My Journey to Financial Freedom – Part 1

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The Eye Opener: Why I chose Entrepreneurship

Our journey in life is made up of thousands of stories. We experience different ironies leading us to where we are exactly as of the moment. It is good to sometimes look back and re-live the past so that we can further appreciate the present and be more excited to look forward to the future.

Allow me to share with you a portion of my life which started my call for Entrepreneurship and my quest towards Financial Freedom. This is kinda long so if you think this would only bore you, all I ask is a little of patience as this could be your story too.

Way back in high school my sister and I would go to school carrying a paper bag of pastries from our family business – particularly brownies and silvanas. We would sell these pastries everyday to our classmates and schoolmates for Php10.00 each. For every box we finished, we would get a profit of Php70.00 per box.

So If I am able to finish 14 boxes in a week, I get a total profit of Php 980.00 per week. Not bad for an extra income of a high school student right? Well, that wasn’t always the case. Since I bring these pastries almost everyday, time came when my classmates have gone tired or “sawa na” in eating our stuffs so there goes the spoilage because I can no longer finish a whole box of pastries and it ends up going home with me which I could no longer resell the next day for fear of food poisoning. That’s food, therefore, it’s disposable. Goodbye extra income.

I’d say that life had always been difficult as different circumstances over which we have no control of happens all the time. Back then, my dad was offered with an early retirement and our family went through a complete financial loss. My parents engaged in small businesses in order to sustain our family’s income. All of us were studying at a private school back then so imagine the difficulty of paying for our tuition fees without a secure financial coverage. I experience a time where my sister and I pass textbooks after class and just bought the work books, even buying old textbooks from students in a higher level just to help our parents save money. It was a time where I felt that God had stripped us away of everything.

When I went to college, I took a course on Entrepreneurial Management. We enrolled in a state university so that our college expenses would be minimal. We had to rely on our relatives abroad for us to finish our education and my sister and I were very fortunate to have been granted a 4-year scholarship from the parish.

Being fully aware of our financial status, I experienced growing up in one day, taking full responsibility to support ourselves and be able to contribute to our family expenses. I need a bigger income so instead of selling more pastries; my sister and I got ourselves employed at a famous Filipino  fast food chain as a cashier and dining crew. I can still clearly remember the fear I felt the first time I crossed the street ALONE and commuting ALONE just to get to and fro to school and work because I was used to being fetched by a school service and I wasn’t brave enough. I never thought I would experience these kind of things in real life as I’ve only used to watch it in teleseryes.

During those times, I realized how important it is to have a sound financial plan in case anything happens as employment will never give you financial security, you can’t rely on the government when you retire and it is hard to become a financial burden to your relatives.

I was a working student when I entered first year college. My job earned me an income of 3k to 4k a month. Again, not bad for extra income of a student that time, considering that inflation wasn’t yet that high. 😀 I was a working student for 3 years and stopped only when I was already doing my feasibility studies during my Fourth Year. Since I studied in a State University with a very minimal tuition fee, I’m proud to say that I was able to support my own studies through my income as a working student and as a scholar. Juggling academics and work was definitely a challenge considering that I was also active in various extra-curricular activities and actively serving in YFC (CFC Youth For Christ). Through God’s loving grace, we made it through and graduated last 2008 with good grades and maintained our scholarship until our final days in college. 🙂

A few weeks after graduation, I got employed as a Retail and Marketing Coordinator and landed on the job that I wanted. My job gave me a clearer picture of how a traditional business works. My job made me aware of how expensive it is to put up your own store, to monitor sales, to handle people, to budget marketing and advertisements and how expensive it is. Being involved from the store construction and down to handling store issues and concerns on sales and marketing, it made me realize that if I put up a traditional business, it would take years to recover plus the hassle and headache of being in-charge in everything just to make sure it won’t fail.

Sure I landed on a nice job but my paycheck is still not enough plus I have to work on a weekend and I felt that I’m being robbed of the time that I should have been spending with my loved ones. Looking at my check list of dreams, I haven’t gotten anywhere yet. The list is still way too far from reality. How much longer can I wait when my parents are no longer getting any younger?

To be continued.

You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. Deuteronomy 15:10

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