A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.
I recall expressing to my husband a desire to have a mentor. The thought came because I was looking at how to grow our small business. What I have are concepts that I can turn into products but I lacked knowledge in other areas of running a business.
When I received news that Janice Villanueva accepted my application to her mentorship program called The MomPreneurLab, I did not know how to respond. I submitted my application not knowing what I was getting myself into.
What is the MomPreneurLab?
The Mompreneurlab is Janice’s passion project as she celebrates 20 years of Mommy Mundo. Janice, together with other mentors, help 20 mompreneurs as they start and sustain their businesses.
For two months, we had online sessions with Janice and the other coaches. They took turns in leading the Monday online meetings. To say that I learned a lot is an understatement. I made sure I wrote everything down from these experts.
What I love about the program is its wholistic approach. We had a wellness coach, Kate Moynihan, who taught us breathing exercises and caring for the self. Sheryn Alvarez, The Marketing Mom shared her expertise in social media marketing. I filled my notebook with my notes from her.
Later, we met Ms Leah Eriguel who guided us through writing. Yes, our session with her was one of my favorites, and I wrote a blog post about it. Ms Jenny Wein, an entrepeneur and a GoNegosyo Mentor shed light on knowing our target market and how to engage them.
Our session with Ms Kit Malvar-Llamas was something I looked forward to. Aside from the group session, we had a one-on-one session with her on finding our strengths using the Gallup Strengths Finder. We also met Angela Dinglasan the founder of ZenNutrients who was such a fun mompreneur to talk to. She shared the ins and outs of the business and how she juggled her business with motherhood.
Master photographer Sheila Catilo shared her tips on taking photos using only our phones. I immediately applied her tips as I took these product shots.
Janice sent us homework to do too. The assignment that challenged me the most was the Owning our Story. We had to post our headshot on social media together with a brief background of our business. This was so uncomfortable for me because I don’t want to show myself out there. I would rather be anonymous. But I learned that part of owning my story was to show the face behind the product. Who is the mom behind Pickings Food? I did it and it was liberating!
The one-on-one session with Kit was life-changing. Everything about me made sense. I discovered my Top 5 Strengths and these include Intellection, Learner, Responsibility, Input, and Ideation. My Intellection strength kicks in when I obsess mulling over ideas in my head and ponder about life events. This constant processing can go on overdrive as I judge people. That is why I choose the people I allow in my circle. People likewise perceive me as snobbish, serious, and reserved. It’s the wall I put up to protect myself from judgment and rejection.
Kit suggested that I choose a way of connecting with others while staying true to myself. Writing is how I connect with other people or other women. It’s letting people see who I am through my experiences and my pondering.
When we had our initial meeting, my classmates impressed me. Not only because of their youthfulness but their determination to pursue their own businesses. Most of them have their own day jobs while managing a thriving business and caring for their young family. I saw something in them I didn’t have when I was their age—confidence.
I felt so ancient—Neanderthal at that sitting with them. Their energy was above the charts. I couldn’t keep up! “What am I even doing here? Am I in the right place?” But God put me in this group for a purpose. I shouldn’t allow my insecurities to put me down. I have to fight fear and doubt to do well.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Fear and insecurity have controlled my life for a very long time and that needs to stop. One thing that unites us is that we are all moms. We may be in different seasons of motherhood but we are all following this path the Lord has set before us. If one mom needs support, she can count on fellow moms to lift her up. And that’s what I saw in this pioneer batch of mompreneurs.
As a culminating activity, Janice allowed us to showcase our products at the Mommy Mundo Expo South. It was there that I get a feel of how it is to engage customers and receive feedback. I realized how exhausting it was not only to prepare for the event but to get myself out there. Talk about getting out of my comfort zone! What a blessing that they held the event in my turf. That is why my family and friends could support me.
When we left the expo that night, I had to see Janice one last time. Everything sank in that night. Being part of the Mompreneurlab was unexpected and a privilege. If I had to enroll in a business mentorship program like that would cost me a lot. But out of the goodness of Janice‘s heart, she gave it to us for free. There are no words to express my gratitude for the opportunity. Thank you, Janice, and our other mentors.
I forgot what I wrote in my application form for the MomPreneurLab. All I know that my heart was not in the right place. I was fearful and half-hearted in pursuing this business. I struggled with the Lord because the other half of my heart wanted to pursue something else. But the Lord showed me during this mentorship program that it’s not what He wants for me.
I completed the MomPreneurLab in November. And I finally accepted God’s NO to that “something else” and said YES to the business. I still have a long way to go as I follow the path the Lord has set before me. The MomPreneurLab is more than a business mentoring program for me. It is now an integral part of discovering who I am and my purpose.
To show my appreciation to my classmates, here are their social media accounts that you could follow and support too.
- Vanessa of Voila
- Ria of Himbing ph
- Dimples of Rocketmomph
- Margaux of LilDudesOnly
- Raquel of MamaChows
- Carol of UVCare
- Mia of Happy Seasons Mini Mart
- Karen of Bubbadoodles
- Tippi of FiveLittleMonkeys
- Kat of MuesliEats
- Lizie of Ketalina Manila
- Gretch of Tiny Winks
- Mikki of Purple Tree Day Care
- Gillian of Swaddies Ph
- Tisha of Learning Lion Books
- Louren of Haakaa Philippines
- Catherine of Chubby Cheeks Baby Ph
- Kathy of Invisible Grilles Ph
- Divine of Good Bag Ph
I am indebted to Janice for choosing me as one of the mompreneurs to mentor and support. Also to the other mentors who gave their time to teach us. I know that the Lord will continue to use all of you to inspire more moms to pursue their gifts and purposes.