What does it take to become a successful entrepreneur? For a Filipina single mom in Canada, grit and a big dream fueled her to become the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of her own janitorial services company.
Lorephil Toledo is the CEO and founder of CanaJan Inc., a janitorial services company based in Edmonton, Canada. This proud Pinay’s inspiring story of success will all remind us how important it is to have a vision and not be scared to dream big in life.
Even at a young age, Lorephil already had an entrepreneurial mindset. At age 14, she started selling shoes, garments, and underwear for some ‘baon.’ She even offered tutoring to earn extra. It was also around that age when she started dreaming of reaching Canada to see real snow.
Finally, in October 2011, Lorephil grabbed the opportunity to work in Canada. Working abroad is no easy task. She worked in a restaurant and was saddened to be far away from her children. As a single mom, Lorephil sacrificed working abroad to give her children a better life. She left when her eldest was 2 years old, and her youngest child was just 11 months old.
Lorephil found solace in cleaning. Being homesick and missing her children, cleaning eased the pain of being far away.
“Dahil sa homesickness, paglilinis ng bahay ang naisipan kong side hustle, dahil habang ginagawa ko yun, I am dreaming that my children is in here. I felt good every time na naglilinis ako ng bahay,” she shared.
Being the dreamer and entrepreneur she is, Lorephil soon realized she could turn her hobby into a business venture. Lorephil established CanaJan Incorporation Janitorial Services, which soon proved successful.
From working on her own, she now manages 15 employees. She also has over 350 regular clients and is earning millions of dollars. She has also earned several awards, such as Entrepreneur of the Year, New Citizen Award, New Business of the Year, and was named Ambassador of the Filipino Canadian Trades. The Government of Alberta, Canada, even invited her to be a speaker as an inspiring immigrant in Canada.
With her success story, Lorephil shared a few tips she has learned in her journey. Here are some of them:
1. Dream Big.
Lorephil says, “Walang impossible sa buhay. Kahit galing ako sa mahirap na pamilya it never stopped me to limit myself to dream more.”
2. Work hard.
If you want to succeed, you have to work hard for it. She added, “Walang pangarap na di natutupad ng hindi pinaghihirapan. I worked hard for my company 7 days a week. Pahinga ko lang noon is 4 hours a day. I sacrificed my vacation for 5 years and pera to reinvest my money to business.”
3. Quitting is never an option.
Lorephil is a strong believer in the motto ‘Don’t Quit.’ “Kahit gaano kahirap lagi ko sinasabi na temporary lang ang pagsubok na yun and I know magkakaroon din ng resulta ito sa huli,” she said.
4. Take care of your employees.
Like a good leader, you need to take care of your team. Lorephil advises, “Take care of your employees so that they can take care of your clients.”
5. Always give.
Lorephil says the law of abundance is real. Generosity has a way of coming back to you. She doesn’t hesitate to treat her employees well and offers free services to regular customers. She explained, “If you give something to the universe, it will come back double times.”
There’s no shortcut to success. Sometimes we think our dreams seem impossible to reach. But with grit and perseverance, you too can achieve your goals in life. Lorephil’s story reminds us that every step, no matter how small, is a giant leap closer to our dreams.