Filipino digital entrepreneur Russel Baquial said that to become truly great in business, one has to take risks. A risk-taker, the Covid-19 pandemic has propelled her into the digital economy which has allowed her to help her fellows by providing them job opportunities.
Early on in the pandemic, she, together with her business partners, realized that online commerce is getting more and more important for regular consumers and thought that they, too, should move with the times. In the digital era, people need digital stores, so they opened their own website where they sell products made in the UAE through Fincres. Their goal is committed to bringing products made in the UAE to neighboring countries and all over the world. The company supports manufacturers and their main distributors in terms of selling online, market their products within the UAE mainland, and even promotional and discounted prices.
The digital entrepreneur, whose mother was a former overseas Filipino worker, also sells things on Amazon, Google, Apple, iTunes, and Audible, among others.
Baquial said that being a boss of her own is both liberating and scary because she can’t assure if she’ll be successful or not. “Despite that, I believe that as long as you have mentors who will guide and encourage you in your projects, it’s worth it. My mentor was the one who put me on the path of digital and online businesses. We are in the era of the internet, so we have to move our operations online and be successful,” she said.
She added that since full normalcy hasn’t been restored yet, it’s still difficult to open a traditional brick-and-mortar store. “It’s challenging, expensive, and risky due to the ongoing pandemic. A traditional business may not even be sustainable because we don’t know when the pandemic will end in the country,” the digital investor said.
Currently, Baquial is more focused on her digital enterprises because it gives her the freedom to do whatever she wanted to do with her life. She can also bring her job wherever she goes, be it in the UAE or in the Philippines. Another good thing is she can outsource her employees remotely and can support her fellow Filipinos. Through her businesses, she helps raises her fellow Filipinos up.
“Being an entrepreneur sounds pretty lonely at first, but it isn’t. You don’t have to isolate yourself to be successful–in fact, having supportive colleagues is important to success,” she added.
Baquial’s life may seem very great now, but the story behind it shows that success is made through a lot of stress and sacrifices. Before being a business owner, she used to work in a retail store in the airport, where she managed a staff of 20 to 30 people from different nationalities. When the pandemic struck, the airport needed to let her go. While other workers decided to leave the host country, she and her friends decided to stay in the country to set up their own general trading business. An OFW for 21 years, Baquial said that she didn’t want to go back home yet as she has still a staff of freelance employees who were working for her. She also opted to stay overseas as she still wants to support the World Vision program, which aims to support children in at-risk communities by providing them funds for their health, education, among others. For six years, she’s supporting six kids with the aim to increase that number to 50 by December 2022.
Her current mission and advocacy are to help other OFWs build passive income streams through digital business by guiding and teaching them how to start up their own business, be it online or traditionally.
“With my experience, I’d tell my kabayan this: Surround yourself with the right people and try to get other sources of income while you still can. I’d also advise them to save a portion of their income as much as possible. The idea is for you to start building up a habit of saving up money so that you can invest it into a business later in life. Businesses are like successes: they take time. Avoid getting involved with get-rich-quick schemes or investments, and don’t start your own business without doing market research. Always be patient and find a knowledgeable mentor who is willing to guide you through the realm of investments and enterprises,” Baquial said.
This story has been featured in the 15th issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact Mr. Orli Gayeta at +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email to us at email@example.com.