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5 Lessons I Learned After Opening My First Business at 21

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Starting a business

People establish businesses for different reasons. It could be because they wanted to monetize their passion, saw an opportunity in the market, or to simply be their own boss. I’ve always aspired to build a business that revolved around what I loved so the responsibilities wouldn’t feel like a burden when it gets tough.

My partners and I didn’t have any experience in the Food Industry, and the only thing we knew was that we loved Japanese and Hawaiian food. We opened the restaurant fueled by nothing but confidence in ourselves and lessons from our ongoing college education.

Though opening day was one of the happiest days of my life, it didn’t stop there. In fact, it was only the beginning of my journey in the ups and downs of being a business owner.

Here are 5 important points I’ve realized while keeping the business afloat:

1. Loving to learn can go a long way

Given the fact that none of my partners and I had any professional experience in the food industry, we didn’t believe we were doomed. We hired a Professional Consultant who has been in the industry for a respectable amount of time that taught us what we needed to know such as where to get the necessary equipment, proper employee shifting schedules, where to get our suppliers, and even some leadership training.

He also referred a highly-competent Japanese Chef who taught us all the basics in a restaurant setting. Growing up unexposed to the kitchen, we had to allot a few days for the chef to teach us, especially me, first-level skills such as dicing, julienne, etc.

I didn’t allow my inexperience in the kitchen to stop me from making my dream come true. I kept trying until I knew more than enough, and to this day I’m still learning.

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” – Helen Keller

2. There will always be naysayers

Before the restaurant even opened, there were already naysayers. Even the photographers during our first food photoshoot doubted us. Whether it’s family, friends, or strangers, it’s important to remember why you started. The naysayers challenged me to push harder to work on the business to the point that I thought I was going crazy.

Our vision and mission echoed in my head and it overpowered the negative comments of those who doubted the business. Now, we serve customers daily and some of them have reached out to us to appreciate what we offer. That’s one of the things that keeps me going and believe me, it’s almost the best feeling.

3. People will step on you if you let them

A month after we opened, we were falsely accused of food poisoning and threatened to post on social media. As a restaurant owner that is one of the worst things to be accused of. Our staff were harassed almost every day for a week by this person who was asking for an apology for something we didn’t commit.

We investigated, stood our ground, didn’t apologize (it can be used against you), and informed the person that we forwarded this matter to our lawyer. We never heard from them ever again immediately after that. Some people are just looking for ways to bring your business down and you shouldn’t let them.

4. First-mover advantage shouldn’t make you complacent

Although the concept has existed in Western countries, it’s entirely new where I’m from (The Philippines). This was a calculated risk we were willing to take knowing it’s an untapped market. As the first in the country, it was an audacious endeavor where anything can happen. Being the first-mover meant that we could commit mistakes faster, thus learning instantly, and then improve.

There had to be a constant will to innovate even if we had no direct competitors yet. Eventually, we had competitors and this compelled us to brainstorm new strategies and ideas to promote our business.

I’ve never even heard of Guerilla Marketing before! We resorted to those methods with the mindset that being the first doesn’t matter. What matters is being the best and we continuously develop our concept to achieve that.

“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” – Mary Tyler Moore 

5. Staying close to people that support you is important

My core group of friends since high school are one of the biggest fans of my restaurant. We would have group chats on Facebook Messenger and suddenly one of them will say they’re craving for food in my restaurant. Soon, all of them wanted it.

Now, they’re not saying they like it just because they’re my friends, but because they genuinely believe in me, the concept, and see my potential to grow. This continues to be one of my sources of inspiration, and for that I am forever grateful. In a sea of people who doubt you, find the few who believe in you through thick and thin.

Have you started your own business? What was your experiences? Leave your thoughts below!

Nicah Caramba is an entrepreneur who is passionate about public speaking and travel. Aside from chasing the next adventure, she is constantly looking for ways to help people communicate their ideas better in her blog todayimchanging.com!Sign up for her FREE Minimal Fear Course!

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5 Women Who Revolutionized Tech and Made Millions

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There are many female entrepreneurs in today’s world revolutionizing the tech industry and owning their own unique craft. Before, technology and business was seen as a more male-dominanted industry that women rarely crossed into. That’s no longer the case. (more…)

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The Truth About Marketing Every First Time Founder Should Know

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While starting your own business is an exhilarating experience, many start-up founders struggle with successful marketing more than any other area of business. So if you’re thinking about starting a business, here are some of the key things you need to know about marketing before you take the plunge. (more…)

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Lessons I Have Learned About Scaling a Business as a Startup Founder

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When I set out to start my own business three years ago, I never imagined bright lights and private jets to New York or Shanghai for business meetings. Good thing I didn’t because it is nothing like that at all. It was a struggle from day one and I had to embrace the grind to grow. (more…)

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5 Hacks to Improve Your Writing Skills in English for ESL Learners

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Studying in college is hard for everyone, but ESL learners arguably suffer the most. Moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and keeping pace with the rest of the class may seem like an unbearable burden. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but you have to pull through and not give up. 

In moments like this, it’s always a good idea to seek help. Whether you go to WriteMyPaper to order an essay or just talk to a friend, admitting vulnerability is an important step towards improvement. In this article, you will find some tips on how to get better at essay writing, even if English is not your native language.

 

Control Your Environment

Improving your language skills is all about constant practice. Living in an English-speaking community is the first thing you should do to start your practice. It might be tempting to surround yourself with people who already speak a familiar language. However, this way, you won’t be practicing English on a daily basis.

You need to make those lessons almost intuitive in a way that you don’t have to do anything to learn the language. If you live in an English-speaking community, for example, if your roommate speaks English, you will have to practice the language, whether you want it or not.

Still, make sure you don’t take it too far. Taking care of yourself is still as important as ever. Feeling like an alien for the sake of education is not worth it. Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family, talk to them as often as necessary.

 

Practice Constantly

Practicing language is not just about doing your homework. You can make practicing English a normal part of your daily routine by watching TV, listening to music, and reading books in this language. 

Yet, this is a bit tricky. When being surrounded by white noise, people tend to learn not to notice it. You need to ensure this doesn’t happen. As you watch movies or read books, maintain your attention on what you’re doing. If you hear or see a word that you don’t understand – translate it and write it down. Be mindful and remember what you’re doing this for.

 

Writing Is The Answer

If you want to specifically learn to write, you need to do one thing, and that is to write. Continuous practice will help you understand what mistakes you often make and, in time, eliminate them. Focus on your goal, and don’t get discouraged when something’s not working. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Get a journal and write in it daily. Pick a new topic every time and note everything you can think of. It’s also important that you write by hand, a spelling checker in your computer is tempting, but it will not help you remember how to spell words correctly. 

Besides, journaling as a habit has multiple health benefits, and it can be therapeutic. It can help you get in touch with yourself and process your emotions better.

 

Learn In a Group

It’s proven that learning in a group is more efficient due to the sense of competition. Find a bunch of like-minded people who want to study with you or join an already existing one, like a speaking club.

The benefit of such activities is that you get all these people from entirely different backgrounds who are all good at various things. This will help you exchange experiences, which is impossible if you’re alone.

Schedule regular meetings, come up with topics to discuss and activities to do. You could watch videos or movies together, or talk about common things. Having assignments like describing an event can also be beneficial for the entire group. This way, while one person speaks, the rest think about how they would say the same things differently. 

This will help you feel more confident in your skills and, consequently, speak and write better.

 

Expose Yourself

The most important thing about learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable; you just have to take it as a natural part of a learning process. 

A child that is learning how to walk doesn’t give up after falling once, and you shouldn’t either. It’s most likely that your friends understand that you’re just learning a language, and they won’t laugh at you for misusing a word or a few. 

Get over that fear of error and make as many mistakes as it will take. Treat it lightly, and don’t beat yourself up for it. On the other hand, try to attend as many events as you can that will expose you to the foreign language. Not only will it boost your English skills, but also improve your social confidence!

 

Wrapping Up

Learning a language is hard; there’s no arguing about that. However, it’s going to get easier with time. Take every hard thing that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson. 

Watch your favorite movies in English, converse with native speakers, and you’ll see the improvement very soon!

Remember to be patient about it. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up over something that you have so little control of. Good luck!

 

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