Preparing for Pregnancy

Hey there, pretty pregnant mommas! It’s that time of the year again! Manila Workshops will hold a 4 part workshop series on preparing for pregnancy and for parenting! This will be the 4th and final run for this year, and the workshops seem to get bigger and better every time! This series of workshops is in collaboration with our friends from The Parenting Emporium.

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First Time Parents workshop series is one of the most successful workshop series of Manila Workshops. We have been offering this workshop series since 2013. This is designed to help expectant parents to prepare for the coming of the baby; However, we also do invite singles, relatives and caregivers to attend too!

These are the different topics that we have!

October 15, 2016 (9AM-12NN) – What to Know Before Giving Birth (OB Check-ups and Pregnancy Nutrition)
October 15, 2016 (2PM-5PM) – Preparing for Delivery Day/Newborn Care (Delivery Options, Newborn Care)
November 12, 2016 (9AM-12NN) – All About Breastfeeding
November 12, 2016 (1PM-5PM) – Baby and Toddler Nutrition and Care

Get a better deal when you sign up for 4 workshops!

Individual Rate show details + P600.00 (PHP)
Couple Rate (one workshop) show details + P1,000.00 (PHP)
Couple Rate (attending 2 workshops) show details + P1,750.00 (PHP)
Couple Rate (attending 3 workshops) show details + P2,400.00 (PHP)
Couple Rate (attending 4 workshops) show details + P3,200.00 (PHP)

REGISTER NOW

This event is supported by StemCord Philippines, Cetaphil Philippines, Mamachows, Beginnings, Pampers, VPharma, Cradle/Cycles.

Hope to see you soon!

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Business Lessons: Cost and Volume

Today, I had a class on COSTS and the relationship of cost and volume. Starting a business means that you won’t be escaping this concept anytime soon. In order to manage and sustain a business, we need to monitor and control costs, because ultimately, to increase profits, you need to increase revenue and decrease costs while maintaining the value of your service.

Understanding costs

Now one of the things we need to look at is the behavior of costs. Here are the three behaviors:

VARIABLE – These are the costs that are directly proportional to the volume (level of activity).

FIXED – These are costs that you incur whether there is volume or not.

MIXED OR SEMI VARIABLE – These are costs that have a variable component and a fixed component. A classic example of this are utilities and manpower (when employees who receive pay but sometimes go overtime).

To be able to make profit, we need to increase volume to be sold to increase sales.

So how do we increase volume and sales?
1. Look for the customers who find value in availing your product.
2. Deliver great service so that your customers will be brand believers. This will be FREE advertising for your company.
3. Pray for sales!

Learning about Costs

Now there is this term, Full Cost which is Unit Variable Cost + Unit Fixed Cost.

Total Variable Cost increases as volume goes up but Unit Variable Cost is constant on a per unit basis.

Total Fixed Cost remains constant as the volume goes up, but Unit Fixed cost decreases on a per unit basis. With this, you are trying to achieve what you call Economies of Scale. This is the reason why we can give discounts when people order in bulk or in huge volume. Check different tiers so that you would know at what volume you will start to earn a margin.

The next term that I learned is Contribution Margin. Contribution Margin is the difference between sales and total variable costs or the difference between selling price and unit variable cost. This margin covers (or supposed to cover) for your fixed cost. Contribution Margin Ratio is Contribution Margin divided by Sales.

You need to find out where the biggest margin is. If you find out that the segments that you are tapping all bring in the same margin, look for the segment that will bring in the most volume.

I wanted to share these things. I just thought of sharing it, since I think it will be useful for startups and entrepreneurs to understand. Hope this helps!

 

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S&R Membership Shopping: The Little Things Matter

Customer loyalty is very important for brands these days. With tough competition and the high cost to win new customers, it is more cost efficient to keep old clients. But not a lot of brands take this to heart. They focus so much on acquiring new customers that they forget to keep the current ones happy. Sometimes, too, brands think of so many complicated offerings or promotions that do not benefit the customer in anyway. These are oftentimes things that are deemed useless and even irrelevant to the customer. Brands and companies should think that sometimes simple things matter. This is the reason I love S&R.

Our friends and family always renew their S&R Membership Shopping. This is because S&R knows that simple things and perks can go a long way in winning customer loyalty. A very good example of one of the amazing perks of being a member is access to the upcoming Members Treat for S&R Membership Shopping happening this coming September 30.

S&R Poster

The S&R Membership Shopping – Members’ Treat sale is one of their biggest sales where they offer 50% off (yup, half the price!) and even Buy 1 Take 1 Deals for a lot of items. This great sale will happen from September 30 until October 02 nationwide. The participating stores are:

– S&R BGC
– S&R Aseana
– S&R Congressional
– S&R Alabang
– S&R Shaw
– S&R Cebu
– S&R Pampanga
– S&R Davao
– S&R Imus
– S&R Nuvali
– S&R Davao

What I am looking forward to the most is that in this sale, the items that are on sale are usually really great and useful things. Other stores would most likely have hard to sell items on display during their sale, but S&R puts on display items that a lot of us would actually buy and even buy in bulk! For this year, some of the items that I am hoping that they would sell during the sale are their Colgate Kids Mouthwash Bubblegum and UP Baby wipes for my daughter, Suave 2-in-1 Professional Shampoo and Conidtioner for little ol’ me and Irish spring soap for the hubby. Oh, wait! I also love their Ring cakes. I’m sure if you have tried that before, you would agree that the US Double Choco-chip Creme Ring Cake and the US Apple Raisin Creme Cake are to die for! I also wish that they include their Ben & Jerry Chunky Monkey ice cream and the Ben & Jerry Chocochip Cookie Dough!

These simple things matter to a simple person like me! Great deals and bargains make me happy.

Are you a loyal customer of S&R? If you’re not yet a member, I suggest that you go and sign up now for S&R Membership Shopping, so that we could go shopping together this coming September 30!

Don’t forget to share your S&R Shopping experience using #LoveSnr #SnReveryday so we could get to see what great deals you got to avail of. With these simple things, I know I will be forever loyal!

P.S. For more information on S&R membership, please checkout this page: S&R Membership

 

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Ladies, We are Definitely Worth it!

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report of 2015, the Philippines ranked 7 out of 145 countries, with a gender gap score of 0.790 (1.0 = equality and 0.0 = inequality). The full report is in this page: http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2015/economies/#economy=PHL I’m glad that gender equality isn’t that much of a problem here as it is in the rest of the world. But even with such a high ranking, I always wondered why is it that in the corporate world, and even now in the start up community, there are not a lot of female leaders and founders.

As Philstar mentioned in their article about the Filipina CEO Circle event that I, too, attended the other day, a recent survey conducted by KPMG R.G. Manabat & Co. among the top 1,000 corporations has shown that very few of these companies were led by women (only 68 out of the 770 companies that they contacted were led by Filipina CEOs). As I listened to some of the successful women in that conference, and as I thought about my other female friends and relatives (those who have achieved their goals and those who are still struggling), this is an insight that I have picked up that I want to share with you.

Be inspired!

Be inspired!

We need to think that we are Worth it!

Masyado tayong mabait (We are too nice!).  Ever since we were young, we, ladies, have been taught to respect elders (parents, teachers, etc.). Like the men, we were taught to study hard and pursue our dreams. No one cornered us and taught us differently. No one said that ladies couldn’t do the different things that men did. No one told us that there was a limit to the opportunities that we could grab. We were never told that there was a limit to what we could do. It is “us” — we limit ourselves.

We don’t think we are capable of traveling alone. We think we should wait for that promotion to land on our laps, because asking for it might be too domineering. We should not speak our minds if we feel that we are not valued enough in a company, because that would be too rude. We think that we can’t say no to things that our family and friends ask of us, because it’s “rebelling” and not very polite, even if it means giving up important things like health and our biggest dreams. We think that we should all stay at home, take care of the kids, cook food, because that is what the society expects us to do. We almost always think we are not good enough for that opportunity that lands our way. Oftentimes, we say no.

Get this, all of these examples are based from real experiences and stories that I had with friends and family. Hey, some of these are also my experiences. These thoughts are, sad to say, real. We think these things. We continuously tell our friends and family about wanting all of these things for yourself, but we hesitate to make things happen. We think we are not worth it. Just recently, I came across a single friend who finally gained independence, and I was telling her of all the beautiful and amazing things that she could do. She was going on and on though about it being the first time that she was all alone. I told her to stop sulking, because if it were me in her position, I would probably be traveling the world and making all of my dreams a reality.

When was the last time you have thought about YOU? You may be in your 20s, 30s, or even in your 40s, going through your daily routine, but is what your doing really that something that you have dreamed of doing? Have you been brave enough to say YES to opportunities that come your way? Have you loved yourself lately? Have you done things that you have always wanted to do without feeling guilty? Have you just enjoyed and lived?

As Basha from the movie One More Chance would say, I want to stop wondering “what if” I want to know “what is”.

If you haven’t thought about these things, you should. You are worth it.

 

P.S. My friends and I started a group of women who support each other in accomplishing their goals. Visit is at http://beautybizbliss.com and please do sign up!

 

 

 

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Web Hosting for your Blog 101

Rain reminds me of blogging. It’s raining again and in times like these, I love writing. Blogging really relaxes the hell out of me! haha! Create and start a blog, people! You won’t regret it. Don’t worry about the technical stuff. In fact, today, I will help you tackle on of the slightly technical things: web hosting. When you want to create a blog, one of the things that you need to look for is a web hosting provider. Web hosting is where you can store your blog. You don’t need manual servers! For those who want to know what web hosting is all about, here is a very interesting video. I love the very simple explanation!

Now, I’m sure you will want a step by step guide on how to set up your own web hosting for your blog. One of the hosting providers that I use is BLUEHOST. I use Bluehost because they have great customer service and they are reasonably priced. Today, I will share with you the simple steps that you need to go through when you want to have a web host for your blog.

So the first step is to click on this link to go to the Bluehost site: BLUEHOST WEBSITEOnce you arrive at their page, click on the green GET STARTED NOW BUTTON.

Bluehost 1

The page will then show you the different plans available. I suggest that you get the PRIME option if you are creating a website though for a business. If you have a business, this package already has SiteBackup Pro so that you don’t need to worry about backing up your site. If it’s a blog, the PLUS or the BASIC package will do.

Bluehost 2

After you have selected your plan, you can look for a domain name (this is free when you subscribe to BlueHost or key in the domain that you have already bought.

 

Bluehost 3

Click on next and it will ask you for your information. Just key in the information that BlueHost needs.

Bluehost 4

Key in your payment details and that’s it! You have already purchased web hosting for your blog.

If you have more questions, you can easily start a chat session when you click on the chat tab.

 

Bluehost 5

I hope I was able to show you how easy it is to set up hosting for your blog! Happy Blogging!

 

 

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It Takes a Village to Raise a Business

For parents, we are all familiar with this statement “It takes a village to raise a child”. I just had a thought the other day while having our weekly check-up meeting with Ideaspace (entity behind the acceleration program we are part of), that the same is true with businesses. We were talking about the value proposition of Taxumo (our startup). In the room, EJ (my husband and CEO), yours truly, Manny and Prim (mentors) and Dustin and Brenda (from Ideaspace) were all pitching ideas and sharing experiences to further solidify our VP, and it was nice to see that everyone was so involved! There was a moment when I stopped and looked at all of them, and thought it takes a village to raise a business, too!

It takes a village to raise a business.

For the longest time, I always thought that there wasn’t anything difficult about putting up a business. Once you overcome that fear and just start turning your concept into reality, it should be that easy. Basically, a business is just a great idea that we implement and that’s it. Making Manila Workshops successful even further strengthened my belief that it’s all about jumping and fast execution. Boy, was I wrong!

In the past year, I have grown leaps and bounds in terms of learning more about putting up a business, and this is because I was open to hearing from other people. There are a lot of things that I see and wished that I could have done better for Manila Workshops. The good thing though is that I could still adjust now and make everything better than how it was. And the other thing is that I could apply what I have learned with this new startup, Taxumo. To tell you honestly, I haven’t had this much clarity as to what I need to do with my business, and this clarity was because I never let anything pass me by (both good or negative inputs about the business).

But being open means also looking at the value of these things. As a startup founder, you need to decipher if these inputs are things that are valuable or things that are not. There are plethora of tools that were explained and given to me by mentors, by our classes,etc. and most of them are available online. These tools are mostly used for validating the need of the customer. The old me would have said, “Doesn’t this lead to analysis-paralysis?”, but since I have seen the value of this process and the value of each tool (from Business Canvas, to QFD, to the Kano model, to strat mapping and usability tests, etc.), I, together with the team, of course, go through each one. As a team, you should talk to each other and discuss what you think are the insights, tips and tools that would make sense for your business.

Being open to listen doesn’t really equate to action or reaction for most of us. For example, even if most of these are readily available online and even if we know that we need to talk to the customers, we are so preoccupied with the idea that our business idea is just so amazing that we think who would not want to purchase or use it? I have been a victim of this (lol!) — in a few business that I have started, which eventually failed. I learned my lesson the hard way, and by validating the need even before you launch it may be the wisest way to go, so that you don’t waste time and effort. You can not know your customer enough. Each day should be a day to look for new insights about the customer.

There is this article from Forbes Magazine that’s circulating the web and it’s the fact that only 10% of the startups make it. Sharing the article here: 90% Of Startups Fail: Here’s What You Need To Know About The 10% This is a very good read!

Just wanted to share my thoughts on this, so go and talk to people. See what they think about your product. You’ll learn a lot from talking to the “villagers”.

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Mommy Beginnings: Shoutout to Soon-to-Be Parents from the South!

We went to a get together with friends last Saturday. One couple was pregnant and one couple just recently gave birth. We were talking about pregnancy and what we (the two moms who already gave birth) went through. It’s really scary not having to know what to expect really when you get pregnant. There were some things that I was scared of, which I shouldn’t have been, and some things that I wasn’t expecting that I wish others would have told me earlier. Haha! well, for those who are expecting, welcome to this complicated and charming life of parenting!

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We have been receiving a lot of inquiries about holding parenting workshops in the south, so here it is! Manila Workshops is giving you “Parenting Pals: Mommy Beginnings” to help expectant mothers on their pregnancy journey! Expectant dads are also encouraged to attend this together with their wives because we believe that pregnancy is not just a journey of a woman, but of a man as well.

TOPICS TO BE DISCUSSED:

AM SESSION (9AM-12NN): All About Breastfeeding

PM SESSION (1PM-4PM): What to Expect during OB Check-ups/Preparation for Delivery Day

LEARNING FEE:

Individual Rate (regular): Php 600

(Early bird rate-until August 20, 2016–paid and registered): Php 500

Couple Rate (1 workshop): Php 1,000

(2 workshops): Php 1,750

VENUE:

7th Floor, Silid Karunungan, Insular Life (Alabang)

We also encourage singles to attend this in preparation for their future 🙂

Please send sign up here: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/parenting-pals-super-mom-series-mommy-beginnings

 

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Show and Tell Session with Solopreneur PH, Horsepower.ph and Taxumo

What do you think makes a startup succeed? Is it the brilliance of their idea? Is it the team and their skills/personality mix? Is it the constant inflow of Investors and funds? Is it proper timing?

With this, I am sharing this video from TED. Listen to this interesting talk of Bill Gross, the founder of Idealab.

The reason why I brought this up is because a lot of us are scared to tell others about our amazing startup or business idea. We are afraid of being copied. We do everything in our power to protect our idea, and when competitors enter the arena, we become overly sensitive about the issue. The fact of the matter is, what you have is just an idea. You and probably 50 other people all around the world may be thinking of the same idea (probably even simultaneously!).

My opinion is that the startup team who defines, listens and understands the market well wins. The team who is open to tweak their idea based on what the customers want (tweak features, processes or event the timing) succeeds and has nothing to worry about. Now, where do you start validating the idea.

First of all, thoroughly think through everything — all possible scenarios that you can think of. Create a presentation so that you can also visually see your “thoughts”. Then look for people who can help you think through all of these things.

I am a believer of mastermind sessions. Mastermind sessions are mini meet-ups where like minded individuals come together to discuss certain topics. This month, our startup, Taxumo, is teaming up with Solopreneur PH and Horsepower.ph for Solopreneur PH’s end of month Show and Tell Session. This session will be on August 31, 6:30 PM at BlastAsia, Inc. in Ortigas!

Show and Tell Sessions - Taxumo

What is Show and Tell?

Show and Tell is a venue where you show off your new project to people and tell them how you started and what you learned from building it. If you want to be part of our Show and Tell, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/solopreneurPH/permalink/471767093031426/

It’s a good venue to for the following:

  • To gather feedback from the attendees. Most of the attendees are solopreneurs or aspiring solopreneurs with their own businesses. If they are not your market, they can probably introduce you to some people who are. Also, you can ask them about their previous experiences.
  • To practice your presentation skills. Presenting to possible investors can be intimidating and practicing in-front of friendly faces is good preparation.
  • To gain friends and possible business partners.
  • To relax and unwind! We’ve all been working so hard. We deserve a break!

 

This event is FREE and if you just want to come to listen, feel free to drop by!

Again, the events page for this meet up is: https://www.facebook.com/events/1602233543408756/

Hope to see you there!

 

Ad for Taxumo

 

 

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GLAD at Dagupan Bangus Festival 2016

Brands should focus on helping promote culture. Sorry (LOL!), that thought just crossed my mind. We don’t see a lot of focus on our culture and original content coming from the Philippines. My friends know of this frustration that I have about not having enough Filipino content. We should be advocates of our own tradition, culture and content! This is the reason why I admire brands that take a stand to promote and spread the word about certain festivals and traditions in the Philippines.

One of the brands that I admire is GLAD. They participated in the Bangus Festival in Dagupan.

I have been to Dagupan before but it was just now that I heard that there is this celebration called Bangus Festival in Dagupan where thousands of people gather together. This festival puts the province’s native delicacy (milkfish) in the limelight. To celebrate, 900 grilling stations were put up along De Venecia Highway in Lucao where thousands of fresh bangus were cooked simultaneously for the participants to partake of thereafter.

Ceremonial lighting

GLAD, the Filipino homemakers’ partner in food protection and kitchen management, joined in on the fun by providing grill participants with the required kitchen tools like aprons and paper fans. GLAD’s innovative Non-stick Aluminum Foils were also used to cover the grills and fish to be grilled, thus helping to make cooking easier while also ensuring faster clean ups afterwards.

Executives and staff of Glad Philippines staff flash the # 1 sign at the GLAD-sponsored booth

Executives and staff of Glad Philippines staff flash the # 1 sign at the GLAD-sponsored booth

According to Paulo Lao, Sales and Marketing Director for GLAD Philippines which is also among the event’s sponsors, “This is already the third straight year that our company has participated in the Bangus Festival through CSI Lucao. We are happy to support this activity as it allows us to help the local government of Dagupan ensure a successful staging of their event. It’s also a good avenue to help educate the public on how to achieve the best cooking experience using some of our kitchen tools like GLAD Non-stick Aluminum Foil,” she says.

In our home, we really use and love GLAD. We also used GLAD to cook fish since GLAD Non-stick Aluminum Foil ensures that the skin stays on the fish and not on the foil. You should try using these products, Mommies! You’ll be happily surprised at how useful their products are!

For more information about GLAD, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/GladProducts/

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Raise Great Kids: Healthy Balance Between Responsibility and Fun

I have a new yaya and it’s her first day today. Although, we loved the last one, she had to deal with personal issues. We will miss you, Ate Nene. So anyway, going back to this new yaya, she was really impressed at how well behave my daughter was. She is one of those great kids you’d see — always such a good girl. She was shocked that my little lady knew how to pack away her things, knew how to answer adults respectfully, etc. The new yaya was also amazed at how unattached my daughter was to the TV. She didn’t really care much for shows. Our daughter, also, wanted to play at the playroom more than to play with just her tablet. She loves it when people tell her stories — random stories about anything!

When people ask us how we did it, how did we raise such an amazing kid, I actually don’t know what we did well. We actually don’t know what specific things or lessons or parenting skills we have applied that contributed to making our child such a great kid with a great attitude.

Great Kids Mommy and Me

What I will tell you now is what we do and what we follow in our household, and I don’t even know if this is what helped. It has worked for us, but of course, it may not work for you.

One of the things that we keep in mind at home is to do everything in moderation. We can have fun and play with our daughter, but we expect her, too, to do her share in some of the chores. “Chores” for a three year old really is just packing away her toys, helping get stuff, help put things away — those simple things. We make it clear that we can be silly and funny, but if she does something wrong or does not fulfil commitments, we switch to our serious, stern parenting modes. I think she gets it that we mean business!

Great Kids PH 3

Parenting can be tiring but fun! :)

Also, moderation means having boundaries with certain things and activities. When we go inside a toy store, we already set expectations. We talk to her and say that she can have just one toy or she needs to wait for the weekend for us to buy her a toy. She ends us just playing with the toys inside and she doesn’t throw any tantrums when we don’t buy her anything. Although, occasionally, she will cry when she thinks about a certain toy, but she hasn’t really cried loudly and uncontrollably inside a store.

Great Kids PH 4

I teach her to try to dress up by herself or pick the dress that she wants to wear.

We also teach her to commit to doing things and to be responsible for things. We bought this task chart in one of the Homeschooling Conferences that we had before. We use it now for Zeeka. If she completes tasks and fills the chart with stars for one full week, she is allowed to choose a prize. The tasks in her chart included sharing (since this is what we have noticed to be something difficult for her to do), dressing herself, brushing her teeth, taking a bath, etc. For the reward that we give, it’s normally a toy that I can afford or an app that we have to pay for. This week it was a Yo Gabba Gabba application that cost me $4.99. Haha!

We also teach her to make her own decisions. Do you know that this great kid chooses her own clothes? We don’t pick them for her. She chooses what she wants to wear on a daily basis. This little lady loves shopping, and believe it or not, she has great taste! She even has more fashion sense than me.

Great Kids PH 8

Great Kids PH 9

My daughter also has a set schedule and I encourage the yaya or anyone watching her to follow this schedule. I’m sure when she grows up, she will eventually break the schedule, but I think that having a routine instills good habits that I think she will carry on until she’s older (like taking care of her health and having enough sleep).

Making them responsible for things doesn’t make you a boring parent (I think we’re cool parents! haha!). When they are still young, my belief is that these children need to have a balance between fun and learning to handle responsibilities, and it’s our responsibility as parents to teach them to balance these things.

PS. Check out the Mommy and Me collection of Great Kids PH! Have you seen the clothes that we wore above?! It’s so cute!

Mommy and Me Great Kids

 

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