Woah, just 2 months only and we're done wit 2020! How time flies so fast. And this pandemic taught us so many lessons. It also affected my businesses so bad because 1st, my store, Bride and Rose is a brick and mortar store located in a mall, and the malls got shut down for how many long months. 2nd, gathering was forbidden, so my Events Styling business- Shabby Chic Style Studio got affected too. 

The pandemic gave me so much struggles most especially in dealing with the clients who wanted a refund. Little did they know, we, suppliers, are much more affected than them, because this is our bread and butter, while, they can re-schedule their events. Fortunately, it is stipulated in my Terms and Agreement that we do not do refunds. 

With these, I had to be strong and stand up for my rights. I didn't let these kinds of challenges to put me down, instead, it helped me improved and made my Career Principles, stronger. 

This pandemic also made many people, almost everyone! Becomes a Young Entrepreneur. All kinds of business are online now, even frozen meats! That's why I decided to write this article to give tips or inspire those who are now in business or into handling clients. 

So, without any further ado, here's my list. 

1.) As long as you're a good person, and you don't step down on people, God is with you. My faith and trust in God gets stronger as I believe that he will not let something really bad happen to us because we are good people. Hence, I am not afraid even though some refund demands already escalated to litigations. 

2.) I honour and value my business' terms, process, and systems. It is not easy to build business. Way back years before when I was just starting, I am somehow afraid of my clients and I always give what they want. But it doesn't do any good. Sometimes, when you give too much, they under-estimate you and undervalues you. Today, I am strict with my policies, it is built for a reason and should be followed for a reason. I do business, not a charity. 

3.) I am now confident of what I do so that people will value my crafts. And to be that confident, I shall enjoy my job, and appreciate my improvements. I am not the kind of person to be easily satisfied. But this hard moments in time, I learned to appreciate my crafts and be confident in it, so that people will appreciate it too. 

4.) I don't let anyone step down on my dignity. I got into this situation in where the bride's mother pointed fingers on me just because they don't want to pay a 3,000.00php overtime charge. These couple is very irresponsible that they let the guests, and us suppliers, wait for more than an hour because of their tardiness. It is in our contract that there are overtime charges. The couple insisted to talk to me in public as they are in a hurry to go home. I gave them what they want but unfortunately, pinagtulungan ako ng buong angkan nya and dinuro-duro ako ng mother of the bride. I stood up straight, composed myself, and told them "Mawalang galang lang ho, wala po kayong karapatan duru-duruin ako, I did my job and please respect my craft. Di bali na lang ho sige wag nyo ng bayaran" sabay walk out. Then hinabol ako ng one of the friends to give the money (nakonsensya ata sila), and I didn't accept it. Sabi ko "No Thanks, I don't need that", he insisted and I repeated my answer. "It's not about the money, you stoop down on my dignity". Well, sometimes, may mga tao talaga na magpapakita ng tunay na ugali sa maliit na halaga. But not me, kanila na lang yang 3,000php na yan, it's not really for me naman, that's for my people. And hindi ako luluhod sa kanila for that small amount. Yeah, because I have dignity, and I don't let anyone to step down on it. Lalaban at lalaban ako. Customer is not always right, they also deserve their own lessons. 

5.) On the other hand, It is always my goal to have a good relationship with my clients, I am always friendly to my clients and treats everyone fair. Even though they purchase different amounts from less than a hundred thousand to almost half a million, or wether they are just inquiring and they have already booked, I talk their language and I always make sure to be polite. I treat everyone the same. I prioritize everyone the same. I teach my staffs to never "seen zone" a client, and that we should always end up the conversation nicely such as saying "Have a Nice Day", "Looking Forward to Work with You", etc. Because nothing beats a good customer service and a good relationship with clients. I am blessed because majority of my clients became a good friend of mine- we like and comment on each other's posts and keeps in touch, until now. 

6.) As I value my clients, I also value my people. SO much. I treat my staffs and crews like a family to me. And value-ing them means that you are there to back them up if in case things didn't go right, but at the same time, I teach them the right principles and work ethics and do not tolerate wrong doings. 

7.) I make my people's stomach's full, I help them build their credibilities such as helping them get a license, obtain proper IDs, etc. I make them enjoy and I treat them with little things and experiences that they can keep forever. Because I understand and appreciates that if not without them, my business will not exist and survive. So yeah, I have to take care of them so that I could keep them for a long period of time. 

8.) I value my people's skills. I honour that the more they stay in my business, the more they gain skills. I give them credits, praise them, and give them a salary increase every year. It is better to make additional expenses, rather than changing employees/staffs frequently. I am so blessed, that my people are so loyal to me, they respect me, and they value me so much not just a boss but a sister. They make sure that I eat first  before them, make sure I will not be too much exposed in the sun or get wet in the rain, etc. And it is because I value and takes care of them too. Yeah, it feels so good to have a SQUAD that can back you up when all else fails!

9.) "The more you give, the more you get", This is very true for us; for my family. I love giving. I make sure that all of my businesses have a cause. Spend a portion of your income, consistently. For me, I am a member of Unicef and SOS Family and it deducts a four digit amount in my credit card, monthly. Botth organizations helps children and houses them. I also have a college scholar. I believe that changing a person's life and helping them achieve their dream is one of the most satisfying thing to do to give your life a significant value.

10.) Multiply your streams of income-  we all have many wants. Nauso yung "Add To Cart" this time of pandemic. So my advice is, always have a side hustle. Like for me, I have my bread and butter business, but I also have seperate businesses that I do not publish online, in where I could get the money for my "Luho". Para hindi nagagalaw yung money for obligations. 

11.) SAVE SAVE SAVE. For me, saving in the bank is still the best. Instead of putting it in insurance company(sorry FA friends), because at least, you can see your money and you maintain a good bank record. And maintaining a good bank record will give you a good bank statement in where you can use for loans, applying a visa, credit cards etc. To be honest, I am a Sun Life client for 3 years, I invested a total of 50,000.00 and now, my funds were down to 4,000.00 My advisor were not honest with me with the charges ( I can't believe in the 65% admin policy fee, that I just learned about, recently) I regret this so much, mabuti pa sana kung nasa bank ko na lang the 50k as an additional money for my maintaining balance/savings, and hindi pa sana ako nalugi. Now, I opened a seperate account for my savings, and everytime na may magbobook, I put a minimum of 10k pesos in that account, Hangang sa lumaki ng lumaki. Angsarap pa rin tignan na lumalaki yung money mo sa bank, kesa sa nasa insurance company na di mo hawak sarili mong pera. 

12.) Invest in gold. 2 years ago, 2,300/gram lang ang gold. Now, it's 3,000.00/gram.And the value keeps on rising! Imagine the growth diba kung ilang grams ang gold na meron ka. It is the best way that you can make cash, if all else fails. At the same time, you can wear it and makes you pretty. 

13.) "If one door closes, another door opens", you do not always win in business. Actually, at first, it is more frequent to lose. But never lose hope. When one door closes, another door opens. Recently, we had an event for BRIDE AND ROSE and we have sponsors. One flower bouquet sponsor suddenly backed out in the last minute. And to God Be The Glory, sobrang daming pumalit na sponsors! Nalunod kami sa flowers during that event :)

Another story is one thing I couldn't forget in life. There's this shoe brand, Shoepatos, who told me "I am not interested with anything at Bride and Rose". It's a hard rejection and it made me hurt. Few days later, I closed a deal with the most famous bridal shoe brand in the world, BELLA BELLE SHOES. See? God has reasons why he didn't allow that Shoepatos to become part of us. I realized that their designs dont fit our brand as it is old fashioned, and  Because that Bella Belle Shoes is way more better than them, and God wants the best for us. 

14.) In relation to No. 13- Don't be mean like Shoepatos. It's ok to say NO, but you can always reject politely. Stay your feet on the ground. If you already have a place in the industry that you're into, some start ups will look up to you and ask for help such as sponsorship or partnership. It's okay to say no, but I make sure that I do not hurt feelings. You can always reject politely. Something like "My hands are full as of the moment, but I will keep this in mind and maybe we could collaborate some other time". You will never know, maybe one day, that brand will be something that you would want to be in a relationship with. Just like what I am telling, always keep a good relationship, not just with clients, but also with you colleagues and business connections. 

15.) Do not take advantage on errors. Sometimes, there are opportunities na makakapang-lamang ka ng tao. Like sobra ang sukli, wrong info- for example, they tought na hindi kasama yung bridal car sa package, nun pala kasama na, etc. Do not take advantage of these. Always be honest. Always tell the right information and give to them what supposed to be theirs. Mas malaki ang magiging kapalit- you will earn their Respect. 

16.) "Do not use your 2 feet to test the river", "Do not put all your eggs in one basket". In business, for me, this means that we roll the money well and put it in right places. For example, I have a 1.5million peso and I can buy our pick up truck in CASH. But, no, we didn't. Instead, we applied for a car loan, and only use a portion of that 1.5million peso for a truck, so that we can use the other portions for other things like investments, business capital, and savings. There's such thing they say as good debt. That's why, taking care and building your credibility is important, hence my last on the list:

17.) Lastly, my golden principle/tip, that I always tell to my friends who wants to enter business- make sure to register your business early. It's so easy to get DTI now because they have online application.  If you are starting a business and you don't register it, well, you are not doing it right. You will know it's importance kapag tumagal ka na sa negosyo. Companies like banks (for applying loans) honor a 2 year old business, and your business registrations will be a proof for it. You can also use it for applying Visas. Most of all, it builds your credibility and identity, while you're being a good and responsible citizen and entrepreneur. 

I am in business for already 8 years! I hope this gave you some lessons; I have written my first batch of tips- around 4 or 5 years ago, read here:10 TIPS ON HOW TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR

P.S. Weddings are back in track now, it is always an advantage to be one of the first. SHABBY CHIC STYLE STUDIO started to offer intimate weddings even before the pandemic. And now, intimate weddings are a hit! Since we already have recent works of intimate weddings, it was not hard for us to get back in the game. And this is how God works, this is what I am talking about when I say that when you're a good and giving person, good things happens to you. 

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