I was privileged to listen to a woman of success who is aptly described: from Maid to Made.
This woman was invited to share about entrepreneurship during the 2015 District 75 (Philippines) Toastmasters Mid-Year Conference. While I was reading her profile, I was impressed and inspired of her story from Maid to Made.
Rebecca Bustamante was born and raised in the challenging midst of poverty but she did not let this financial lack define her life story. While serving as a domestic helper in Singapore, she pursued her accounting education and she did this during her one-day off from work. She persevered and did not give up!
Today, she is the founder and president of Chalré Associates, a multinational recruitment firm for senior management executive positions. A typical day for Bustamante involves dealing with foreign companies and coordinating with local and foreign business leaders and economists for lectures and seminars.
For the last five years, she has also been at the forefront of organizing monthly forums for non-profit organization Asia CEO Forum, which operates as Chalré’s CSR project.
At the Toastmasters conference, she shared eight steps one can follow to achieve success in the field of entrepreneurship. Here they are as I add my own commentaries:
- Gain Knowledge
She said that you’ve got to become an expert in something considered high value by others.
This resonates with me. I’ve always heard from my mentors that entrepreneurship is about giving value and it’s the only way that you receive value back – in terms of payment to your product or service. Another thing about entrepreneurship is the importance of marketing and the New York Times Bestselling Author Brendon Burchard described that the new way of marketing is delivering value. That’s how important value is – it is needed to thrive in business! Hence, the way to do it is to become expert in something considered high value as Bustamante puts it.
She added that you’ve got to learn everything about your field and industry.
Learning everything would be really hard but I think what she meant was that you’ve to learn as much as you can about the industry, your customers, the competition, the market situation, and how else you can deliver high value.
- Gain Top Place
Gaining top place is a tall order. Is it possible that you become the Number 1? Isn’t that so difficult?
Perhaps, this is the reason why we need to choose our own niche – a smaller part of the whole wide world and be a star on that particular niche. My idol and mentor Bo Sanchez came to my mind – he is the top Catholic lay preacher/speaker/author in the Philippines (not to mention that he also speaks and followed internationally). Another star came to mind who I’ve also met at The Truly Rich Club is Edward Lee – the founder and Chairman of COL Financial, the largest online stockbroker in the Philippines.
I also take pride in having a (opinion) column with Herald Express, the new and fast-growing online news source in Baguio City and Northern Luzon; it could be the Number 2 on printed media but it appears it is the Number 1 for online media (again in Baguio City). It is not in the entire country but in a specific niche. I hope it maintains its status or even exceeds it.
But you may not gain the top place immediately. That could be the normal case. But the bottomline is to aspire for the top place or better stated, strive for excellence!
- Gain Control of Money
While money is not the most important thing in this world, it affects the important things in this world. While Bustamante did not mention this line, I think she agrees with it. This makes her include gaining control of money as part of her success steps or strategies.
Note that this is gaining control over money and not money gaining control over you.
Bustamante shared that she follows the 80-20 rule in her finances. She saves 20% of her salary. That’s something we can emulate. After all, it is not how much we earn, it is how much we keep.
- Gain Relationships
Life is all about relationships. It matters to gain relationships.
In the middle of the speech, she acknowledged her husband standing at the corner of the hall and she mentioned something that drew a round of applause from the audience. I wasn’t able to get jot down her sentence but it is something like: make your way to success so when you meet your life partner, you have something to bring in to the table. (Noting her background, this is really something!) My take on this is not just on the financial side but also on making yourself whole so you can give yourself to your partner as an overflow of love (versus a sucker of love).
I seem to recall Bustamante saying something like: be a success on your own so you can choose your man, not just any man. (This is not her exact words but Wow! That’s something! And isn’t that a huge challenge to us men?)
- Gain Good Work Habits
In this part, she highlighted the importance of ACTION. In fact, she did what I call her signature line: Do it now! Do it now! Do it now!
That’s it! Just do it! Now!
She also mentioned the importance of paying the price. Truly, if we want success, then we have to pay the price – we need to act now!
- Gain a Positive Attitude
I wasn’t able to take down notes on this part but her life story is a concrete example of gaining/having a positive attitude. Despite being born and raised poor, she did not nurture a poor mindset or negative attitude. Her positive attitude helped her to go through life’s challenges and emerged as a winner in life.
I’ve read in an article that when she told her boss that she wanted to study, her boss told her that she went there to work and not to study. But that did not put her hopes down. With the help of a Singaporean teacher, she enrolled and studied accounting at the Open University of Singapore Institute of Management.
How then can we gain a positive attitude? We can get a hint on this:
In the same article, it was mentioned that she was able to read Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’ and she said that the book influenced her a lot.
We can deduce that reading good books can help us gain positive attitude.
- Gain Personal Energy
Throughout her speech, she exemplified energy. There is energy in her presentation. I saw her in the early part of the morning seated in the corner with her laptop (probably doing some changes or final tweaks in her presentation). After a while, I saw her on stage checking if the clicker is working. She was early to prepare for her presentation and during her presentation, you can see and say that she prepared well.
In this part, I was reminded of the importance of health including proper diet and sufficient sleep/rest.
That morning, I’m a little guilty of the lack of personal energy because during the past three nights, I lacked sleep. In fact, I had to take a nap before I attended the Toastmasters Hero Fellowship Night/Cosplay because I was feeling weak and suffering from headache. Thus, I missed the first and probably the exciting part. I also had to limit my way of interacting with my fellow Toastmasters because of the lack of energy. I felt that I wasn’t able to make the most of the moment due to this.
Truly, it is a must to gain personal energy so we can do the things we want to do and be the person we want to be.
- Gain the Right Career
Earlier in the morning, a test speech was given by Sha Nacino during the Evaluation Speech Contest and it is about Making Your Passion Your Profession. I can say that Bustamante shares similar stand as she made a call back on making your passion your profession.
Truly, there are several career paths out there that we can choose from but it is not right to simply choose any career. It has to be the right career. There a lot of factors and passion is one of them. You also have to look at what you do best and what the ‘world’ needs.
These eight things that we need to gain would help us in our path to entrepreneurial/career success. Let’s take inspiration from her – a maid who made it!
Finally, she emphasized the importance of having a vision – of knowing where you want to go. Maybe this is the 9th power – to gain vision and follow through.
You maybe a maid or maybe not but with these eight success strategies, let us move forward so that in the future, we can say, “We made it!”
Lead and live,
(Chris Dao-anis/CPA, as an author and speaker, helps aspiring and young professionals become better communicators and leaders. He is a member of Toastmasters International, a global organization dedicated to helping the individual members become better communicators and leaders. He is a member of IAME & Associates Toastmasters Club in Makati City [www.iametoastmasters.weebly.com] and Pines City Toastmasters Club in Baguio City. | Visit www.chrispoweracademy.com)