Suck at finances? Welcome to the 99 percent of Filipino millennials who are failing at money.
Adulting is hard. But adulting in the midst of a pandemic? For most people, it seems like an impossible thing to do.
However, there are some of us who are unbothered. People who refused to get knocked down by the imminent economic crisis.
Meet Aiza Coronado. Housewife, mom, and entrepreneur. She’s a copywriter by profession who started three new businesses during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Hi Aiza! Welcome to #BehindTheBiz, tell us about you, and what business did you start during the pandemic?
I’m Aiza and I started 3 businesses during the pandemic. The first one is CaaSocio, an Estonia-based SaaS Marketing Agency. The 2nd one is Steak and Wine Cavite. It was supposed to be a restaurant, but we’re delivering frozen steak for now. And the last one is Fleurish Cavite, a balloon and flower (online) gift shop.
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I really didn’t plan on opening all these businesses.
Never in my life did I imagine that I would be doing all these one day. Nobody in our family is an entrepreneur. Growing up, just like most Filipino kids, I was taught to do good in school so I can get a high-paying job.
I was very well provided for until my dad died. We were suddenly left with nothing, but the house that was still loaned to the bank. No life insurance. No health cards. No savings.
My mom still managed to get me through college, but we were left with a lot of debt and I was pressured to get a job after graduation as a test engineer.
But since I don’t feel like my pay can sustain our needs, I explored freelancing. I loved writing so when I started getting paid $1 for an article that I wrote in an hour or so, I was ecstatic.
5 years into the corporate world and doing freelancing on the side, I’m still not getting financially stable as I thought I would. But my freelancing career at that time is booming. When I computed what I can earn when I go full-time, it surpassed my day job so I resigned.
A year after I resigned, I met a fellow copywriter, John Pagulayan, and his freelancing community called TRIBE.
His teachings are focused on freelancing, but the mindset shift, marketing strategies, and sales psychology that he was teaching went beyond freelancing.
That’s when I felt that I could do almost anything in life. LOL! I was shown how to make my BIG DREAMS happen and it was empowering.
I didn’t want my family to suffer like before so I wanted to do everything that I can to be financially secure.
Thus, I’m exploring entrepreneurship on top of freelancing at the moment.
Most of these businesses are in partnership with my friends and with my husband. The opportunities just presented themselves and we just grabbed them, knowing that I’m building them with people I trust.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, sourcing and manufacturing your product or service.
For Steak and Wine and Fleurish, we’re just resellers. So we’re marketing the products on Facebook and Instagram. And ship them via Lalamove. Sometimes, we personally deliver orders.
For CaaSocio, we help SaaS founders and tech companies around the world get more leads and clients. We first identify the challenges they have. If we think we could help them, we hop on a call with them, present a solution, and if they like it, we send an invoice and start working together.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Before I said YES to these businesses, I knew there was already a demand. The mother companies already started marketing for me. So I didn’t have to start from scratch.
All I needed to do was to continue harnessing the demand.
I’ve attracted customers just by being visible to the right market on the right channels—that’s Facebook and Instagram for selling our products. And LinkedIn and Facebook for our marketing and copywriting services.
As to how to retain customers… Just serve them the best you could and give them what you say you will on the day that you said you will.
Sometimes, it’s all that they need.
How are you today and what does the future look like?
I’m a lot happier and the future now looks exciting!
I love freelancing work, but sometimes, I get stuck in front of my computer all day—meetings, and writing, and prospecting.
So having these other businesses has allowed me to spend more time with my husband and with our son (he enjoys “our delivery bonding time”).
Plus, I’ve always wanted a dainty business so Fleurish is perfect! I always wake up to flowers and balloons and cheesecakes and cakes delivered to our house. And there’s always steak and wine in the fridge. Who wouldn’t love that?!
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Friends would always ask me how I was able to manage everything…
Well, I don’t.
I don’t manage everything alone.
The reason why it’s working is that I’ve chosen to collaborate with other people—friends and fellow freelancers who are stronger than me in my weaker areas.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do this.
What platform or tools do you use for your business?
A lot! But mainly Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Trello, Slack, Messenger, and spreadsheets.
And the fridge, I guess.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to start a business during these challenging times?
I know this pandemic has been super tough on us, but if you put on your rose-colored glasses, we’ve been given time to reinvent ourselves.
To pause, to bring out our “to-do” list that was tucked in our journal for years now, to go back to hobbies that we’ve put off for the last 1,3,5,10 years because we’re too busy making a living.
So if you pass, your next chance will be 100 years from now.
You owe it to yourself to try.
Where can we go to learn more about you and your business?