1.31.2014

How I Quit Corporate And Became A Mompreneur

When I was about to graduate from high school, I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur one day. I remember one time when my parents and I left my high school from a school event, I told them that it would be a good idea to buy an empty lot around the school because someday it will be worth more. At that time, my parents just laughed it off and thought maybe I was too young to think about such a thing. A year or two later, the area around the school that housed nothing but farm land was sold to a developer which later developed it into a bustling, residential community.

I later went on to college and took up Management Engineering. We studied a fusion of math and business, and it prepared us very well for a corporate job. Yet still, I was eager to learn more about starting a business. I read up on articles from Entrepreneur magazine and all of Robert Kiyosaki's books. I played Cash Flow with my brother. In college, I would make the trip to Divisoria from Quezon City to buy fashionable clothes and sell them to my dorm mates. It was a good experience, nonetheless, but still I wasn't a full-fledged entrepreneur.

Robert Kiyosaki's Cash Flow Quadrant
When I graduated from college, I knew I wanted to be a business owner. At that time, Ateneo was setting up its entrepreneurship laboratory, where students can road test their business before launching it in the real world. I wanted to join and found this a very good opportunity. Unfortunately, I had already graduated and I needed to move on to the next phase in my life. I knew in my heart I wanted to start a business, but I didn't know how to start.

I then proposed to my parents a fashion accessory business. I showed them samples I made, and I even inquired how to set up a space inside a popular mall in Cebu. I was so excited with the idea! I thought my business proposal was very promising. I asked my parents for capital to start it. However, like many things in life, things don't happen at the timing you want them to. My parents probably thought I was too risky or crazy to jump into business back then. They advised me to get a corporate job first.

So I did just that. I was fortunate to get jobs in the top multinational companies in the country. Compensation and benefits were generous. I had a salary above the market average, and I got a lot of perks too. I had medical benefits, a car, laptop and a monthly postpaid mobile phone plan. I get to travel a lot, staying and dining in fancy hotels. It was nice, but I knew I really wasn't happy and at the back of my mind, I still wanted to become an entrepreneur.

Many of my colleagues know that my heart belongs to entrepreneurship. In one small team building session of ours, they were asked, "Where do you see Mitz in the next 10 years?" All of them answered that I will probably run a business someday. While working in corporate, I never forgot my dream. In fact, I did business on the side. I had a partner and we sold clothes online through Multiply. From a small capital of Php10,000, our online following grew and grew until we were able to lease a space inside the mall. We brought in another partner as well. We were a team of three, and we had fun shopping for clothes abroad and selling them. It was going well for a while. We even got featured in the local newspapers. However, not a single one of us worked full time in the business. I had my job and my partners were managing their own businesses as well. In the end, we decided not to renew our mall lease and let the business go as we attended to our own priorities.

I went back to my corporate job, moving from one multinational company to another to advance in my career. I learned a lot from my corporate jobs. I learned how to do business and I got exposed to business practices I otherwise would not have learned in school. My corporate jobs were my real world training for business. In my 10 years of working in corporate, I learned sales, marketing, finance, strategic planning and a lot more. In hindsight, I am thankful that my parents urged me to work in corporate first. Otherwise, I wouldn't have learned all the skill sets critical to managing a business. Learning something in theory is completely different than learning it from experience.

Fast forward to today, I have become a full time entrepreneur. I can't say that I am already successful. Everything is still a work in progress. I currently manage an online store called PinaymommyPH with a fellow mom as partner. We mainly sell items for moms and babies. I started this business because I wanted to supply good products for breastfeeding moms like me. I mainly supply Pur breast milk storage bags, and I can honestly say it is one of the cheaper brands in the market that offers very good quality, double zip-lock, BPA-free milk storage bags.

I also manage a food business with my husband called Marky's Chicken. We have big plans for this brand. We continue to work on this and we hope our efforts will turn this business into something big one day. By God's grace, we have received a lot of encouragement that this venture is truly promising. One such example was when we won in the Next Big Food Entrepreneur Challenge of Entrepreneur Philippines.

So how exactly did I make the shift from corporate to entrepreneurship? The answer is pretty simple.

I just took a big leap of FAITH. 

I honestly spent many years of my life not pursuing my dream. I had so many excuses to myself -- "I don't have enough capital", "I'm not ready yet", "This isn't the time". Yet something changed in me when I became more faithful to God. I realized that God places dreams in each and every one of us, and these dreams reveal His plans for us. Ever since I thought about what I wanted to do in my life, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. This is what my heart tells me. This is where God is leading me. With a stronger faith, I became more confident to pursue my dream. In moments of doubt, I go back to my favorite Bible verses to inspire me.

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Proverbs 16:3 NIV
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11: 24 NIV

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

"If God is for us, then who can be against us?" Romans 8:31 NIV

Some events in my life also made this decision quite easier. One of them is when I lost my daughter Elyssa. I was working in a field job when I lost her. It made me realize that no amount of compensation or benefit from corporate life will ever equal to time spent with family. There are a lot of times in my corporate career when I would feel sad that I miss milestones or important family events just because I needed to work or attend a meeting which is at most times, declared urgent and crucial. My job was financially rewarding, yet it was stressful too. After Elyssa's passing, I decided that I will really take steps to get out of corporate. A few months after that, our company for Marky's Chicken was born and we even named it after Elyssa.

When I got pregnant again and Marky's Chicken was already running, I knew it was time to quit. I prepared for it by building up on our savings that can last us at least 6 months. A year and a half later, we are still working hard to make our business grow. Our income from our business may not be as high as my corporate salary (yet), but I can definitely say I am a much happier person now than when I was working in corporate. No amount of financial reward can ever pay for that. At any time, I can attend to my baby Kali. I can keep track of my daughter Annika's progress in school. When my husband gets home, I am here to greet him with a hug and a kiss. I no longer have to feel bad that I miss family moments because I'm away at some business meeting or corporate seminar.

If you're thinking about quitting your job and entering business, let me tell you that it is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes when the bills come in and our funds are just enough to pay them, it can be tempting to entertain the thought of going back to corporate. In the corporate world, you're paid when you're present at your job and you know exactly how much you're going to earn every pay day. You can plan your expenses more consistently. In business, you don't know exactly how much you're going to earn. It depends on how well you manage the business, and how customers behave when they spend their money. You have to know how to keep your expenses in check, while your income fluctuates every month.

Before you quit your job for business, build enough savings to last you at least 6 months to make sure you can get by as you work on your start-up. The first few months or years of setting up a business can be really tough. Make sure to put hard work and effort into it. It can be tempting to work at a slower pace when there is no boss to hurry us with our tasks. Most importantly, trust in the Lord with all your heart. Each day, I always dedicate a prayer to God for our business. He's our best business partner, and I believe He will always take care of us. When things don't happen your way and worries set in, just pray and remember that He loves you and will never leave your side. I know it because He has always pulled us through in one way or another. It's amazing how God works. I'm truly thankful to embark on this entrepreneurship journey with Him.

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13 comments:

May De Jesus-Palacpac said...

Yes if there is one thing that I know about entrepreneurship, it's not for the faint of heart. The very reason I opted to take a full time home-based job in a company.

I tried my hand in business a few times -- but it's hard when the product is you (I was a musician for years and I managed and booked my bands. It's what's stopping me from selling myself as editor and just let the projects come to me, I don't make any effort. I need to prep myself because I do want to get into business. The one business I wasn't the product was when I went into the pastry business for a while...it was crazy...I couldn't sustain it for lack of experience in that area of biz.

Thanks for the link. I'm marking this so I can learn from you.

Mitz Leviste said...

Hi May. It's nice to see you here. I'm glad you liked my (very long) post. I am still learning a lot about this entrepreneurship journey. With God's grace, I pray we will pull through and succeed. :)

Kim @ Mom On Duty said...

This is inspiring, Mitz! I am a work at home mom, but I want to be a mompreneur as well. I have been making clothes that I design (and sometimes sew) myself for my kids. My hubby is encouraging me to turn this hobby of mine into a business, but like what you mentioned, I too have worries such as not having enough capital and enough time to work on bigger projects.

I do hope to venture into business, though.

Janice Lim said...

I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur too. But the kinds of businesses I've wanted to put up change over time. It took years and yes, a leap of faith, for me to pursue building a business. I actually just started a career as a freelance writer and virtual assistant so essentially I'm selling my services. I hope it will grow so that I can also earn more. Eventually, I want to put up some other form of business selling some kind of product. Just to figure out what it will be though. :) Thanks for sharing your inspiring story.

Mitz Leviste said...

@Kim: I hope you get to sell your own designs someday! It's challenging yet also rewarding to become an entrepreneur :)

Mitz Leviste said...

@Janice: yes, selling a service is entrepreneurship too. Good luck on your mompreneurship journey! :)

Patty | MrsC said...

It really is a leap of faith, isn't it? :) There are definite ups and downs, especially at the start, but it's totally worth it. Congrats to you for going for it! :) Here's to your mompreneur success.

Mitz Leviste said...

@Patty: I never would have had the guts to take the leap if not for God's divine guidance! Thanks for dropping by. :-)

Mitz Leviste said...

@Patty: I never would have had the guts to take the leap if not for God's divine guidance! Thanks for dropping by. :-)

Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen said...

Congratulations to you! Wishing for all your ventures to succeed. This is such an inspiring post.

Camille Duque-Aguila said...

My husband's into business. I'm scared though. I am one of the faint-hearted guys but of course we dream too that a business opportunity will open up for us. We're actually planning on things but these are all in our minds and not yet ready for the big launch.

Hopefully, God will pave the way for us. This is one thing we are really praying for because if we get to have our own business, then I bet we wont be moving out of the country anymore

Dea said...

I love this post, Mitz!

I'm new to this entrepreneurship thing and got into it purely by chance. I wasn't prepared and have had a lot of hiccups along the way. But I learn something new every day. And every day I am reminded of how beautifully God provides.

Your post has inspired me to take this 'raket' more seriously, to take a look at this little project and start planning to do more--I realize that getting to do this is a privilege that not everyone gets to enjoy.

You are awesome, Mitz. Keep inspiring!

Mitz Leviste said...

@Dea: Yes, it's a privilege to earn while spending time with our babies. I've seen so many moms in the corporate world not happy with their jobs because they miss their kids back home. I've been there too.

I am happy you love this post. Thank you for inspiring me to write more. :-)

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