Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Driven by passion, not profit

JOB-HUNTING these days is easier, thanks to the internet and innovators who made job searches and hiring a few clicks away.

Wesley Chiongbian, founder and chief executive officer (CEO), created in 2007, two years after giant recruitment site Jobstreet entered Cebu.

Chiongbian has found a niche, initially catering to the employment needs of Cebu-based companies from skilled workers to professional jobs and from part-time to managerial positions.

In 2013, the company started mounting the Happy Jobs Fair, a one-day career event that bridges aspiring applicants with different employers.

It mounted its fifth job fair last Saturday, which registered some 11,000 jobs for job-seeking Cebuanos, both for local and overseas employment.

It recorded 4,174 applicants, up by nine percent from last year’s career event. About 108 companies joined the fair versus 94 companies in 2017.

Today, registers over 700,000 unique page views in Cebu. It currently hosts over 800 jobs and serves between 250 and 300 companies a month.

What was your first job?

My first job was working as a department manager at SM Department Store in Cebu. It was actually frowned upon by my peers since they had higher expectations of me, being a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University and also because of my family name. I just brushed their discouragements aside because working there gave me so many valuable lessons.

My experience at SM taught me how to deal with people from all sorts of backgrounds. It also made me more disciplined about work, since I had to endure working on weekends and holidays.

Who inspired you to get into business?

A book my father gave to me, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki, was what opened my eyes to the world of business. It made me realize that business books can actually be fun to read.

The tipping point for me to start my own company was when I attended a talk about entrepreneurship during the Cebu Business Month. Hearing stories about how Cebu’s famous businesses got started, told by the entrepreneurs themselves, inspired me to start executing my idea.

When did you realize this was what you were meant to do?

I realized that I had to start building a user-friendly job website when the thought of it wouldn’t leave my head. I couldn’t sleep for almost a week because of this business idea that became

Why did you pick this type of business or industry?

At the time, I felt like someone was forcing me to take out of my head and into the real world. The good thing was that, unlike most traditional businesses, it didn’t need as much capital to get started. And thankfully, my parents allowed me to test the business concept from their backyard. It had very minimal overhead at the start.

Where did you get the training you needed to succeed?

I get most of the information that I need from the internet. I use it to order books, listen to podcasts and to connect with people that are experts in their respective fields.

I’m also very thankful for the experience that I got from my second job at the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF), a not-for-profit organization. It was where I first got a taste of entrepreneurship. The organization had great mentors who allowed me to make independent decisions. They also let me implement some of my own strategies to achieve our targets. Working there showed me that it was possible to produce exceptional results even with limited resources.

How many times did you fail before you succeeded?

I’ve lost count of my failures. But looking back on them, they all had one thing in common. I failed because I wasn’t passionate about the products I was selling at the time. I was only focused on making a profit.

It’s really true what they say, that passion makes all the difference. When you’re passionate about what you’re building or selling, you won’t be discouraged when challenges come. Passion gives you the endurance to eventually succeed.


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