Planting the Seeds of Success During the Quarantine

During this lockdown period, a lot of Filipinos lost their jobs. Thus, it became imperative to be creative in finding alternative ways of earning money. Willy, who had more time in his hands right now, decided to engaged in an online business with his siblings to help augment their family income. (His father used to work as a painter). Below is his reflections about his current endeavors. 

"Urban gardening has become a buzz word in the Philippines recently especially during the lockdown -from the edible ones like onions and garlics to the colorful fauna used for their various scents, shapes, and sizes. During the lockdown period, while some are finding the enjoyment in homemade cooking or enjoying the serenity of the lush greenies provided by urban gardening, our family decided to open a small online business. 

My eldest sister, Mina, found herself engulfed with the passion for planting during the quarantine. She found the activity both relaxing and practical (since you can harvest your plants). This is where the thought of sharing this passion with others came from.Our start-up is called Pots and Soil. Mina manages the suppliers and the orders from our Facebook page while my two older brothers are responsible for delivery. I serve as our start ups’ administrative and finance officer, keeping track and managing the inventory and finance of our budding business.  

It was exciting and fun at first. 

Soon, I realized that weight of starting up a business. The responsibility in handling the things I do started to get heavier. New challenges started to present themselves - from the hassle of checking inventory to cash flow confusions. Most of the time, the struggle is an internal one, on whether all my effort to push this business is still worth it or not.

Then the seedling grew. 

Despite the hardships, I chose to persist much a like a seedling facing all the challenges of breaking out from its comfortable pod. Perseverance and most especially open communication became the key ingredients to make our team. I remembered that during our Swiss Re Start Up Academy last April 2019, I learned that when it comes to negotiation, I have a friendly (and a bit of systematic) personality type. This identification helped me to strategize my way in settling the terms with my sister and to balance out our tasks. Being systematic, I was concise, precise, and always looking for clarity in the things I do and say. Meanwhile, being friendly, I also used persuasiveness, expressiveness, and creativeness to turn the situation in my favor. In the end, the seeds of effort that I planted, bear fruit. My tasks are now more manageable as my siblings took more responsibilities in our business. 

Deep Work: Willy focused on solving the business case given to them during the April 2019 Swiss Re Start Up Academy.

In summary, I gained a lot of experience from a short span of time in operation. I learned that challenges are always there to toughen us up and prepare us for what must come. Also, time management is always a factor to productivity, this I learned while being able to balance this responsibility with the things I want to do such as writing a novel or doing a research paper. Moreover, when having problems, an open communication is always a “go to” solution because it unloads all the concerns from your mind and releases it in the appropriate channel. Lastly, opportunity does not always come in the most explicit ways, it is through how we view situations we are in that we become buds preparing ourselves to bloom."

Willy is an incoming college freshmen in Ateneo de Manila University. He will be taking up BS Health Sciences. On his free time, he enjoyes cooking, planting, doing math problems, reading about general information and organizing things. 

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