“In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity,” said Albert Einstein. And this was my first thought when I was faced with a very difficult situation at the height of home quarantines and lockdowns due to the pandemic. The timing was as bad as the growing number of people getting the virus. I wanted to move on from my longest career stint to the next, but there seem to be not that many opportunities available back then as more and more companies struggle to keep the business going or just end up quitting the fight and close shop. It sure is no good not to be able to earn a living at a bad time such as this global health crisis.
The crisis that made it even more difficult to get essentials – food, medicine, day-to-day needs, during the first few days of the first lockdown – that extended to weeks and even months. As the head of the family and the one issued with a quarantine pass, I was the one braving the long queues at the nearby supermarket to secure essentials for our household. I dreaded going out every single time, for fear of picking up the virus and putting my family at risk. That’s when I realized I needed to start what my wife and I have been wanting to do but really didn’t have the time. We’ve been planning to turn our garage into a small food park of sorts; no longer a workable and practical idea given the restrictions in the new normal.
So with what’s left of my savings, I instead converted a small space of our house fronting the street into a tindahan or sari-sari store and called it Camia Eats. While the original idea is to make it easy for our community to get access to essentials, we wanted it to be the go-to place for anything needed for home – from combo or paluto meals, tube ice, and purified water to prepaid loads, cash-in to electronic wallets, and printing services. And as if awakening a long lost passion for food (me being an HRM degree holder), I started baking – initially with Ube Cheese Pandesal, then later other flavors and baked goodies. After several recipe trials and oven fails, we sold bags of our flavored pandesal to our very supportive neighbors and friends and relatives from as far as QC and Novaliches.
It wasn’t exactly easy when we started our small business, at times it would have been easy to stop, but it sure was an opportunity out of the crisis, and the same dreadful crisis kept us going. After months of going to and from the supermarket, this time not just for the family but to restock items and baking ingredients for our store, it’s become part of our system and a source of income.
So yes, don’t let the pandemic, or any crisis for that matter, stop you from pursuing an opportunity or your business no matter how big or small. Make the best out of the new normal, and the best time to do it is now.
All’s well, stay safe!