Inspiring Women EntrepreneursJanette Toral
As a digital entrepreneur, am always elated whenever I meet women running their own business and are carving a niche online. Their stories often inspire me. When giving talks to women, it also makes me nervous. In my observation, girls don’t trust easily. A person needs to pass a certain criteria on first meeting and you work on breaking the barriers from there. I guess this is also the reason why most female-owned businesses are usually closely-knit rather than having more than its usual share of investors or partners.
Most women embark on ventures they are passionate with. Although being profitable is desired, but the pursuit of it, accomplishing bigger goals is usually more important and is not driven by money alone.
Last September 15, I got the chance to meet women entrepreneurs at the 1st Mompreneur Summit organized by Mompreneur Manila and Mommy Mundo (high-five to Janice Crisostomo-Villanueva for a great event).
The summit was aimed at empowering women, especially mommies, by giving them the knowledge and inspiration needed to build their business online. Topics from marketing, public relations, personal branding, advocacy, and time management were discussed.
Glad I got the chance to listen to club member Anton Diaz where he reminded entrepreneurs the need to write one’s story, using education (targeted to the audience) as a marketing tool, and setting the direction path that one wants to pursue (and writing it).
The event reminds me of the Women in Web, Wireless, and Outsourcing 2006 DigitalFilipino roadshow in Davao, Cagayan De Oro, Cebu, and Manila where we shared our e-commerce experiences and teach others how to do it. The Mompreneur Manila event made me think about doing this roadshow again and will explore collaboration possibilities.
In my presentation on e-commerce and social media to promote business, I used my women club members as example. Focused on what makes them successful and unique in their own way.
I believe that being an online entrepreneur is not just about putting an online store and start selling. With more merchants selling products online, buyers will look into other aspects before making that purchasing decision. A big part will be about knowing the identity of the seller and whether they can be trusted or not.
For this blog post, let me reflect further on some of the women entrepreneurs who in one way or another has inspired me and what I have learned from them.
1. Joan Piñon – “Follow the sweet spot in your heart”
Joan is an IT professor who has a knack for baking. With joy, she shares this passion with her son Lorenzo. It has become a full-fledge business for her. Whenever I need fruitcakes, Joan is the person I would call. Friends who were able to receive my fruitcake gifts will usually compliment it and ask where I got it. Indeed, Joan bakes with love and you can taste it with every bite of her products.
2. Reggie Bundang – “Focus in delivering new and unique quality products”
I am fortunate being able to monitor how RegaloService.com is doing through the years. Reggie’s meticulousness for choosing products she personally likes makes her e-commerce store not your usual online store online. Her site is favorite resource of mine whenever am looking for gift products that can be bought online.
3. Stephanie Caragos – “Location is not a barrier. It is an advantage.”
There is always this notion in business that you have to be where the action is to thrive well in the IT business. But with Stephanie, based in Cagayan De Oro City, an entity’s location can be utilized to one’s own advantage. Her company, Syntactics Inc., is serving clients from different parts of the world working on their search engine optimization and website development requirements at competitive rates. They also took the task of developing local graduates to be competitive and hirable to serve their needs and of the organizations where they will get the chance to work with.
4. Rosario Juan – “Be a true advocate”
Ros is one amazing person I have met in my Twitter life. She is an advocate by heart. You can see this beaming in her tweets featuring her daily activities and stuff that caught her attention. At critical moments, she doesn’t hesitate sharing her time, effort, and collaborate with others to support a bigger cause. All of this without expecting anything in return.
Being an ambassador of positive vibes, Ros was able to attract like-minded people and found herself surrounded with opportunities that empowers her further to do what she loves – that is being a true advocate.
5. Norelyn Babiera – “Be cost effective”
Fiera de Manila can be considered as one of the most respected events management firm in the country today. Norelyn’s hands-on disciplined approach in running the business makes it cost-effective. In the process, allow substantial returns be achieved with her clients. She actively researches to have industry foresight on where her events are aligned with.
6. Jam Mayer – “Reach out. Keep an open mind.”
If not for Jam, I would not have tried webinars. Her patience in reaching out to potential users (including me) and others eventually paid off. Today, I use webinars in the conduct of my Certified Blog and Social Media Entrepreneur. We also partnered in releasing Home Based Elite online program to the public.
8. Gloria Melencio – “Fill the gap”
Gloria’s passion in writing Philippine history online amazes me. She saw the need for information and anecdotes to be provided and give the history reader deeper information on what transpired in the past. As an Internet historian, I can feel her challenge in doing this advocacy. It is challenging to sustain it that makes her creative also in approaching it. However, the bigger goal of making this documentation is far more important than revenues alone.
9. Maita Siquijor – “Professionalize the industry. Take care of the customer.”
As a real estate entrepreneur, Maita’s aspiration of serving the needs of the customer does not end there. She realized earlier on that her peers also needs to use new tools, such as social media, to serve prospects and customers better. She shares her knowledge and best practice whenever the opportunity arises. In the process, she is able to establish herself as an influencer and build a stronger network connection with peers. Where learning to adapt to new technologies as a sector, she believes, shall benefit each real estate professional and the customers they cater to.
10. Yayu Javier – “Keep customers loyal”
If customer loyalty is considered as a science, then Yayu Javier is a guru in this space. She helps companies develop and implement metrics-driven customer loyalty programs. Yayu believes that companies should not take their customers for granted. Learn more about them and find a way to come up with a loyalty program that will merit the attention it deserves.
11. Chit Juan – “Nurture relationships”
Like many executives, Chit was at first reluctant in using social media. As she got the hang of it, she used the platform to connect with influencers online and establish relationships. What I like about Chit is her genuine friendliness online and offline. Talking to her is like being with a barkada eager to discuss on what’s new, what’s cool, and having a wine or mojito with that. (Yes Chit, I miss Le Bistro Vert.) Her online persona also makes it easy for her to discuss about their eco-friendly products and services without really selling at all. In one event early this year where I needed speaker tokens, her store was the first that came to mind.
12. Mel Dominguez – “Be emphatic. Be real.”
Mel Dominguez is considered as one of the top public relations professional in the Philippines specializing in the I.T. sector. What makes Mel click is her positive relationship with clients, her employees, and the media. Her humility is most humbling. Her being real and emphatic makes her a very good friend to a lot of people she deals with.
13. Amor Maclang – “Be bold.”
Amor Maclang is one player in the industry whose passion can be infectious. As a communicator, she sends her message across clearly and make you feel its significance at the same time. The kind of projects they get into and how it is executed shows how bold they are in breaking the rules as needed – in order to achieve the effect desired.
14. Cristina Gascon – “Take risk. Experiment.”
Meeting Cristina of Jupiter Suites was a refreshing experience. Her being open-minded to ideas and execution allowed her to undertake projects no one has ever done before. Her willingness to take risk and experiment which can either lead to failure or success makes her a true entrepreneur with fortitude to move forward.
15. Joan Sherbie Acosta – “Seek for advice and feedback.”
Working with Sherbie of Creative Alliance Services in doing roadshows in Pangasinan and La Union is such an experience. Her sincere kindness can disarm anyone easily. What I also learned from her is the eagerness to seek advice and feedback. Something that a lot of us do not usually make time for. Her being positive allows her to keep on improving in what she does.
16. Fleire Castro – “Keep learning.”
When I first met Fleire online, I already had an impression on how skillful she is in what she does as a digital marketing person. However, as I get to know her, that is when I realized how open she is in listening to various perspective in order to come up with her own assessment on what needs to be done. Her openness to learning made her support various groups and causes in order to enrich her experience further while helping at the same time.
17. Vanj Padilla – “Have the political will and determination to stand-out.”
Promoting ICT for government adoption is not an easy task especially with all the politics that goes around in the system. That is why I am very amazed when Vanj Padilla was able to pull off various activities in Pangasinan with government support. Indeed, in order to achieve a goal requires having not only determination, but also political will, to get people to move – doing what you want them to do.
Thank you ladies for the inspiration!