My husband as an entrepreneur
Does one need a business degree to be an entrepreneur? I guess many will say yes, but based on my experience and observation, not necessarily. I have a business degree, but I am not entrepreneurial. My husband has an engineering degree, but he is more entrepreneurial. What therefore motivates and guides a person to be an entrepreneur?
My husband works in a government office. He was in his 40s when we got married and around 44 when we had our only son. With the age difference between my husband and my child, my husband believes that he needs to double his time to prepare for the future of our son. Our son will be in Senior High when my husband retires. His meager salary will not be enough to save for our son’s future. That is a very strong internal locus of control for him.
Shane (2003) posited that there are three factors that influence the likelihood that people will gain early access to information valuable for recognizing opportunities: previous life experience, social network structure and information search. Coming from a farming family and an entrepreneurial mother who was into convenience store and backyard piggery, he thought that the best business that we are going to enter into is rice farming.
After the death of my mother-in-law in early 2005, my husband started to manage the 0.75 hectare rice land put in his name by his mother as part of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program of the Department of Agrarian Reform. With that piece of land, we started our farming business.
Managing the business
With his Civil Engineering background, he felt a need to research on modern ways of rice farming to add to his limited knowledge when he was helping in the farm during his teens. He also sought the help of a relative to maintain the farm for us. Through reading, observing, and interviewing relatives for the best farm practices that involve seed variety, pesticides and fertilizer application yield the most, my husband was able to improve his farm management. Later, we sold a residential land to finance the purchase of one-hectare land from his brother. He also got additional capital from the cooperative wherein we are members. Then we saved the income from the farm and were able to get another half hectare and just recently another one-hectare mortgage land.
Managing a farm is not an easy task for someone who has a full time job from a place which is forty-five minutes away. He generally travels to the farm on weekends when he is not scheduled to come home to us in Ozamiz City where I am teaching. He purchases the farm inputs and decides with the farm maintainer what inputs to use and when to apply them. During harvest time, he contacts buyers for the rice, buys viands for the thresher in-charge and manages the process. Rain or shine, he is there. He believes that when you have a business, you must be hands on. Farm management also requires record keeping. Even if he is not a business graduate, he has a good sense of maintaining a record of the inputs and outputs of the farm.
My husband always thinks on how to expand into other businesses. Rice farming is not the only business he entered into. He makes use of his judgmental decision-making most of the time.
For an entrepreneur to perceive an opportunity, he must believe that the value of resources must be higher than the cost of obtaining and transforming them (Casson as cited in Shane, 2003). There was a time that whenever he comes home, he first goes to a neighboring city, which is two hours away from our place just to buy dried fish of around fifteen to twenty kilos to sell. He observed that dried fish was expensive in Bukidnon and that was an entrepreneurial activity that he would be able to recover his fare in coming home. He was even teased by his colleagues for entering into that odorous endeavor despite being an engineer.
Earning money honestly
For him, as long as he steps on no one’s shoes and he will be able to earn extra income, there is nothing wrong with doing hard labor. He said the best way to earn money is by honest means and never by dishonest means such as accepting bribes. However, he stopped selling dried fish because of the travel risks of sleepy morning bus drivers and the armed conflicts here in Mindanao.
One time, my husband ventured into buying and selling garlic and onions which he got from cheaper sources in Bukidnon . When he goes home to Bukidnon, he weighs the spices by half kilo and sells them to his officemates. Since the cost of potato was also expensive here in Ozamiz, there was also a time that he came home with those goods for sale.
Late last year, we bought a second hand car for his safe travel from Bukidnon to Ozamiz which takes around eight hours. It is also used for his entrepreneurial activities. He is now supplying the rice needs of many of his colleagues. When he comes home here in Ozamiz, he will also bring around five sacks of rice, which I sell to my neighbors and colleagues. When he returns to Bukidnon, he will bring fish crackers to sell there. My husband always thinks that the profit we are earning will compensate for the gas the car consumed.
I am very lucky to marry such an entrepreneurial, responsible, hardworking, honest and loving husband and father.
Rosalia Eguico Celestiano is an Assistant Professor in the College of Business of La Salle University, Ozamiz.
The views expressed above are her own and does not necessarily reflect the official position of De La Salle University, its administration, and faculty.