I’m a personal branding strategist, digital marketing expert, business coach, content creator, and a lover of written words, classic songs, and starry nights.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t have a rags to riches story to tell...
Every time I embark on a new venture, I always hit a home run. BUT that doesn’t mean it all happened overnight.
As I’ve said millions of times before, PASSION is my middle name. And SUCCESS for me is the combination of passion, determination, some epic preparation, self-transformation, and a whole lot of action.
And if anyone tells me I’m “just lucky” to get to where I am now, I’ll tell them “no sir, I worked very hard for this. I gave up sleep for this. I left a lot of unproductive habits for this. And I will celebrate my life every day knowing I deserve ALL this.”
How did a college dropout like me never worry about my future?
Well, I tell you this - I’m not as privileged as you think I am. Although yes, I got access to education and the Internet, but that’s all. I never asked for any financial support from my parents.
In my first year in college, I grew my online shop from ground zero to breaking through $300 profit in my first month. I had to make my willing customers wait for about 2-3 weeks to refill my sold-out inventory.
I managed to rent out a small room behind our school so it’s easier for me to get to class and meet up purchasers. I paid for my own necessities and provided allowances for myself with some money left in the bank. It was way back in 2014 and that was my first time managing a Facebook Page and an Instagram business account.
In my second year, I got into event planning and styling through Pinterest. In my first month, I signed 5 clients - WITHOUT experience. How did I do that? Glad you asked!
I approached them with a pitch that focused on their needs and gave them a guarantee that I can fill those needs. Of course, I also had to wow them with my superb business proposals. And from zero, I got fully-booked 2 months in advance, and that's when I just turned 18! Because of that, I became the youngest event and wedding planner in my hometown. I got paid around $300-$600 per event and it felt good not because I’m earning money but because I’m doing what I love!
Later that year, I also opened a boutique selling bags with my mom at the local shopping mall. We went from 30 bags in the inventory and a tiny 2x2 rented out space to now 500 bags in the inventory (and counting!) and branched out to 3 locations with massive foot traffic!
We quadrupled our revenue in one month! For full disclosure, it was December so it was the busiest season of the year for business owners. You have no idea how long I talked to each customer every. single. day. just to close the sales! At the end of the day, it felt rewarding to sell 20-30 bags.
As I said, there’s no success without hard work. Planning to start a business is fun and all, but the work doesn’t stop once you’ve launched. Connecting with your clients or customers is vital may it be online or in-store.
I’m proud to say that almost all our buyers are loyal and repeat customers. Some even went back the same day with their friends.
Good marketing is the ability to understand your customers. And there's no better way to do that than to connect with them on a personal level.
We’ve also opened a one-stop-shop for weddings and events. We added some products like gowns, invitations, souvenirs, and fabric bouquets. Because hey, who says we can’t get the best of both worlds?
And I also launched my local honey business, which is something I do all for the sake of helping the bees. They are my spirit animals (there's a sentimental reason behind that).
But in every story, there’s always a downfall...
Before entering my third year, I suffered from depression for no reason. I began isolating myself at home for a month. I dropped my subjects and eventually lost my 100% paid academic scholarship.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my course which was Accounting. I enjoyed bookkeeping (I still do it now for pleasure and satisfaction). My parents encouraged me to give it another try and I did, but it didn’t work out. I wasn’t motivated enough.
So I dropped my scholarship and pursued another course which was Education.
I was rarely present in class. I spent more time at the Marketing Office as an anchor of a radio show broadcasted within the whole region. Apart from that, we did marketing campaigns. I was one of the representatives chosen to speak in front of high schoolers. "Meet them where they're at and go with them along the journey" is my strategy.
I was also most active in charity events. We had a literacy workshop where every weekend, we teach elementary pupils to read. I had the most fun storytelling to kids during our community outreach.
I didn’t enjoy my school life minus the connections and volunteer work, so I took a leap of faith and dropped it altogether.
And you see - once you hit the rock bottom, there’s no other way but up!
After my lows, comes my high.
When I had nothing but TIME, I used them all to invest in myself. I attended online courses, read educational books, and dreamed about a future that only I can see.
I missed teaching so I taught English to Japanese professionals online. And now, coaching business owners like me get the most sales and visibility.
As I always say, we often become the person we needed the most.
Who I am now is the woman I needed back when I was starting out.
True, I loved doing all the work - business plans, marketing strategies, roadmaps. But it took me 6 long years to gain clarity about what I really wanted to do and become. It would've been nice to take the shortcut with the help of an expert.
That’s when I realized that everything that I’ve experienced, good or bad, happened for a reason and for a greater purpose.
What I thought was once a rollercoaster ride of emotions has introduced me to so many opportunities.
It introduced me to my true calling.
Marketing, teaching, and storytelling (whether in the form of writing or public speaking) are my biggest strengths. And I believe that through these, I can actually make the world a better place in my own little ways, one action at a time.
And by connecting these four pillars, Shiekina was rebuilt.