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“It’s never worth it to just die without doing what you are passionate about. You have to give it a shot. Go after it!”

 

Anton Diaz is the founder of the successful and well-known food and travel blog in the Philippines, Our Awesome Planet (OAP). He grew up believing that he only needed to excel in school to have an edge after graduation and land a job in a good company. This dream was turned into a reality when Procter and Gamble (P&G) took him in. He spent 12+ years in the company. In 2008, he was a Chief Information Officer when he left his corporate job. All he had was a strong desire to impact more lives thru his blog.

THE DARK DAYS

He has a different story. Anton did not leave the corporate world because he just wanted to escape from terrible bosses, annoying colleagues or sick company politics. Actually, he was successful in all areas of his career in the corporate world.

In 2007, he attended the first Kerygma Conference by Brother Bo Sanchez. During that time, he already had OAP up and running. The only dilemma he had was whether to stay in P&G or pursue OAP full-time. While he was praying, he had a vision of people embracing and thanking him for his work.

The itch to serve more people made him sign his resignation letter and leave. He knew that if he stayed in the corporate world he would only touch lives of colleagues whom he worked with. In OAP, he could reach out to more people.

AHA! MOMENT

His work under the Information Technology department of P&G exposed him to digital marketing. It also introduced him to a powerful skill of analyzing data to discover trends. Trends play a vital role in the continued success of his online business. In 2004, he found out through research that the social media will rise and blogging will soon be a boom. This triggered his interest to set up a blog in 2005.

Initially, he just wanted to do it to document memories of his first son, Aidan. The idea evolved to what we all know as Our Awesome Planet. It became the product of his love for photography and technology. He knew that Filipinos would want to have a reference on where to eat and travel.

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The first restaurant Anton visited, La Cocina de Tita Moning. Photo credit: www.ourawesomplanet.com

THE HUSTLE

Anton was not part of an entrepreneurial family. He worked hard to learn how to be an online entrepreneur when he left his day job. Experience in the corporate world and mentoring from his colleagues in P&G equipped him with knowledge on marketing strategies, but everything else related to setting up a blog, he had to learn it on his own.

In 2008, his blog started gaining traffic and getting noticed by an audience. This was one of the considerations he had – see that his project was creating an impact. He decided to make the blog work. The only way to measure it was to earn through it. He revealed that he only started gaining profit from it on the 12th month that he resigned from his previous company.

He had no back up plan.

The people who believed in him, his family and blog readers, became his motivation to keep going. It was his choice not to have a plan B. His faith, dedication and hardwork definitely paid off.

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The awesome family. Photo credit: Anton Diaz

The success of OAP gave birth to several other projects. Admittedly, he said that some of it failed, but many succeeded. The secret is to never stop looking for opportunities and be open to alterations. It is important to launch the product, test if it works, do quick remedies in between then assess again if it works.

To impart his knowledge and experience on online business, he setup Maven Secrets. It was a 90-day coaching, which Anton offered to those who wish to have the kind of business that he has. At present, he is the co-owner of the famous weekend market, Mercato.

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The passionate people behind the Mercato family. Photo credit: Anton Diaz

He claims that we are in the Golden Age of Food and Travel. To put OAP up a notch, he plans to go international to cover more areas that he will share with his audience.

PIECES OF ADVICE

In doing business, right timing is key to a successful launch. This is one of the core contributors to the success of his projects. He shared,

“Timing is important. You can’t launch too early. Also, you can’t launch when a trend is already at its tipping point. It may be too late.”

Anton chooses to align all his business decisions to his one true purpose. Whenever he does this, he always succeeds. People should realize the value of having fun in all business ventures that they get into. They have to be passionate about it.

Passion is a way of living.

It is essential to find out what you are really passionate about. Faith will lead you to your passion. He said, “Pray about it.”

Real passion is not just a hobby. According to Anton, “It is something you can do for the rest of your life.”

He also emphasized that taking risks sets apart successful people from others. It’s always better to try something than never try anything at all. In life, he strongly believes that

“It’s never worth it to just die without doing what you are passionate about. You have to give it a shot. Go after it!”

OTHER PASSIONS

Many people think that Anton is just passionate about food and travel. It’s time to see the bigger picture! When asked about what he is really passionate about, he replied I’m passionate about awesome experiences and helping out people to experience it also.” He loves being of service to other people by giving value to them.

His love and faith for the country resonate in the legacy that he wants to have. Anton said, “I want to be counted as one of the change makers and tough leaders as the Philippines become a First World country.“

BEHIND THE SCENE

Anton and I had nothing in common except the school we graduated from. My message, asking him if he could accommodate an interview, just randomly popped in his Facebook messenger. After two minutes, he replied with a yes! I rarely get answers as quick as this.

I read a lot of articles about him. In his answers, he never missed out mentioning the importance of giving to others. Meeting him for the interview humbled me. I know (and actually saw) how busy he is but he generously gave time to meet me. He shared his story many times as he got featured in different media channels, but he offered his story once again for this write-up.

With everything that I saw and heard, I realized that he has another passion. He is passionate about building relationships. He values people and he sees the potential in everyone he meets.

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