In 2014 Hazel Yap was in the position most parents want for their children out of college: in a stable corporate job, the ability to support herself, and the beginnings of a little nest egg. Which is why quitting her job came as a big surprise to her peers and clients?. Especially when she revealed she didn’t quite have a backup plan.
The Big Idea
Making the decision to resign and “figure it out later” will sound crazy to many people, but Yap had already known for a while that she wanted to start her own business. “I had a mental checklist of the type of business I wanted or business lifestyle I wanted. I wanted it tech related so that it is scalable. Something that would save people time.”
Time management, being efficient, and tracking tasks, these are Yap’s strong suits. Focusing on them, she came up with the idea for VenueOpen, an online tool that helps venues field more inquiries while also allowing companies to view all potential venues for their event type. Yap was hoping to cut the wait time phone calls and email confirmations take when it comes to event planning, making it easier for venue owners and event organizers to do their work and use their time in the most efficient way possible
Taking ActionTeaming up with Webnified to be her technical partner, she started working on the prototype in February 2015. She then began pitching it to venues, many of whom responded positively. “That’s when real development started,” Yap reveals, starting an open dialogue with the venues themselves in order to discover and develop the functions they need.
The site, which is soft launching this January? to selected venues, is set to open up to all venues and organizers by ?July 201?6?. Added features, like tie-ups with transportation apps and security companies, are already being put in place and will be available to most VenueOpen events by ?late ?2016.
Down the road, Yap plans to open the site to people—not just event organizers—but in a limited capacity. A smart business owner, she knows the value of quality over quantity. “We don’t want to service so much that we can’t service them well.”
Open for Learning
“This is my first tech business. For someone who doesn’t know anything about tech, it’s been a challenge to adjust to how things are. The trends go faster.”
Despite the challenge, Yap is very enthusiastic, and ready to learn, joining GoNegosyo workshops to help her “feel normal” about taking this leap of faith. “Right now it’s going all in,” she says. “I uprooted myself.” (She moved from Cagayan de Oro to Manila.) Something, she admits, she could not have done without solid support from her parents, both business owners themselves, and on whom she calls regularly for advice. Yap, in fact, credits her father as the person who gave her the insight and the push to go and start her own business journey.
“The most important thing I have learned so far is that that things take time, and the important thing is to keep at it. And also to ask for help guiltlessly.”