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I Took A Break. It Was Nice.

6 Lessons I Learned Along The Way

  • Focusing on self-care is not a bad thing. As the writer, director, and actor in your life, you need to take good care of yourself to establish a good story.
  • Balance is key. You have other responsibilities too— tipping the scales to one direction will throw everything on the opposite end into disaster. Relationships, mental health, family, your wellbeing, etc. needs work as well. A balanced life leads to less problems.
  • Work isn’t everything. Being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Learn to prioritize the important stuff, and delegate whatever you can.
  • Some things that might seem important in the moment may sometimes prove insignificant in the near future. Learn how to recognize those things and act accordingly.
  • Rest doesn’t just mean binging on Netflix and video games. It might mean working on a creative project, cooking for your loved ones, or spending time with your partner. The short-lived dopamine hit from technology cannot suffice the long-term sanity you need to experience to be productive.
  • As much as we aspire to become limitless in our work, being limitless does not mean to take on everything at the same time. Being limitless might also mean learning how to say ‘no’ in order to conserve time and energy— to let you focus on the real things you need to do to become limitless.

Be The Author Of Your Story

No one else will write your story except you

“The hero always comes out on top.” Or at least, that’s how Filipino soap operas always structure their stories.

You’ll rarely find local TV shows or movies where the hero ends up failing, making them very predictable— “di ‘yan mamamatay, bida eh.” (He’s not going to die, he’s the main character.”)

That’s how Filipino storywriters told it for the longest time. It’s why our brains have been wired to always expect a positive outcome, despite the challenges our heroes face.

And yet, for some reason, it’s an entirely different scenario when we try looking at our own life stories.

Granted, writing fiction is a much easier task vs. planning out our lives and following everything to the dot— plans rarely work out exactly as we expect it.

But what if we could suspend reality for a moment and try to write out each and every chapter of our lives? What if we could lay out the dominoes that needed to fall into place, helping our first push trigger a chain of events? Think about it: your own personal story, deemed worthy to be turned into a book or a movie.

How would it look like?

Published
Categorized as Life

Innovation Through Naivety

A snippet from my book, ‘Love At First Sale’

To this day, being naive has been my guiding light towards creating new and exciting ways to run my business.

Business industry veterans have always been the go-to experts for entrepreneurs who wanted to start a successful startup; the hope is to learn what they did to reach their success, and replicate it as much as possible to achieve the same results.

Personally, I find that boring. I understand the value of learning from someone else to avoid their mistakes, definitely, but doing so limits your decisions. Learning and working on how things were done before corners you into a realm of what everyone knows is possible, blocking you out of ways to do things that have never been done or explored.

Take for example, Eight Media, my digital marketing agency. My agency has:

  • Never been marketed. We’ve never run advertisements to get clients online of offline.
  • Never had a real branding exercise— our logo for almost three years came from a free logo making site.
  • Never won awards.
  • Never had an office until our second year of operations.
  • Never had investors, or gotten a loan.
  • And never had sales agents to close leads.

And yet:

  • We’re currently being recommended left and right.
  • Our service beats out agencies that have been running for years (according to our clients, and some competitors themselves).
  • We’ve grown to a super fun team of 9 people full-time, plus 10+ part-time.
  • And we’re currently working with awesome brands locally in the Philippines and internationally.

I Wrote A Book During The Pandemic. Here’s What I Learned.

Did it have to take a global pandemic for you to start something you’re passionate about?

Ever since I was 15 years old, I’ve always had this dream of becoming a famous author by the time I hit my 40s.

I was so passionate about reading business books like Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, thinking that someday I’d be as good as them to write about the things I’ve learned in my life as an entrepreneur.

In 2016, the year I graduated from college, I started a passion project called Eight A Week. In this email newsletter, I’d write about eight things that entrepreneurs needed to read about throughout the week, hoping they’d rely less on social media and more on my emails. From this project, it’d soon open up doors for me to start taking up clients to write for their blogs or email newsletters.

Fast forward to today, I’m now currently 26-years old; co-founder and CEO of Eight Media, a digital marketing agency based in Laguna.

What started as a passion project of writing solo for clients turned into this scruffy but talented team of nine, full-time creatives with a passion for helping out other entrepreneurs through everything digital or online. From just writing for blogs, we’ve started growing to handling everything from (ironically) social media to full-blown websites.

As time went on, I gradually edged myself out of doing hands-on writing work, and slowly transitioned into running sales and planning for our company’s long-term goals.

I took on less and less writing work, inching towards managerial work instead.

I slowly felt that I was inching away from the reason I started my startup: to “make stories sell” (one of our first taglines)— this coming from my love for writing and creating stories that connected with people.

It was a lesson for me in learning what the market wanted; building a writers-only company was not only hard to scale, it also meant jumping in to a highly competitive space filled with agencies and freelancers.

I felt that it was a good call to shy away from that— but I still had a hole in my creative side slowly growing inside me.

Enter 2020, when I enrolled into a 4-month life/career coaching program. As I told them about my future plans of becoming an author, one of the first questions they asked me was: “What’s stopping you from doing it today?”

Bite Back

We all have different definitions of winning in a pandemic.

Sending that email, leading that meeting, or writing that article could already be a win for you.

Getting out of bed could also be a good start.

This lockdown is unprecedented— redefining what a ‘win’ for you is, is entirely understandable.

But that doesn’t mean those standards are meant to be kept that way, especially when compared to your standards before the quarantine.

Who says you can’t close clients during a pandemic?

Who says your business can’t stay afloat?

Who says you can’t start something new?

Published
Categorized as Life

How To Be Productive in a Pandemic

There are two trains of thought regarding productivity in a pandemic.

On one hand, you now have all the time in the world— it’s up to you to push yourself to make the most out of your current circumstances.

Today’s the perfect time to start writing on your blog or start your online business.

You’ve wanted to start one for the longest time, but finding time was always an issue. Now, you have no excuse.

On the other hand, survival comes first during a pandemic.

The constant anxiety of our “new normal” starts creeping up, and you’re afraid if you’ll ever be able to come back to the way things were.

Getting out of bed is already a win in your book.