, rather what can you do for your country."

Don't take me wrong, there are other ways to show one's love for country. But this entrepreneurship is the path I choose. This path is not for everyone.

The car clean technicians during Toyota's Caravan.
This will be the overall theme for my blog. The lesson will revolve around entrepreneurship; the lessons I have learned and the essential things needed by entrepreneurs.

Finally, I don't consider myself as an authority in the subject. Rather, I am more of a practitioner. I just teach and share things that I experienced myself. I hope, through this blog, I will be able to touch more lives and convince more Filipinos to become entrepreneurs and help improve the economic situation of our country.