If you believe that you can learn from the experience of others, then this book is for you. Although this is not a piece of business advice on how to become a millionaire, it's about sharing someone's blueprint to inspire others.
This is a true story.
Michael was born to an upper-middle-class family in the Philippines. Growing up in a material world like environment, he always knew what he wanted―to become a successful businessman and a millionaire before the age of 21.
He always hated school growing up and never believed in the education system. He anathematized all the school subjects (except for P.E. or Physical Education). Above all, he felt that going to school every day is just a waste of time. In his mind, schooling prevented him to start early in the business―thinking ahead of his time, it's impossible to become a millionaire by the age of 21 without owning a business.
He survived grade school and high school by cutting corners and through the help of his classmates and friends. As a result, he had relatively low grades. Michael rarely studied whenever there was an exam, quiz, or periodical tests―simply not his interest. He would rather play and enjoy his childhood the best way he knew.
Near the end of his high school life, his mindset naturally changed from a happy go lucky to a more serious type. He knew that college will play a crucial role in his dreams. Before the graduation day, Michael asked if he can take up a Business Management course feeling that the program will help him chase his dreams. However, it was declined. Probably due to the lack of confidence and trust in his judgment, he was advised to take up HRM (Hotel Restaurant and Management) and was urged to work abroad instead.
He was somehow convinced by the idea. He even consulted one of his high school teachers and it said to him that HRM and Business Management are similar in a way, but with HRM, you'll even learn more. Nonetheless, Michael was still focused on his dream of owning a good business and to become a millionaire by the time he reaches 21, or as soon as possible, at the very least.
Capitalizing in his sense of urgency, he saw an opportunity to finish college within 3 years and graduated at the age of 19. After finishing HRM (which he didn't even like), he became happy. Very very happy. Freedom away from school means an opportunity to make money serious money. However, he has a problem. Michael didn't have the money to start any kind of business―but he has grit and determination. With around 2 years left in his personal time frame, he chose to be ruthless in saving money.
After getting his college diploma, Michael immediately looked for a job and sent over 20 resumes for who he thought that pays well. Within just 2 weeks, a fancy restaurant became interested in his credentials and scheduled him for an interview. With over 50 applicants and numerous screenings and interviews, Michael, along with the other 5 applicants were chosen.
He had a good salary for a rookie. Every month, Michael saves at least 85% of his salary and deposits it into his bank account. He lived in frugality. According to his estimate, by consistently accumulating a huge portion of his salary for the next 18 months, he can finally start his own business with decent capital.
After 6 months, Michael opted for a job upgrade. From a restaurant, he applied for a new job in a 5-star hotel. Backed up by his good records from his first job in the restaurant, Michael got his 2nd job in a 5-star hotel in a much easier fashion, even though this time, there were over 100 applicants in the screening and interview. However, to his surprise, the salary in the hotel was not as good compared to his first job. Working hours are much longer too. And on top of that, there were no overtime wages.
That experience inspired him even more to become his own boss. Initially, he wanted to quit his job, but Michael looked at the bright side. He knew that if he pushes on, he will still get a fair salary + experience.
Through his thriftiness and frugality, it did not take 18 months to build his business capital. Within just 12 months, Michael finally saved enough money to start his first business. He immediately quit his job and started to do his business research. Setting up a business for the first time and without experience is no easy task. But during that time, Michael was determined to take any kind of business opportunity. And he wants to do it fast.
Michael saw a food cart franchise opportunity, he learned that the total cost of the franchise including the rent, and permits would cost him about 90% of his savings. So he decided to give it a go. Michael established his brand new business inside a shopping mall that has relatively good foot traffic.
To him, it was a dream come true―opening up a business at an early age. Michael was hands-on in his food cart. Every day, he spends all his time there from 9 am to 9 pm to help and manage his employees. Unfortunately, Michael had a rough start despite his hard work in the business. His products were not selling very well based on his expectations.
For the first 6 months, his business was hemorrhaging money. Michael never saw this coming. He thought that if he would only work hard enough in the business, everything should be fine. In the 7th month, he is on the verge of bankruptcy. From there, all of the savings started to dissipate and on top of that, Michael is getting married soon.
Out of the blue, Michael had a call from his mom and asked him, "would you like to work here [abroad] for 3 months? You can just come back to the Philippines before your wedding day." The offer was good. The salary for 3 months is equivalent to his annual savings. Michael seized the opportunity.
Furthermore, Michael asked his fiancee to take care of the business while he is away and said to her, "all of the money that I will earn abroad for the next 3 months will go to our business fund. Let us try to fix the business by infusing more capital."
Michael was convinced that quitting is not an option. When he came back to the Philippines after 3 months, he got married right on the schedule, and once again, he focused on his business as well as leaving the high paying job abroad.
Michael received a business proposal when he came back. Another food cart owner in the same Mall offered him to buy her existing business. And the cost―his entire savings.
Michael's family was against it. They kept on telling him, "you know Michael, she [the business owner] will not sell you that business if it truly makes money. She is just selling you that business because it is also losing money. Much like your current business."
Susan [the other food cart owner who sells her business] had attempted to sell it to other people as well but no one wants to buy it from her. But Michael wants to take another chance. So he did his math. Analyzed why it was for sale. Its strengths. Its weaknesses. He found out that her business is actually doing well but it was pilferages from its service crew that's doing the damages. Susan probably knew it, but at this point, she just wants out of the business.
Michael bought the existing food cart business in the Mall that was offered to him and he decided to close his struggling food cart franchise. He took good care of his newly acquired business. With a few tweaks, optimization, and effective management (which will be revealed in Michael's second book, "How To Effectively Manage Your Business Even If You're Not There)―this time it was a success. Michael made his first million when he was 24 years old, although it was 3 years short of his initial goal, he was more than contented.
1. If you have a passion for business, it will tremendously help you to overcome challenges.
2. Never give up.
3. Time is gold. Start now.
4. Save money. Be very thrifty. Use the fund only for business.
5. Do not be scared to take the risk.
6. Even if you work hard in the business, it will not guarantee success.
7. You should have a plan B way ahead of time.
8. Do not get discouraged after failure.
9. Try and try until you get it right and cut your losses.
10. Education is important but there a lot of successful businessmen that did not even finish school. Making money does not require school medals, high grades, or even a graduation diploma.
Michael is a private mutual fund manager and an investor. He wants to share his experiences with everyone that believes in the phrase, "experience is the best teacher" through his short stories. His articles are meant to inspire and entertain.