Have you had to fire yourself from your own job?

Have you had to fire yourself from your own job?

Have you ever had to “fire” yourself from a job? I’m talking about it in the context of a blogger, a freelancer or creative. This is an idea I learned from my brothers, when they were deep into their digital strategy business. They were behind big brands like Fully Booked, Jericho Rosales, DMCI Homes, and such companies. Their goal after their corporate trainings and consultancies was simple: For their clients to become so competent so that they could fire their consultants (the consultants being my brothers). When I asked what he meant, he said:

“As a consultant, your job is bring ‘smarts’ to the situation. When you do that, you should be increasing your clients’ capabilities so that as you work together, it’s a learning process for them. Within a certain amount of time, they should should be able to fly without you,” says my youngest brother, Kayo Cosio of HoneyComb Communities.

Ever since they stated this years ago during a training workshop, I’ve thought about it in the context of my own work, and being “fired” on certain occasions, plus to how “fire myself” from situations. Let me explain.

See, I’ve been blog coaching for four years now. In the beginning, when I was handling a few clients at a time, it was great. I could do everything on my own, except for the graphic design elements of the websites and blogs of my clients. Down the road, more and more clients came, and I had to hire more people to make the websites and to do the work with me.

Growing a team is never easy, and I even hired some really bad people along the way. There were a handful of projects that never saw the light because of some unreliable freelancers I contracted. Of course, I learned it the hard way: All the blame went to me, as the project manager. As a result, I fumbled up projects, made clients unhappy, wasted people’s money and time, and of course, all that ruined my reputation. I had lots of great projects, but the disappointments and failures always affected me the most.


What my failures in consulting have taught me

I’ve seen through the years that I should have fired myself when I saw warning signs — like those I’m listing below. Looking back, my unhappy clients have been the ones whom I didn’t give value to. There were those who felt I wasted their money, others who didn’t jive with my style of coaching, and others who didn’t like their websites and blogs. These clients, I’ve since grouped into “the dissatisfied” for data purposes. Normally, I would let these glaring failures keep me down, but as it turns out they are the most helpful category of clients for me. Because it’s my failures with them that help me create something blissful out of a seemingly negative and career-killing situation.

What I’ve realized is:

1. There are clients who need more hand-holding than others. I’ve had clients who are more demanding of my time and supervision than others. If I’m not delivering their time expectations, I will of course fail them because they find value in constant access to me. I should fire myself before things get too detailed.

2. There will always be people who equate service price with hours rendered. I’ve had a handful of prospects who’ve said “Your Skype sessions are overpriced” without even trying them first. But I’ve had MORE clients say that my Skype sessions were vastly helpful, even more than my offline group workshops, because of the one-on-one aspect. When colleagues and I deduced what the unhappy clients found wrong with the service, we saw that these clients didn’t really care about the price, but they made price instead of time & consulting the most important aspect of their choice to work with me. I should fire myself, because I am not valued, nor is my service.

3. There will be clients you think are great for you, but they don’t really need you. It’s important to validate a particular client actually needs you. This was one mistake I made more than once. My coaching is most valuable to clients who really don’t know what they want for their blog or website. So in the times I was hired by clients who already knew a majority of what they wanted, I should have actually let them go. Why? Because if I cannot work with them or offer them value, then they will of course feel they didn’t get their money’s worth.

So, thank you, to every client I’ve had. The successful projects have affirmed that I am a great blog coach for a specific kind of client. The failed projects on my part confirmed what I was doing incorrectly, and have since helped me to “fire myself” as a blog coach.

But this doesn’t end in failure. I’m too much of a life hacker to settle in the dust.

I will always love doing social media and blogging strategy. But just because I want to work doesn’t mean I want to keep trading hours for money. For sure, I don’t want to work until I’m 60. And so, the goal is to create systems so that I still give value to those who come for brand consulting, coaching, but spend less hours being physically doing the work. This can be achieved through my new books, some webinars that we are cooking up, and limited number of consulting spots for those truly serious about growing their brands. This means letting go completely of certain services and automating current ones. These will also help filter out my non-ideal clients (those who need hand-holding and my constant presence).

So, hello to new things! Now that I have “fired” myself from certain roles, I can breathe easier, work more efficiently (and with better results), work with clients who are really the best fit (and I for them).

Have you ever had to “fire” yourself as a coach, a consultant or service provider? How did you look at the situation? Let’s share our experiences in the comments. (Or I invite you to start a topic in our Facebook Group, the Blissful Brands & Businesses)


When women gather in beauty, business and bliss

When women gather in beauty, business and bliss

bbb launch guests group

I’m sure if you’ve followed me and my friends Frances and Ginger on our blogs and social media, you’ll have learned about our new project (it’s a company, actually) called “Beauty Biz Bliss.” You’ll be reading some other articles about our launch, such as the blog on Beauty Biz Bliss, but here’s my take on our new company, why I think it’s the perfect time to start it and what our hopes and dreams are for this new community.

To start off, here’s a definition of what we mean by our name, taken from our About page on our new website:

Beauty, Biz, Bliss. Together they make up the best of you, the truth of who you are as a woman. Never be afraid to embrace all three for yourself. You deserve to enjoy your life!

We envision a community of working women who will uplift, encourage and collaborate with each other.  Through this website, we will provide tools, like photos, articles, discounts to certain service and product providers. As a community, Beauty Biz Bliss is a network of working women: entrepreneurs, freelancers, managers, office girls, students or moms who have sidelines or businesses. We will connect with each other through an online database so we can work with each other.

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In BBB, we want to stress on the value of community. Beauty Biz Bliss at its core is a community of like-minded women who believe that collaboration is the new economy. From startups to apps, from organizations to online hubs, people the world over understand that collaboration can create new opportunities for growth.

We also want to deliberately be out-of-the-box. One of the reasons why I love working with Ginger and Frances is that we are all OK being a bit rebellious — haha! We’re unapologetic about our personal convictions and the way we’ve designed our lives, respectively. We’re all working women, full-time moms, wives to amazing spouses, and as “happy rebels”, we have this innate need to challenge the template of traditional success, whether in the blogging world or the biz world. If you look at our individual blogs and social media channels, you’ll see we’ve designed our lives around the things we love and believe in.

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bbb launch moleskine gourdos

bbb launch moleskine philippines

And this is what we want to do with other women in the Beauty Biz Bliss community. Through our online membership site, we’ll be offering premium resources to help women design their lives, from the way they carry themselves (inner and outer beauty), their work ethic (business & career), to changing their mindset from template-living to intentional living (living their bliss).

Related post: Beauty Biz Bliss: Collaboration Over Competition

Our launch brought together around 30 women from various niches in beauty, business and bliss: Bloggers, career women, techiepreneurs, startup founders, coaches, creative entrepreneurs, crafters & makers, working mothers. It was such a diverse group, even our guests wondered, “Why are well all here?” And that reaction is what we really want our community to be known for.

We want to bring women together to make new possibilities happen.

The women we invited have one way or the other built their own successful communities in their niches (those mentioned above). So what if we could fuse one or two communities or businesses together and create something new? What if collaborations could give birth to new businesses and organizations we never thought possible?

And —and this is at the heart of what Frances, Ginger and I want to do— what if we could begin impacting the lives of women who were less fortunate, abused or displaced? What if by helping women connect with one another, we could create new social enterprises that improve the lives of other women?

Related post: Beauty Biz Bliss launched to celebrate working women

bbb launch spring manila 2

bbb launch moleskine journals

bbb launch colab

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What Each Component Means for Beauty Biz Bliss

Beauty:While the co-founders are not beauty experts, we believe we are successful women, and we know that inner beauty expresses itself outwardly. So for us, the “beauty” component of BBB includes building confidence in the women we work with. We’re going to go deeper than just doing makeup workshops and styling. We intend to offer activations on the whole package ofself-esteem, true identity and confidence.

Biz: The co-founders of BBB believe that work has be meaningful so that we can give our best effort to it, whether we run our own businesses or are super employees. We advocate the art of working excellently, as careerwomen or businesswomen. Our offerings in this category will be around business and career development.

Bliss: We define “following one’s bliss” as “thinking about the big picture of life and creating a lifestyle that you love.” “Bliss” means opening the doors that were once shut to you, and saying “YES” to the things you’ve always wanted to do but never had the confidence to do: travel, projects, a business, an advocacy — whatever it is. Expect life coach offerings, practical life-business retreats, that sort of thing.

So that, in a nutshell, is what we shared during the launch. We also had activities, which you can read more about on the Beauty Biz Bliss blog. And I hope you can also read some of these blog posts by our guests (thanks, ladies!)

3 Things I Like About Beauty Biz Bliss by Beauty & Sparkle
Beauty Biz Bliss empowers moms by the Manila Times
Building a community of empowered women by Project Vanity
The Beauty Biz Bliss Community: Be a #BossBella by Mommy Ginger

Thank you to our lovely sponsors who made our launch event so awesome!

A Vanilla StoryAlfox Printing ServicesAloe Cure and Aloe DermaBayani BrewBiogenic AlcoholBrownroots CreativesCarlos and VeronicaCo.Lab XchangeCusina HomeDesign HatchGirlstuff ForeverGourdo’sHey HolidayFly Ace (Jolly, Biscoff, Doña Elena Al Dente Pasta), La Dolce VitaMoleskineOleiaPhysiogelSpring ManilaThe Coffee Bean & Tea LeafThe Cuisinero and The Little Whisk

Be part of our BBB community! Here’s the sign up page: http://beautybizbliss.com/register/

By the way: This is us in Beauty Biz Bliss!


Working in Freedom.

Working in Freedom.

make it blissful living room

One of the things I’m grateful for is that I can work at home. Actually, I can work from pretty much wherever I want, if I wanted to. But for me, I like doing the jobs I do from the comfort of home. Especially now, Manila being what it is now with the traffic congestion issues and the general problems in the transportation system!

When I started blogging “blissfully,” one of the things I wanted to do less of was be away from my family. I guess with the tight-knit arrangement we have while the kids are young, it is ideal to be a hands-on mom and still be able to work.

Blog Your Best Year

I am grateful that the work I do know — mainly blog coaching — is something I can do anywhere as long as I my laptop, my phone and a steady Internet connection. I’ve taken Skype calls while breastfeeding or carrying my baby, which is the case now that I have a high-need infant. I’ve overseen projects using online management systems while teaching my son handwriting exercises. I’ve directed website and blog projects while on the road, sometimes in the car coming home from errands. I’ve even taught workshops holding my baby, like that time I gave a workshop on blogging and photography:

make it blissful workshop

Who says we can’t find a new way of working? Who says that as a mom (with no helper and having a high need baby) that I can’t bring my child along with me to my place of work? Isn’t this day and age all about adapting and revolutionizing the way people work? And not just moms, all people. Even single people who want to do something more than climb the corporate ladder. Even disgruntled office employees who want to escape a cubicle lifestyle.

But the point I want to make about working in freedom is not just about being able to access my work emails while I’m on the go. It’s not about having portable devices and being a workhorse.

As a mom, it’s about these little people:


But even if I wasn’t a mom, I know I would want to work within a lifestyle that matches my need for constant learning, for “location independence,” so that I could do things I enjoy and not feel guilty about it. Wouldn’t it be great to have a job that you enjoy? I think so. I know of friends who enjoy being virtual assistants, because they can still go on road trips and still manage the businesses of clients halfway around the world. I have friends who are freelance writers and copywriters who can live in a different province every quarter of the year, just because they have the “location-free” type of jobs that let them do so.

What working in freedom looks like to us

What does “working in freedom” look like for our family? Well, it’s simple.

We get to do our groceries first thing in the morning on weekdays, with no crowds or lines in the checkout counter.

We can take staycations from Sunday to Monday if we want to, instead of peak times like Friday to Sunday.

We can let the kids wake up past 8AM, because we can spend the morning homeschooling and my husband can go to the gym or the running track to work out, because we can begin work after lunch.

Instead of going out on weekends, we can stay in, at home, because it’s too crowded in the malls and parks.

I know it sounds silly to some people, but if you knew these little “freedoms”, you’d understand what I mean! Working in freedom means making work work for us. If it’s going to help us to make time for the kids first thing in the morning, then our projects and our sales reports can be done in the afternoon while they nap or play or draw quietly.

Working in freedom, for me and my husband, often means our days don’t look the same or follow a regular routine. But it also means that our days have a rhythm that works for our little family. Maybe when the kids are older and one (or both!) of them doesn’t want to be homeschooled, our “normal” will change. But this is our “normal” right now. And it’s been our “normal” for five going six years. I wouldn’t mind if it went on and on for more.

Do you want to work in freedom?

This September, the folks at Manila Workshops are holding their 3rd annual Work at Home Expo, together with the group we co-founded, the WAHMderful Life Community of work at home moms. The Work at Home Expo is a one-day, whole day event on September the 26th which will feature a slate of entrepreneurs and speakers who believe in doing work that sets people free — financially, location-wise, and in their respective fields. I invite you to join us!

work at home expo 2015

The WAH Expo is an annual one-day expo of talks and mini- workshops geared towards the encouragement and empowerment of Filipinos who are working from home or would like to be work from home professionals. This event are for people who are currently working from home as entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, freelancers, and for those who are planning to work from home in the near future. This event will provide attendees knowledge and tips about working from home. It will also be a great event where people can network and meet other people that they can collaborate or work with or for in the future.  (… Read more on Manila Workshops)

I hope to see you at the WAH Expo! We’ve got an amazing line-up of speakers, including Tippy Pelayo-Go of GooglyGooeys.com, Frances Sales of Topaz Horizon, Anna Meloto-Wilk of Human Heart Nature, Rissa Mananquil of Happy Skin, and many, many more! Be inspired to “follow your bliss” and work in the freedom that you deserve!

To sign up now for only Php100, go to Manila Workshops’ right now: BUY tickets now for the WAH Expo 2015


Pin It, Pinas… Finally.

Pin It, Pinas… Finally.

pinterest philippines

When I ask people (specifically my fellow Filipinos here in the Philippines) about Pinterest, I get either of two replies —

“I LOVE Pinterest!”


“I don’t get Pinterest at all.”

Well, I have been on Pinterest for a good four years now, and I have been addicted ever since.

In the beginning, I used it for pretty much the usual perusing and peg-hunting online. These days, I use it for pretty much anything: new ideas for the house, fresh ideas for the blog, for work, etc. It’s the first visual bookmarking tool ever, and helps users discover and save creative ideas. 

One of my most popular boards (and the one that gets repins most frequently) is my Home Office Inspiration board. I began this board as a way to inspire and motivate myself to fix my workspace, since I work from home 90% of the time. It’s curation of carefully pinned work-at-home spaces from blogs, online magazines and websites. I usually pin images that appeal to me for their practical design, storage ideas, organization hacks, and well, prettiness.

pin it pinas

My most popular board, the Home Office Inspiration board! I get lots of repins from this page!

I also use Pinterest for my work as a blog coach. Whenever I have a new client who is working on a rebrand or brand story for their blog, I have them create a private Pinterest board that only they and I can view. It makes my work a whole lot easier, because I don’t have to scour my emails for the images my client wants me to see, when she has an idea for a color scheme or a design feature on her in-progress brand or blog. My client simply just pins images to our private board, leaves comments on the pins she’s made, and we discuss these during our Skype sessions or phone calls. Pinterest saves me time and email clutter — yay.

pin it pinas

Some of the secret Pinterest boards that I use for work and collaborations!

(And of course, I do all of this work from my workspace at home, which was inspired no doubt by a lot of pinning.)

I’ve got some other fun boards here, too. Some of my favorites are:

Pretty in Pink (because I love the color, therefore, a board is dedicated just to pink)

Eureka: For home hacks, DIYs, and other great ideas I find online.

Doable Style: I’m not a fashionable person, and I actually like to rely on outfit photos! This is where I keep them, and it makes for a practical shopping guide, too. My next challenge to myself is to make a Pinterest board for a capsule wardrobe, since I am obsessed now about paring down my wardrobe.

Krista’s 1st Birthday: OK, so this is new and self-explanatory. Pinterest is great for sharing visual inspiration with your party or event planner!

pinitpinasSo, now that you know a bit about how I use Pinterest, how about giving it a go for yourself if you haven’t? If you aren’t a member yet, no worries, cause you can be one of the first 10 people can sign up using this invite link (Click here!) If you’re not on Pinterest yet can use my link to sign up, but it will be available for a limited time only! Hope to see you pinning away very soon! (And remember to add me up: Pinterest.com/martinedeluna)

Are You Fashioning the Life You Want to Live?

Are You Fashioning the Life You Want to Live?

life is what you make of it _

by Mariel of The Learning Basket

I was the most miserable person in all my years of working in my previous career. But money, job security and fear of the unknown made me stay for more than a decade. What a waste of time, right?

It was also because I felt guilty for wanting to do away with the opportunities that my “exclusive” education has given me. I even asked my mom, in one teary conversation, if I would be wasting their efforts in giving me the education that I had if I jumped ship and took care of the kids.

But motherhood gave me the impetus to clarify my priorities and the courage to pursue my happiness. I wasn’t happy with one aspect of my life (good thing it was just my career!) and I told myself that enough was enough – I was going to fashion the life that I wanted.

I think that it is important, especially as we celebrate Women’s Month, to feel empowered to design the life that we want for ourselves. I knew in my heart that I had to be home with my kids but at the same time pursue what I wanted to do, which was to build my business.

And after finally taking the leap two years ago, I am much happier now and proud that I was brave enough to change my life.

life is what you make of it

It wasn’t an easy road. I started, retreated fearfully and just tried again. Here are some of the things that I learned as I crafted the life that I wanted.

1. Throw away the “shoulds”

I threw away the “shoulds” in my life, as in “I should slave away in the I.T. industry because that’s what I was trained for.” I threw away “I can’t quit because I should be earning this much.”

Throwing away the pressure on yourself to be something or someone is the first step in living the life that you want.

2. Acknowledge your passion

I’ve been into writing ever since I can remember and have used it as a creative outlet. My passion for early childhood education, on the other hand, was unlocked when I became an aunt and then eventually a mom.

The thought of pursuing my passions scared me at first, because after all, I did not have formal training in them. But acknowledging my passions led me to the next step, which was to…

3. Take small but consistent steps

I did not shirk away from my interests and instead embraced what came my way.

One advice that I got from a friend when I asked her about wanting to write was, “Just write. You don’t have to wait for a project in order to write.” So I made my own project (my blog) and wrote away.

It excited me and gave me something to look forward to. After almost four years, I’m still writing for it and other publications to boot!

4. Jump

All those small, consistent steps gave me a bit of confidence to say, “Hey! I can do this!” I jumped and left my old life when it seemed like I could make something of myself. I was ready to make life the way I wanted it.

Looking at the life I led before, at how I tried to brush away the feelings of discontent, I wonder what took me so long to do this.

Everyday now, I am thankful for the life and career I have fashioned for myself. I get to homeschool my children, go to the salon on weekdays (and write this on my notebook while my feet are up), and still work on my own terms.

What steps have you taken to make your life the way you want it? 

3 Ideas for Intentional Social Media Engagement

3 Ideas for Intentional Social Media Engagement

meaningful social media engagement

By Mariel Uyquiengco of The Learning Basket

Confession: The time that The Learning Basket could make a lot of sales selling children’s books online (Christmas season!) is also the time that I naturally withdraw from social media without really meaning to. This has gone on for three years now, against all reason.

Maybe by the end of the year I am already tired of all the sharing and liking over Facebook and Instagram that has taken place over the previous months, so when the holidays come around I’m just dead beat on social media.

What happens then is that I start to limit my online exposure to once-a-day email checks rather than my usual compulsive checking throughout the day. I turn off the WiFi connectivity on my phone and write my articles by hand. I set aside the work that continues to pile up and instead spend lots of quality time with my kids, which is how it’s supposed to be anyway, right?

I’ve always been ambivalent about social media. I know I need to be out there, constantly clicking away, uploading, commenting and liking, as I rely on social media for my business. But at the same time, I’ve made a commitment to myself not to miss out on the magic of the moments that pass by with my kids at home.

Pulling away is something that my instinct has naturally led me to during the holiday season, and for that I am actually grateful. Come the new year, it wasn’t easy getting back into the groove of blogging and interacting digitally. Now, after more than a month of restful silence, I still find myself a bit reluctant to come out of my peaceful shell.

Slowly but surely, though, I am getting back out there, enriched and refreshed by the time I spent outside the web and in the real world. I’ve also firmed up and become more confident of my intentional and blissful approach to social media.

1. Post with intention.

I rarely post about my personal life, and this works for me. Even on my personal accounts, I focus on sharing things that are related to my advocacies – hands-on parenting, homeschooling and reading.

For instance, during last year’s Blissmakerie, I was in a bit of a bind trying to figure out how to meaningfully post about a cronut. In the end, I shared about how cronut making-could be a fun activity to do with the kids. Mission accomplished.

Here's the cronut I designed! You can find it on my Instagram @thelearningbasket

Here’s the cronut I designed! You can find it on my Instagram @thelearningbasket

2. Market ideas and inspiration.

I aim to always uplift and inspire in my posts. I try to do this by taking on a positive tone and filtering out unnecessary negativity. Ultimately, I share parenting and learning ideas and pass on inspiration every day. This is how I make interactions meaningful for those within my network.

3. Be myself.

Last and most important, I aim to be happy with who I am. I do most of my work out here in the big, wide web, but I still prefer to just share myself up to a point, and without revealing all of myself. And though there is increasing pressure to be “more friendly” and “more approachable” and “more personal” in my social media dealings, I am happy with my self-imposed online code of behavior.

I believe that we engage meaningfully in social media when we wisely choose what we share out there.

How do you make your social media interactions more meaningful?