It wasn’t always living a life he truly wanted for himself.
Before Raffy Vicente set out to build his own consultancy firm, he was working full-time as an employee for almost a decade.
He yearned for something more fulfilling, career-wise: a level-up of some sort. That was the time he decided that it was time for a change.
But while it was the desire for freedom that had made him leave, it was ultimately his burning passion and relentless drive that eventually built and grew his company, RV Marketing Services.
Below, Raffy recounts his rewarding journey from leaving the corporate world to joining the growing pool of successful entrepreneurs who continue to defy their comfort zones, in the name of following and living out their passions:
How did you become a management consultant from being a salaryman?
Before I started my consulting practice, I was actually working full-time in the corporate world for 9 years. I was doing marketing for JobStreet.com. After a while, it got repetitive. I was getting tired and burned out, and I wanted to try something else.
It was also a time that I considered myself financially ready to take a little bit of risk and start something for myself. I wanted to travel and study, so I said, “Okay, I’ll quit my full-time job and I’ll just do freelance consulting work first.”
It wasn’t that easy transitioning, for sure.
When I first quit my job, the number one problem I had in mind was, if I wanted to travel and apply for a visa, these would require financial documents which I had none at the time. What would I show as proof and source of my income? That’s when I realized I needed to formalize my freelance consulting work, by setting it up as a company, and establish it as a professional practice. When one does consulting work, aside from having the documents, some clients require paperwork, official receipts, and invoices.
So I set up my business, got my documents, and got myself registered. That helped out in getting my clients.
At first, I actually started doing work with my past employers from JobStreet and it kind of spread from there. I got my clients from referrals and from people I used to work with before so that somehow grew my practice and clients.
What is RV Marketing Services and Consultancy? Tell us more about it.
RV Marketing Services and Consultancy is a consulting firm. We focus on research, planning, and management strategy.
In terms of the clients we work with, I would group them into two:
One, we work with a lot of digital companies, tech companies, and startups. We help them establish marketing strategies, organizational design, and planning. We also do a lot of monetization programs for startups.
Two, on the other end of the spectrum, we also do a lot of social research work and development work. So we work with NGOs, government companies, helping them with their research and planning initiatives.
Can you recall how it was when you were starting?
At first, I guess the intentions were a little selfish. I wanted free time and I was tired of working in an 8-5 job. Actually, it was an 8-7:30 with my previous employer. You see, I wanted to travel, to see the world and different parts of the Philippines. I also wanted to study some short courses and training programs. I wanted to catch up with friends. You know: the things I had no time to do when the whole world revolved around one corporate job.
So that was the initial inspiration of why I wanted to go freelance, and why I wanted to put up my own consulting firm. I wanted to do a lot of things that I didn’t have time for when I was still in the corporate world. I wanted more time for myself.
How’d you stay motivated?
Passion would be what keeps you driving, what gives you purpose in life, what stops you from being bored. It’s something you look forward to when you wake up in the morning. So if you’re stuck in a job where you need to forcibly drag yourself to every morning, I don’t think that’s the kind of job or life you should be living. You should be excited and proud about what you’re doing. That’s what is passion for me.
I think it’s important to pursue your passion because if you want to be your best self for your community and society, it pays to have that kind of positive outlook on life. I think you should be doing something that your neighbors, friends, or family will value. And if you’re working on something that makes you happy and benefits your community, it will really make society a better place.
What can you say to those who are planning to pursue their passion like you did?
I always challenge my friends to go outside their comfort zones because it’s easy to sink into inertia when you’re stuck doing the same thing for quite a long time. So I always tell my friends to consider quitting their full-time jobs when they find something else that better defines their passion and their growth. I urge them to take on a hobby, or take up classes.
It’s a way of telling them, “You know what, you don’t have to be stuck with what you’re doing right now.” I always try to push them to do something outside their comfort zones.
What tips can you give to people who want to follow their dreams like you did?
I guess you should have a plan. It doesn’t have to be a very specific plan, but you should know what your timelines and goals are. You also need to know what kind of risks are involved and how this affects your bottom line, especially when you have to financially support family members. You should give yourself a timeline to review if you are in place or not.
Like in my case when I quit my job, I said, “Okay, I’ll give it a try for one year. I have one year of financial freedom. If things don’t work out, I will go back to the corporate world.”
In my earlier days of freelancing, I had enough money at the time to try and support myself even if things don’t work out well. I worked very hard during the first three months to achieve certain milestones like getting clients, meeting with people, and sending out proposals.
Pursuing your passion isn’t going to be easy. It’s really a matter of dedicating yourself to the journey, underlined by hard work, drive, and commitment.
Let’s talk about your income tax. As an entrepreneur, how difficult were doing taxes for you? Was it something that you worried about? Why?
I hated it! Every month I worried about it. At first, I really told myself, “Okay, if I’m starting my business, I want to understand how it works by myself.” So I went to the BIR and asked around, sought advice from my CPA friends on how to do it, so I kind of learned the ropes by myself.
I would go to the RDO (Regional District Office) on a monthly basis to file my papers even if I didn’t have any income since that was what was required of all self-employed and business owners like me.
Then, after a year, I learned that you can do bir online filing. Before that though, I was going every month to the RDO in Taytay where I registered because I didn’t know it that time.
There were a lot of times when I missed deadlines. Even if I was very near my BIR office (I could just take a tricycle actually ), I would forget to file if I’m going out of the country, or just swamped with work. I really hated it when I had to pay my penalties.
At one time, I was even negotiating with a BIR officer, saying, “You’re charging me P5,000 and a certain influential person hadn’t paid anything.”
I’m an honest entrepreneur but it’s useless trying to argue with them. If the BIR tells you to pay this penalty, you have to pay that up. So when I missed deadlines for filing, I had to pay penalties, and it was very painful.
So you hated doing your income tax, what exactly did you dislike about it?
Actually, I did not hate paying taxes per se. It was more of the process that I hated.
I understood that I had to pay taxes, and I’m actually happy that I’m a good taxpayer. It’s just that the process of filing, lining up every month, and being prone to filing mistakes and errors that made me hate doing taxes.
At one point, I decided to outsource this process and got a freelancer to help me out. I was paying the person a thousand pesos a month to file my taxes for me. I became kampante and confident that she was doing it on time. Then, I found out after a few months that she wasn’t filing it!
In consequence, I faced cases with the BIR where I had to pay penalties. That was a very painful and grueling process. So before I knew of Taxumo, I was very frustrated. It occurred to me, oftentimes: why can’t I simply file and pay my income tax online?
The answer finally came when I stumbled upon Taxumo.
Where’d you discover Taxumo?
I was online on Facebook doing my normal browsing and chanced upon an ad for a freelancer workshop. Taxumo was one of the sponsors, and I found the name cool and interesting. Upon clicking their link which led me to their site, I could hardly believe it. They offered a service where I could pay my income tax online!
I was like, “Shucks, this is what I need. This is what I’ve been looking for.”
So I immediately signed up for a free trial. I was very happy and satisfied. It helped that I already knew the process so I understood what the forms were, and understood the value of paying someone to do it for me. So after using it for the first time, I did not hesitate to subscribe so I can continue to enjoy the perks of paying my taxes online.
How has Taxumo helped you focus more on your passion and worry less about taxes?
Taxumo has really helped by eliminating the risk of forgetting or filing taxes late, and thus prevents me from having to pay any penalties with the BIR.
I won’t be late at Taxumo because as soon as the tax deadline approaches, I know that I can do it anytime, anyplace. I can file taxes on my phone, on my laptop, at home, or when I’m outside. It’s very easy and efficient to pay online since I just have to input my income and expenses, and have the system autofill the rest of the forms. I never missed a deadline after I started using Taxumo.
And because I don’t have to worry about income tax deadlines and penalties anymore, I can focus on the things that matter more. If I have to travel out of Manila for two weeks or three weeks, I don’t have to worry about coming and asking someone to pay it for me. In the past, I actually used to ask my family members to go to the BIR and pay for me when I’m outside of Manila. So at least now, I don’t have to worry about these things at all.
Would you recommend Taxumo to your fellow professionals?
Well, number one, I always tell my friends that we’re all Filipinos, it’s all our right and duty to pay taxes. So that’s the number one message I impart to friends. For all of my freelancer friends, I encourage them to register, get their documents, get an OR, because it’s their duty as a member of our country to pay their income tax.
Number two, I tell people that there’s an easy way to do it. The problem is, people will always say that paying taxes is hard. This is because they don’t know what, how and where to file their income tax, and they’re also scared of the BIR.
So what I tell them is, “Don’t worry, you can actually pay your income tax online. I use this service called Taxumo.” By signing up to the service, this diminishes the insecurity of making mistakes while filing, and going to the BIR office, and facing people there. Now they can do it online, they can do it easily, and they can do it with their credit cards.
Parting words: what’s the best thing you’ve learned from pursuing your passion?
It’s about not being afraid of going outside one’s comfort zone. I do my best to practice this, and so I always tell my friends to not be afraid of starting a business, pursuing a passion, or developing a new skill. I encourage people to do this rather than regret a life not doing what you’re passionate about.
Ready to step out of your comfort like Raffy? Sign up for Taxumo and find out a better way to run your company as a solo entrepreneur without fretting about your taxes.