How I Learnt to Start a Business From a Man Who Led 10,000 People

Jakarta Indonesia

I learnt how to start a business from a man who led over 10.000 people. He led his production team to become one of the most efficient manufacturing companies in the 4th most populous country in the world. They supplied 1.2 million products per month to brands such as Adidas, Nike and Reebok. This man is my dad. 

At home, my dad hardly speaks about the intricacies of his work. More often, he shares little nuggets of wisdom and habits that I continue to apply to my life today. Here are four lessons I've learnt from him. 

1) Don't be afraid to dream big — At a young age, my dad instilled in me and my siblings an adaptation of Napoleon Hill's expression: "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can be achieved." A person's mindset seals their own fate. 

The only barrier to achieving success is your own mind. How do you envision your life? On a piece of paper, write down your desires. Don't be afraid, and think that anything is out of reach. As my dad says, anything can be achieved if you can imagine it.

Each morning, I look at this on my desk. 

Each morning, I look at this on my desk. 

2) Have a plan and set goals — Dreaming big can help you envision the possibilities. However, it's not enough to simply sit and wait for them to come true. My dad carries in his wallet a piece of paper that he wrote when he was 16 years old. The paper lists a number of goals, of which 80% he has accomplished.

Creating a life blueprint helps you make decisions. After envisioning how your life can be, write down a list of goals that will help you achieve your desires. What steps do you need to take in order to move forward? Make these goals relevant, and keep them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

Coffee shop in New Westminster |

Coffee shop in New Westminster |

3) Meditate and reflect — Take the time each day to get lost in your own thoughts. This allows you to check-in and have a 'conversation' with the most important person—your own self. My dad spends his mornings on his desk, where he reflects and plans out his day. He writes in his journal, and looks back at his goals. This habit has helped him stay motivated and ensures he stays on track to accomplish his goals.

As someone who has always enjoyed the company of others, I had found it hard to form this habit. To overcome this, I began taking a few minutes before going to bed to reflect. I turn off all my electronics, grab a pen and paper, and just write. 

When starting a business, it becomes easy to lose focus on why you started in the first place. It gets easy to lose motivation and forget why you love what you're doing. Meditation and reflection helps to stay focused on the bigger picture. It's as simple as taking 5-10 minutes each day, and asking yourself questions. What did you learn today? What are you thankful for? What can be improved? This can be done at any time, whether it be in the morning while drinking a cup of coffee or strolling in a park during the evening. 

4) Be humble — There is no doubt that money is a necessity in the world. My dad is the simplest man I know. When he was growing up in a rural area in the Philippines, they had a small home with no fancy gadgets. Jokingly, he mentioned that they did have a sunroof, which was a hole in the roof, where rain would drip into their home. As kids growing up in Indonesia, me and my siblings asked our parents why we didn't have a swimming pool like other expat families. His answer was simply, "We don't need a swimming pool to be happy in life." 

My dad has always reminded us that placing happiness in material objects is dangerous. It gives a temporary high that lasts until it breaks, or when a new shiny object comes along. Adapting his mantra, I believe that an occasional splurge should be acceptable. After all, you've worked for your hard-earned money. It's most important to remain humble in the face of success. Encourage others to share your joy, but always be reminded of those with hardships. Invest in yourself, but also in others. 

Starting a business can be difficult, but these 4 habits form the foundations of mindset, goal-setting, focus and humility. They've helped a man who has led 10,000 people, and hopefully they will help you too. 

Happy birthday, Papa!