World Changer: Dan Dima-ala
Organization: Ala Amid Bed & Breakfast
If there's one word to describe Dan, it's Action. In my mind, I call him, "Action Man Dan!" (I'm sorry, Dan!) When Dan says he'll do something, expect it to be done the next time you see him. When he told me that he read something about buying foreclosed properties, he immediately looked around buying properties. When he told me he was planning to take the real estate broker licensure exam, the next time I heard from him, he had one of the top ten scores! That's why Dan has always been an achiever. Even when he was still an employee, Dan's career had always been on fast-track. (Dan was my colleague in an auditing firm. So yeah, I would know.) He's one of those people I really look up to.
Tell us about what you do
With the help of family, I run a simple and small business. It’s a family-oriented boutique hotel in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. My responsibilities range from finance and accounting to marketing and communications.
How do you achieve freedom doing this?
The business model is pretty standard—sell a service at a price greater than the costs to offer it. But the catch is, I actually don’t get money from it. This is a family-owned business and, by default, it means my parents own it (I know I’m fortunate to have such wonderful, inspiring and God-loving parents). I don’t get money managing the business, but I also don’t pay for food, shelter, etc., so you could say I get paid in the economic sense.
How do you change the world doing this?
My hope is to inspire would-be entrepreneurs to just start. If anything, I know I’ve changed my son’s world. I’ve had it easy—being handed a business to begin with. Whereas others are forced to start from scratch. But the idea I’m campaigning for is that if you’re in business for the right reasons, reasons that are consistent with your core values, then you won’t regret taking the leap.
What did you do before this?
I was previously a manager at several well-known companies.
Who was your greatest inspiration or influencer?
You could say my newborn son tipped the scale. My parents asked if I could help run the business. I knew the money wasn’t going to be there (at least not yet), but the potential of the business was enticing. I was torn between income stability and the potential for greater income but with risks.
What made you decide to finally take the leap?
After my paternity leave, I went to my employer to discuss my future with the company. It was my first day away from my newborn son. In the office, I found myself constantly scrolling at pictures of my son. That very same night, I submitted my resignation letter.
What was the most difficult challenge you faced when you were starting out?
I thought comfort was going to be an issue as I was sure I’d miss the Manila life.
How are you coping up with your challenges?
As it turns out, perspective has a lot to do with how we define comfort. When I was in Manila, I couldn’t imagine life without the wide highways and the nice roads of the metropolis. Now that I’m in Palawan, this has changed to “I’d rather have damaged roads without the Manila traffic.” You get the idea.
What was the biggest lesson you learned from doing this?
Life will always present you with a trade-off. The key is to know your value and priorities and not be afraid to choose. When you do those, things will ultimately work out. But, be sure about your values and priorities.
Has the journey been worth it?
I sleep and wake up when I want (on most days anyway), I see the fruits from the hard work we’ve put into the business, and, above all, I don’t need pictures on my phone to see my son. It has been more than worth it. It’s been unimaginable for me otherwise.
What's next for you?
The goal is to establish a system for the business such that it requires minimal supervision. When this is achieved, the next goal is to start another business and develop its system.
Your advice to aspiring World Changers
A cliché is in order: Just Do It!
How can they reach you or how can they join your revolution?
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(Carlo's note: Recently, Ala Amid Bed & Breakfast has been upgraded to 4-star hotel status. It is not only a place to stay in Palawan, it is a must-visit place in Palawan! Also, check out their unbelievable tour packages here and discover Palawan.)