I had my first taste of entrepreneurship in 2000 when I worked at a technology startup after graduating from SJSU. I didn't launch the company but I was the 12th employee with a good significant amount of shares. This was pretty exciting at the time considering in the year 1999 there were 457 IPOs, most of which were internet and technology related companies.
I wore many hats and worked closely with the CEO and engineers launching online products. However, the dot-com came crashing down in 2000 and unfortunately, the company was one of the casualties. I learned many valuable lessons from the startup; how the Internet works, how I enjoy building products and that I wanted to learn more about starting an Internet business on my own. I decided to take classes at Mission Community College in Santa Clara, CA. In the Fall of 2000, I took a class on Web Design/Programming and in the Spring of 2001 I took a class on "Small Business Startup and Management." I was determined to learn and received A's on both of the classes. It felt good receiving the highest grade on the class project.
I learned how to write a business plan which was the class solo project for "Small Business Startup and Management." I used Business Plan Pro to help write my business plan on Bay Area Entertainment called Bay Area Hot Spots. Until this day I still own bahotspots.com. I received an A+ on the project and my plan was shared throughout the class with a recommendation from my professor. I felt confident ready to take on the challenges of launching my own Internet company with a Marketing degree, knowledge of building websites and writing a business plan.
I wrote another business plan soon after for FilipinoPeople.com and it was my first internet startup that I launched. I wanted to build an online destination similar to BlackPlanet, AsianAvenue and iVillage but for a specific niche market, Filipino Americans. I created a powerpoint pitch, executive summary, marketing plan and designed the beta website. I began pitching and was able to raise seed money from family and friends who believed in the concept. Unfortunately, we failed fast without a solid team, a clear strategy and no path to profitability. I fell flat on my face and learned the tough way. I burned myself out and felt most of the blame. I lacked the experience, so decided to go back to the corporate world to learn hands on experience at the same time learn more about entrepreneurship. It was back to the drawing board.
For the past 17 years, I've worked for several startups, co-founded three startups, filed a couple patents and launched a few apps. I continue to learn and recently graduated from Founder Institute Sacramento. As an entrepreneur, I enjoy building products that solve a problem, offer value and significantly improve user experience.