I joined a webinar recently to talk about COVID19, the impact that we all think it has on SMEs, professionals and freelancers. I was asked the question: What do you think the short and long term effects of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) are to SMEs.

I just wanted to share my thoughts on this so that MSMEs and start-up founders like me can reflect and plan accordingly. If you want to add to the list, please feel free to comment on the comment section below.

Short Term effects of Enhanced Community Quarantine on Businesses

These are what I personally think the short term effects of this quarantine period are:

Feel a huge impact on their Cash Flow. Most of the businesses, no matter the size, are living from paycheck to paycheck. This is where we will feel the full effect of not saving up for a rainy day (Yes, as a business, we should also have an emergency fund or plan to maintain business operations and pay our commitments).

For our personal finances, we always talk about emergency funds and having enough to sustain us when unforeseen events happen. This should also be the case for SMEs. But since not a lot of businesses have extra funds for an unforeseen event like this, businesses lack funds to pay their people, they don’t get to have enough funds for the bills that they have, etc. This will result to layoffs, penalties and interests for unpaid bills or taxes, not having enough funds to pay for offices, machines, equipments, etc. Some of these companies will then have to declare bankruptcy.

Some companies will panic because they are not ready for a “work-from-home” scenario. For the longest time, our minds have been set a certain way by policies and directives about working that have been passed on from generation to generation. We think that people are more productive when they come and stay in the office from 8-5 or 9-6. There are no policies on working remotely. No policies set on which tools to use, when to use these tool, how to best use them, etc. During quarantine, most of the business owners will scramble to set up a system that will work for them “temporarily”. 

It will affect people emotionally and psychologically. This isolation will get to some people. And with the news about COVID 19 and this community quarantine, it will definitely foster low moral, scare, lack of motivation due to lack of freedom (freedom that we are so used to). For business owners, some will be depressed because of the uncertainty of their businesses, thus, possibly leading to making the wrong business decision. 

Long Term effects of Enhanced Community Quarantine on Businesses

The only thing constant in this world is change. So as humans, I think that we will obviously “adapt” to whatever our environment throws at us, thrive and survive. With this, we will be gunning for the “normalization” of things. We will look for ways to bring out the new “normal”.

That being said:

  • Businesses will be keen on visiting policies and creating new policies for situations like these. They will probably create new policies for working at home, dealing with Pandemic like this, etc.
  • Most companies will see that having their Employees “Work-from-Home” is actually possible. I feel that a lot of business owners will see after a while that given this kind of environment, there are some people and job functions that can really be done from home and are even more productive this way. They will also see that there are people and jobs, too, where an office setting is more beneficial. Business owners will be more open to having a more results based environment and see the value for certain types of jobs and personalities. They’ll probably be more open to hiring independent contractors and freelancers who work well in these types of environment.
  • Shifts in business models of some businesses. Business owners will see that there may be a few things that they need to tweak in term of how they generate revenues. For examples, a company that used to do things mostly offline, will think of diversifying and looking at other sources of revenue. 
  • Rise of the new creators and inventors. When unforeseen situations like this happen, they become “seen” and people get to experience a different set of challenges and pain points. Some of us go the extra mile and create solutions for the things that we experience now and for the things that we wish we had at this point in time.

What can we do to battle the negative effects and stay sane?

For Business Owners and Startup Founders: Revisit your business model. Try to look for other ways you can earn. As I mentioned, it’s time to look for new ways of earning, if you aren’t really getting any revenue.

This is also the time do some “cleanups”. Clean up processes. Find ways on how to make processes more efficient. This is the time to quickly work on things that would normally get set aside.

Take care of your people. We are all new to this. As business owners and entrepreneurs, we’ve handled a lot of challenges along the way. From overcoming these things, we’ve become stronger. Let’s step up and be leaders at this time. Make your people feel safe and secure.

For employees: Take care of yourself. Even when in lock down, try to maintain a “balance” with everything that you do. It’s hard to separate working from personal time when both are done in the same environment. Try to set boundaries for each. Take breaks while working. At the same time, strive to be more productive, too, while at home. It’s hard, but you’ll get the hang of it.

To motivate you to work from home, you can (1) go back to your company’s mission and see if you can help achieve the mission that they have. In Taxumo, our mission is really to help people compute, file and pay their taxes anytime and anywhere. We are working doubly hard now to reach more people so that they don’t have to worry about paying taxes during times like these. Our government uses these (our taxes) to fund public hospitals and other initiatives that can help our countrymen in times like these.

Another thing that you can look at to motivate you is (2) look at your own personal goals. Who are you doing this for? Going back to the reason why you’re working can help you out at this time.

Let me share with you a video that I shared with some of my employees and hopefully this will help. It talks about looking for the FLOW.

We’ll all get through this. We must get through this. I still believe in the human spirit and how we can turn situations like this into something beneficial for all of us. Let’s help one another, and probably, after all of this has died down, we’ll all be super humans.

P.S. I read this article that I had written 6 years ago when I was “about” to start working from home: https://mommyginger.com/work-at-home-me.html Just brings back a lot of emotions 🙂

Some friends have advised me — Stop watching Netflix. You become unproductive.

Yes, oh so evil, Netflix! You have become the major temptress in this insane life of mine.

I have succumb to the temptation, and willingly allow myself to be seduced. But hear me out first, before you judge. I need it!

Aside from the fact that I need a break from running a business and raising a child, I get to learn a lot of secrets to running a business by watching shows on Netflix (by the way, this isn’t a sponsored post… just to put it out there!)

So today, especially when you want to finally start that business that you have always wanted to start, watch Netflix shows. Or if you’re like me, trying to survive the cut-throat and challenging world of entrepreneurship where only the ones with hard core GRIT survive, just give in to the temptation. It won’t hurt.

I’m sharing a list of my favorite shows with quotes or lines that I love, because each one taught me a lesson. Each one also either inspired me emotionally or urged me to write strategies and plans.

Umbrella Academy

Line: One of the lines exchanged in the show was between Number 5 and Vanya:

Number Five: I’ve decided you’re the only one I can trust.

Vanya: Why me?

Number 5: Because you’re ordinary. Because you’ll listen.

Lesson: Sincerely listen and be your own unique self.

As confident as I may seem, there are a lot of times when I feel sincerely out of place. I’ve suffered having Impostor Syndrome a lot of times. I always feel like I’m not good enough or that I shouldn’t be chosen for a lot of things.

But rather than focusing on what you can or can’t do, I have decided a long time ago to shift the focus from me to other people. How do you do that? Just listen. Intentionally listen and just be there for the other person. You’ll discover a lot about the other person (and a lot about you, too) in the process of the conversation.

Also, it will always be a breath of fresh air when you do YOU. You don’t have to like the same things other people like. You don’t have to do what people who inspire you in social media do. Do your own thing. Be your own self. We need a world with people with different talents and strengths. It’s good to have a life where you want to be better and always strive for excellence, but it has to be your own path. You have to steer your own ship towards where you want it to go.

Stranger Things

Line: One of the lines of Dustin Henderson (Stranger Things, Season 2)

I am on a curiosity voyage, and I need my paddles to travel. These books are my paddles. I need my paddles.

Lesson: Read books. It will guide you in this journey.

There are a lot of hurdles in life that you have to overcome. There were numerous times when we would get stuck looking for the right answer to a business decision that we need to make.

Oftentimes, the secrets to running a business are just in front of you stored in books. Authors write books because it’s a way to pass on their experiences to a massive following. Most of them write, because they feel that it’s their obligation and purpose to help others learn from mistakes made in the past.

I’ve always admired authors, and the work that they have. When you think of books as “secrets and keys to unlock the mysteries of life”, wouldn’t you want to read more?

House of Cards

Line: One of the amazing lines of Frank Underwood

History is earned. You win the day, and then you win the day after, and you do the same thing every day until you’re dead. And you’re remembered not for the winning, but because you never lost!

Lesson: Success takes time. Perseverance and grit is what will make you survive and eventually, succeed.

Ever since we started our business, a lot of people trusted us BUT, a lot of people also thought that we would or will eventually fail. This will be the same journey for you when you decide to embark on this entrepreneurship journey. I guarantee you.

When you hear these things from other people, you’ll sometimes wonder “Yeah, he’s/she’s right! What the F am I doing with my life when I can opt to live comfortably. I’m not dumb. I work smart and hard. I have my family’s lives at stake here for crying out loud! Wake up <insert your name here>

This I tell you, if you want to make a difference and if you want to feel that sense of fulfilment and purpose (in any thing that you’re doing — not just in business, but in employment or in being a professional, etc.), don’t expect it to come in a day, or in a month, or in a year.

I’ve noticed that the reason why people quit their jobs is that they think that they will find fulfilment in a month or in a year or even three years.

What I’ve learned is that it takes decades, hell, even a lifetime to possibly get to that point where you feel that you’ve made a difference. And the bigger the difference, the longer the time it takes.

This is why I love this line. People won’t remember the little wins that you’ve had for your company — the press write-ups and all. What they will remember is that you continuously fought and that you never gave up.

And changing direction, doesn’t mean giving up. It just means your pivoting and learning from the experiences that you’ve had. Changing direction just means changing direction, so don’t feel bad about it. In my opinion, it’s not equivalent to quitting. I’d liken it to growing.

Altered Carbon

Line: From Quellcrist Falconer

First thing you’ll learn is that nothing is what it seems. Ignore your assumptions. Don’t trust anything. What you see, what you hear, what people tell you, what you think you remember.

Lesson: Question everything to get to the answer.

I think one of the gifts that I have is that I have “hunches” when it comes to business, and they turn out to be right. When it comes to assessing people though, I’m pretty bad at it. I tend to see the good in people and always see the positive. So being in business has really taught me to question and ask for more information, before making decisions.

Quells quote here may be an exaggeration, but it teaches is that we need to be more inquisitive. Maybe most people and things are still authentic and remain true to their form. With technology, social media, and all of these changes, authentic appearances and true intentions are hidden in “noise” and in filters.

So if you’re in business, you have to practice looking for, hearing and seeing what your customers truly want and need.

So, see… You can learn a lot from watching shows on Netflix. The next time your spouse or friend brings this up, just say that Netflix is your TED Talks.

Ginger

P.S. Do you like the secrets to running a business that I have shared? Do you like this article? Would you like a part two? 😃 Comment on the section below!

I sound so crazy saying that. You might be wondering, who actually promises to be better at one’s profession or one’s job even.

Well, that’s the entire point. Only a few of us commit to be better at what we do.

When creating goals for this year, most of us write down financial goals, weight loss goals, travel goals, etc. Hardly do we take the time out to create action steps on how we might better our freelancing profession, how we run a company or a business or even how we work in the office. We only think about improving our profession, business or career when the going gets tough, when ratings are involved or when we’re trying to get a promotion.

I think this year is the year that we push ourselves into COMMITTING to do better in what we do. Since I’m a freelancer / entrepreneur, I commit to be better at both these things. I have listed down things that I will commit to.

I will commit to seeing my worth.

Last year, I have been scared of losing. I have been scared of losing a lot of deals with clients, losing relationships and losing opportunities. I agreed to some projects that have lowered my worth as a freelancer. This year, I commit to being braver, to seeing my strengths and to valuing myself. I commit to dealing with people who see the value that I can give them. I will constantly remind myself that I am worth every penny, because I deliver great value.

My Team: #TeamTaxumo

I will commit to deliver exceptional work.

I will commit to not only deliver projects ask of me, but deliver exceptional work. I will help my client with their objectives and contribute ideas and more than the scope of work given to me. I will continue to provide more value to brands that I trust and love.

I will commit to tracking my finances better.

I will commit to logging my income and expenses dutifully. I will commit to continuously using frequently-used-apps like PayPal, Taxumo, GCASH and UnionBank Mobile Banking and to use my not-so-frequently used apps like Wally, 52 Weeks and other apps that I have downloaded an paid for. I know that these will help me, but lazy me takes over! Haha! So I will commit to fixing my finances better this 2019.

I will commit to writing, blogging and vlogging more consistently.

I commit to creating better content — content that is from the heart and more purposeful. I promise that I will b/vlog about the things that my readers will be interested in and that they will learn from. I promise to be consistent, too. I will not let the week pass without creating content.

I promise to learn more about “other” things this year.

I usually come across things that I use for my craft, but I know that I need to learn or at least read about other things that are not related to what I do. I commit to read more, listen to people, meet new people and create new relationships with people. I commit to widening my network, since I know that this is how I’ll be able to learn more.

That’s about it. These are the things that I commit to as a freelancer.

How about you? Let’s start an accountability thread. Tell me about what you COMMIT to as a freelancer, entrepreneur, employee, profesional, parent, etc. I’d love to hear about it!

I was filling out a survey for Fintech companies in the Philippines, and one of the questions there was how old each founder was. In the tech industry, there are a lot of young founders, so I find questions like these to be awkward. Obviously, there was nothing wrong by them asking that question, since it was a survey and they need data. It was my own mind that was making uncontrollable judgements. haha! It was my own self telling ME that it’s too late to start a business. I’m in my late 30s and I just seem old to be starting these very millennial-ish business.

Because of the voice inside me that was telling me to feel ashamed about my predicament, I decided to write about the PROs why it’s never too late to start a business. It can seem scary to start a business at an old age. But, it does offer a lot of advantages. Take for example Harland Sanders, who started Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) at 65 years old and became successful. At an old age, you have a bigger network and gained more experiences and knowledge. You also have more tenacity to make your business venture a success.

A bigger network

At 40s and up, you have already met many people during your professional career. You have already built stronger connections with peers and colleagues. You know who among them are reliable and trustworthy. Tap into their expertise and call them up in case if you need legal, financial, and marketing advice.

A wealth of knowledge and experience

When you’re older, you have gained more experiences and knowledge. You have been through many jobs and experienced failures. These guide you to make better decisions. By this time, you have gained more business acumen and expertise in your craft. Those learnings build you to become more prepared in your business venture.

More tenacity

You are more responsible to handle problems as they arise. You can make a firmer stand on important business decisions. You don’t easily lose heart in the face of problems. You understand that it takes patience and determination to make your business venture a success.

What are the business opportunities for you?

There are a lot of business opportunities for you. All of the things mentioned above make you more likely to succeed even. What really stops you are all of those personal judgements that you make on yourself. No one thinks that! So every day, wake up feeling capable. Each day, tell yourself that you can make things happen.

Believe that it’s not too late to start a business.

This month for me has been knowing more about skincare and the different ingredients that I should look for or watch out for. There is a plethora of products that you can choose from in the market, and the challenge really for retailers now is how do I stand out and what will make me unique and different. Looking at different skin care products from Korea and Japan, you would notice that they make use of quite interesting products like snail, lava, horse oil, orange, grapes, and even “unicorn tears” (I wonder how they got that! haha!). Then I got myself looking at Filipino made products, too (of course!) and one brand caught my attention, and that was My Natural PH. They make use of Seaweed.

I wanted to know more about the whats, hows and whys of My Natural. This is why I interviewed, Marina, one of the co-owners of My Natural PH.

Mommy Ginger and Marina Morada

About The Moradas

Marina is the daughter of Noel Morada, who started the business. Noel is a UP Alumnus and has an MBA in Marketing and Finance. He is a graduate of Business Administration and is a businessman who has been in the seaweeds industry for more than 20 years.

Marina is an IMC Graduate from UA&P (yeeeeah! same school and course as me!). She is also a graduate of Masters of Applied Business Economics. EJ Morada is the younger brother who helps in the business. He graduated from Ateneo de Manila University (Business Management).

Interview with Marina of My Natural PH:

Ginger: Hi Marina! It’s great to meet you. Can you tell everyone what My Natural is about and how long have you been in business?

Marina: We’ve been in the seaweeds business for more than 20 years but our personal care line  made out of seaweeds was only launched June this year after 2 years of research and product development.

Mr. Noel Morada with the the country’s seaweed experts

 This new venture is all about providing SAFE, HEALTHY, and EFFECTIVE natural products.  It stems from our belief that having a healthy lifestyle does not stop with developing healthy habits and eating healthy foods but should also include the use of different products for personal  care, home care and air care which are natural and environment friendly. Consumers need such products that will help them sustain a healthy lifestyle. This is the need that we wish to address through MyNatural products.  

Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?

Marina: Our product line generally caters to the health- conscious natural advocates who keep on finding ways on how they could maintain a healthy lifestyle. They have personal preference over natural products knowing its benefits.  

We have 3 brands and each have distinctly identifies the type of consumers to address their needs.

Algynatural: For the regular consumer who wish to have the benefits of seaweeds and natural personal care products which they could sustain for their everyday needs.

Ocean Blue: For the ultra- sensitive skin consumers who are looking for natural, safe, and effective solutions that could help them manage skin conditions.

MyNatureland: For every homemaker that wishes to keep every corner of her home naturally fresh and clean without using harmful chemicals.

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

Marina: Being in the seaweeds industry for several years, we have attended International conferences and exhibits and learned the benefits of seaweeds for skin care and other personal care needs. These are evidenced by numerous scientific studies, presentations and research papers by experts in the fields. More than this is our ardent desire to promote sustainable healthy lifestyle through products that help consumers take care of themselves as well as the environment. Last of course is our determination to provide more livelihood and continuously build self-sustaining and sustainable communities.

Before embarking on this business though, to be viable we asked ourselves 3 basic questions:

– Is there a market for the product?
– Do we have the resources ( capital, human, raw materials, etc.) to be in this business?
– Do we have the competitive advantage?

Ginger:  Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Marina: Oh A lot. Putting up a business is always a challenge. But as an entrepreneur, you got to have the grit. You have to be tough – psychologically,  physically, and emotionally, you have to have  the capacity to find solutions to complex problems,  the ability to see the opportunities and potentials of future products to fulfill human needs, the steadfastness to pursue your dreams and strong faith in yourself and God of course.

Ginger: What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business?

Marina: Getting the right product that will address the need of the market. This is the product development stage where you really spend a lot of time, resources and human talent to be able to get a perfect product as much as possible. Then you have the challenge of getting your product to the market. Identifying the right market and communicating to them. How is your product relevant to your market?  What are the right channels to reach your market?  What marketing mix shall you use…  Then you have the logistics side of it so that products get to the customer in a seamless and faster way.  Finding customer expectation and fulfilling them is huge challenge for entrepreneurs. Getting the needed resources is likewise a challenge. 

Ginger: What are three traits that you think a Start-up Founder/Entrepreneur should have when starting their own business?

  1. The passion to succeed no matter what the odds (grit)
  2. Eagerness to learn to keep up with the changing times.
  3. Perseverance / Hardwork

Ginger: Do you have any unforgettable moments or  lessons that you learned as an Start-up Founder/Entrepreneur?

Marina: Think ahead. As an entrepreneur you should always be forward looking. Your decision today may no longer be applicable tomorrow so you should be always have plan B and C.

Learning is a continuous process.

There is an opportunity that lies for every problem. You just have to identify it.

Of course, never give up!

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Start-up Founders/Entrepreneurs?

Marina: Equip yourself with the right tools and mindset before starting a business. Learn from the mistakes of others. Always put your customers first (know and understand your market ) they are the lifeblood of any business. Never stop learning.

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Marina: Everyone has the opportunity but only few succeed. The general ratio they say is 1:10; that means only 1 out of ten succeeds. Being an entrepreneur is a conscious decision that you make to achieve a higher purpose ( change lives, create positive impact, etc) . It’s a commitment you should be willing to make to yourself and to your stakeholders (partners, consumers, investors, suppliers, etc).

Ginger: What is your belief about raising capital? What are ways that you can do to raise capital?

Marina: Generally the source of initial capital are personal savings then additional capital from relatives and friends. The formal channels of raising capital like banks, venture capital and other financial intermediaries or institutions and eventually the equity market, come in only in the growth stage  of the business. So raising capital during the start up stage of the business is always challenge.

Ginger: How do you market your products?

Marina: Right now our products can be purchased online through our own website and other online shopping sites like Beauty MNL.

Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?

Marina: On line marketing tools and apps. ( Facebook, Instagram, e- store). Automation of the accounting, financial, inventory and customer base.

Ginger: Thank you so much, Marina, for spending time with me! I learned a lot about seaweeds, its benefits and of course, a lot about starting a business!

Contact information about your business:

Website:  www.mynatural.company
Email address: sales@mynatural.company
Mobile Number: 0917 132 1977 OR 0920 977 1977
Facebook Page : MyNaturalPH
Instagram account: @MyNaturalPH

Purchase from: https://beautymnl.com/brands/algynatural