LAGUNA Board Member Dave Almarinez finally did it! It has always been his dream to write a book about his life, its lessons, and his remarkable journey as a boy selling peanuts to classmates to that of a self-made millionaire. The book entitled, “The Blind Spot“ has for its sub-title, “Uncover the Not-So-Hidden Truths of Business Success.“
Slim and handy, reading Dave’s book is exactly like hearing him talk complete with gestures and enthusiastic exclamation points. Overseas Filipino workers will like its simplicity, brevity, and humor.
The upside is that 39-year old Almarinez used to be an OFW in Singapore. Today, he runs a multimillion direct selling business that provides jobs to thousands of sales staff and distributors across the country. His book, “The Blind Spot“ is all about spotting opportunities, being bold enough to seize them, and taking leaps of faith, from employee to successful entrepreneur.
Who is Dave Almarinez? Listen to him describe his growing up years.
“Growing up, I had to work to survive. I earned my own allowance in grade school. Early in the morning, I would buy peanuts wholesale at the public market, repack these in smaller plastic bags, and after class, sell them for a profit in the streets. I would approach strangers and sell peanuts while my classmates played. I was the butt of jokes in class, but I persevered.“
As a kid, Dave was short and had dark skin made darker because he was always out in the sun selling peanuts on the streets. This made him the butt of jokes. His classmates bullied him, called him names, and did everything they could to make grade school life miserable. Today, some of these bullies are now on his payroll as company employees.
To get through college, he worked as a service crew in various fastfood chains. As a student, Dave barely made it. He was largely invisible, precisely because he had too much on his hands making ends meet. Thus in his book, he counseled young people not to lose hope if their grades are not spectacular. “While I believe in the value of education, I don’t believe that grades are the be-all and end-all determinants of your future success. My grades were never that high. Since I was toiling in the hot sun after class, peddling peanuts on the streets, I did not have a lot of time to study. It did not help that because I worked after school, I was soon targeted by bullies. This affected my self-esteem and school became a less-than-enjoyable experience.“
He goes on to say that education does give one an advantage over others in terms of employment and having a network to tap into. But the grades that a young student gets won’t be the sole determinant of success. “Who you were in grade school, or high school, or even college, will not prevent you from being the person you want to be TODAY.“
In his book, Dave dishes out sound advice especially for young people who dream to become entrepreneurs but have no capital to start with.
“For those who cling to the excuse of not having enough capital, here are a few suggestions to remove this roadblock:
Start saving a portion of your salary every month to raise the initial capital you need.
De-clutter your household, and that of your friends’ and neighbors’ and gather all stuff for a garage sale or a series of garage sales, to add to your savings.
Prepare a business plan with a breakdown of initial expenses and use this as a basis to borrow money from close and trusted relatives, friends and associates. Do this with a clear payback plan that is timebound and practical (e.g. not overly ambitious).
Look for a possible partner(s) that may be interested in embarking on a new entrepreneurial adventure.
Make sure that your business plan is detailed and professionally done.
Take a serious look at microfinance. Rural banks, non-profit organizations, cooperatives, and government institutions offer microfinance programs that enable first-time entrepreneurs to take out minimal capital. With such start-up loans come free training including advice on how to market one’s products.
Get a list of successful SMEs that started through microfinance. Ask questions. Visit their stalls. Tap into their networks. Learn as much as you can from their mistakes.
OFWs and young people will learn quite a lot from Dave’s book. I recommend it as an easy yet productive read. How can you get a copy? Search “The Blind Spot by Dave Almarinez on Amazon.com. The paperback edition is available now from Equitrust Global. To order, just text or contact Abigael Alonte at 0929283-8094 or call us up at the Blas F. Ople Policy Center via 833-5337.
I am plugging Dave’s book because I believe in sharing the life stories of people who overcame poverty through hard work and perseverance. If you know of such success stories, let me know. This space is theirs for the sharing. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me be the judge on which life stories are worth writing about for our Sunday readers.