My first company was Starfisher Asia People Development. I hired my first employee because a friend recommended a fresh graduate who needed job experience. During the first two years, the company grew beyond my expectations.
In 2010, I started getting invitations to speak in other countries. Business was good so I hired 2, 4, then 2 more people.
I thought the business will scale up. I got used to getting six-figure clients. I established joint-venture partnerships in Cebu City and in Davao City.
Then natural calamities happened. Training programs got canceled. The joint partnership did not produce anything. But I got bills to pay that can’t wait.
Starfisher Asia almost folded in its fifth year and I had to let go of my best people. It took me a year to bounce back. I had moderate success as a one-man business. I failed to grow my first business because I lack business acumen.
An opportunity came.
And I grabbed it without question.
In 2016, I joined a group of businessmen to create a training company for leaders. It would be a member of a group of eight companies. And the board decided that I would be leading this company.
To say that I worked more than anyone and more than at any time in my life is an understatement. I bet my life on its success that I neglected Starfisher Asia and decided to close it down. I put all my eggs in one basket.
I saw that my wife was proud of what I had achieved and believed I could make a great difference. I learned many things I am doing today when I was building this company.
It never occurred to me that after 18 months, I would be leaving the company. My vision was too big for the Board; they wanted to build the training company slowly, surely, and safely. I wanted to play bigger – training does not have to be a commodity business.
That’s my version of the story.
I messed up big time, and I knew it.
Deep down, I knew I did my best and contributed much to the organization’s growth (as the #1 salesperson, marketer, and learning leader), but I failed as its President. I grew impatient because I saw opportunities they didn’t see.
After I left the organization, I did not win any clients for four months.
No, people did not leave me.
I had, on average, five inquiries every day. This website was working hard for me. But I sabotaged myself. I punished myself for failing to pursue clients though they’re knocking on my doors every day. Of course, I realized this in retrospect.
The worst calamity that happened to me was man-made. And I was the maker.
But I remembered what I learned from Og Mandino, John Maxwell, and Les Brown. I remember the teachings of my grandfather and the great mentorship of Vic Santiago. I immersed myself in the study. I evaluated my experiences and looked for lessons.
I started to put more value on connecting with people, enabling leaders, and creating opportunities for others.
In 2019, I came back.
I established Business Innovation Talent and Development. I focused on helping organizations innovate their businesses and build their leaders. Though I was not certified in any leadership or innovation program, my experiences (a mix of success and learning) taught me lessons my clients use.
I saw my business grow.
I had great plans for 2020.
Then, Covid-19 happened to us.
My clients, except one, canceled our engagements for the rest of 2020. I understood. I know, that the pandemic, like other things in this world, will pass.
Until July 2020 came. I woke up to the reality that the Philippines won’t be out any sooner.
I decided that the best thing I can do for myself, my family, and my country is to bounce forward.
I won’t be starting from scratch. The values, vision, and mission remain. Three months of quarantine allowed me to pick the best products and services that can help Filipinos during this crisis and in the new normal.
My programs are platform agnostic. I only need to choose what is applicable today.
There are three things that I do best: consulting, leadership training, and creating learning assets.
I design online courses for speakers, leaders, and small businesses.
I facilitate virtual workshops and host webinars.
I build groups on Facebook and educate members every week through live streaming and recorded videos. I am also building a community to help Filipino professionals build their dream jobs.
I write books, publish blogs and newsletters, and help small businesses market their products and services.
Calamities won’t stop me from helping others.
I may fumble and fail. I messed up so many times, it lost count of them.
But found my message from my messes.
In 2022, I started in-person training sessions again. And everything is looking good. This website, for example typically has 3000 visitors every month. I have now more than 100,000 visitors each month.
Soon, I will teach people the secret of creating courses that people will buy – and writing articles that they’ll share with others.