Every woman’s situation is unique, but all women, whatever path they take, can always find opportunities for personal, professional, or business growth. The secret is to look for the opportunities that are present everywhere, whether in the home, in the office, even in your hobby room.
Here, meet three women who did just that: They mined their personal circumstances, passion, and creativity to bring their game to the next level and score financial success.
When Janice Villanueva became a mom, she had to deal with all kinds of motherhood issues. One time, while breast-feeding her child at the mall, her chest was accidentally exposed. This unfortunate experience, however, drove her to launch her first venture, a clothing line she called Mommy Matters.
“These look like regular clothes but they have a panel that opens up,” she says of the nursing wear she produces. “There’s a hidden slip that you just lift up so that when you are breast-feeding, you don’t look like you are.”
As her child grew older, Janice started to realize how much mommies need specific information relating to practical parenting. And since she was also in the industry of publishing, she decided to publish a book entitled Mommy Pages, a directory for moms containing relevant information such as useful listings and details on party planners and child-friendly restaurants, among others.
Meanwhile as she continued to give seminars to other mothers about proper breast-feeding, a friend suggested that she do events as well. Hesitant at first, Janice took the plunge after her friend promised to place ads in her book if she would do an event for her.
Thus, Janice’s events company “Creative Juice” was born in 2000. She has since then been organizing all kinds of events, and several years ago, she re-branded her mommy events and launched Mommy Mundo, a go-to portal of resources for moms.
The Writer Who Won’t Quit
When she was still a student, author Marlene Legaspi-Munar loved to read. “In elementary I read the Nancy Drew detective series,” she says. “When I reached high school, I turned to reading romantic novels like Mills & Boon and Barbara Cartland. Because I loved romantic stories, I thought I’d write my own.”
At 16, she wrote her first story, and it was published in a magazine. Encouraged, she pitched more articles to magazines and sent book proposals to publishers. But unlike her first article, many of her drafts were rejected.
“Early in my career, I would feel so bad after receiving rejection letters from editors,” she says. “I found comfort in reading about other writers whose works had been rejected, too. I learned that, sometimes, it’s not that your material is bad, but maybe you just sent your material to the wrong publication, meaning, the publisher doesn’t publish your kind of story. So you have to find the right home for your manuscript.”
With this insight, she managed to get two of her works published in the same year—a textbook and a short romantic fiction. Several books likewise saw print later on, including Life in the Middle: The Search for a Satisfying and Significant Midlife and How to Keep Your Hubby Happy at iba pang Tips para kay Misis.
For budding writers who want to get published, here is Marlene’s advice: “Keep reading, keep writing, and keep rewriting. Don’t be afraid of criticism. Be humble and learn from your mistakes. Do your research. Be on the lookout for magazines or publications seeking contributions. Study carefully what publishers are looking for and craft your material accordingly. Follow submission guidelines carefully. Be patient while waiting for the right time.”
Wear Your Confidence
As far back as she can remember, fashion has always been one of the great loves of businesswoman Audrey Quitayen. But even back then, she believed that no matter how beautiful your clothes are, you’ll never stand out without self-confidence.
“A woman can still be sexy, glamorous and beautiful the way God has created her even without showing so much skin,” she says. “So I decided to start a business that is bent on giving women some confidence through pieces and accessories that stand out.”
Her venture, Pieces N’ Creations, sells handcrafted products, wedding accessories, art pieces, and souvenirs. The trademark of her business is the handcrafted satin flower found in the art and fashion products she and her partner sell.
Audrey explains that she came up with the name Pieces N’ Creations from the idea that by using creativity, “you can make some creations from scratch, using different pieces of available materials, to come out with unique creations.”
One of the best things about putting up this kind of business is that not only does it require relatively little capital, but it’s a social enterprise that creates job opportunities for women in many communities, adds Audrey.