In a nutshell, Miguel Escueta defines himself as a “Do-It-Yourself” kind of guy. The artist, who rose to fame both in the Philippines and the United States in the mid 2000s, knows what it’s like to brand himself as he did so in the early days of his career.
Signed to a major label for five years, Miguel was able to distinguish himself from the pack by doing what he can to bring his brand forward. After his intense training under a brand, Miguel successfully moved on to being an “indie” artist, releasing his own music.
Today, Miguel’s songs are featured on various US TV shows such as “The Young and The Restless,” “Switched at Birth” and even in Brazil on a show called “Malhacao.” The journey to make it big outside of the country has given Miguel enough qualities to pursue other endeavors.
Without knowing it then, these are the same qualities that would also help him as an entrepreneur.
“The DIY attitude that I had as an artist has equipped me in this new stage of my life as a business owner and entrepreneur,” he told Thought Junkie.
His years of experience in the sometimes tricky music industry has helped build his character, “You don’t wait for things to get done, you go out and do it yourself because if you don’t move on your own, you get left behind.
This is especially the case when you’re putting up something new.”
The “something new” he describes is his very first entrepreneurial venture, Frank and Dean. The trendy and Instagram worthy spot located at Bonifacio Global City can be described as a “neighborhood” coffee shop.
“Everything revolves around providing the neighborhood with consistent, high quality specialty coffee, and building friendships with our guests,” he said.
Established in 2015, Miguel recalls the early years of Frank and Dean.
“It was pretty crazy. Our foot traffic was tremendous, leading to very high sales but the problem was that we didn’t have a specific identity. People liked us because we were the fresh new place to go but we were selling too many things all at once and our clientele got confused. We had fried chicken, coffee, and pizza all under one roof. Filipinos love these products but it watered down the essence of Frank and Dean,” he related.
Soon, the hype didn’t last and this was where the first challenges of being an entrepreneur that Miguel along with his young business group composed of five individuals in their late 20s and early 30s faced, “We needed to recalibrate who Frank and Dean was, we needed to make adjustments.”
From there, Frank and Dean developed their sense of self and this is what attracted their regular customers.
When asked why he decided to pursue being an entrepreneur, Miguel answered, “After college, I immediately pursued a career in music but you do have a lot of downtime as an artist and it means having a lot of time to pursue other things. This led to my decision of getting into business and becoming an entrepreneur.”
Today, aside from putting up his own music label, Big House Records, and continue making music with his band Morning Episodes, Miguel is also a new dad to six-month-old Callie and on his way to completing his Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship at The Ateneo Graduate School of Business.
For those still struggling, he shared, “It’s very important to identify what you’re passionate about and what you are good at. Because once you figure that out, you will know what to pursue. Once you’re pursuing that thing, come up with a vision of where or who you want to be. Think as big as you can. Because at the end of the day, it’s your passion and your vision that will keep you going and keep you motivated, most especially on the days that are extremely tough. Failure is never an option.”