Turning Brick & Mortar Biz Operations to Digital – Daise Virtudazo

Turning Brick & Mortar Biz Operations to Digital – Daise Virtudazo

TITLE: “Turning Brick & Mortar Biz Operations to Digital”
GUEST: Daise Virtudazo | “The Systems Maven & Happy Homeschooling Mom”

 

GUEST INTRO
Known as The Systems Maven and Happy Homeschooling Mom, Daise is a certified online business manager, systems strategist and product launch consultant since 2012. A former Physics teacher, she also became course creator where she crafted two (2) successful courses – Systems Slay and VAMP.

More importantly, Daise is a happy homeschooling mom to her 5 kids. She shares all that she knows about her niche on her FB page – ‘Daisy Virtudazo and her FB group ‘Happy Homeschooling Moms’. She is also picked as one of the Top Freelancers To Follow this 2020 for her teaching on systems and online business management.

 

 

EPISODE SUMMARY

With the unexpected demand of the new normal, Daise Virtudazo shares her system expertise and breaks down the steps on how to quickly pivot your brick and mortar business to digital operations.

 

Q: You have five kids. How are you adjusting right now with what’s happening especially there’s been changes and you have been working from home. Has there been any changes?

A: “Yes, there’s still been changes. I switched industries because the industry that I was initially serving has been impacted.

 

With the kids, it’s the same. The lessons just became more relevant because it’s about being aware of your surroundings.”

 

Q: Before you have achieved the successes that you have achieved, you launched two digital courses, you have your own agency and you have your flower shop, who was Daisy Virtudazo?

A: “So I used to teach physics and chemistry, but then I had a growing family, so let’s admit that teachers are one of the most underpaid in our country. I just had to be realistic that I needed more income. So for me, my usual step was what was the easiest for me to transition to?

 

So that time, I assessed. Marunong naman ako mag-English.  And that time, ang pinakamadaling applyan was call center. So nag-BPO ako for four years. But then it came to a point where you know the dilemma. You are going to work, kasi night shift, your kids are just about to go to bed. Di mo sila masamahan sa pagtulog. And then the next day when you come home, they want to play with you, but you don’t have the energy anymore. It hit me very strong that I realized that I don’t want my life and my kids growing up na nakikitang ganito ang family dynamics namin. So I really just made the decision that I want to be with them. That’s the main thing. And then I just literally googled how to work from home, actually on demand, online jobs, getting a feeling for English or homeschooling at that time to English working jobs from home and then I stumbled upon Rare Job PH. 

 

At the time, I sww ODesk na. Yung Upwork ngayon. It was too good to be true tapos ang daming kailangang i-set up di’ba? I only go back to that when I was feeling down. Unti-unti kong binuo yung profile. And then when I got accepted by RareJob, nagresign na ko agad and then sineryoso ko si ODesk.

 

From there, I had my first ODesk job, and then I learned about becoming a VA. Through the years, through the clients I’ve worked with, na-open yung mind ko about Digital Marketing.

 

So I invested in myself din until I became certified as an Online Business Manager in 2017, and now I launched my two courses. So it has been a journey but it’s one that I’m really proud of because the main reason why I work from home is because I wanted to be with my kids and homeschool.”

 

Q: During the course of journey that you had, what challenges arises and how did you defeated those?

A: “Two things stood out. First was when I lost my dad on Christmas morning. He was with us on the 24th, then the next morning on December 25th, I just got a call that he was in the morgue. The thing that hurt me the most was I never got to say my goodbyes and I wasn’t able to help him.

 

Second one, I was working then my daughter has convulsion with bubbles in her mouth and she was turning violet and gray. We rushed into the hospital and we were not admitted right away because we had no cash. That was my lowest. One thing that I realized was, yeah it happened, but I can’t blame anyone but myself. I was brought to that moment because of the little decisions I made each day.

 

Except with my dad, because with my dad, it’s just living in the present moment and just saying what you want to say with the people that you love, because you’ll never know life can be gone in an instant. And also forgiving the people that have hurt you. That’s the lesson I learned, how short and fragile life is.

 

With my daughter naman, my realizations were our little decisions matter so don’t take it lightly. And it’s about taking responsibility. Ang nangyari kasi nyan was because of what happened with my dad, we were always living in the moment that I forgot to prepare for the future. In short, buhay millionaire. One day millionaire. Syempre you want the kids to be happy so bigay bigay. We didn’t prepare for any savings or stuff like that. Ang nangyari kasi that time na-layoff si hubby, lumipat kami Montalban to Paranaque, so naubos ang savings. We didn’t know it will happen, of course it was an emergency, nobody wanted it to happen. But then I realized that because of that event, my kid was almost dying and we were not accepted because we didn’t have money to pay for the down. “Okay Daise, what were you doing with your life? Mawawala na yung anak mo.” Ang iresponsable ko. So I relaized that I will never be this helpless again.”

 

Q: During this lockdown, do you consider this a gift because you’re finding quality time with your family?

A: “More than being a gift, it’s grounding me that making you realize how blessed I am, how blessed we are with the lifestyle that we’re living. We just usually take it for granted because it’s our normal. It’s just a reminder. But then, I also feel for our kababayan na nagwowork pa especially on the first days of the lockdown. Grabe yung stress na just going to work, and then di makakapasok. The ordeal that they had to go through… I felt for that but at the same time, I’m grateful na nandito na ko sa space na ito because I could easily be one of those na nahirapan because of the quarantine. Not truly a gift, although it is, but more of the perspective na I’m blessed, just realized that the life we are living is something to be grateful for.”

 

Q: As a systems maven, what’s your economic projection with the currrent situation that we’re in now?

A: “A lot of brick and mortar businesses will be transitioning online. Within 2-3 years, virtual operations and businesses is going to be the new normal. If you haven’t really taken time to invest in creating your online presence for your business, probably now is the best time for you to do that. In a sense it’s already too late, but there’s no best time to start than today. So go ahead and take advantage of the quarantine so you can start your planning. But definitely businesses will be transitioning online.”

 

Q: For those with totally no systems yet, can you give advice on how they will start streamlining their operations to keep the sales engine running? What is the first thing that they should do?

A: “First off, I agree with what you said when you approached me with this topic.

 

Four areas lang naman talaga yan eh – Operations, Online Advertising and Marketing, People Management, and lastly, Online Sales Process (and Fulfillment).

 

For those who will start from scratch, SOPs have not been established yet, what you need to do is take this time to really sit down and think about the branches of your business. Brain dump on paper. Prioritize in order of what’s most urgent in a sense that once this aspect is systemized, continuous na yung sales nyo.

 

For me, I think the most important part is Online Sales and Marketing. If you’re a traditional business and that’s what you’ll prioritize as number one and funds are tight, simply create a FB Page instead of a website. As soon as you have a FB Page, contact your existing clients and inform them via call and email. “In light of recent events… we are pivoting and in order for us to continue to serve you, we are actually transitioning online. You can like or follow us to get updates on where the business is headed.” 

 

If they are your longtime customers, they would appreciate it that you are making an effort to transition online because you want to continuously serve them. And their end, it’s an automatic response that, ‘Oh, I’m going to support this because they are doing their best to provide the services to us.’

 

That’s the easiest way that you could do. Just put your brand out there on FB, create a Page, inform your customers however you usually do it. Call them, mas personalized. Email and send them messages just letting them know that we are pivoting. If they have been with you since you were beginning, they become part of your brand evolving since the beginning.

 

Once you already have followers because you already contacted your old customers, this is also the right time to check in who are your actual target audience. From the current database that you have, do a little bit of research on what your target audience really needs because that will help you on crafting the content that you’ll put on your Page. 

 

First, Hey we’re still here, we’re pivoting because that’s what the time demands. Second step, is because there is an awareness that you have a Page online, next is to focus on operations side and sales. You need to come up with a system that will make the process of closing a client online. So if before you meet in person, now you just need to come up with a simple funnel and map out the customer journey from the moment of first contact until they become a paying client. Map it out and look at it. Sometimes, you have to dump it on paper and look at the big picture. From there, you can see areas where you can automate like collecting leads and have a type form questionnaire that you can connect to your scheduler. Then you can hop on a call with a client and have that conversation where you can really assess and give what they need, then you can offer the right services and products.

 

In line with that, if you have many products, start with one because it can be really overwhelming. In terms of operations, just find a way that you can operate virtually. Choose your best product and figure out how would you sell that? What are your tools and strategies? Once established, you do the SOPs for that. Even if not yet super nitty gritty, we’re in a rush in a sense that we don’t want to stop the income from coming in to sustain the business especially if you have employees. Start with one, document, roll it out to the team so they’re in the loop, once that’s established, roll out the other products. 

 

So first, make people aware that you’re still here (that’s Marketing), second is products and the delivery (that you’ll document), and third is the team. If you have people who especially have been with you for a while. Have a team meeting and you can use Zoom – it’s a free platform. Just huddle everyone and be honest and transparent with the status of your business. If finances are tight and pausing a contract can’t be avoided, let them know. They’ll appreciate as long as they know what to expect and not leave them in the dark especially that they have their own families too. You won’t be able to do your business if not for them so you have to take them into consideration. And open the conversation on this is where we’re headed, we’re pivoting and for us to continue working together since there’s quarantine, let’s have our operations virtually. So how do we do that? Establish your communication processes. Every Monday, for example, we’ll have a team call. Use whatever platform is best for you. Before you start throwing tasks to your team, it must be established clearly that everyone understands what their roles are. There may be a consideration of hinging of duties and responsibilities because you are transitioning online. Once it’s clear, start rolling it out and training them to go digital.”

 

Q: For restaurants, what should be the first step that they take especially they have perishable goods. If they’re going to dabble in Sales, Marketing, Delivery and Fulfillment, what should they focus on first?

 

A: “Since this is food, the first thing I would suggest before anything else, even before Marketing, is to do an inventory of current assets food-wise and when it will expire. Food is fragile and crucial to be monitored, otherwise, it’s going to reflect on your brand. Just do an audit of your ingredients, when they’ll expire. Process must be set in place especially for contaminated goods. Identify who are the people responsible for certain tasks related to food? With SOPs set, move on the next branch, department.

 

Just be sure to document so you’ll know how to track and be able to go back to who’s responsible. People Management. Okay, this is what’s assigned and expected of you. And then how are we going to transition online? Okay, this is our communication and reporting process… Once the team is established, go back to identifying your bestseller/s. Start with that and roll it down. With focused products and established teams and documented processes, you can now discuss advertising. All of this can also be done simultaneously as long as the team is ready and making sure that food is not expired. First impression lasts in the food business.”

 

Q: What are your best practices on minimizing time wasted when you started operating your business from home?

A: “PLAN talaga. I’m a planner. I can’t rely on my mommy brain (with five kids). It helps that there’s a notebook and task management platform that I can rely on. What I do to minimize distraction and align myself with my goals is planning out what are my daily priorities? I’m a strategist guys, (so there are several hacks like) get things done, eat the frog first. Eisenhower is the most effective for me when prioritizing tasks. Urgent and important, urgent and not important, and so on and so forth. If you have tasks, dump ideas on paper, then categorize. Our brain according to Dave Allen is not to hold any information, it’s just for ideas.

 

What also helps me is time blocks and batch scheduling. If there are related tasks, do it all at once according to the time block that you’ve set. I thrive in routine and planning. With the kids and homeschooling, I need to have a plan. It saves me and keeps me sane. Have a plan and know what to prioritize. Do brain dump regularly (at the start and end of the day). It should be simple and not too fancy. Doing this will also help you better.”

 

Q: What bothers you most with what’s happening in our country today?

A: “The uncertainty that you don’t know when it’s going to end.”

 

Q: What is the biggest problem facing our educational system today and why?

A: “It’s the system itself. How children are being taught in schools, and I say this with utmost respect to our teachers, coz I’m also a teacher and my family is a group of teachers. It’s the way kids are being taught in an educational system that was created in the industrial age. Parents work and the children has to go to school to fill in the hours. That doesn’t work anymore because it’s a different time now. It’s being adept with the times.”

 

Q: What are the best qualities a parent can share to their children and why?

A: “First is Resilience. Filipinos naturally have that. More emphasis on Resilience, things will not always go their way, so how do you cope with that?

 

Second is Mental Strength, Mental Health – as long as they know who they are, and they have the mental capacity to overcome that, they’ll be all right.

 

Last is Empathy and Kindness, they are here not to be strong, but to be really kind to those who are victims of the powerful and abusive.”

 

Q: Before we end, tell us the story behind this photo of yours. What’s memorable here?

A: “That’s my big family. We are seven. I don’t know for you guys, but for those with multiple age kids, ang hirap pagsama-samahin sa photo ng lahat nakatingin sa camera. We are complete, the kids are behaved and Riley is there. Prior to that, Riley was in my tummy. So this was a really memorable photo for me.”

FAVORITE QUOTE

“I always plan to minimize time wasted and align myself with my goals. What are my daily priorities? Eat the frog. Categorize. Assign time blocks. Do brain dump regularly at the start and end of the day.”

 

 

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

For more related content, follow Daisy and Melissa at:

 

Keeping Happy Thoughts and Business Intact Amidst Crisis – Karla Singson

Keeping Happy Thoughts and Business Intact Amidst Crisis – Karla Singson

TITLE: “Keeping Happy Thoughts and Business Intact Amidst Crisis”
GUEST: Karla Singson                                                       

 

GUEST INTRO

Karla Singson is an award winning writer, public speaker, and owner and Marketing Lead to multiple businesses in the brick-and-mortar and online space. She founded and built these businesses herself, and has turned them into seven-figure ventures. She also published Open Bar – a light, bar-themed book for thriving and aspiring entrepreneurs.  She is also one of the very few Filipino entrepreneurs to be featured in Inc., Entrepreneur, and Forbes.

 

EPISODE SUMMARY

Is your business affected by crisis? Does the uncertainty of the pandemic stress you out and make you look for strategies to pivot your business operations? As owner of online and offline businesses, Karla Singson perfectly understands your situation. But it’s not yet the end – we can fight and prepare for what’s to come with taking action combined with positivity.

 

Q: A lot of people are they know you as Karla Singson now, but who was Karla Singson in the beginning? And how did you get started?

A: “I would say that the Karla five or 10 years ago was very different in terms of confidence and certainty. Like, I feel like now I’m more sure of myself. I’ve made a lot of bad and good decisions and I’ve learned how to discern between the two of them. And I would also say I’m in an emotionally better place because I started doing, you know, a better routine, like a better morning routine, I read more meditate and I found a partner who also cares about me and treats me very well. And so I feel like If there’s there are three things that is so different from if you met me five or 10 years ago, I would say, it’s the confidence not just a confidence to speak, confidence to, you know, to do what I do, but confidence in myself that I’m sure of my positions now. Number two is I’m a little, I’m way more of a go-getter now. I know, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. And I also know that I’ve made also good decisions, like I’ve had a lot of wins and losses. And think I’m getting better and better each year as we all are with really taking risks and deciding so now I’m more strong and I’m more headstrong and selective of the people around me. And number three, the three big change would be, I have also accepted that a lot of the things that are around me are either constant and then, I have to adapt fast. Or they’re changing, and I have to adapt fast. So either way, I have to adapt fast, or that I could actually change them. So it’s only just three of those things. So I think that growth really is mentally, mostly for me. And and that would be the biggest change from Karla Singson that people knew before compared to now.”

 

Q: Right now, you’re really a very successful entrepreneur, you run multiple businesses. You’ve been all over the globe for a couple of times especially last year before this COVID-19… Going back to the path that you’ve taken before, how did you go through it and what were the successes, the experiences, the most memorable ones that you have experienced yourself when you were starting out?

A: “Okay, so I would say that some of the most memorable experiences that I had when I was starting out or actually more of the losses, more of the failures, like I’ve shared with some friends of mine about this experience, my first very big client in events that owed us ₱800,000 pesos and did not pay us. That was a lot of money. It’s still a lot of money now, but it was back then it was way more money. And I owed some people some money and I destroyed some friendships along the way, even though I didn’t want it to happen. And you know, like, something like that. And the other failures and losses were, of course, you know, I’m very open about sharing the death of my parents. So my mom, my dad passed when I was 22. And my mom passed when I was 27 and then that really, you know, broke my heart and put me in depression. But I learned something that’s pretty surprising. So the year that my mom passed was my most down year ever. Like, it was the first time that I needed professional help to tackle depression because I didn’t know how to, you know, my mom was my everything. And then surprisingly, that year was the year where I made the most amount of money. So it’s pretty weird. But looking back, I thought, you know, if I can do that in in the year where I’m most depressed, I could probably do better. And I can just continue growing. So most of my biggest lessons really came from my losses and my failures. So with that said, I would say you know, whatever failure you have, and whatever loss you have, there’s always a lot of learning that comes from it.”

 

Q: You’ve mentioned something that I’ve learned this one thing. With what you said, it’s like the biggest lesson that you’ve learned in life. So what was that?

A: “That we just keep moving forward. You can’t have anything wear you down and you really can’t have anything…so a calamity will hit your area. Maybe you have to go out, you know, there’s a Coronavirus. Maybe you have to shift your business maybe have to shift your offers, maybe you have to lay off people. If someone died, your mom died, your dad died. You know, surprise, surprise, our bodies have a limit and our human bodies can only take so much you know, even if it’s not an illness, even if it’s an accident, or even if someone committed suicide, you know, our bodies have a limit. So we have to learn that and you just have to keep moving. You can’t allow something to wear you down. I’m not saying you have no right to be sad. Whatever, but I have to keep moving forward because that’s the only way that you grow as a person. And the only way that you also get to take your loved ones, your community with you, because there are people who had really bad childhood, for example, and then they succeeded. And then people say, Oh, you know what, maybe he succeeded because he had such a bad childhood that he doesn’t want it to happen again. But there are also people who are losers and are really ruining their lives and they have bad childhoods. And people say, Oh, you know, he had a bad childhood. So I understand why he would be like that. So you know, it’s like, two different perspectives. You have to choose a perspective that will help you grow.”

 

Q: You’ve mentioned that you had you mentioned about losses. Now, I’m curious, how do you deal with losses in terms of business? Is that something that you’ve mentioned earlier? That you have to keep moving forward. Of course, not all people can just easily move forward most, especially if they are like in debt or they are stuck with stocks that are not selling things like that. So how do you deal with losses in business?

A: “Well, first of all, you have to make sure that it will not happen again. This is the reason why we study history in schools. So you don’t repeat. We don’t repeat their mistakes, right? So the first thing that you need to do is, you know, I’m not discouraging you to not cry or make money, money, you know, that’s normal and means that actually, I had a moment when I just went home and did not talk to my boyfriend and I just cried, I just kept crying and he was like, what’s wrong? What’s happening? And I just can’t even talk. I was just so tired. I was so done with everything. And until now, sometimes I still ran to Mitch, like if I have a bad day. So if you made a mistake, or if you had a loss in business, first you have to learn your lesson. You have to if you have to write it down. What are the things that could have been avoided? What can you do differently? You know, all the lessons that you can learn. And then after that, I would encourage you to be as objective as you can and make the best out of what you have left for you, because when I lost a huge amount of money that I thought that I would get, like payment from a client, I did not, you know, Oh, you know what, let me just get a job because this is not working. I knew that it was their fault. It was not my fault. It was my fault, because I didn’t require a down payment. So it was my fault for delivering deciding to deliver the job without payment. So that’s on me, right? So I decided that I’m never gonna do that again.”

 

Q: What are your best practices in terms of securing and making sure that you’re not really going like for example, you had this loss for this particular client? For the next client, what type of thing do you now do well moving forward? So you don’t have to experience that kind of loss anymore? Any specific best practice that you can share?

A: “Number one, get a lawyer and have a bulletproof contract. When you onboard a client you have to discuss and everything that’s in the contract, and you have to tell them that you know that, that that’s what it is. And you require a down payment and everything. So there there there are clients that cannot pay you up front. There are certain establishments, I know that companies they have to process the billing being nonprofits, so the United Nations is my fire. They always pay 30 days after the event, but that’s okay. Because that’s their system. And you know, I don’t think the United Nations will lie to you anyway, you know what I mean? So you have to also be very discerning, um, you asked about specific things, get a lawyer get a bulletproof contract.

 

Number two, don’t do anything without a down payment and only do up to that thing that they paid for. So they paid for half. So you do your job and then you bill again. You maybe you can have your first draft or your first milestone and then they pay, you know, so and then maybe if you had some reporting that you have to do at the end, maybe you can, they can pay you the last 10% after you submit the report, but it’s just a teeny amount, 10 to 15 – 20% would be the maximum I would say you have to really protect yourself because right now at this time, you will realize how good it is to have cash on hand.”

 

Q: What inspired you to push yourself into being the entrepreneur that you are right now, when you were in your early 20s? Not a lot of people know it, Karla is actually accelerated and she graduated college at the age of 19. So with that kind of background and the mindset that you have right now, I’m curious to know what kind of lesson, experience or mindset have you had when you were in your teenage years? So what would be your best advice?

A: “I would say for the young people out there if you have a dream and your dream is not just for you, I think that’s the that’s the strongest dream ever. Coz I know you know, I didn’t grow up in a rich family. In fact, the first two years of my life were spent in a squatters area like literally in the slums. So I remember the time when one of the houses that we live didn’t even have a bathroom and just have a hole in the floor. So we were very poor. And then my parents worked really hard and saved up all of their money to put us through in private school. Because in the Philippines, you know, being in a private school is really different, right? That’s our luxury. Yeah, like it’s really different. I remember when I was a kid, I don’t know probably for five years every weekend, our viand would be noodles, because you know, my parents wanted to save money and I just had this idea when I was in high school when I was in college that I will be the one to build generational wealth, I will be the one to make my parents proud. Because I was the eldest child, I thought that it is my absolute duty to uplift my family and to help my sisters and to buy my mom’s dream house, my dad’s dream car, you know, something like that. So, I always like even when I was in college, I would look at my rich classmates because I studied in Ateneo through a scholarship, not a scholarship because I was smart, but a kind of a scholarship through an educational plan. And then I would look at my classmates who were rich, who had GTech, I remember that I don’t know when I’ll be able to afford Gtech pen. Oh my god, that’s so expensive. And I remember going home and I would tell my dad you know what, that my classmates have this like really expensive ballpen and they’re called GTech. And like 70 or 80 pesos and and my dad can it can you buy me one and my dad’s like, Oh my god, that’s so much money for a pen. You know, what matters is your answers in the exam, not your pen. So just study and I’ll buy you a five peso Panda ball pen and just deal with it. So that’s my advice there.”

 

Q: I’m curious because you’ve mentioned that you weren’t born with a silver spoon. But how has having so much money affected your personality now? Did it immediately change the way you are?

A: “Yeah, I definitely I would say that I live a comfortable life right now I can buy whatever I want, I can go wherever I want. I can have the charities that I want. So how did it change me? It changed me in a way that I became more understanding of other people in terms of understanding where they are. 

 

I realized that no matter how much you say money is, you know, it’s not important, what’s important is kumpleto ang pamila, whatever. What is important is healthy tayo. I’m sorry, but I will not accept that. I want to have money because I want to take care of myself, family and I want to not just survive, I want to actually afford the things that give us better experiences, that give us better options for safety. You know, if for medical support, it’s not just luho. So the big thing with my personality is I became more understanding of where people are. And I also became more generous in terms of helping my favorite charities and rewarded my employees – my teammates are fucking awesome. I’m so lucky to have that. And I was able to give better, it makes me feel so happy whenever I get to support my sisters in whatever will help them grow. And, you learn your lessons along the way, like the more money you make, you realize that your circle starts to become small because there are people who will try to use you. And there are people, not just friends, actually relatives. Yeah, everyone basically not just that they they’re gonna use you or they’re gonna try to bring you down. 

 

You know that, Melissa right, even you like when you started getting a lot of followers, you started getting more and more out there, you also started to get people either steal from you in terms of intellectual property, steal clients from you, tell your friends stuff about you, gossip. So you know, like, it’s hard, you know. It’s true, you have to be ready for it. Package deal yun kumbaga.”

 

Q: So Karla, what’s your projection to the current situation that we are in now? How long do you think it’s gonna last and what do you think would be the repercussions of this this corona virus thing?

 

A: “Yeah, actually my vision and my my thoughts on the corona virus pandemic is kind of different because I want to look at it with a psychological lens. I’m not a prayerful person but my prayer is that every leader in our country right now would think about the mental health of their people. 

 

A lot of people don’t agree with me. We need to start working again. We need to start we need to start opening the restaurants and libraries again, all the establishment as safe as we can make it, we need to start working again. Because work is not just affecting the economy and people’s livelihood. 56% of Americans don’t have an extra $400 for savings or an emergency. Can you imagine? Here in the Philippines. Well, people don’t have savings actually. You don’t try this experiment. Try this experiment. When you go to an ATM if there are receipts, tingnan nyo how much ang balance. I bet you, you will rarely find balance that is more than 20,000 pestles rarely, very rarely. I tried that many times forever. It’s a game I play with myself, whenever I go to an ATM, it’s always maintaining balance 100 pesos, you know, people are living paycheck to paycheck. Right? Most people so. So number one, we need to start working right away because a lot of people don’t have their financiala intact, and they need to build that up. And this is a wake up call. So they need to do that. Number two, work is deeply connected to our being. And it’s part of who we are, and part of what we achieve. So imagine your day, you spend eight hours in your job, you spend, let’s say two hours for commute, and that’s who you are. That’s your being. That’s your identity. And then that thing is taken away from you by a government that’s telling you you can’t be who you are. You can’t get out of your house. I feel like all of a sudden, aside from the financial burden, the mental and emotional burden of a government tell you you can’t be who you are anymore is very, you know, I think it’s so a lot of times. Yeah. Wow, look at these people on social media. They’re kind of going crazy. They’re fighting everyone. Why? Because they just want to be heard because they feel like their freedom is being curtailed. And that’s what’s scaring me more actually, my stand on the virus is that just like you mail by you said, I’m very happy you actually talked about that in public. That was very brave of you. When you said that it I was coughing, blah, blah, blah, but I’m still hanging out with my camera. I probably have grown I probably don’t have but you know, I’ll do my best. And I feel like I feel like that’s it, you know, we just, it’s new. So it’s the first pandemic that we have with social media, but humanity and our planet knows what it’s doing. We have experienced way worse pandemics, but that time without social media, and 50 million people died. And it lasted for about two years. That was really crazy.

 

And then you have your social media is giving people kind of some sort of a license to talk about anything, their opinions, and then you have people freaking out so it’s not really the perfect social media, not even the perfect environment to discuss ideas. You know, like I believe in people’s best intentions. But I also believe that most people now are operating on different kinds of fear, fear because financially they’re not ready, fear because their job is taken away from them, their being, their identity is being taken away from them. Like can imagine Melissa, if, let’s say I’m your husband, we get married and I’m Jeff Bezos, okay, so you’re my wife and I tell you, hey, Melissa, stop working. Close your Facebook page. Delete all of your clients, delete your email list. Stop your work, because I have all the money in the world, and I’ll take care of you. Do you think you’ll stop working? I don’t know. Right? You’ll probably start cheating on me. So what I’m saying is who what our job is to you know, we can’t just stop working. We need to start working again so that people can find meaning in their lives and we’re less crazy and we spend less time you know, tick toking.”

 

Q: Well, how do you think we should? Okay, so you said that everyone should start working again. So how should entrepreneurs start coping up basically? What do you think should be the baby steps that they should take amidst?

 

A: “Yeah, I really hope so. I really hope so. I you know, as safe as we can get the word racist, as safe as we can. We need to start working again. Of course, I’m not saying that people should risk their lives and stuff like that. But I feel like we don’t even really know the real numbers, like whatever is reported, there’s 5000 times more out there. We should actually just stop posting the numbers because it’s just freaking people out. So advice and how businesses can cope or how businesses can turn things around. Number one, and this is something that we did because I have to, for those who are watching, I have two businesses that are hit very, very tough right now. My events business in the Philippines and my events business in Las Vegas. So in my whole life as an entrepreneur, this is my first year and my first time ever to lay off people. And I have to lay off some of my American teammates. And it’s really, really heartbreaking. You know, it’s not an easy conversation, but we have to do that. In the Philippines, I was able to pivot because I don’t want to let them go. Thankfully, I keep a lean team but this is one thing we did and this is one thing that you guys should do first. 

 

Number one, be ruthless with your unnecessary expenses I want you to look at every single thing that your business is spending on right now, every Google email $5 a month, every subscription…Do you really need it, or pwedeng hindi na lang. Every single service, the internet, downgrade or cut muna then reconnect na lang. Mas mura pa yon. Email your landlord about possible rent relief for two to three months. Ask for their cooperation, they will understand. Wala namang umuulan na pera ngayon. Everyone’s business is suffering, you know. So cut off all of your expenses and this will be difficult, cut all of your employees who are non-essential, like, be generous, maybe give them some kind of severance pay, but as far as I know, you know, you did not agree to adopt these people. So, unfortunately, if the industry will not start getting better in the next month, I would say you have to let some people go and you have to, you know, I know you don’t want to do it, but also welcome to the real world, lay off people, laying off employees, it happens every day, even if there’s no pandemic, you know, these things happen. And so my advice is, is if you’re a if you’re an employee, you have to make yourself essential right now, you have to show your best you have to really deserve that seat on the table. Otherwise, you will be sat. Aside from that, labor is now getting cheaper for the entire world. So it’s also forcing us to be once again a more global economy. Even American labor now is very, very cheap and it’s ready to compete with, with our rates in the Philippines. Yeah, so commoditized basically. So you know, you need to cut your expenses and you need to shape up. 

 

Number two, I would say, if you own a business, you have to turn every employee into a salesperson. This is my favorite, because sales and marketing is my favorite part of business. So arrange an affiliate deal with all of your employees and if they get too close a client, you give them a commission on top of their salary. So you have to mobilize every single person in your business that they will help you in keeping the business alive. Bayanihan, tulong tulong tayo. It’s not just that you want to get the money, it’s you want to keep the business afloat. Because even if you stopped paying salary or you say, no work, no pay by an arrangement, you will still pay your utilities, your subscriptions you know that kind of has to go on. So you have to get everyone’s hands on the table. And everyone has to be cool with keeping the ship afloat. And this is also a chance for your business owners to find out who among your team members are real team players and are not just there to collect a paycheck. And if you are a good boss, and they know that you’re generous and you reward them, they know in their hearts that when times get better, you will be the first person to give them a bonus anyway, so it’s just a matter of trust.”

 

Q: I’m curious what is the first tool expense that you cut?

A: “So my first one was emails. I had double I have one of the companies that I’m focusing on. The business is called scale when we are a middle marketing agency. That provides managed outsource teams for creative tech and support. And we have so many we have remote workers. So what we did is we went through 100 plus emails, and I caught the emails that weren’t used or haven’t been opened yet – duplicate emails.

 

So for example, [email protected] and [email protected]. So that’s a redundancy. So we need to let go of one. So that was the first expense. And then we let some non-essential people go, unfortunately, but very nicely, and then we immediately found cheaper alternatives for all of the systems and subscriptions that we’re already using. And personally, I cut my Audible account, which is funny because I actually spent more money in physical books, because I want to spend less time on social media. It’s so toxic guys. I think I’m gonna die with a toxicity so I started doing my nails at home. So it means DIY.

 

Now is the best time to launch something DIY like if I can go out right now I would do Facebook Lives or flower arrangements just to hang out with you. My audience I was good like flower arrangements on Facebook Live and talk about business. I think it would be fun but it’s you know, places are closed right now and I’ll try to find if there’s a flower shop. That’s actually a pretty cool idea, we can inject more positivity in social media.”

 

Q: Well, okay, so this leads me to the next question. How do you think we can keep businesses intact? Basically, most especially if the chunk of his sales is offline, wala pang online, whatever, they don’t have enough funds to really divert their operations from offline to online.

A: “If it’s a non-essential product, then it’s going to be very difficult to push it for example, I’m selling a Fitbit, or it’s actually not a bit but it’s a Huawei, but you know, like a smartwatch, a fit watch. It’s a non-essential product, right? No matter how hard I push right now, even if I personally delivery to you and I’ll disinfect myself and wear a mvery hard to sell it, right, right. Maybe you can you can partner with a company that can give it as a premium. So one industry right now that’s going very hard is at home workout videos. So maybe you can partner up with them and sell your Fitbit as an upsell. Yeah, something like that. So you just have to find a way you have to be creative. Let me give you another example. So I have a business in Davao, which is a flower shop, right? So we are, we are a flower and gift shop delivery service, which is not essential. But this time people want to receive messages of love and hope.

 

So I’m not saying that we’re suffering, what kind of suffering but we can still pay our rent and our salary and maybe make some pencils. At the end of the day. I don’t know how much we’re going to make but it’s a little slow. But what I did is since we have systems for delivery I turned my team into a delivery team for food and groceries and stuff like that. So, I shifted, I pivoted into another service that’s needed at this point. Because this is something that you have to remember guys, even if there’s a pandemic, humans will not stop buying, and humans will always buy. And you know why sometimes they even buy because it’s just comforting, because it’s just comforting to have money and to be able to spend it so that you can retain a little bit of normalcy in your life. You know, that’s why these things happen, you have to look at it within a psychological with psychological lenses and not be freaked out and not be freaked out by the money. You have to understand what the most emotional motivations are, in order for you to think what’s best for your business. So yeah, pivot and adapt and try to see what people are buying. So I’m so proud. I have a lot of students now who just magically like that started selling sanitizers. I’m so proud of them. I’m so happy. I have past students who are very, very entrepreneurial.”

 

Q: So we’re going going to the next question. Thank you again for giving me those insights. Yes, but going back to some people who still remember you as a woman who got viral, what would be your advice to those types of people?

A: “I realized that when I was at the height of the doughnut post when I had so many haters, I was also acting half emotionally. I was finding some of them who gave me rude comments. I would also reply to them to say, dude, like, #Don’tme, you know I’m a competitive debater di’ba? I can be here debating all day.

 

Though actually, after one day, I realized that wasn’t worth my time. And I also kind of see how you know where they’re coming from, you know, every person has their own struggles. And most of us actually react based on what we’re experiencing.

 

Let me tell you another example or a story. So I made a lot of investments last year, because I, I acquired a bunch of cash, I sold some assets and I had really big projects, and I made a lot of investments last year, I bought real estate.. And there’s this one investment that I did with a friend of mine. And turns out, she was a scammer, and she didn’t return my money and I felt stupid. So it really hurt me because she was a close friend of mine. And then, and I was talking to my boyfriend about it, and he kind of was asking me questions about it. And I started, he was just trying to understand, right because I’m so upset, and he was trying to I understand what led me to giving this person money. But the way he was asking questions was because he was trying to understand. But somehow in my world, in my brain, it felt like he was attacking me and he was making me feel stupid. And my brain, in my little brain, I thought that he was asking me questions so that he can further show me how stupid I am. And oh my god, then we had a fight. And then I told him, stop asking me questions. You’re making me feel stupid. And you think I’m stupid. If you think I’m stupid, and stop beating me like, you know, it turned into this big thing. And obviously, I was wrong. I was being irrational. And I didn’t know if it was my hormones or if I was PMSing. But yeah, that happened. And I realized looking back that I was just reacting based on my situation. And there was just a conversation in my head that I was facilitating. That wasn’t true. So I feel like these haters, these bashers when they read something online, there’s a conversation in their head that forbids them to read and understand the real context, that no matter how smart you are, how much evidence you show, they will it will not override the conversation that they have in their heads. So after a while I just, you know, I just stop responding, sometimes actually still respond just to have fun, because some people there are so mad. And sometimes I just find it funny that they’re really, really mad, like, pinatay ko buong pamilya nila. And don’t forget, because of that post, I’ve had so many new friends. My life changed a lot. I’ve made millionaires out of my new students that I met there. I’m more I’ve helped at least I would say at least 15 stay-at-home moms start a business and that changes everything.”

 

Q: I want to share with you this photo so this I think, what is this photo Bill White will write for food? What’s the story behind this photo?

A: “So my aunt gave that to me. That shirt is from Museum Museum. It’s a museum for journalism and news in Washington, DC. See, and I was obsessed with white house drama, my whole life. And she lived in Washington DC. And she got me that she got me that shirt and it was my favorite shirt. And it was also kind of a joke because I’m a writer. So it says we’ll write for food, right? So it’s funny because it makes people think that I’m the super broke writer that will write for food. So I use this photo in, in a lot of the dating sites that I was on when I was still single. And it’s always a photo that guys like the most because they think it’s funny, and it’s cheeky, and they like the fact that I’m a writer. It’s very cheeky.

 

And that’s another thing. That changed. I used to like, not wear makeup at all. And then I started wearing more and more makeup when I moved to the states last year. You’re in 2019 because everyone was wearing makeup and I felt like a like the odd one out I felt like a kid sometimes in a room of wearing Mama’s shoes you know so I didn’t want that so I started to wear makeup and I felt good.”

 

Q: So let’s go ahead and start doing the rapid fire questions. First question. Have you ever bribed anyone?

A: “Yes. A lot of people, especially when I’m in hotels, I want to have an upgrade. I would bribe the front desk. I bribe a lot of taxi drivers to drive faster… what else? Yeah, I’m not I’m not ashamed.”

 

Q: Well, why do you think not everyone is as successful as you are? Yes.

A: “Maybe they don’t want to, they don’t feel like they, they don’t really deserve it deep down. It’s a deep, deep work. It’s self work. So sometimes when we feel like we don’t deserve something, we don’t work towards it. It’s the same thing with diet. You know, every single day you decide you want to lose weight you want to eat right but you still eat that cheeseburger because deep inside you don’t believe that you’ll actually get to your goal weight and that you deserve it.”

 

Q: When you walk past a homeless person, how much money do you give them? Or what do you give them?

A: “Usually 100 pesos, but if I have a chance to buy them food instead I will do that.”

 

Q: Are you worried about losing your fortune? 

A: “I am very much. Because it has afforded me with a life that is very comfortable. And if that life is taken away from me, I don’t think that I, that it that I will be the same. I think I will be kind of the same and I will work hard again. But it’s also not just me now. It’s my family too. You know, I have my sisters, also and my senior citizen on who is depending on me. I feel like if that has to happen, and if it will happen, like can you imagine guys, if the banks just closed and told you? We’re out of business? We’re not going to give you any more money. Buy like you have to start over again. Yeah, so it’s kind of crazy, but you know, I think I’ll survive. But yes, I worry about losing my fortune. I am.”

 

Q: If could relieve one moment in your life which one would you pick?

A: “Oh, my debut when I was 18 years old. I love that. That was probably one of the happiest days of my life. Because every one I love is in one room. And that’s it.”

 

Q: What quality do you like most about yourself and why?

A: “Oh, my sense of humor. I think I’m a pretty funny person and it forces it always. I always have this quality to look at things positively or make fun of it. I can’t wait to be a billionaire, like with a big B so that I can just start my stand up comedy career.”

 

Q: So last question, what is the biggest challenge to young people today? And what’s your best big advice for them? 

A: “I think it’s really focus. And I was single, I would go on dates. And I notice that guys don’t even maintain the right eye contact for a while. And a lot of the millennials now are very badly focused, they procrastinate a lot. It’s because we are used to, you know, the dopamine that we get on social media and facing computers with multiple windows open at a time. And we think we’re multitasking but we’re actually just switch tasking. And if we don’t focus on one thing, it’s very hard for us to finish anything, anything at all in our lives. So but if you notice, guys, for some of you who still read physical books. If you turn off everything and you read a book, you start reading and then you look up and you’re on like page 65. And nothing even went by, you know, it means that if you have focus and you’re more likely to finish, whatever it is that you want to finish, it’s a business, it’s an article, it’s a whatever, it is a flower arrangement or tumatahi ka dyan nh face mask at home, whatever it is, if you know how to focus, then you will achieve a lot of things in life.”

 

FAVORITE QUOTE

“So most of my biggest lessons really came from my losses and my failures. So with that said, I would say whatever failure you have, and whatever loss you have, there’s always a lot of learning that comes from it.”

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Know more about Karla and Melissa at:

“How This Mom Found Abundance and Financial Freedom with Amazon”

“How This Mom Found Abundance and Financial Freedom with Amazon”

TITLE: “How This Mom Found Abundance and Financial Freedom with Amazon”
GUEST: Lish Aquino | “The Amazon Queen”

 

GUEST INTRO

Lish Aquino was an Amazon VA turned Amazon FBA Seller. Her international company sells over 20+ products worldwide. In the last 3 years, she has generated over millions of dollars in gross revenue.

Now, she teaches Filipinos how to become in-demand Amazon Virtual Assistants and how to build international companies through Amazon.

 

EPISODE SUMMARY

Lish Aquino generously shares her secret to success as she narrated the hustles and struggles that she went through before she became the Filipino Amazon Queen that she is highly-regarded for today.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • BACKSTORY

Q: How you got started before you became the Amazon Queen that you are today. Who was Lish Aquino?

  • “It’s my mission to share with you what I’ve learned throughout my career. I started as a freelancer back in 2010 as a VA. I started with different kinds of jobs like social media, project manager. I tried everything simply because I got redundated from my corporate job. It’s a good thing that I was also pregnant. I had to help with the household. It was a honeymoon baby, and adjusting with the married life. That’s when I discovered freelancing and after 6 years, I learned about my client selling in Amazon. He was earning 1 million a month and I was the only VA that he has. He was so lucky because I was doing all the work and he was earning so much.”
  • There were three things I was looking for a business – online, passive income, earn millions of dollars – sky is the limit. So with Amazon, I said, “This is it.” I borrowed ₱250,000 for a course. My mom gave it to me, thank you. I have already tried several businesses and failed. I wanted to prove them that it will work.
  • So I launched my first product in 2016. Whatever I earn from VA, it’s used for household expenses. So I borrowed ₱40,000 from my sister and used itto invest in scarves. I hired a model, studio, makeup artist. It failed. It didn’t sell because it’s a seasonal product. I launched in February and winter already ended at the time. So that’s my first lesson, I didn’t do enough background check.
  • Second product was copper socks. 3000 minimum quantity. This time, I can’t borrow from my sister and my mom. Another ₱200,000. I had 10 clients as a freelancer. Puyat is life. OT is life. My 2nd product also failed. I was getting depressed. I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I was rearing three kids and breastfeeding my bunso. I wanted to give up but there are bills and loans to pay. Plus, I didn’t want my story to end that way. So with my 3rd product, it was successful.
  • May purpose si Lord why this is happening. At the Payoneer event – it was my first time to speak at such an event. That’s when coaching started and the rest is history.

Q: Before I ask, how was your overall journey as a VA and mom. How did life looked like before? How was the transition?

“Madugong transition from the corporate world. Before you join Amazon as a freelancer, make sure your savings are enough compared with your previous job.

From being a freelancer to being business owner, you’re doing two things and you’ll be very busy. Very long checklist. I had to give up sleep. I was just thinking that if I do the right thing in two years, it will be over soon.”

 

Q: If you were to share your best practice that contributes to your overall success, what would be it? 

A:Karamihan sa amazon technical. The secret is in in your attitide is in how you will play the business.

 

Always think big and long-term. I know business owners who only think about what to sell tomorrow. If it doesn’t sell, hanap ulit ng item na pwede bumenta. It doesn’t go this way if you want to stay long. Anker product is the best example. 

 

If you are to plan a business now, ano ba yung product na bumebenta naman pero marami pa gusto yung market. Example, itong Bluetooth speaker. Long before this was launched, maraming tao na may speaker pero de saksak at malaki. Then a wise person simply thought of a speaker na di na kailangan isaksak. It’s the same hat that you will wear pag nag-iisip ka ng long-term business that will answer a problem and that you can sell worldwide. Just treat Amazon as a platform for your bigger business.

 

Also, you don’t need FB Ad skills or any digital skills to sell on Amazon. Amazon has it’s own ads and it’s easy to set up.”

 

  1. What mistakes struck you the most that contributed to your overall new self?

A: “I had so many mistakes in the past. Not only the scarf and the socks. Only few people know na naglalako ako ng pizza sa mga canteen. Bakit hindi ko ito dalhin sa Manila? May nakilalala ako na nagbebenta ng cute na pizza kasi naka-roll and wrap sya. Sikat na sya sa province where I lived before. Syempre wala akong kotse so I had to wake up 4am para sunduin sa bus yung box ng pizza at ideliver ko sa canteen ng mga schools. Nung nauso ang cellphone, nag-buy and sell din ako ng cellphone. Sa mistakes, ang napansin ko, di ko siya pinag-isipan mabuti. I started a business with no plans at all. No plan is planning to fail. I always do things on my own. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Bahala na, ako na ang delivery, ako sa pick up, ako na ang nakipag-usap. Di pala nagwowork yun. Now that I had coaching sa Amazon, napansin ko na mas lumalaki yung business. “Team work makes the dream work…” The more that you have a group of people who will help you in the business, the more your business will grow. Sa ngayon, isa lang VA ko pero with that, kasama rin ang supplier ko, forwarder ko… If I didn’t have a relationship with them kahit na malayo sila, di magiging okay ang business ko. Kasi right now, sila-sila na lang nag-usap at malalaman ko na lang ng papunta na sa Amazon. The secret is the relationship with your team aside from thinking big.”

 

Q: If you had to leave 3 guiding principles as a legacy for the next generation, what would they be?

A:Everything is not instant and automatic. There’s an impression that if your mindset is okay and that if positive ka naman sa lahat, everything will go smoothly and automatic magiging mayaman ka na. It doesn’t work that way. Everytime you want to build something, everything worthwhile doesn’t come easy. So lahat yan, pag meron kang gusto, pagtatrabauhan mo ng husto. Usong-uso ngayon, yung mindset, yoga, meditation, positive thinking, okay naman sila eh. But if you don’t work hard for it, you won’t get anything in return.”

“Always commit to your promises. Your word is your law. If you commit to your promises to your suppliers and customers, it gives the impression not only of your credibility and your professionalism in the business. If you don’t follow through your promises, your brain is telling you that you can’t keep your promises, therefore, you are not credible and you are not worthy to have this or to have that. You are not aware but you begin to have self-doubt. So the more you commit to yourself and your business, everything will follow.”

“Always be grateful for what you have. With the negativity on social media, it’s easy to lose this. If you are grateful for what you have, all things are possible. You’ll be more encouraged to do things because all you see is good.”

 

Q: If your bank account went to zero, what’s the first action you’ll do to build your empire back up.

A: “First, I’ll call my agents to stop auto-deduction to avoid bouncing checks.”

“The beauty of establishing a business in Amazon, is if you maintain it, you will still earn passive income.”

“Skills and network. Your network is your net worth. It’s easy to build a business with the people that you know. As long as you have these people and the right mindset, babalik at babalik yan.”

 

Q: How do view money? What does it represent to you?

A: “Money is a score card (of what you’re doing). The more money that you have – the more people that you can help. Eventually you will find that sweet spot where you’re helping others, you’re happy with what you’re doing and at the same time, you’re earning from it.”

 

FAVORITE QUOTE
“Always prioritize your eCommerce business before freelancing work. Always do it first thing in the morning before you do your freelancing task. Where your focus is, that’s where your energy is. At the same time, you’re building the habit of building your business.”

“I’m enjoying minimalism. You should be careful of your schedule and the people you hang out with. When you’re growing, eventually, you’ll part ways with people who don’t share your mindset and you cannot blame yourself for that. Even if they’re your friends, you can advise but don’t forget that you’re growing and you deserve to grow and you deserve to have friends who have the same mindset as you. Don’t feel guilty about that.”

 

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

For more related content, follow Lish and Melissa at:

How This 29-Year Old Mindful Entrepreneur Built 3 Sustainable Eco-Friendly Brands – Rizza Lana-Sebastian

How This 29-Year Old Mindful Entrepreneur Built 3 Sustainable Eco-Friendly Brands – Rizza Lana-Sebastian

TITLE: “How a 29-Year Old Mindful Entrepreneur Built 3 Sustainable Eco-Friendly Businesses”
GUEST:
Rizza Lana | “The Mindful Entrepreneur”

                                     

GUEST INTRO
Rizza Lana Sebastian is the CEO & Founder of Mindful Businesses – LANA PH (a cruelty-free skincare and zero waste lifestyle brand), MINK PH (an intimate care line) and Le Cat Coffee Shop (a place where you can enjoy coffee with cats). Her philosophies and addiction revolve around these words: Sustainability + Productivity + Skincare Hacks.

EPISODE SUMMARY

Seeing how plastics destroy the planet, Rizza Lana shares her literal paradigm shift as she closed her thriving print-on demand business (WHIM MANILA) in favor of creating sustainable, more eco-friendly businesses.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Q: Who is Rizza Sebastian before being the CEO and Founder? 

A: Rizza initially wanted to be a careerwoman and was a hotelier for 5 years. I dreamt of being one of the first female General Manager in the Philippines but she felt that she was being called elsewhere. She loved her job and excelled. But with the realization of the kind of legacy that she wants to leave, she switched her path to entrepreneurship.

“What if one day I die, what’s my legacy? How can I change people’s lives?”

“Like Casetify, my first ever venture was Whim Manila – a print-on-demand phone case business. Whim Manila was born when I brought the idea to the Philippines.”

“By the way, people should know thatI’m a low-impact movement advocate. Since phone cases are made of plastic, I felt that the brand didn’t align with my values anymore. So if I constantly push on zero waste, sustainability and low impact movement, why would I sell plastic phone cases?”

Q: What came to mind when you developed LANA, MINK and LeCat?

A: “When I started in June 2018, all-natural and made in the Philippines. I’m a skincare addict. I just really wanted to have a sunblock that wasn’t sticky on the face. I wanted to support local but I can’t find local brands that have this sunblock. IT’S A NEED! Good thing I came across a family friend who works for a manufacturer of all-natural products. ‘I can have the sunblock formulated for you.’ I’m so grateful for that person in June 2018.”

 

Rizza shares her awakening in December 2018, after seeing the documentary “A Plastic Ocean. “Plastic is really detrimental. If we consume so much plastic, this is what it does to the ocean.As I was doing the changes, little by little, I realized that it should resonate with my brands as well. That’s when we started the narrative #YouMatter, even if small steps it can help our environment. By December 2019, I decided to make a switch to the low-impact lifestyle.”

 

Q: How did you curate Lana?
A:I listen to the people. On social media, I have LANA and MINK community who are very supportive. When I post questions on LANA and MINK, they respond and that’s how I test the market. It’s personalized. Pristine customer service. It’s me and my hospitality background. There are a lot of skincare brands out there, but I think the service for my clients and my team, it’s invaluable. It’s one of our core products. People first – clients and my team.”

Q: How does your day look like knowing that you’re handling 3 brands?

A: You have to protect your time in the morning. I wake up at 7am and read for an hour. After an hour of reading, I don’t read my messages, I don’t check on my email and scroll on my social media. I meditate for around 30 minutes and journal for another 2 hours. I count it as my self-love time. At 9am, I go to the gym. I go back home, cook lunch for my husband. Then I go to my HQ, check on Lana and MINK first. Le Cat starts at 4pm.

Q: Now you are in the scaling stage and expanding your market share. But during the time you were establishing your business, how did it look like? How do you know it’s time to build another brand and how do it with your time?

A: I do everything by myself. With Whim and Lana, I do all the all at the same time. Accounting, Purchasing, Creative, Photography, Marketing, All! The entire family is hands-on with LeCat. My first hire was a picker and packer. He also helped me answer inquiries.

Q: If you were so busy, how many hours of sleep did you had?

A:I was mean to myself, I only get three hours of sleep. I went through so much and had anxiety attacks.”

Q: What was the struggle when you’re at the verge of closing LANA?

A:Last January 2019, vividly remember that I wanted to close LANA. We weren’t making a lot but I have two employees who are relying on me so I can’t give up because their families are relying on me too. We ended that year with 18 employees.”

 

“We were losing money. But it’s good that I didn’t give up. One of the most important trait of an entrepreneur is Grit. Not everyone has grit but it can be developed. Just keep on pushing. There’s no way up.”

 

“One of the struggles for me was to delegate. I’m OC and have high standards that when I do it, it’s better. I had to adjust and learned so much that you have to trust your people. When I stopped micromanaging them, that’s when we boomed. It really helped us scale.

 

Q: In your journey as an entrepreneur, what’s your biggest takeaway to replicate for budding entrepreneurs right now?

A: “Never be afraid of failure. It’s all about the mindset. Failure is one of the lessons that you can learn. Failure is not the end.” 

Q: What would be your advice to leave to our audience today as a mindful entrepreneur.

A: Protect your mental health. As women, we hardworking and we come to a point where we push ourselves too much. First, you must love yourself before you can overflow with love for others. If you are struggling whether to push an idea or not, or doubting whether you are enough – GIRL, YOU ARE ENOUGH.

 

You can do it. Go and dive the waters. We can be perfectionists. You just have to let go and sometimes it’s okay to go half-baked than have analysis paralysis. Improve as you go along. Just do it and release your pitch.”

 

FAVORITE QUOTE
“Go and dive the waters. We can be perfectionists but you just have to let go. It’s okay to go half-baked than have analysis paralysis. Improve as you go along. Just do it and release your pitch.”

“One of the struggles for me was to delegate. I learned that you have to trust your people. When I stopped micromanaging, that’s when we boomed. It really helped us scale.”

 

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

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Managing the Work Place with Hubby – Leah Tinoco

Managing the Work Place with Hubby – Leah Tinoco

TITLE: “Managing the Work Place with Hubby
GUEST: Leah Tinoco |“The Cryptocurrency Queen”

GUEST INTRO

Leah Tinoco is the Co-Founder and COO of Museigen Training Academy, Inc. (under the Income Builders Empire brand), whose aim is to teach and educate people on how they can participate and profit from the growing cryptocurrency market. She is also an entrepreneur, a vlogger, painter, loving wife, and aspiring life coach focused on people empowerment.

 

EPISODE SUMMARY
Workplace relationships can get really messy. Leah Tinoco shares her secret of harmonious living with her husband as they grow and manage the business they founded together.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

BACKSTORY
Leah was a job-hopper. She wasn’t able to finish her studies due to financial constraints. She gained experience by trying out different jobs such as in fast food chains, clothing, electronics production, call center and as an executive secretary.

 Q: Some women are hesitant to build a business with their husbands because of the possible conflicts. Before you started the company with your husband, how did you began?

A: We were childhood sweethearts who found each other again after 15 years. I reached out to Jonathan to learn about bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading. Compared to stocks, it has higher volatility. We started operating in 2018, but we were already educating Filipinos since 2017. We held live seminars and courses and students are provided with modules. Right now, we have 5 staff employees and we are continuing to hire for more. We also have a maximum of 12 Financial Advisors.

Q: How does life look like for the co-founder and wife?

A: As a wife of a Founder, I’m a Co-Founder, I must love it and I have to embrace it. If my heart is not in it, we would’ve broken up already when we started the academy due to the adjustments and discoveries within yourself and how to be leader and how to train people.

Q: Can you tell us more about if there’s a girl approaching your husband, how do you handle that? Some wives are hesitant to work with the husband because of cases like that? How do you manage that?

A: I’m just open and don’t give negative meaning. As much as we can approach and help people, I just stay positive each time and spread awareness and we treat each other as business partners. Jonathan is the frontliner – I’m the wife who is an all-around supporter behind my husband.

Q: How do you separate life and work? Example an inevitable case where you have a conflict but you have to keep a facade – how do you manage that? How’s the adjustment?

A: Still learning – it’s a rollercoaster ride. We have different character and roles in the company. What’s important is role clarity – I have to stay in my lane. We also draw a line on personal issues and business issues. We always communicate because usually (the lack of communication becomes) a cause of misunderstanding. If something needs to clarified, we set each other aside and discuss quietly. We balance each other out.

Q: How do you do role clarity or remove your identity as a wife? How do you work that out?

A: It’s a day-to-day thing. Instead of creating a misunderstanding, I just try to be positive and be helpful. Wives are expected to baby their husbands. Like for example, they can’t find something, they must find comfort and feel that they’re loved and care for.

Q: Aside from being a co-founder and COO, you also do life coaching. Do you have advice to women who are having a hard time managing the work place and home (as they can’t separate their identity as a wife from a business partner)?

A: You must know your WHY. Your WHY should be clear so you can easily envision the path for your future. If you don’t know your why, you’ll just drift and walk blindly. You have to love what you do. Not all people agree with building a business with your husband. So if you have set a goal with your husband when you started your business, you have to stick with it. If you have your WHY, you will focus on doing that thing for the people who love you and believe in what you’re doing.

Q: How do you deviate from being a wife and be a business partner to your husband?

A: I try to balance love life and work life. His success is also my success. Helping him is helping myself and other myself. We have to be creative and keep the romantic side. If he’s so engrossed with the business side, as a wife, I can gently remind him that we can pause for a while and enjoy each other’s company. That’s a way to balance it. He pushes me to do different things to do, so that way I’ll have a story to tell him outside of our work. He encourages me to go out and give space to each other. If your husband tells you to you can do whatever you want I’m just because I trust you and support you on doing the things you love, when you hear that, it’s a signal that you can be

MORE. You are not just an ordinary housewife or business partner. He respects my opinions. He shows me respect even if I am wrong. When we have conflicts, he teaches and elaborates to me the meaning of acceptance, love and understanding. 

FAVORITE QUOTE

“We are a balance of masculine and feminine energy – or yin and yang.”


“Respect. Communicate. Give space. Balance work and love life. Always give time to each other and always have an interest to listen how his day went. Just be a good listener so you can be a good leader.”

“There are no stupid questions. The only stupid questions are the questions that you didn’t ask. It’s better to ask question than to assume things. So we always practice communication.”

 

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

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