Entrepreneurs are human beings too, and it’s important for them to avoid burnout. This rings true for Sofia Uy, an entrepreneur and senior high school student. She had to learn it the hard way, but now she reinforces self-care as she dedicates herself to her business, Tin Sum MNL, which makes and sells authentic Hong Kong-style frozen dim sum.
Starting a business at a young age has helped Uy develop certain skills and talents, while also setting the foundation for all of her future endeavors. Learning the ropes of the business world on her own has contributed to her personal and professional growth. Earning from her own business has also made her more independent from her family.
“I’m not fond of asking money from my mom if it’s for my wants,” Uy shared. “I do this business since I see myself doing it in the long run. I want to start young so that I could learn already.”
Although she has more things to learn, starting early has given her some advantages. Uy shares some tips for young entrepreneurs:
1. Forgive yourself if you’ve made a mistake and grow through it.
It’s inevitable to make mistakes, but what matters is learning from them without letting them discourage you. Uy recounted a time when she has made a mistake. but considered it a learning curve for her, especially since she manages her business on her own.
“There would be times where we’ve made a big mistake in our business,” Uy stated. “I remember my first time when I was 17, during my dessert business. I ship out the orders late since I had a hard time finding a fresh buko. My customer got mad, and it was my first time to experience that! She told me that her orders were useless because the celebration was over. Of course, I felt sad with the feedback. Experiencing that for the first time at a young age made me want to stop my business na, but glad I didn’t! I motivated myself and accepted the fact that I am only a human who makes mistakes, too. I forgave myself and used that experience to improve myself. Now, I am extra careful about how I handle my business.”
2. Treating yourself is important.
It’s important for entrepreneurs to rest at the end of the day, but it shouldn’t stop there. Self-love can also take the form of allocating some of the hard-earned money for something that one enjoys even if it doesn’t necessarily benefit one’s business. It does, however, contribute to an entrepreneur’s well-being. Uy believes that entrepreneurs deserve to treat themselves with the money they made, sharing her own experience in doing so.
“After all the hard work you’ve put into your business, it is also good to treat yourself,” Uy advised. “I take away a small percentage of what I earn to reward myself — whether buying my favorite food or something I want. It is important to reward ourselves after our hard work to avoid burnout. As I’ve said earlier, we’re all just human. We get tired, too. So, I think taking breaks and rewarding yourself in between would help to avoid burnout.”
3. Prioritize yourself.
What some people fail to realize is that although they dedicate their lives towards their craft to try to become a huge success, some important things in life are left overlooked. This may include one’s health, family time, personal growth, morale, and more. As entrepreneurs, taking care of one’s business also means putting one’s self first. Doing so means you’re taking good care of the person who manages the business.
“I think self-love is one of the most important things in running a business,” Uy said. “Kasi what you are or how you are doing would reflect in your business. Like if you’re joyful, it will reflect on how you communicate and deal with customers. It is necessary to care for yourself as you run your business, may it be physical or emotional. I always tell my friends to listen to their bodies. If they think that they’re exhausted with all the work, it’s not bad to rest. For me, prioritizing yourself and your mental health is an important key to a successful business.”
4. Grow with your business.
Uy considers handling her business like she’s taking up a school course, considering it an opportunity to develop her skills on her own. As her business grows, so does she.
“Make sure that you are developing yourself through your business,” Uy advised. “Personally, one of the reasons I started to do business is to learn and hone myself as early as I can. How I communicate with my customers is already a training ground for me to develop professionalism, confidence, and great communication skills. I also learned how to handle money and to save. Before, every time I receive an ang pao, I immediately think where I’ll spend the money. But now, I opt to save it and invest in my business. Don’t just go through your business — grow through it!”
5. Set your goals and motivations.
Whether making one’s business a career or a sideline, one should know if the business is in line with one’s goals in life. Entrepreneurs must know their “why” to keep moving forward.
“Setting up motivations and goals enables you to be extra,” Uy shared. “It pushes you to work harder and fuels you when you’re tired. Honestly, my main goal for why I started a business back then is to support my wants. As a teenager, I was in a stage where I love to go out with my friends and explore new things like make-up, restaurants, clothes, and more. I’m not fond of asking money from my mom if it’s for my wants. So, I decided to try doing business. Whenever I’m tired, I think of some restaurants I want to try or things that I want to save up for. The goals and motivations I set help me to get my energy back and fix my mind.”.
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