Bodyguard turned entrepreneur: How leaving his job led him to start his own business

Bodyguard turned entrepreneur: How leaving his job led him to start his own business

SME Inspirations

GlobalLinker Staff

GlobalLinker Staff

16 Oct 2019, 14:30 — 6 min read

Enterprise:  WPC Towing Services
Founder: Willy Palenzuela
Industry:  Automotive / Auto Services
Year it was founded: 2010
Location: Makati, Philippines

 

When Willy Palenzuela resigned from his job as a bodyguard nine years ago, he had to make a major decision – either to look for another job or to take a leap and enter the world of entrepreneurship. He chose the latter.


Almost a decade later, taking the risk to turn his dream of becoming an entrepreneur into reality has paid off. His business, WPC Towing Services is a provider to several businesses including Ibero Asistencia, a global insurance, reinsurance, and services company. Starting with only one employee, Willy managed to grow his business and now has 14 employees.


In conversation with Globallinker (GL), Willy Palenzuela (WP) shares his business journey.

 

GL: How did you start your business?


WP:
I was employed for almost 15 years, and I worked as a bodyguard for 9 years. When I resigned from my job, I looked for alternatives other than finding another job. I thought of building my own business. That time, my friend introduced me to towing services which I saw as potential because there were only a few towing businesses at that time.

Also read: Perfect the transition from employee to owner


GL: Did you have any background about business or towing services?


WP:
I don’t have a business degree – I didn’t finish my college degree. But I have background when it comes to cars and I used to have businesses before like RTW and meat processing. I’ve had businesses before WTC Towing Services, but they all failed.


GL: You shared you have little business background. How did you equip yourself? What did you do to make yourself more knowledgeable?


WP:
I’m hands on when it comes to my business and that became my way of study to understand the ins and outs of my business. While I’m doing my business, I’m observing, learning, and applying on how I can serve my clients and employees better.

You have to study your business well. Don’t just depend on someone. You should have the heart and desire to do what you really want. Because if not, you will just easily give up when challenges arise.

 


GL: What challenges have you faced in your business journey?  How did you overcome them?


WP:
I was not familiar with the business so I started doing it from scratch. I’ve had sleepless nights and experienced exhaustion when I started the business. I also had challenges on how to communicate with my clients. I just persevered and reminded myself that everything will serve as an experience.


There were times when I have only had 15-minute sleep. I’ve had a lot of sacrifices but everything is worth it. Now, I have been able to send my children to school, invested in lands, got a car, and bought my desired motorcycle which I couldn’t afford to buy if I was still an employee.

Also read: Tips to maintain a work-life balance as a busy entrepreneur


GL: How did entrepreneurship change you? Did you grow as a person?


WP:
My understanding widened. Before, I only knew how to secure my VIP as a bodyguard. But now, I’m thinking for my employees. They have family to feed that’s why we need to have more contracts. Because if we have no clients, they cannot feed and support their families. My love for other people also deepened.


GL: What’s the secret for your business success?


WP:
I don’t consider my business as a success yet. Perseverance and good service are the keys for the growth of my business. Sometimes, you don’t have the luxury of sleep anymore. Before, I’m the one handling all the calls, but now I now have an employee who works on that. Good service as well in terms on how you handle your clients well.


GL: From being a bodyguard, have you seen yourself becoming an entrepreneur?


WP:
I had a dream to have my own business even before. But I didn’t know how to get there. Before becoming an entrepreneur, I was working hard hoping that someday I’ll have my own business. I just don’t know how to start back then.


When I lose my job, I was forced to find a source of income. I need to earn. I’m no longer thinking about getting a job. I saw this opportunity so I grab it.  


GL: Your part of Ibero Asistencia’s provider. Have you had any challenges providing services to Ibero Asistencia while you’re still growing your business?


WP:
It was a challenge. At the beginning of my business, it was only me and my helper. I was very hands-on, but I preserved and I now have 14 employees for my business. I’m grateful for Ibero’s trust and guidance that they have provided for me.

 

GL: How does UnionBank Globallinker help your business?


WP:
What’s good about UnionBank Globallinker is that you can network and advertise your business to other entrepreneurs for free. If ever they need your service, they can reach out to you and avail your service.


GL: What are your tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?


W:
You have to have a clear understanding of the business you want to venture into, and where you can learn along the way without asking anyone for help. 

Also read: Spark Fest 2019: Tried-and-tested tips for entrepreneurs on achieving business success


To explore business opportunities, link with Willy Palenzuela by clicking on the 'Connect' button on her profile


Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured members. Globallinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the members

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