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How to leap from employment to entrepreneurship

Ink-All-You-Can founder Jerry Ilao shares 4 helpful steps
By Elyssa Christine Lopez |



Freelancing, side-hustling, raket – they may have different names, but they all mean one thing: extra income. The urge to start a side-business at the age of online shopping has become more alluring for employees, simply because some make it look so easy.



Ink-All-You-Can founder Jerry Ilao was once one of the many who thought of venturing into their own, all while keeping a day job.


“I used to work as an accountant for a multi-national company, but I’ve always wanted to start my own business since I felt it’s the way to make my family rich,” Ilao said in his talk at the recently concluded Franchise and Business Expo at the World Trade Center.


Son to government employees, Ilao tried his luck at multiple ventures, eager to start his success story. He opened a retail-clothing store for his first try, then a car wash business, and even operated a restaurant once in his hometown in Naga City.


“I lost a million pesos for all these businesses that when I told my mom that I want to open a new business again, she already asked me: How much more will you lose this time?” Illao said in Filipino.



But the young entrepreneur was persistent.


Starting in his home sala, he operated his now full-fledged venture: Ink-All-You-Can. One of the pioneers in the ink refill business, his store was a hit, especially with its cheap offering compared to the usual new stocks of ink.


“Since 2006, we have now opened 30 stores nationwide,” Ilao said.


His path to entrepreneurship wasn’t a walk in the park especially after three failed attempts. But Ilao believes that with sheer persistence, anyone can be an entrepreneur like him too.


Here are some of the tips he shared to full-time employees who aspire to expand their horizons and be their own boss.



1. Prepare to work harder than ever before

Myth has it that entrepreneurs can have more time in their hands, now that they head their own operations. After all, no one will come sending a memo if one misses a work day.


“Being an entrepreneur is not an 8-to-5 job, in fact, sometimes your mind still works even when you’re in bed, ready to sleep,” Ilao said. “The success of the business relies on how you lead it.”




2. Set some balance

Even Superman had his off days and entrepreneurs are no exemption to such fact. Illao, who juggled his day job and businesses for years, had to set a detailed calendar on how his days, weeks and months would look like just to give ample time for every task he had to accomplish.



“Accept that your schedule will be jam-packed but never forget to always give time for family,” Illao said.



3. Follow the 80/20 principle

Also known as the Pareto principle, it states that only 20 percent of the work done causes the rest of the 80 percent outcome.


“You need to understand that many things in business are just noise, so you have to focus on the 20 percent that will matter to your company,” Ilao said. “Sales may only be coming from 20 percent of your stores, or probably only 20 percent of inquiries are serious with your product. The list goes on.”



4. Outsource when needed

And since juggling all tasks can ultimately get overwhelming, Ilao reiterated that there’s no harm in asking for help.


“Seek help from colleagues, or hire outside help to do tasks you can no longer accommodate,” Ilao said. “Make use of freelancers online.”





Elyssa Christine Lopez is's staff writer. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz.





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