Bulakbol Millionaire: How a College Dropout Made Millions Selling Textbooks

I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God, I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, For I’m part of the family, The Family of God.

This song was playing in his mind each and every time.

It was a long trip back. 4 hours of travel daily.
Traveling all over Cavite with no car with a huge luggage of books to sell.

He’s just 2 months into the job.

You’d never guess it but this is actually the good part…

Ice Drop, Mani at Itlog

Parents… ugh!

Don’t do this, don’t do that! I just with I could do whatever I want.
That’s the typical rant of children & teenagers.

They would’ve loved to be Arnold Vargas. He had TOTAL independence.
He could go out anytime he wanted & even had his own stash of cash at a young age.

But there’s one thing you don’t know about him.

He’d give up all that just to feel his parent’s warm embrace. From a young age, his parents went to Manila for work. His dad a carpenter. His mom a house maid.

“Swerte na kapag magkita kami ng isang beses sa isang taon”. That’s the time it dawned on him “Mahirap lang kami”.

Chances are, we all have those times when we took our parents for granted, resented them even. Arnold wants nothing more to bring his family together.

He decided, even at his tender age, that he'll help his family. During weekends he’d sell ice buko and ice drop while in elementary. During high school, he'd be a bus vendor selling itlog, mani, hopia, pili and what not.

He'd be there the whole day from 6am until 7pm at night until his goods are sold out. He nets Php100-150/day.

He was working his butt off when the biggest problem most young teens his age is "Saan gimik natin sa weekend?".

He didn't get that privilege.

It was just about to get tougher...

To Sell or To Study?

Arnold is a master at Algebra. Heck, he took it for 4 years!
Okay, so he didn't like school. He's a self-proclaimed bulakbol.

He eventually arrived at a crossroad - Go to college or be a full-time bus vendor.
He’d rather sell. His parents thought otherwise. They won.

Arnold ended up as a working student. He took up 9 units at a time while working in school.
He bounced around too. He went from taking up Theology to Automotive Technology and finally to Nursing (Simply because he liked how their white uniform looked. No joke.)

Unfortunately, after 2 years, he left school because he can’t afford it’s tuition.
More on this later.

He’s now in limbo.

What is he to do? Little did he know that his dream job was just around the corner…

Dream Job = Janitor?

Yes, that's right.

I give my respect to all the hard working janitors everywhere, but truth be told, this is an odd choice for a dream job, isn’t it?

That’s until you see it from his eyes.

He had no college degree.
No formal work experience.
Employment opportunities were limited.

This one reason beats them all. You see, he was already working as a grass cutter - mowing lawns. Naturally he’s exposed to the sun all day.

Imagine simmering under the summer heat! Yikes!

So while working outside, he’d see the janitor working inside the gym.

Nasa lilom siya! Nainggit ako. That’s what I want to do.

Simple & practical, isn’t it?

He eventually got his dream job. He genuinely loved the work. He actually stayed longer here than all his years in college. He was in his comfort zone.

The stability of work allowed him to dream. His prayer every night would sound like..

Please bigyan mo lang kami ng maliit na lote, simpleng bahay, sana malapit sa church namin para sama-sama kami ng family ko naglalakad papuntang church every Saturday.”

He felt a powerful hope that this job will be able to finally bring his family together.

As quickly as his hope was growing... he lost the job.

It wasn’t because of his performance but because of some legalities with labor regulations.

It crushed him.

It lead him to question his faith: “Daya mo naman Lord. Janitor na nga lang tinanggal mo pa.”  

He stopped dreaming. Little did he know, that something life-changing was about to unfold...

A Call that changed his life

He was 1,000,000 kilometers away from his comfort zone. (Okay, so that’s a little exaggerated but you get the point.)

He’s been trying to get another janitorial job in Manila for the past few months to no avail. It was reaching a desperation point.

One day, his friend Jun gave him a call. That conversation probably went a little something like this:

Jun: Arnold, apply ka sa publishing house na ito, may opening sila.

Arnold: Sige. Kailangan nila ng janitor?

Jun: Hindi. Area sales manager.

Arnold: (Silence) Thinking to himself: janitor nga di ako makuha, area sales manager pa?

Jun: Hello? Nandiyan ka pa?

Arnold: (Feeling desperate) Oo, nandito ako, hinahanda ko lang bio-data ko. Mag-aapply ako!


What does he have to lose? Heck, he had sales background all his life. Here’s his bio-date.

Work Experience:

Grade 2 to Grade 6: Ice drop & Ice buko vendor (with 5-star reviews from Mang Danny and Aling Cely)

High School: Bus Vendor (Willing to travel long distances to reach the customer)

2000-2004: Janitor (It’s a dirty job but somebody has to keep it clean)

He showed his salesmanship, hard work and a willingness to do what it takes to get the job done. Admittedly, it was a long shot. But hey, hope springs eternal.

He puffed up his chest, met the boss, and walked out… without a job.

This time is different. He won’t take no for an answer.
It was time to turn-on “stalker mode” (The non-scary type).
He got hold of the manager’s number and started texting him.

“Subukan niyo lang po ako, kahit pakain lang po okay na sa akin.”

He did this for around a week.

The manager, impressed by his determination (or simply annoyed by his texting), finally relented and gave him a chance to prove himself.

Just like that, something clicked!

He made a DECISION that this will be it. He’ll give 100% everyday and make the most of the trust given to him by management.

That’s his first step towards retirement.. 😉

A Destiny Written on a Pisara

The funny thing about a pisara (blackboard) is it’s something that we take for granted but probably accounted for 90% of the lessons we’ve learned throughout school.

In the span of a day, a typical blackboard will contain the most interesting facts, nose-bleed calculations, and silliest student vandalism. One thing for sure though, no matter what’s written (or drawn) on that board, at the end of the day - it’s wiped clean.

Without knowing it, Arnold was doing just that.

Upon arriving home from his another round of selling textbooks with his trusty luggage bag, he realised that this was his last. He had already covered his whole area. In the last 2 months, November - December, a notoriously slow season for textbooks, he was able to generate Php500,000 in sales. A very good figure considering the time of the year.

He was not done.

He asked for more work. It was given to him… in Vigan.

Okay, so the trip north was not expected but again, he made a DECISION that he’ll give 100% and was not going to give any excuses.

He arrived at the new place without knowing anyone. He stretched whatever cash advance he had. It was sure difficult, there were times when he wouldn’t have enough money for the weekend and have to go by bread and water for the entirety of it.

In hindsight, it was a minor (but important) bump on the road. Because the following years were his best ever.

Annual Sales

2006 = Php2,000,000

2007 = Php5,000,000

Peak = Php15,000,000

This allowed him to build a modest home in a property he bought in Cavite. He was observing the construction of his home when it suddenly hit him. He looked to his left and saw their church nearby. The weight of the realization came rushing in.

It made him weep.

It was what he was praying for every night when he was a janitor…

Please bigyan mo lang kami ng maliit na lote, simpleng bahay, sana malapit sa church namin para sama-sama kami ng family ko naglalakad papuntang church every Saturday.”

He recalled this Bible verse:

John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.

So that’s why I was let go from my last job. It was like a branch that will bear no fruit and won’t get him closer to his dream. It was like God was telling him “Anak, yan kasi ang pangarap mo e”. That’s why this new path was given to him.

No matter what happened in the past, it was wiped clean. His pisara of life was his to determine and he is re-writing his own destiny.

If you’ll notice though, he did reach his dream of building a home but his family is not yet together.

That’s when he did the unthinkable…

He quit.

The Rise of Pisara Publishing

What got you here, won’t get you there. I heard this from a friend, Jon Schumacher. His current employment bought him his home but he can’t bring his family together just yet.

What did he do? He put up his own business.

Pisara Publishing Logo - Truly Rich Club Blog


In, 2012, Pisara Publishing was born. He was able to bring his relatives into the company to work as a cohesive unit. He now has 25 agents catering to school’s textbook needs nationwide. They now live beside each other and more importantly he was finally able to retire his parents.

As a child, that’s probably one of the biggest milestones you can ever achieve. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, Arnold is just 33 years old as of this writing. Impressive.

By now, you know that Arnold has the mental & physical fortitude to succeed. The same may not be said of his newer employees. He wants to them to have the mentality of a winner. He was looking for books that could help mold this mentality in them. That’s when he discovered Bo Sanchez upon his (then) girlfriend’s referral.

He first bought 2 books - “How to Prosper” & “8 Habits of a Happy Millionaire.” He noticed that his cousin finished the book in no time. He got curious.

Arnold admittedly told me that he doesn’t like reading books (quite ironic isn’t it?). But his book was different. He was totally engrossed. That’s when he macd an unexpected discover within it’s pages - the stock market.

That lead him to get the book “My Maid Invests in the Stock Market.” He was astonished how Bro Bo’s maid was able to grow her portfolio to around Php500,000 at that time. His mother used to work as a maid and he knows how difficult it is. He didn’t have that much savings himself. It was all tied up with the properties and the business.

Arnold is a practical person. He doesn’t just believe anything right away. He researched. He watched ANC (ABS-CBN News Channel), Pesos and Sense and read articles by the Colayco group. That’s the only time he decided that stock market investment was a good way to diversify his funds.

He decided to join Bo Sanchez’s Truly Rich Club in 2013. He gives special mention to Ms Joey Tayaban, TRC concierge, for helping him buy his first stock. Just like Bo Sanchez, he shared this with his employees/relatives. His brother, sister (and his boyfriend), driver etc. Have already invested in the stock market. Some already having Php100,000 invested.

Stock Market Made Easy w/ Bo Sanchez - Free Video (click on the image)

Everything seems to run like a well-oiled machine.

Behind the scenes though, something is bothering Arnold…

The #1 Thing I Realised About Wealth

Arnold is very good at sales, no doubt about that. But running a business requires him to understand cash management, how to handle people and all the administrative function that comes along with it.

For someone who has no background in them, he found it tough. He  needed help in decision making as a business owner as well as how to manage business debt.

He sought mentors and decided to attend Truly Rich Club’s Wealth Summit. It was 2-day summit that focuses on increasing income, growing investments and building businesses.

These are his biggest learnings from the following mentors:

Paulo “EntrepChamp” Tibig (Entrepreneur): If you have surplus funds from your operations, that’s when you consider expansion. Don’t expand too fast. Business debt, not properly handled, can bite you back.

Karen Davila (Journalist): Suffering is a blessing. Face it, embrace it and grow from it.

Edward Lee (COL Financial Chairman): Don’t put all your funds in one basket (I.e., as capital for your business). Save. Invest. Reinvest. Diversify.

Bo Sanchez (TrulyRichClub): Learn to be generous to others. Prioritise your relationship. Date nights with the wife.

Arun Gogna (SuccessSpeakersClub): It’s okay to be in business to fulfill your personal goals. But never forget your responsibilities to others - monetary rewards can only get you so far but the impact you can make to other people’s lives because of your success is immeasurable.

Paraphrasing Arnold:

“Hindi ka lang nagnenegosyo para sa iyo. Mamuhay ka ng simple. Tinuturo ang values. Kumita ka as much as you can para sa iba dahil madaming nangangailangan ng tulong. Aanuhin ko pa ang pera, kaya ko naman mamuhay (sa sahod) ng janitor, ngayon pa kata? Pero patuloy pa rin ako magtitiyaga para sa pamilya ko at staff. Dream ko na hanggang sa staff ko, lahat sila materier as millioinaires”

He walked into the Wealth Summit expecting to be a businessman. He came out a better man.

Wealth is commonly associated with financial abundance. But it’s not the only currency, nor is it the most important to measure our success. Moments with your family, smiles from helping the less fortunate, gratitude from your employees and the countless I Love You with your wife are the currency that make you… WEALTHY.

Turning Learning into Action

Of course none of these learning would matter if he didn’t put it into action. Here’s how what he did:

No loan policy: Pisara Publishing has paid off it’s debt fully and is enjoying a healthy cash flow.

Employee rewards: Most recently, on top of their 13th month pay, he gifted his employees with another 1/2 month pay as a bonus. (I promptly submitted my bio-data to Boss Arnold. I hope you like this post sir!)

Charity work: He’s been actively involved in giving new clothes to street children in Payatas and Gumaca as well as doing prison ministry.

Romantic gestures: Arnold’s wife works abroad. She’ll be coming back home permanently after her contract. He buys her flowers every Wednesday to keep the love grow despite the distance.

I did’t plan this and I hope Arnold won’t mind but I’ll share a quick screenshot of Arnold’s vision board.

Arnold Vargas Vision Board 2 - Truly Rich Club Blog

Arnold Vargas Vision Board 1 - Truly Rich Club Blog

As you can see, everything that he put into action is in there. His time with his wife, his family (group photo), street children (multiple photos), financial freedom and his goal for Pisara Publishing - all complete with age of completion.

Very powerful stuff.

And lastly…

Final Word:

Wherever you find yourself right now, tomorrow will be a new day. You can always take that chalk and write your destiny on your life’s pisara.

Note: Want to be the next millionaire-maker like Arnold? Join Bo Sanchez, Tin-Tin Bersola, Chinkee Tan, RJ Ledesma, Rose Fausto, Edric Mendoza, Mon Abrea and a whole host of others in Truly Rich Club’s Wealth Summit 2016 this coming March 4-5, 2016. Click here to learn more.

Oh yeah, Arnold will be there again. 

Truly Rich Club Wealth Summit 2016 - Truly Rich Club Blog

Plus! If you join via this link http://www.trulyrichclubblog.com/wealthsummit, you’ll be granted a complimentary ticket to my exclusive online training on creating a second income stream through blogging. To claim, just email me your invoice via admin@trulyrichclubblog.com

P.S. Did you like Arnold’s story? Please write in the comments section your favourite part of his story and why. I’ll choose 2 of the best answers and send you a free copy of Bo Sanchez’s Life  Manual 101: How to Make Your Drams Come True. Free delivery within the Philippines. International deliveries not available.

Life Manual 101: How to Make Your Dreams Come True - Truly Rich Club Blog

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  1. Rachelle /

    It is an inspiring story from an ordinary person with a outstanding dream. We all dream of having a life that does not worry about money. I will be a millionaire just like you so now I am working it. I hope to join in truly rich club ASAP!!! God bless evryone. Be a blessing. Be an ispiration.

  2. Leah L. Fetizanan /

    Congratulations! You gave a very inspiring account of Arnold’s life. I knew him since his elementary days. Our families were very close at Gumaca.We’re so happy and blessed knowing that God has satisfied the longgings of his heart.Thanks again for writing this article. He has sought God first and everything that he needs was given to him, including his lovely wife.. he is an inspiration… God bless..

    • Hi Leah,

      It’s my pleasure. In my short time interviewing him, I felt his sincerity and humility. I would’ve never known that he’d gone through so much if he didn’t tell me. He was so positive.

      Thank you too for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it.

      God bless!

  3. First of all, great job in telling Arnold’s story. I feel for the story immediately.
    The most inspiring part for me is when Arnold quit just when he is in his comfort zone and starting to get all the he had hoped and prayed for. For me that is a great example of trusting God to do the rest while getting out of your comfort zone doing your best.
    Quitting is very scary ( just thinking about it makes my armpit sweat )and I don’t know if I can personally do it. But with Arnold’s story, I am inspired more than ever to try imitate what he has done thru learning by yourself, learning from others ( good or bad ) then share it.

    One more thing is coming out a better man after attending the Wealth Summit.
    I can very much resonate with this phrase because this is what I have discovered as well. In financially educating yourself, you must learn first to be a better man— then everything will follow. Not only financial but in every aspect of your life.

  4. Joanne Gloria /

    This is an inspiring story about perseverance and hope. The part I love the best is when Arnold realized that God truly works in mysterious ways. What is taken away from us isn’t taken away in disdain but because there is truly something better for us. We often get disappointed when something we have gets lost not realizing it’s because we are just settling for something that is in our comfort zone. I have a personal battle not just in terms of financial growth but in terms of self love and acceptance. What I have learned thus far is everything is in your hands. If you work on it, you will achieve it. Hope to be part of the TRC family when the right time comes!

  5. Elidy Balmes /

    Congratulations Allan! You never fail to inspire us. My favorite part of the story is when Arnold weeps realizing that his dream is building in front of him. As we go on life, when you are already on point B we tend to realize how amazing God is. God has always a better plan for us.

    “Wherever you find yourself right now, tomorrow will be a new day. You can always take that chalk and write your destiny on your life’s pisara.”

  6. I like almost everything in the story of Arnold. I am a salesman myself. Two things that stand out though – his vision board, a great reminder that LIBRE lang ang mangarap. 2nd, his mission to help other people — his employees, the people in the poor community… It is good to help people who might not be able to repay you but God will be the one to do that part. I hope I can be Arnold someday.

    Thanks for this inspiring story — it took away all my tireness after a day’s work.

  7. I felt God’s goodness and greatness in your story. The part when God surprised you was my favorite part. All the while He was with you, guiding your every step. Thanks for being an inspiration!

  8. I am a trc member and I been reading and searching a lot lately on what to do this crossroad section in my life. Mr Arnold’s story is likely a book that teaches perseverance, relationship, trust, hardwork, and love that all streams from his faith in God. Indeed, God works wonder if you just believe!
    I’ve learned from his account also that when the mind and heart is set to that specific desire and in GOd,and that you daily meditate on it amd pray for it, 100% sure your dream/s come true. Another lesson learned frome his story which I can relate is do not be dismayed if your desire or the things you have are taken/lost because there is much more in store for you (eg.new work, new place, new challenges). Just accept and believe. Realizations come when a turning point comes along the way that God is truly working in your life.
    Great story to share, thank you!
    I like most of your blog or emails that I have already read.
    I hope I can attend a wealthsummit someday.

  9. Its an inspiring true Filipino story.
    Perseverance, persistence, affirmation, hard work and focusing on your talents.

    Its very rare that you will succeed in your first business venture. Good thing that he used his talent, knowledge and experience.

    I suggest you can cover Arnold’s trials in building his business on your next post.

    More power!

  10. Jocelyn /

    I like the part when what he prayed for became a reality. God is good and he listens to the our heart desires.

  11. I liked the part when he decides to hold his dream even it will cost him anything that inspires me, also i like his attitude about evaluating and enhancing. This story inpires me.

  12. first of all thank you LORD sa unconditional love, sa pag akay mo sa buhay namin. ngayon naiintindihan namin na sa masayang parte ng aming buhay sinasamahan mo kami at sa hardest part ng aming buhay na gusto na naming sumuko kinakarga mo kami at dinadala mo kami sa aming pangarap. praise the LORD. salamat sa aking asawa,pamilya,kaibigan at sa mga taong patuloy na nangangailangan ng tulong kayo ang aking inspirasyon para hindi tumigil mangarap. salamat bro. allan sa paggawa ng blog nato andaming tumawag at nagtxt sakin na sila ay napaiyak at naencourage sa buhay. lastly,etong story nato ay story ni GOD at sinasabi nya gusto nya tayo ay magtagumpay sa buhay wag lang tayong magigiveup dahil hindi sya nag gigiveup time will come iiyak tayo(tears of joy) dahil sa mismong harap natin hawak hawak natin ang ating buhay na pangarap.

    • Deo roldan /

      Saludo ako sayo best friend! Saksi ako sa ilang bahagi ng buhay mo. Napakabuti ng Dios sa buhay natin.nainspired ako sa kwento ng buhay mo.at ikaw ang inspirasyon na ikinukwento ko sa iba na nawawalan ng pagasa sa buhay.mga bata palang tayo alam ko na na malayo ang mararating mo.dahil nakita ko sayo ang diterminasyon at pagtityaga sa buhay.malakas na ang loob mo kahit noon PA man. kaya naman pinagmamalaki kita.

  13. Krizchelle /

    The moment when he was moved to tears, realizing that their church was nearby the house he was having constructed, was very beautiful. I had similar strong feelings when I was younger, that I wanted to live at walking distance from church, because for a long time we were in a subdivision whose chapel opened only for Sunday and Wednesday Masses. In my last 4 temporary or semi-permanent residences, I have found that my desire was fulfilled. And the only reason is that, if we want to be near to GOD, HE is only too willing to keep us close.

  14. alexanderbaetiong@ymail.com /

    Ang galing ng istorya ng kanyang tagumpay. Ang tumanim sa aking isip ay ang hindi nya pagsuko hangga’t hindi niya nakakamit ang kanyang pangarap. Ano kaya ang naging pundasyon niya para ipagpatuloy ang kanyang pagsusumikap? Gusto kong tularan ang nagawa ni Arnold.

  15. Claire Mangcucang /

    This is really inspiring. Praise God!

  16. Claire Mangcucang /

    A story that will prove that God is the gardener of our lives. Praise God!

  17. Robel C.Aviso /

    Truely God is always doing great in each of our lives.He truly does things in mysterious ways.I do have experienced what he did.Perseverance,patience and Faith do have a great way to achieve one’s goal in life.

  18. Pastor Maxwell D. Agunan /

    Bro Arnold choose to be a millionaire. I believe he is a righteous millionaire. He lives simple and humble to lift up & empower people, and to donate funds for God’s ministry.

    Now, God’s is using him to be an inspiration to many here in the north. I have tested him as powerful speaker. His life testimony creates difference. My Church and I were benefited for his extraordinary messages that leads us to be one of the top stewardship compliant Church in North Philippine Union Conference last December 2015.

    By God’s grace he will be creating millionaires like him in the near future. Hoping to be one of them.

  19. Pastor Maxwell D. Agunan /

    Bro. Arnold choose to be a millionaire. I believe he is a righteous millionaire. He lives simple and humble to lift up & empower people, and to donate funds for God’s ministry.

    Now, God is using him to be an inspiration to many here in the north. I have tested him as powerful speaker. His life testimony creates difference.

    In 2015, my Church and I were benefited for his extraordinary messages that leads us to be one of the tops stewardship compliant Church in North Philippine Union Conference.

    By God’s grace, he will be creating millionaires like him. Hoping to be one of them.

  20. tonet /

    saludo ako sa mga taong nasa field of selling.. sila ung mga taong mas malaki ang chance na umasenso sa buhay. ang kwento nya ay kahalintulad ng sa FORD. tunay nga na determinasyon, lakas ng loob at pananalig sa Diyos ang susi sa tagumpay. and the best teachings in life is not found in books but in ones day to day experience.

  21. Joyce /

    Thank you for an inspiring story!

  22. James estanislao /

    Im aarei nabasa ko lang ang inspiring story niya sa facebook yung college graduate na na bankrupt


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