CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–“Sometimes you are up, sometimes you go down, and sometimes you even go go go down, but if you have a clear why, you become resilient.”
In an in-depth interview through Talakayan sa PIA with the creator and CEO of TechTalkies, a co-working space provider in Cagayan de Oro City, Mark Andrian Taganahan shared vividly how he started with nothing but just a business proposal, a mere business idea in his head that he wanted to pursue.
“I was a home based teacher and I saw that even when I was just at home, I was able to work. When the pandemic hit Cagayan de Oro, tons of companies closed. A lot of people were unemployed.”
An opportunity or rather a problem with a clear solution, struck him. A co-working space that could provide those unemployed with opportunities to earn online.
He created a co-working space, August 1, 2020, at the rise of COVID 19 pandemic. They provided equipment, coaching, as well as an account to work with.
“For our first group, we started with 24 people. They have helped in the way that they provide food to their families,” he said.
He also remembered a comment from one of his online-based teachers, “I am thankful that you were there sir,” he asked, why? “Because if not for you, we would have nothing to eat during the pandemic.”
When he was little, a kid, Mark described himself as a young businessman.
“When I was young, I loved to do business. One time, there was a basketball league in our neighborhood and I remember making juice then I put it in an ice wrapper and would sell P1 for each,” he laughingly shared.
But then as he grew older, he would ignore the business side of him.
What pushed him this time to become an entrepreneur is the problems he sees in his community.
“That is the first thing you need to understand when you do business, you need to address a certain problem within the community. If there is a problem, then you solve a problem. Business owners as we are, we are problem solvers,” he shared.
He also explained to have a clear “why” in a business. He said, it is not easy to start and maintain a business. “If you have a clear reason, a clear “why” in what you do, you tend to address matters where hey, everything will be fine,” he added.
Mark did not start with hefty capital to begin his business idea, in fact, he had zero capital.
“I started with zero money and I badly need P1.5 million to start a business,” he confessed.
“But I have a clear “why.” So I looked for people that had money and I had a business proposal. I am so glad and honored that I was a graduate of a program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) three years ago but right now I am still grateful because without them, I don’t know how to present a business proposal to anybody,” he shared.
He advised young entrepreneurs or those who intend to build a business of their own not to play ‘know it all.’
“As a starter, you need to accept the fact that you don’t have anything. Don’t play, know it all. Because if you play, know it all, that’s the time you go down.”
Mark emphasized the need to embrace imperfection.
“I don’t have money but I have a business proposal. I have a business in mind so I went to DTI. We started with 11 computers, now we have more than what we are expecting. We have around 94 all over Mindanao. We reached 150 but we had to cut down because we need to meet the standard for our clients. But that is okay because I started with nothing,” he shared.
There is a big opportunity in Mindanao, he said, for businesses to provide employment. In freelancing alone, around 1 billion clients are looking for online workers all around the world.
“We are targeting around 500 people to provide jobs and the market place here is really good. Why? Because clients nowadays are looking for Filipinos, because we have this neutral accent, and we are good at understanding the needs of the clients. And Filipinos are hard workers but some Filipinos don’t know how to start a career online and that is why we are here to help them and after that, they can start their own,” he shared.
Mark is also looking back with gratitude. DTI has been a big help, he said.
“These are the people that tapped your back saying hey you can do it. These are the people and they are strangers but still they believe in your business proposal, they believe in you and they guide you throughout,” he meaningfully said. (JMOR/PIA-10)
Mark Andrian Taganahan, CEO of TechTalkies, a co-working space provider in Cagayan de Oro City, shares his beginnings as a businessman in the middle of COVID-19 pandemic and how he sustains it through his clear “why.” (JAKA/PIA-10)