While Venus Raj was being asked that now-famous question, I was also being interviewed at my office for Joey Concepcion’s column in the Philippine Star.  I’d like to share what Mr. Concepcion wrote. And I hope that it inspires you to become entrepreneurs in the future.

The making of three entrepreneurs
TAGUMPAY By Joey Concepcion

The entrepreneurial journeys I share in this column may give some people the impression that it is pretty easy to start a negosyo and that the success rate of a person starting a negosyo is very high. In fact, it is the reverse. The failure rate is higher than the success rate.

I believe that with the proper mentorship, right attitude, knowing your skills and being open to opportunities that can turn your skill into a negosyo, there is a better chance of succeeding. Yes, you can succeed, but don’t act in blind faith. You need to think well of the business model you plan to do.

I have met three negosyantes who have prevailed in their journeys. They have been mentored well by their parents and continue to be guided by their values and natural instincts as an entrepreneur.

Since Siu Ping Par was a little girl, she already knew that she possessed the inborn instinct to be an entrepreneur someday. “I learned a certain discipline that came from my father,” shared Siu. “Since I was very young, I already helped my father a lot in the family business. I volunteered to do everything that I could — from running errands to banking, filing and doing clerical jobs for the business.”

Today, Siu is the COO for Franchising of PR Gaz Hauz, which she started with her husband in 2001. PR Gaz Hauz is one of the Philippines’ providers of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Their company is also known for innovating the country’s first LPG store. From wholesaling, they started retailing in 2003. Then they started franchising in 2005. Why this particular type of business? “LPG is a basic necessity. It’s a need. That is why it’s a good business,” explained Siu.

As Siu explained, one of the main thrusts of PR Gaz is to help OFWs through their business programs. “It is important for a family to stay together and for children to grow up with their parents,” she relates. This is why the company has created an ideal business model for OFWs who return home and who are scouting where to invest their savings. “Instead of putting up a sari-sari store or something common, we present an ideal business model. As long as you are willing and open to absorb this business model , we are also very much willing and open to help. So far, we have very happy franchisees and some of them are OFWs who have invested their savings. They don’t need to leave their family anymore.”

For young and aspiring entrepreneurs, here are some words of wisdom from Siu: “If you are not so sure what business to put up, it’s nice to franchise as long as you have the right franchise, strong passion and commitment. If you have your own idea, don’t be afraid. Take risks, especially for the young ones. The basic things are focus, dedication, commitment and discipline. The fruits of hard work and labor are always the best rewards.”

Also a mother of four, Siu spends her free time watching movies, playing badminton, going out of town to enjoy different sceneries and, of course, spending quality time with her family.

Young Rossana Llenado also used to help her father in repairing electronic appliances and instruments. She also exhibited her entrepreneurial nature while growing up. “We had a sari-sari store and I always enjoyed selling,” she says. “I also sold a lot of different stuff when I was young, like polvoron, candies and toys. It felt nice when people told me that they liked my products.”

Rossana then worked in real estate, advertising, and teaching, among others. She stopped when she became pregnant with her twins. “I was looking for something else to do but I didn’t want to leave my children. At the same time, I found an opportunity. I found a need for students to have formal support for their academic needs. Then I started AHEAD,” shared Rossana. “The best part is that you get to transform students to improve. You help change their lives for the better.” At present, AHEAD is already well-established in the tutorial and review industry.

Why AHEAD? “It is a constant reminder for me to always be ahead of others and to be ahead of myself. This is our vision and mission. It is also a reminder for us to put our students ahead as well,” explained Rossana.

As an entrepreneur in the field of education, Rossana also shares her own words of wisdom to those aspiring to put up their own venture: “Some people think that there is a shortcut to success, but there is none. There is a lot to learn from everywhere and anywhere. Learn from experience. For fresh graduates, ‘work to learn’ first instead of ‘work to earn.’ For those who want to start their business, do not limit yourself. Open something what is not common. Do something on your own and do something that is useful for society.”

Rossana’s children and their friends know her as the “cool mom.” Aside from watching movies during her free time, she plays computer games with her 15-year-old twins.

On the other hand, Glenn Yu used to sell his own version of Hallmark cards when he was a kid. “I was in charge of the sales and my sister was responsible for the production. I was very entrepreneurial even as a kid and it was something that I loved doing. I was constantly thinking of opportunities on how to provide service or offer products,” shared Glenn.

Glenn is the president and CEO of Sea Oil Philippines. His parents were entrepreneurs. “It encourages you when you wake up in the morning and you see your parents working hard early in the morning until late at night. My dad used to bring me to his office so I could see how he worked,” he related.

In 1997, when the industry was being deregulated, Glenn started Sea Oil. Their first station opened a year after and their first franchise a year later. The company has indeed come a long way. Glenn estimates that they will be ending the year with close to 200 stations. “It has been amazing for the past 12 years,” he said.

“If there was an alternate reality, I would still be an entrepreneur,” said Glenn. “You keep doing what you do because you love what you are doing. Whatever I earn, I keep. I’m not the type of person who finds satisfaction in buying things. I guess this is the difference when you grow up ‘hungry’ (as an entrepreneur).”

This is the testimonial of a true entrepreneur.

As Glenn also serves to mentor other entrepreneurs through his organizations and advocacies, he also shares some words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs: “Always pursue your passion and what you can be good at. If you start up that way, then money will come. The mistake of young people is that they first look for money. Life is all about appreciating your strengths and passions. Start from day one, not from the day you retire. As an entrepreneur, it is also always as important to have guidance from different mentors. Learn from the missteps of being entrepreneur.”

When Glenn has free time on his hands, he teaches through Bible studies. He also goes swimming with his children as a means to de-stress.