TWP Success Story: Mai Lorenzo

TWP Success Stories is a feature of The Wealthy Pinay in which we will celebrate Success and Women Empowerment! Two things that we are very passionate about in our community.

I have always wanted to interview successful Filipina entrepreneurs and ask them their about their business journeys, how they balance work and life, and ask for advices that can help fellow TWPs. We will feature ladies who, in spite and despite of challenges they have and are still experiencing, are continuously working to achieve their goals. These are Filipinas who took the risks and followed their hearts. I truly admire these women because of their determination and grit, and you can really feel their sincerity and good heart – a trait of a real Wealthy Pinay.

We would be featuring Filipina entrepreneurs of all business types (online businesses, solopreneurs, service-oriented, brick-and-mortar businesses) that are registered legally in the Philippines or anywhere else in the world.

My sincere hope is that you get inspired by their stories. We usually create our own ‘stories’ why it’s difficult for us to achieve something while it’s possible for someone else.  The truth is nothing is impossible – your age doesn’t matter, how much money in your bank account doesn’t matter, success doesn’t care if you have a degree or not, it doesn’t matter if you came from a broken family – IT DOESN’T MATTER.

The only thing important is COURAGE. Have courage to take action!

And I hope these ladies featured in The Wealthy Pinay Success Stories will inspire you to take the leap and have that courage ❤

*****

Our next featured guest has been on MARS (not the planet nor the chocolate, sorry lame joke 😂), a GMA 7 talk show, not only once but twice. It just proves her credibility and knowledge on topics about personal and professional development and I’m glad she said yes to this interview.

Mai Lorenzo is the owner of Meraki Training Services (formerly Aimmai Training Services) that provides trainings, team buildings and seminars to small and medium sized businesses including government institutions. When I asked her what does Meraki (may-rah-kee) stands for, she said it’s a Greek word that means “putting your heart, mind and soul in everything you do.” Isn’t it amazing?!

Can you tell us something about yourself and your business? And what made you finally decide that it’s time to start your own?

When I was a little girl, I was exposed with our family business which my mom and dad started. We were into selling of local and imported fruits. We also had a small general merchandise which the whole family used to managed. But then, the family business need to stop and close when my mom died in 2004.

I also became an employee for about 10 years until I decided that I know the career path and business I want to have. I started in 2009 as a freelancer in the event and training industry and decided to go full-blast in 2010 in the training industry as corporate trainer, facilitator and motivational speaker. I left my job because I really wanted to pursue my passion, that I know in a way can lead me to the business and new career that I am dreaming and wanted to be in.

Meraki showcases my core talent in public speaking. I love talking, sharing, engaging, inspiring and empowering people. And my passion leads me to a fruitful career, being a corporate trainer, facilitator, motivational speaker and life coach. Meraki offers corporate training services which includes teambuilding, leadership services, personality development, customer service seminar, values and work ethics seminar, strategic planning facilitation and motivational talks.

How much was your initial capital when you started?

I just started with a very small amount of money since the business does not require a big capital.

(Lyn Joy: I love that she mentioned this because a lot of people think business requires thousands of pesosesoses to start. Not necessarily. Whatever skill you have can be turned into a successful business – tutoring service, accounting service, artists/designers, and whatever talent you possess can turn into a profitable money-making machine. We just need COURAGE. And if your only talent is kumain kahit busog (eat even when full) then I suggest start as a food blogger 😀 I’m always on the lookout of great restaurants to try and I can follow you 😉)

How many employees do you have currently (full-time or part-time; virtual or in-house) and how many when you just started?

As of now,  I got 4 employees, and just 2 when I started the business.

(Lyn Joy: I asked this question because I want to understand for someone like Mai who uses her ‘talent and skill’ in business, does it have to be a one-woman show? And as she mentioned, she started with a team which, in my opinion, is smart. I’m an advocate of delegating tasks to others so that us, the business owners, can focus more on money generating activities. If you dread answering emails, pay someone to do it. If you think others can do a better job in doing your website, delegate it instead of wasting your time figuring out how html codes work. And having someone work for you (doesn’t matter if it’s just 2 hours a week or a virtual assistant) will instantly make you feel like a proper and serious business owner. How grown-up and professional to say that we have a team, right?

On the flip side, don’t make it as an excuse and wait until you can afford hiring staff to start a business. Remember, the perfect time is NOW. Do whatever you need to do now.)

How is it like when you were starting?

I can really recall how hard it was. I took lots of hours on the internet making all the advertisements, marketing, planning, proposals and programs. I dedicated almost all of my time until I got my 1st deal closed, my 1st client, until finally clients and inquiries just started pouring in. Looking back, It’s a good feeling that I made it all through the hardships, knowing that I survived and was able to get out of the ordinary “employee life”.

I was able to stand and provide for myself and family by being on my own. I am very proud that I have that confidence or shall I say, “guts” to pursue what I want to do and what I want to become. Now, I am touching lives through my craft.

(Lyn Joy: There is no sugar-coating – entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted. It ain’t for people who easily give up. One should really have the resilience when things get tough, and the courage (or as Mai mentioned – the guts) when you’re scared. But the reward is something that money can’t buy.)

Mai in action! She has been invited 5 times (yes, five times!) by the City Government of Valenzuela. Wow, repeat business only means you deliver 👍

How did you build up an entrepreneurial spirit, do you believe you were born with it or something that can be developed?

Since I was young I really like to be in business. I usually used my savings as capital to sell ice cream sticks. During that time, I know already how to separate my capital, income and savings. My parents were very supportive and encouraged me a lot.

Do you think your mindset has anything to do with your success?

Yes, Having a good and right mindset really helps me to where I am now. Positivity and a “Can Do” attitude is one of my mantra to keep moving and make things happen. To be successful in business, one must have a great interest, passion, time, hardwork, strong will, right mindset and good and right people in the business.

(Lyn Joy: I cannot agree more with everything she said. Can-Do attitude, passion, hardwork, right mindset and right people in business = Formula to Success!)

You mentioned “Can Do” attitude – I think most Filipinas want to have a business but scared of failing or they think they are not enough (smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, etc), what can you advise them?

I think, the best advice I can give is to have a positive outlook in life. When you start a business, that mindset will really help you to go on. I really believe in “Law of Attraction”. That if you think of something good, it will happen.  It has become my mantra throughout the years and I credit Law of Attraction on why my business is still here.

Many times I will think of something and by just being believing that it will happen, it really came along. I felt that all the forces in the universe, the stars and God are into it, making way, helping me to make things turn to a good outcome as I envisioned it. Never allow any negativity to run into your mind because it will break your spirit. Just have faith. Do what you want to do.  Never look back. Just walk on and make your dreams come true and everything else will follow. Don’t be afraid to commit mistakes or failures. It’s part of the process. In failure, we learn and become the best version of ourselves. Through it success is possible.

(Lyn Joy: Well, you know that I’m a firm believer too of Law of Attraction, that like attracts like. My book will talk about Law of Attraction intensively and I will share with you on how we can make the most out of it. No, it’s not voodoo although it sounds woo woo but in the end you will shout woohoo! (again, lame joke but at least it rhymes ha 😂 Promise I’ll stop na)

As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?

The people who needs personal and professional development motivates and drives me to pursue more and to be always at my best because they are the reason, the main purpose why I am here and so the business.

(Lyn Joy: Ahhh, the true trait of The Wealthy Pinay. It’s not really money or fame that motivates us (although of course, that’s a great incentive too) but it’s always the people.)

What do you do for encouragement or to be motivated?

I always think of the things needed to be done, people to be reached, that everyday there’s an opportunity to offer. We just need to work hard for it.

(Lyn Joy: Again, a fave topic of mine. Honestly, one doesn’t wake up everyday and feel motivated. Lucky you if you are. Most of the time we just want to sulk and do nothing. And this is when trying to remember your WHY will help. Why do you want to start a business? Why do you want to succeed? Why do you want to lose weight? Our why will help us snap out of whatever dark hole we are currently in. Read this, it might help you : Feeling Stuck in Life? Then Let’s Turn it Around!)

How do you balance your entrepreneur life with being a mother?

I see to it that I have a work-life balance. I make it a point to spend quality time with my baby. Now that I have a daughter, just playing with her relaxes me. Hearing her laugh loudly makes me feel good instantly. I also give time for self-pampering – facial, body massage and spa, and meeting friends too.

Beautiful smile and a brilliant mind like her mom 😊

Where do you see your business growing these coming years?

I see my business in the international platform of training industry.

(Lyn Joy: Dream big girl! The Wealthy Pinay community is here cheering for you!)

What are your advices to our fellow Wealthy Pinays just starting out?

For Wealthy Pinays who are just starting out or would like to start a business, put your heart and soul in everything that you do because that will be your greatest trademark in the business. With the right perspective in life and in the business, you will never go wrong. Lastly, ask for God’s guidance.

*****

Thank you Mai for taking the time to answer my back and forth questions. Hopefully we can have our one-to-one interview very soon 🙂

Again, the purpose of The Wealthy Pinay Success Stories is to inspire all of us that success comes in different forms. There is no one-size fits all criteria. You don’t have to be poor to have the drive. There’s no need to have money to start a successful business. One doesn’t need to be a college graduate or come from a happy home. Your past doesn’t define your future. And I hope Mai’s story, including our past and future featured Pinays will make you believe that everything is possible. ❤

 

Visit Meraki’s Facebook page for more information about Mai Lorenzo and other training programs provided by the company.

P.S. Do you want to be featured at The Wealthy Pinay Success Stories or know someone who can serve as an inspiration to the community? Please drop me an email. Let’s connect!

Sharing Knowledge is Power!

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