Most people want to be self-made millionaires but not all have the grit it takes to become one. Most of us hear the words ‘delayed gratification,’ ‘put your money in investments so it will grow,’ ‘find more sources of income,’ but are you willing to put in the time to get on your feet and do the dirty work to get there?
I’ve read about the usual self-made millionaires who land on the special feature pages of the mainstream press, but there are two rags-to-riches stories I could say I’m really fond of. The first is Myrna Padilla. I attended the Women Helping Women Summit by Belle de Jour Planners in 2016, in which she was one of the speakers. She worked as a domestic helper in Hong Kong for almost 30 years and took care of other children while leaving her own in Davao. Every day, she would think about how she could stay in the Philippines while earning money enough to support her family.
Right now, she is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Mynd Consulting, a business outsourcing company based in Davao that offers a wide range of services, basically internal systems applications and mobile applications.
By the looks of it, most of the attendees of the summit came from middle class families. Ms. Padilla posed a question that I will never forget: “If I can do it despite all the roadblocks, why can’t you? I’m sure you have a more comfortable life right now than I ever did when I was younger. What’s stopping you from reaching your financial goals?” I saw some people shedding a tear during the talk but got startled once she became tough and asked this statement.
Another self-made businesswoman I’ve read about is Rebecca Bustamante. She was part of a big family in Pangasinan and decided to leave the Philippines to go to Singapore as a nanny. She saved 20 percent of her income apart from sending remittances to her family in the Philippines and even went as far as being a working student. Fast forward today, she is a multi-awarded individual and the CEO of Chalre Associates, an executive search firm, as well as the spearhead of prestigious events such as the Asia CEO Forum. She also hosts her own online show titled “Self-Made,” which features successful people in Asia to inspire ordinary viewers that they can reach their goals, too.
While their stories are inspirational and nice to hear, what is usually not highlighted is the hardship they had to go through to get to where they are today. Most financial gurus tell us to save at least 20 percent of our income so we can achieve our financial goals. But what about the emotional investment that we put into our work, or sacrifices we have to make in order to do our job? What about the external factors, such as having kids to feed and a family to take care of? We often look at self-made millionaires to see the secret recipe of financial success, but surely we have our own journeys that are different from those of Padilla and Bustamante, or any other self-made millionaires.
While I see their life stories as an inspiration to dream of making it big on my own, all of such dreaming will be pointless if I don’t take action as they did. One thing most self-made millionaires have in common is the ability to overcome the fear of failure, which surely comes to visit in the course of the journey. My fear of heights is triggered when I’m forced to go somewhere at high altitude, but my fear of failure, or that I will not earn profit from the online shop that I’ve been dreaming to put up, comes even just at the thought of such failure. Bias toward taking action and overcoming the fear of taking risks to earn big is easier read and said than done.
If you’ve reached reading up to this point, then I’m guessing that you want to achieve financial success just like the self-made millionaires we always get to read about. I challenge you to go beyond reading these financial success stories and take action to make your own.
Kristel Silang is a content manager at MoneyMax.ph, a financial comparison website aiming to help Filipinos save money through diligent comparisons of financial products.