Do you remember the time when your parents asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up? Do you still remember what you told them?
At an early age, some people know exactly what they want to be—a doctor, a teacher, an astronaut. But as soon as we enter the world of maturity and start looking for jobs, we then realize that things do change, and our aspirations take a turn as well.
However, there are a number of successful people today whose path weren’t so straight. Their varied interests drive them to try out different careers in a search for what they really love.
Take Erick Chua for example, it never really occurred to him that he was going to be a founder of the awesome startup, Shapecloud.ph, an online 3D printing service platform based in the Philippines at the age of 25.
Making the draft
Coming from a family that deals with manufacturing and art, Erick always had this knack for product development, so it was easy for him to seek opportunities along these areas.
But before the success of his business, like most of us, Erick first explored the corporate world after graduating in Ateneo de Manila University with a business degree. He did enjoy working there for a time but later on thought that he wasn’t able to use his full potential.
“I was management trainee, and although the company was great, I wasn’t in an industry that particularly engaged me, nor did I have too many opportunities to work with people outside of my team,” explained Erick.
This realization triggered him to eventually resign from that post and focus on building his business.
Building the prototype
He first brewed the concept when he was working on his thesis back in college. And despite having very limited knowledge on tech-centric products, he was determined to turn his ideas into reality even though he knew the challenges facing him ahead.
“I saw my limitations of creating a product that would truly be my own. I knew I wasn’t a designer nor an engineer, but I wanted the freedom to be able to think of something big, and make it.”
It was a long, grueling process to build his startup to what it is today. From going all the way outside the country for research to meeting dozens of people in this field, eventually he was able to gain enough insights to create the coolest 3D platform this side of the world.
The best things in-between
Challenges and failures will always be a part of life’s teachings. And for Erick, the problems were inevitable.
He explained that during the earlier part of shaping his 3D venture, he found it quite difficult when one of the 3D printer would break down. Dealing with the lack of awareness and managing client expectations were also a few of the early challenges he faced. But these hurdles never stopped them, instead, it only pushed them to constantly improve the product and their services.
“These problems were foreign to me, but we always managed to pull through. Now, though there are still new hurdles that pop up, it’s easier to take things one step at a time and pace myself when trying to figure them out.”
But despite those challenges, for Erick, nothing really beats seeing clients’ excited faces when they see their 3D prototypes up close and personal. Another good thing he likes about his job is having the opportunity to speak in front of people from all over the country about the innovation of 3D printing and rapid prototyping.
“I’ll probably never get tired of teaching people how 3D printing works, or explaining that we can prototype anything from a wind turbine to a Pikachu figurine.”
It’s normal for us younger generations to not know what careers we really want to pursue in life, but here’s Erick’s two cents for those who are struggling to find their niche: “What’s the worst that could happen? If you fail, you’re probably going to learn so much and have met so many people, and that for me is the biggest learning I have, and what you could ever have.”
Want to work with this amazing man and his awesome team? You’re in luck because they’re looking for interns!