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Millionaire former OFW shares 5 secrets to success

by | Feature

Aug. 19, 18 | 10:47 am

From being an overseas Filipina worker (OFW) in Dubai, Princess San Diego worked her way through different roadblocks, failures, and struggles and is now a millionaire.

San Diego shared to The Filipino Times five of her secret ingredients to success.

1. Do not let your failures stop you from moving forward
At an early age of 21, Princess San Diego decided to fly to Dubai to work as a customer service representative in an oil and gas company. After showing her dedication, she was promoted as a sales and marketing director only three months into her employment.

While she was making her own name in Dubai, an untimely and unfortunate moment happened to her family which forced her to return to the Philippines. In what was supposed to be a celebratory return home, San Diego was faced by her sick mother who died only months after her arrival.

Depressed by the series of unfortunate events that happened to her family, San Diego decided to stay in the Philippines and try her luck in setting up her own business.

She established different businesses from barbecue stalls to restaurants and even sold gadgets online at some point. San Diego tried jumping from one business to another because most of it did not go smoothly as planned.

“You should not dwell on the mistakes and feel bad about it. All you have to do is find a solution and make sure na di na maulit yung same mistakes. You’re not learning and you’re not growing if paulit-ulit mo siyang nagagawa,” San Diego said.

2. Be patient. Success does not happen overnight. It takes time.
By 2016, San Diego has tried venturing in 14 different businesses. While others would be discouraged with the consecutive failures, San Diego continued to explore. With patience, her success finally came as she posted a photo online of her made-up dessert. She combined her two favorites – leche flan and matcha.

“I posted my made-up dessert on my Facebook para ipakita ‘yung ginawa ko. I’d normally do that since I also had a resto as in hilig ko talaga magluto. Then may mga nag-ask kung binebenta ko. When there were a lot of my friends asking me if binebenta ko ‘yung dessert, sabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘This will become a business’”, San Diego told The Filipino Times.

She sold her first desserts during the Christmas season of 2016 for Php120 with a capital of only Php1,000. In a short amount of time, she was able to triple her capital. Only four months into her business, she was already earning Php20,000 a week.

3. Do not be scared of exploring. Take risks.
Like any other business, however, San Diego also faced hurdles. With the unexpected success of her “accidental” business, the former OFW had a hard time managing the bulk of orders that came alongside her success.

This pushed San Diego to take a leap and go outside her box by taking her business to a higher level. As a solution, the former OFW began partnering with re-sellers and franchisers to maximize the reach of her product and to have other people help her with the business. It is a risk, however, as more market means more manpower and bigger expenses. But for San Diego, it is either go big or go home. No pain, no gain.

This move was a game-changer and resulted in an income of Php20,000 to Php40,000 per re-seller each month. Through franchising, San Diego’s dessert has reached miles—Ilocos, Pampanga, Bulacan, GenSan, South Cotabato, Davao City, among many others.

“Nagstart ako mag-accept ng re-sellers noon kasi sobrang dami na ng volume ng orders ko and since wala akong physical store at home-based lang. Nag-isip ako ng paraan na mas kikita ng mablis, so I started getting re-sellers. Mas lumaki agad market ko then after nuon, nagkaroon na rin ng customers sa iba’t-ibang lugar sa Pilipinas. I eventually opened the business for franchising,” San Diego said.

For her, the moment a businessperson stops exploring is the moment the business becomes stagnant.

“Never quit. People who easily give up never succeed,” she said.

4. Have the right attitude and know your priorities.
Last year, San Diego’s earnings have exceeded one million pesos. With her success, she was able to buy two cars. While investing in material items is an option for her, she prioritizes planning her future with her husband by saving and investing.

“Di naman ako maluho eh. I’m living a comfortable life, okay na ako dun. More on ipon ako in preparation kapag nagka-family na kami ng husband ko. Then I’m planning of putting up more commissaries soon. We’re also looking for possible investments too,” the former OFW said.

Another option for her is venturing in other businesses while focusing on the growth of the dessert that brought her success.

Aside from a future coffee shop, San Diego is also planning to bring her product to the international market – including her old home, UAE. She said: “Proudly Philippine-made tayo eh. So I’m pretty sure it will happen. I’m working for it to happen.”

5. When success comes your way, do not be greedy. Share your blessings.
San Diego’s success not only opened an opportunity for her to have a better life, it also opened a door for her to share her blessings and help other people.

She does charity work with her family and friends to extend a little bit of happiness to kids, especially during Christmas season.

San Diego also never forgets to look back from her past experiences and attributes her success to the things she learned while she was still an OFW in Dubai.

“Yung pagwo-work ko sa Dubai taught me the word ‘survival’. Mag isa ako nabuhay sa Dubai eh. Iba-ibang tao ang kasama ko, ibat-ibang lahi. Ang dami adjustments,” she said.

With her story, she has one message to other OFWs who are on the verge of giving up: “Kahit marami tayong problema at pagod sa kakatrabaho, lagi natin isipin yung purpose natin kung bakit tayo nagtatrabaho at para kanino ito. Kasi iyun ang magiging reason kung bakit kailangan natin mapagod at magtyaga sa buhay. Marami kasi tayong pangarap. Either para sayo or para sa mga mahal natin sa buhay.”


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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 1 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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