A Decade in Business: Recipe for Success

I have been writing for the Philippine Times since 2016 and my articles are mostly about migration legislation updates, Australian visa FAQs, and migrants’ success stories. For this edition, I decided to share something special.

On 21 October 2023, we celebrated a huge milestone, the 10 th anniversary of my business. I felt so blessed and loved as our event was well attended by our clients and supporters who have mostly been with us for many years. I reflected and asked myself how were we able to stay in business for ten years? In retrospect, I believe the following points below gave us the foundation in setting up and maintaining a successful business.

  1. Understand what success means to you.

Every entrepreneur will have different reasons for getting into business. Of course, businesses
should make money, but it shouldn’t be the only reason for setting up one. Be clear about what your objectives are and set your success metrics.

When I started studying migration law in 2013, my objective was to help fellow migrants or potential migrants to not be fooled by unscrupulous/fake advisers. I subsequently completed my studies at the time when I was also finishing my maternity cover role as a Brand Manager for a surveillance company. I was torn between looking for my next role in Brand/Product Management or a new role in the migration industry or setting up my own business.

I made the decision to have my own business which was based on helping migrants and at that time we are also planning to have a child. This decision was not easy for me as I have been earning a regular salary ever since I started working in the Philippines over 20 years ago. It is hard to let go of one’s regular income and take a leap into a business where it would take time to establish a consistent revenue flow.

Together, my husband and I set out what this business would mean for us and how we would know if we have been successful. We both agreed that having my own business would mean that there would be flexibility on how I spend my time with work which leads to lesser stress for me and can improve our chance of having a child. We both imagined having work-life balance whereby, I can help migrants while we juggle our family responsibilities and have time to further our other interests. This included having family vacations, connecting my passion of singing, attending lessons for arts and sports activities for my son.

  1. Start small, think big.

Make sure you have enough financial resources to cover your start-up costs. Just start small, at a level where you can afford your business set up costs and at least 12 months of operational costs. Consider that your first year in business is part of your investment as this is the time where you spend your resources in marketing and business development to help you reach your target run rate. You can then implement your expansion plans once your target revenue pours in consistently.

I started out my business with just myself in 2013 and I hired my first employee in 2014. Overtime,
we have grown to a team of 12. Hiring is an important commitment to any business, therefore, I
always make sure that my business has enough financial resources to support those decisions.
The think big approach to small businesses, can be through forging partnerships or working with
people with expertise outside your realm. This has definitely helped my business grow.

  1. Gratefulness exudes humility.

Do not forget those people who believe in you and have been instrumental in your success.
Gratefulness keeps you humble. Arrogance shouts your insecurities to the world. These are my

There are special people out there who help without expecting anything in return. These are the
most genuine people who deserve to be recognised and they should be the reason for you to pay it forward.

In the early years of my career in Marketing/Product Management in the Philippines, my manager understood how she can develop me into my full potential. She would always give me new IT products and when it reached its run rate, she would take it away from me and give me another start-up product. I felt that it was unfair that other Product Managers would get the rewards of what I worked hard for.

Looking back, I understood that she knew that once I get a product up and running, I would get
bored and try to look for new challenges. She helped me develop my work ethics and helped me
understand how I consistently thirst for new adventures. I am forever grateful to my mentor and
friend, Ms. Inch Veloria. May she rest in peace. There are countless people in my life who have
helped me in one way or another and I make to stay in touch with them and share my journey.

Although I only focused on the three items above, there are other principles or mindsets that will
help in sustaining and growing one’s business, such as developing meaningful relationships with your clients and team members and staying true to your principles. I hope that this provides food for thought to my fellow current business owners and to those who are aspiring to be one.

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