A Simple Creative Concept on How to Become a Millionaire in the Philippines

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Imagine that you wake up in the morning, brush your teeth, ask your driver to drive you to a fancy restaurant for breakfast with your family without worrying about money. Imagine that you can buy whatever new gadget there is, new clothes, a new car and all that. That’s a great feeling honestly.

But it requires considerable effort to be able to get to that status. It requires building healthy habits, passion in what you do, hard work and big dreams to achieve financial independence. In global standards, being a millionaire means you should have a net worth of 50 million in pesos. But what I want to talk about is to start at 1M pesos.

1. The first step is to set the target income. If the target is to achieve your first million, then multiply it by 10, so it’s Php10M. It’s the 10X concept of Grant Cardone where it says that to realize your dreams, you have to exert significant effort. So multiplying your goal by ten means, you will increase your energy 10 times as well. You shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. You can start with an 8-5 job, or a be salesperson of a promising industry or a legitimate networking/direct selling company.

2. Pay yourself first and save the 40%. With this, it means you will have to spend considerable efforts to minimize your expenditures first to 60% of your actual income. If your current income is P40k per month, then it means your budget threshold should only be at P24k. If your salary is 100k, then spend only 60k. I know its difficult. It might say that you have to downsize your apartment, minimize dining out or avoid credit card installment. Let go of your ego and focus on the vision and the long-term benefits.

3. Invest the 40%. Your savings or your money has zero value if it’s stored in the bank. It should be moving. It can be with a good product idea, stocks, or any business that you are passionate about. You can always work in a company while running an online business.

4. Continue to grow your business until your monthly business net income is equal to your salary. The next step is to leave your current employer and achieve your target on item 1.

5. Apply the same concept with your business, invest the 40% back to your company or another business or any other form of investment.

People want to go to heaven, but they are not willing to die. Same concept here, if you’re going to earn your first million, then you should be willing to do the above.

Just bear in mind that it’s not always about the money, the main goal is about having the time to do what you love to do without working your ass-off all the time.

Project Zero-Phone-Use: The Ultimate To Do List

todolist.pngAccording to a study, an average cell phone user touches the phone 2,167 times a day or equivalent to 2.5 hours.  Then there’s also a study that continually checking their phones results to a higher level of stress compared to people who spend less time interacting with their gadgets.

Some of us use the phone simultaneous with when we are talking to someone or even driving, which is worse.  Yes, there are benefits in multi-tasking, but the drawbacks outweigh those benefits.  It not only results in more anxiety or stress but a half-baked product of your work.

With this, I wonder, how can one person reduce the number of times they touch his or her phone?  If you’re a businessperson and you are managing all aspects of your company, it is given that you will be overwhelmed with so many tasks.  So if one can develop a system to automate some and minimize friction in executing your work such as checking your to-do list on your phone, then you’ll be more effective and efficient.

Over the years, I’ve been in constant research, trial and error on how to achieve that “nirvana” of doing my todo list.  I tried so many tools from Remember The Milk, Google Inbox, Google Tasks, Google Keep, Jira, Basecamp, Post Its, a physical notebook and Trello.  But I always end up with obsessively checking the tasks on hand and non-stop looking at my phone.

I even have a separate phone with me in the morning so that I won’t be tempted to glance at the notifications of my work phone.  I may seem calm from the outside, but my mind is pounding with stressful thoughts and anxiety.

Just recently, I thought of an experiment to minimize the number of times I will touch and view my phone and use a smartwatch or only the phone notification to glance at quick pings and IMs.

The main objective is, how can I be able to reduce the use of my phone while still be productive and efficient?  So this is what I am going to do at work in the next coming days:

1. Classify my activities.

    * a. Email checks and work planning using a laptop

    * b. Face-to-face meetings

    * c. Manage IMs

2. For activity a)., I will block one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon to reply to emails using my laptop.  Then I will use Google Keep to set tasks with due date reminder notification that will require me to do another activity, for example, a phone call or proposal review.

3. Use Google Calendar to set events for face-to-face meetings.

4. Classify IMs, using a smartwatch with cellular data can eliminate the use of a phone.  You can even leave your phone at home with the latest smartwatches such as Apple Watch.

    * IMs answerable by yes or no, use a reply/msg template to make a quick reply.

    * IMs that require a discussion, I can use a smartwatch with a wireless earphone to call instead of discussing over text if it’s urgent, or just call them after my current task.

To paint you a picture further, here’s a sample day for me:

7am – 8am – I will block this hour to reply to emails, messages, and set reminders to place a call in a specific time of the day.

7:45am – a watch Google Keep notification will pop-up telling me to start the sales meeting at 8am showing the list of things to discuss.

8am – 10am – focus on the sales meeting while glancing over quick IMs and apply item 4 above.

9:45am – a watch notification will pop-up telling me to wrap up and start driving to my a meeting outside the office.

10am to 12pm – sales call outside the office while glancing over quick IMs on my smartwatch.  Will reply using templates and/or set reminders via the watch to call back.

12pm to 2pm – lunch and do item 2 above – check emails using a laptop and re-arrange Google Keep tasks.

1:45pm – a watch notification will pop-up telling me what to do next…

And the cycle goes on and on.

With this “algorithm,” I might be able to reduce the time significantly in using my phone, if not entirely eliminate them instead of constantly checking and replying emails, msgs and attending to tasks real-time.

The smart way of using your phone this time is when you want to read an ebook peacefully on the bed, listen to podcasts or engage in social media when you are not in work mode.

If this experiment is successful, then I will try to share my experience with you via a vlog.

Stay tuned.

Creative Ways to Spice Up Sales Meetings

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I was 22 and a young pup when I started going to sales calls and started facing executives.  I had no coach and mentor.  All I had was courage to accept rejections and courage to enter into conference rooms while shaking heavily.  It was a great experience.  However, I know things can be fast-tracked if salespeople are well coached and managed.

It’s Monday once again, and Mondays are our sales meeting day.  I am not formally trained to be a sales manager, but as the leader of a growing software company, it’s inevitable to lead a young promising sales team.

I usually start meetings by talking to them of then one-by-one.  I am result-oriented hence I begin traditionally by discussing their results.  How many new opportunities are converted into “Warm” or  “Hot” or how many were booked last week?  If I see a few results, that’s the only time I dive into details, such as their activities and planned itinerary for mentoring.

The exciting part for me is the team meetings.  Below are some creative topics when facilitating sales team meetings:

Success stories – while one-on-one sessions are for open discussions about each area for improvement, team meetings are for celebration and success stories.  It’s exciting to discuss stories on how a salesperson closed the deal.

Personal update – it’s interesting to discuss what’s happening to each member’s own life.  It gives a sense of being a family at work thus motivates them to work as a team.

Product training – I always like to note special cases who have unique requirements.  Brainstorming on how to configure our product and providing a solution to fit into client’s needs is one of the things that excite me.  Product updates, FAQs and probing techniques are also good topics to discuss.

Business plan – lead generation is one of the challenges in being a salesperson.  Discussion on each one’s business plan is a healthy way to motivate them to drive results.

Grievances – From time to time, it’s healthy to discuss feedback about company policies, systems, and obstacles.  Having an open-door policy is one of our cultures in the company to promote innovation and improvement.

Book or blog review – Assign a member to search and read a blog or a chapter of a book related to the industry, product or sales techniques.

Discuss takeaways – key takeaways every after sales team meetings are a good indication if the conference is a success or not.
However you do your meetings, make sure things meetings are run efficiently, so the sales team keep their momentum, and they do not feel like they wasted their 3-4 hours instead of chasing sales.

10 Practical Guideposts on Innovation

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I wrote this for myself.  I am obsessed with it.  I can’t help but be obsessed with solving every problem or every inefficiency that I see.  I know these guideposts will help me when I need it.
 
I started this blog a few months back to help me have a platform to do my research about innovation and creativity.  Over time, gradually, I started to understand its basics and intricacies.
 
I failed a couple of times but when successful, I fell in love with the products or solutions that I develop.  I get motivated every time I hear business challenges internally and that of our clients.  I’ve also seen what innovation looks like at every stage of our business and in life.
 
1. Innovation Never Stops.  Problems and challenges never stop therefore you should never stop innovating.  Do not tolerate problems that you see, queue it in your to-dos, prioritize and work on each of them.
 
2. Be Brave to Start Again.  If the product or solution does not work, cut the losses and do not be afraid of starting again.  The company 3M has this process of keeping what works and discarding what doesn’t work.
 
3. Find Your Inspiration.  In music, you need inspiration to come up with songs.  In writing, you find inspiration from books you read on life experiences.  In business, you get inspiration from your mentors, competitors, and innovators.
 
4. Don’t Worry if You Can’t Figure Out Your Niche Yet.  When I started the company, we didn’t know yet what to build.  We built our first product (accounting software) from the people around us who happened to be accountants.  All I want at the time is to innovate.
 
5. Be Patient.  I know I said not to be afraid to start again, but you have to find that balance in re-doing and being patient.  It takes time.  If you are building a product, build your minimum viable product (MVP) and iterate.  On the first year, start, research, and learn everything.  Just Do.  On the 2nd year, try to network and make friends with people who are your possible clients or partners.  Year three, try to start making money, but not profit yet.  Year four, profit and year five, scale up.
 
6. There are no shortcuts.  This is related to number 5, but just to emphasize further, there’s no life hack, or overnight success, for innovation. It takes time.
 
7. Stick with the Purpose.  More than money and profits, the product or innovation that you do should have a purpose, a mission and vision.  It can be as simple as innovating your to-do list.  Being efficient in your to-dos will help you focus and be efficient in managing time.  So in effect, you will have the time for other important matters or time to spend time with your family.  That’s the purpose.
 
8. Start Today.   Don’t wait for tomorrow, or next week to innovate.  Be mindful of the problems in front of you, then look for solutions now.
 
9. What If I Want to Invent Something Weird?  Maybe a flying car, or underground tunnel?  Do item 5 then number 2.
 
10. What If I Keep on Failing?  Do a routine every morning to listen to positive affirmations from YouTube.  List down three things you are thankful for.  Exercise.  Then repeat from number 1. 
 
Hopefully, these  will be useful to you as it was, and will always be, to me.

My OCD and Creative Ways to Manage Tasks

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I’ve spent years checking things compulsively. When I was in school, I checked all my pockets, my chair, my bag making sure all my stuff were in their proper places. I checked dirt at the back of my pants every time I stand up. At home, I checked my teeth each time I see a mirror, I checked the LPG if it’s closed.  My parents were observing me and asked me what I’d been doing.

When I touch things using my right hand, I usually touch it again using my left hand. I clapped my hands compulsively, tapped my stomach, stretched my neck, had facial tics, looked at the bottom of my plate before I eat. Up to this moment, I’ve been having random compulsive behaviors like checking my calendar, task list, email or text when I knew that I just checked them.

It’s evident, that the reason why I do these behaviors since I was a kid is that I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Checking things have been wasting my time and making me more anxious most of the time. Since I became aware of the disorder and these mannerisms, I researched things on how to eliminate them. I learned self-hypnosis, meditation, Buddhism doctrines, cognitive therapy and I even underwent psychotherapy.

I have grown accustomed to this, but lately, I’ve been realizing the benefits of having these kinds of compulsions.

When I graduated in high school, I dreamed to have my own business. Fortunately, I got in the software business a year after my first employment when I realized I wasn’t happy being employed. My anxiety grew exponentially when I faced a lot of adversity in my startup years. I was clinically diagnosed as depressed and started to take anti-depressants a few years back.

I made the business grow single-handedly after a decade and managed the company and projects all by myself. I studied finance and accounting including tax management. I made product presentations while I spearheaded project implementation alone and had been managing operations without any top-level or mid-level managers. My travel time between meetings was spent by replying to emails, text and answering calls.  

 

Eventually, I found good people who helped the company grow further and made the company the software organization that we are now.

After years of hating compulsive checking, I had this great sense of relief that after all, OCD was a big part of my success. Worrying and checking things that I do since the time I was in software programming (making sure that I don’t miss any features that the clients wanted and making sure I am following design standards) up to doing my role as a project manager, sales and finance were the traits that are very important in entrepreneurship and management world.

 

Meantime, I’d like to share some of the creative ways I did to organize and manage tasks especially if you lead a team and work on multiple projects simultaneously.  The key here is focus and concentration and not “really” doing it simultaneously.

 

1. Run tasks on themed-days.  It’s important to assign tasks to do on certain days, making it “themed.” My Mondays are Sales & Marketing in the morning, then Operations in the afternoon.  I lay out plans/activities for each department for the entire week.  Tuesdays are R&D. Wednesdays and Thursdays are sales calls. Fridays are Finance, Admin & HR. 

2. Plan at night. I do this usually after dinner or before bedtime.  I use a traditional notebook and write down my itinerary for the following day.  I cross each task out as I accomplish them on the day itself.

3. Set certain times to check messages.  I do this early in the morning, then just before lunch break and right after doing my tasks by end of the day.  Turning on your notifications and reading and replying each time will give you a lot of stress and will take your focus away on the tasks at hand. 

4. Time blocking.  I usually block my time like a 30min. standup meetings with the team lead for a quick check-in or fix roadblocks.  Another example is, I use a separate phone when I wake up and do my morning routines.  Because if I pick up my work phone at the beginning of the day, I’ll be bombarded with notifications and I won’t be able to do my morning rituals such as meditation, workout, reading, and writing.

 

These methods have helped me collect myself, calmed me at times when I need to concentrate, and most of all, made me feel that I am in control and on top of things. It gives me a clear mind to think, to handle tasks the best I could, and to get a better perspective on things. Try these for a week and see how it would help you function throughout the day. If you’ve got tips on how to better manage tasks, share it by commenting below. It surely will be useful for all of us.

My Thoughts On Innovating Customer Delivery Service

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I am obsessed with innovation. I always think about how to improve on all aspects of life and business.  But it’s challenging because you are dealing with all functional areas–such as marketing, sales, product, human resources, finance, and customer delivery.

 
Customer delivery is one of the most challenging areas for me so I will share my thoughts on this.  
 
Currently, Hilsoft is in product and service business.  We build software products and deliver them by doing a thorough implementation process.  We acquire knowledge on how our customers do things, then we install and guide them on how to configure the product to fit in their process. Then we train them on how to use and generate reports. 
 
This process requires a series of meetings and consulting sessions.
 
This weekend, I thought of some ideas on giving our customers the ultimate great experience and I will try my best to implement this soon. 
 
1. Develop a customer engagement script.  Just like in fast food or drive-thru where you are greeted with enthusiastic “hellos,” I am thinking of developing a good and proper script in greeting a customer–shaking their hands, introducing ourselves, proper uniform attire, and giving a clear agenda for a meeting.
 
2. Gifts and Snacks.  Normally, the host provides the coffee or snacks.  I’d like it the other way around.  As the service provider, I’d like the idea of giving simple gifts or snacks to the people present in the meeting, making it a trademark or a signature of Hilsoft whenever there are meetings with clients. 
 
3. Clear sign-off and delivered product.  At times, customers are confused about what happened during our visit.  Did we install something?  What did we install?  Did I understand the training?  With a clear sign-off process, the whole implementation process shall be documented and proper acknowledgments are executed.
 
4. Response Time.  I always preach this in our team and I will never stop preaching it.  A quick response time will be our edge if we can implement it correctly.  Not only that, response time + consistent updates, feedback, and resolution time will give our customers the ultimate realization that partnering with us is all worth it.  Providing unique, innovative script and some humor in feedback will make it more exciting.
 
5. Personalized engagement with human touch.  Imagine this: the service provider enters the meeting room with an enthusiastic smile. Introduces himself/herself with confidence and gives a concise agenda.  After discussing the agenda, the service provider asks you to sign the minutes to make it clearer, then asks how you do outside work.  Discusses your hobbies, asks how many children you have and gives you interesting stories outside work.  
 
Before ending the meeting, he/she leaves you with a simple gift that you can practically use like a simple pen, notepad, paperweight, or a cookie sachet.  And then after leaving the premises, there’s a follow-up text thanking you and telling you how happy they are to talk to you and giving you a commitment to solve your challenfes.  Imagine that sense of security and confidence that you made the right decision to get their services, right?

I would like Hilsoft to be known as a company that does that.  I know this is going to be a long process, trial and error but I commit to do this as long as it takes.