Cover Story Excerpt:
Passion to Profit: Regine Tolentino’s Multifaceted Life
When most girls her age were still playing dress up, Regine Tolentino had already envisioned her long-term goal. She was six years old then.
In fact, growing up in California in the US, she had drawn on a piece of paper what her shop would look like in the near future. Interestingly, it was also a two-story establishment, much like her business now – with a mannequin in the front stalls. “It’s so sad because I don’t have that piece of paper anymore,” she confides. “I could have kept it for future references. But maybe I could find it someday.”
From that time on, she had worked nifty jobs. Selling handicrafts, ornaments and friendship bracelets to her friends and colleagues became a part of her. A dog walker, a math tutor, an assistant to an elderly woman, a helper in a shelter and a “gardener”, she had an enjoyable time during her childhood days. As she grew up, her expertise spawned babysitting where she would get paid $5 per kid per hour – and that was with three children…
Going Out On a Limb
When clients come to her shop, she guarantees that the fabric, the styling, the fit of the dress (and everything on it) is perfectly created and built. The costumes of the hosts of Eat Bulaga, for instance, are oftentimes ordered the night before the event. This means working on the fabric overnight. No sleep but the outcome is amazing.
» Read more, buy online at Blink.
Be Your Own Boss
This issue, we celebrate entrepreneurs, including freelancers, who made a decision at a certain point in their life to be their own boss.
As an entrepreneur myself, I’ve had my own share of hits and misses. I started my own small business when I was 23 but went back to corporate work after I finished my MBA. I got into franchising as a side business when I was in my late 20s. That lasted for just a few years. When I lost my job right after I got married, I went into freelancing for a couple of years until in 2008, my wife and I launched our conference and seminar business. And we kept on growing over the years.
Our plan is to launch new businesses in food, retail, and the Internet. A couple of years ago, we tried our hand in the then hot group buying business. We were too niche and a bit late and we folded it after several months when it failed to gain traction. Did we regret it? No. You win some, you lose some.
And that’s what being an entrepreneur really is about – take some calculated risks to meet a market need and earn a financial return. Sometimes you fail, and sometimes you succeed. Obviously, being an entrepreneur or freelancer is never easy. There are times you will question yourself, times when you get tempted to go back to the corporate world. And for practical purposes, you really do have to keep your options open. But there are times when you just need to hang in there a little more. And that can pay off.
There was one point when I lost some of my sources of regular income and our business was earning just enough to keep us afloat month to month. I seriously thought of going back to being an employee here or abroad. But after much consideration, we felt we’re still in a good business, there’s plenty of room to grow, and we just need to cut back on business and personal expenses to weather the storm. We stuck it out and got out of the rut. And now, we’re experiencing tremendous growth.
But I have also experienced when closing down makes more sense. As I mentioned, I had to close my first business and went back to business school. We had to shut down our franchise business after losing a lot of money. And then we had to shutter our Internet business when it didn’t gain traction. It can be heart-wrenching – all that money, effort, and psychological and emotional energy down the drain.
As they say, no pain, no gain; no risk, no reward. Every time, I had to pick myself up and try again. There is no shame in “failing,” only regret in “not trying.”
I understand that becoming an entrepreneur is not for everyone. But thinking like an entrepreneur is for everyone. So even if you’re working for someone else, if you think like a business owner, you will become more entrepreneurial. That means you’ll be the kind who’s always looking for new opportunities for your company, taking calculated risks in trying something new, finding ways to be more efficient and cost-effective, volunteering to try your hand in various functions, and making a contribution to the bottom line. Guess what? You will end up being so valued by your employer you will get a raise and a promotion sooner rather than later. You might end up running the business yourself – and even be offered equity if you’re really that good.
But if you’ve really decided that corporate life is not for you or you’d rather go off on your own, do what our cover personality Regine Tolentino did and start your own small business. Or try what some of our freelance rock stars featured in our cover package and get your feet wet by freelancing and transition to setting up a corporation with employees.
I’m telling you, once you become your own boss and find that you make more money, get to do what you love, and have control when, where, and how you work – and who you want to work with – you’ll never want to go working for anyone else for the rest of your life.
Heinz G. Bulos
Table of Contents
- Regine Tolentino’s Multifaceted Life by Excel Dyquiangco
- Freelance Rock Stars by Heinz Bulos
- 10 Money Management Tips Every Filipino F-R-E-E-L-A-N-C-E-R by Lianne Martha Laroya
- When Passion Meets Profit by Excel V. Dyquiangco
- A Step By Step Guide in Starting a Small Business by Excel Dyquiangco
- SME Loan Primer by Edmund Lao, RFP®
- Protecting Our Home: Understanding Comprehensive Home Insurance by Arlen Macaspac, RFP®
- Corporate Checking Accounts by Jesi S. Bondoc, RFP®, CIS®
- Making a Good Financial Standing Better by John Patrick Sarmiento, RFP®
- No Nonsense: Retirement Mistakes by J. Randell Tiongson, RFP®
- Financial Planner: Debt is Death to Those Who Abuse It by Efren Ll. Cruz, RFP®
- Succes stories: Do You Have The Eye Of The Tiger? by Alex Araneta
- My Money Story: From Dropout to Internet Entrepreneur by Paul Agabin as told to Excel V. Dyquiangco
- A Key To Common Sense And Selflessness by Selwyn Uy and Andrew Francisco as told to Excel V. Dyquiangco
- My Money Story: Focusing On the Goal By Ian Simpao as told to Excel V. Dyquiangco
- Easy Money: Stock Market Financial Ratios by Ricky So, RFP®
- How To: Invest in Foreign Stocks by Christopher Lim, CFC, CIS, CRB, CWM, PMP, RFP
- Easy Money: Step #6: Step #7: What To Look For In Your Lease Broker by Carl Dy
- Forex 500: The Three Stages of Your Forex Trading Career by Mark So
- The Bottom Line: ETFs 101 by Marvin Germo, RFP®
- The Bottom Line: Index Funds vs. Managed Funds by Christopher Lim, CFC®, CIS, CRB®, CWM®, PMP®, RFP®
- The Bottom Line: The Lure of Davao City text and Photos by Excel V. Dyquiangco
Stylist: Jeff Galang and Marj Ramos
Make-up artist: Maryem Mirza
Hair Sylist: Aica Leen Latay
Photos by: Dodie Legaspi