This story starts a long time ago.
When I was 6 years old, I spent my time drawing, reading, and writing. That leads to creating magazines for my peers. My first dream job was to become a magazine editor.
When I was 11, I was given my first point-and-shoot camera. I started writing my own stories publishing them on the Internet. I quickly learned how to use Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro X, which would allow me to create graphics for when I published them.
When I was 12, I used my knowledge of graphic design, writing, and photography to create websites for fun.
In elementary school, we had a system of fake money. We would create items, sell them, and buy more items with that money.
I sold my drawings, my stories, my graphics, and my magazines. I called my company Little Girl Made Brand. I even made my own business cards out of gel pens.
Today, that company is called IN. Communications Incorporated, and I’ve refined our services since then. 🙂
A background story…
I’ve always had an ambitious work ethic.
This was drilled into my mind very early on as a child. My parents raised me to be headstrong from the beginning. My mom is the definition of a powerhouse – not only was she Miss Philippines (I know right?) and acquired her Master’s Degree, but she was also one of the very first women to have a powerful position at one of the biggest telecommunications agencies (which was rare especially for a woman at the time).
My dad was an entrepreneur who escaped a generational cycle of poverty and met my Mom during their University years. They both left all of it behind when they immigrated to give their children a better life, despite both of them living very comfortably.
I’ve always wanted to give my parents back everything they sacrificed for me and my little brother. It’s always been my driving force and motivating purpose.
The year is 2015 and my best friend Nick and I decide to start our YouTube channel, inlook.
We’re newly graduated out of high school and are both extremely excited about fashion blogging, video editing, and filmmaking (OGs know about the music videos we used to make LOOOL). Here, we’ve entered the world of brand deals. Here, we learn how to be a part of fashion campaigns, how to market ourselves, and how to pick a niche. Inlook created multiple campaigns in partnership with Vancouver Fashion Week.
This was when it first clicked with me that I didn’t need to complete my degree to pursue my dream career now.
I’ve always wanted to work with the media, with post-production, with fashion. There are no gatekeepers anymore. Now, we live in an age where everybody has the opportunity to create for themselves.
When full-time school started, we put inlook on hold, converted to Instagram instead of YouTube, and haven’t looked back on our inlook journey.
“You can start a business, I believe, and know that you can.”Joshua Jackai
Dating a man who inspires you is a blessing. I’ve never met anybody who really instilled new ideas and beliefs within myself the way Josh does. In 2017, I didn’t know one thing about entrepreneurship, but it captivated me immediately.
Things to consider when you start your own business:
- Does this align with my purpose?
- Am I informed on all the legal precautions?
- What is the current market and how is it growing?
- Am I ready to take all the financial risk?
- What is my exit strategy?
The Business of Design program at SFU was a game-changer for me.
I’ve never been so excited to complete my assignments and go to class. I always recommend it to my SFU peers who are curious about starting their own.
Lessons I’ve learned from my first failed business:
- You will learn that you have many limiting beliefs.You need to unlearn them to move forward.
- Just because they’re your friend doesn’t mean they can be your business partner.
- On hiring: people can learn new skills on the job. What they can’t change is who they are. Hire people based on their values and their willingness to learn.
- It’s rare to have a relationship that balances business and friendship. When you find those people, keep them.
- Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. If you’re the smartest person in your circle, it’s time to build new relationships.
The journey of being an entrepreneur is in line with the person you become in order to reach your goals.
When my first business, a creative agency, closed, I felt panic. I aligned so much of my identity with my business. When things were going well, I felt happy. When things were bad, I felt sad.
And when it closed, oh, it was full-on identity crises.