Profiles, Stories, Taoke (Business)

Modern Tao Ke: 7 Tips for Working Students Who are Entrepreneurs

As a working student in Chiang Kai Shek College, taking up BSBA Management, Machu Chua knows what it’s like to work for everything he has. His self-sufficiency and commitment to gain enough profit to continue his studies and graduate this year empowers him to balance both school and his business. 

His business, Just Chuw PH, sells homemade food products that are for the Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and American soul. This ranges from siomai to bagoong to gyoza and more. Aside from food, he also provides stainless furniture fabrication.

“During this pandemic, my family had gotten into a financial problem,” Chua shared. “I’m graduating this year and muntikan na ako mag-stop. But my cousin called me up regarding an opportunity to have a business. And because of taking that opportunity to have a business, I was able to financially support myself so that I could continue studying.”

Working to support himself while studying hasn’t been easy for Chua. But taking it all in stride, he reminds himself of the bigger picture and brighter future ahead.

Here are some tips from Chua that could help inspire and motivate working students who are entrepreneurs on the side:

1. Let your mistakes fuel you.

Chua shared that there were indeed times when he struggled and had moments of self-doubt that affected him. Not wanting to let his thoughts of despair and past mistakes cloud his head, he decided to motivate himself to do and be better than the person he was yesterday.

“If there were any things that have helped motivate me, it would be my past mistakes,” Chua shared. “I have moments wherein I am faced with overthinking if I could still do something to get to a better position in life, pero ngayon, chinachallenge ko na lang sarili ko every day so that I could grow. But still, tao lang din tayo and it’s normal to get tired at letting yourself rest. Just make sure na after ng pahinga, mag-bobounce back tayo para mas maging motivated tayo sa sarili natin.”


2. Focus on your growth.

There are times when some of us might experience that “inggit factor,” he saidd, referring to the tendency of a few people to be envious of someone else’s life, status, possessions, achievements, and more. “‘Oh, my friend’s so lucky, he has this, he has a car, they can buy whatever they want, or they don’t have to work just to be able to study.’”

Chua shared that he has already accepted everything that has happened so far. But whenever envy kicks in, he always has to remind himself that he may not have been given enough resources, but he had an opportunity to start a business, continue his studies, support himself and his family, and even make his parents proud.

“‘Yung iniisip ko na lang is that I get to grow every day,” he said. “So even if I work so hard, I get to grow maturely from the experience and that’s something money cannot buy. The experience that I’ve gotten from the adversities I have faced will ready me for the future ahead. May times na nagiging hopeless ako, oo, but I have to look at the bigger picture.”


“If there were any things that have helped motivate me, it would be my past mistakes,” Chua shared. “I have moments wherein I am faced with overthinking if I could still do something to get to a better position in life, pero ngayon, chinachallenge ko na lang sarili ko every day so that I could grow.”


3. Put your heart in all the things you do.

Despite all the challenges that he has gone through, he stresses the importance of enjoying what you love while you face the challenges that come with it. 

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved food. My passion has always been with food,” Chua shared. “I’ve always liked exploring different tastes, textures, qualities, and procedures of how each dish was made. That’s why I entered the food business.”

He shared that the key to success is earning from something that you love, which would help you balance your time between studying and working on your business since the latter may already be considered as taking a break from schoolwork.

“I don’t see my current business as a ‘business’ itself,” he said. “It’s something that I enjoy and reflects who I am. Sure, I get to earn from this kaya tawag is ‘business’ but considering that this is my passion and that I get to make all my customers smile with each product sold, I would feel fulfilled in the end. If love mo ang ginagwa mo, madaming dahilan para maging successful ang sarili mo at ang business.”  


4. Face your fears.

“It’s normal naman to feel scared,” Chua said. “Each of us has our own reasons for choosing not to pursue what we want. Maybe it’s because we’re too afraid to make a mistake or that we doubt ourselves. But you have to be confident and brave enough to face your fears if you want to pursue something and have a sense of growth in your life. Wag ka matakot mag-risk — just grab the opportunity.”

“Honestly, I was afraid during the first few stages of the business,” he admitted. “I had to communicate with other people at first and I had no experience and how to sell at all. What helped solved that was taking the risk to face my own fear. Although the fear is still present, pero it’s something I learned to overcome in time. I was able to become confident in the process. Parang promo lang ‘yan, you gain something for yourself, so does your business.”


Gyoza. Photo courtesy of Just Chuw


5. Build a support system.

As young as he is, he stated the importance of other young entrepreneurs surrounding themselves with supportive people.

“I think the early days of my business wouldn’t have been successful if it wasn’t for my friends and family,” Chua shared. “I started selling to a circle of friends and family then got the chance to meet different people through them. But I was blessed at how a lot of people from our older batch, including my teachers, showed their support in me and believed in me. It makes me proud knowing that I was able to achieve this while I’m still studying. And even if things get hard, there will always be people to support me and not just buy from me.”


6. Remember who you’re doing this for.

“Now I know how hard my parents have worked just for me to be able to study, yung stress and yung need nila i-sacrifice for me,” Chua added. “Pero now, it’s so surprising to know that I can do it as well.”

Chua reminds himself that he is not just working on his business for his growth, for his studies, or for his own gain, but to help ease his parents’ problems.

Ngayon, kahit papaano, I get to cater to my family’s needs,” he shared. “Although it takes discipline on my end to choose to help them instead of buying the things that I want. But since they have done so much for me already, it’s the least that I could do to repay them, and I like to look at it that way.”


7. Set a goal for yourself.

“As we go through life, we have to know our goals,” Chua said. “After setting each goal, that’s when you start planning and even growing. Pero bakit nga ba need natin ng goals? In my case, I get distracted when I don’t set goals for myself, most especially when I have that thinking that I’m not aiming for anything. You’ll have that lack of responsibilities and direction; you’ll never know where you can be totally committed so that you can pursue what you want to achieve. Libre lang mangarap, and it makes us happy and look forward to something. It helps challenge you to be more motivated and give it your best.”


Want to know more about setting goals? Check out our article with Belle Du Jour Power Planner President Darlene Ty-Nilo here. For more tips for young entrepreneurs, check out more advice from a young baking entrepreneur here.

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