Smiling Asian woman working and holding a tablet with a visible laptop and clothing rack.

Starting your own business is scary and exciting. You have no idea how far your ideas will go or where they will take you. Listen to the stories of these successful entrepreneurs and how they make things work despite their hectic schedules. Find out how these women strike the perfect work-life balance while navigating life as a .

Freedom to Grow, Sustainably

Iya Nakpil-Roxas is co-owner of Clean Lab, a women-owned business that offers affordable, all-natural, and eco-friendly from locally sourced materials. To minimize waste from her initial home-based baking business, she developed surface cleaners and dish soaps that were safe for her consumers and the environment.

When asked what Iya loves most about being her own boss, she shares something many aspiring business owners dream of – freedom. “Having a business of your own gives you the freedom to set your schedule, exercise your creativity and imagination, innovate and experiment, and pursue things that align with your values and interests,” the sustainable business owner shares.

On time management as a first-time mom.

Being your own boss means you’re responsible for managing your time, which can prove challenging, especially for a . “Honestly, my days are super long. I’m a full-time mom to my almost two-year-old daughter. Sometimes I feel like I’m all over the place trying to be and do everything for everyone all at once. What helps me is to plan and know when to compromise. There’s only so much I can do and be in a day,” Iya shares.

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It Takes a Village

Tina Henson-Ngkiaon is part-owner of Tablescape, a DIY table-setting solution for intimate gatherings and a mom. She and her partners started the business during the pandemic to provide stylish and stress-free celebrations for families within their “bubble.”

When she’s not working her magic on the dining table, Tina is co-owner and photographer for Stork Studios, where she, her two sons, and her husband, take .

For Tina, preparation is crucial to managing her time. However, she admits that all the preparation in the world will amount to nothing if you don’t know how to ask for help when you need it.

“I can’t do what I do without help! It takes a village. When I can’t pick up my sons from school, bring them to playdates, or even have dinner with them, I know my husband, parents, or tita (who all live next door!), along with an amazing team, are here to help,” Tina says.

Whether you’re running a one-woman show or leading a team, remember to practice self-compassion when things go south. “I’m also not too hard on myself. When I mess up, I take a step back and breathe. As long as no one is hurt, we’re okay,” she says.

Go Big or Go Home

Catherine Remperas is a former actress and online clothing business owner. Like many successful entrepreneurs, she also started her business, Blanc Essentials, during the pandemic. Hard times can make or break you, and Catherine saw an opportunity to forge a new path. “It was inspired mainly by my obsession with anything white and neutral. Because it was always hard to find good quality clothing in neutral colors, I decided to sell my own,” she shares.

will help you find your passions, hopes, and dreams, but also reveal your weaknesses and fears. For Catherine, truly knowing oneself means embracing it all. “Meditation revealed things about myself, like my struggles, but it also helped me realize what I’m passionate about. When you find your passion and align it with what you’re capable of, do it, and do it all the way,” she adds.

Build a Community

Miel Coronel owns a fashion and lifestyle pop-up that gives local entrepreneurs a platform to sell their products. “When I dabbled in retail and wanted to see how my products would do in a selling event, I remember it being so difficult to find a venue since, at the time, I wasn’t ready to open a store. I created Flair Pop Up as a platform for local brands to showcase their products over the weekend,” she says.

Today, alongside her pop-up concept, Miel manages a sister company that helps business owners set up physical stores and become successful entrepreneurs. To stay on top of things, Miel likes to write everything down on paper. Not only are lists effective at keeping tabs on your tasks, but the motion of listing items can also be therapeutic. “I usually have a to-do list and try to keep a structured schedule so that I can do the leisurely things I want with family and friends,” she shares.

Take Calculated Risks

For Danika Nemis, owner of Seabuds restaurant in La Union, business wasn’t always smooth sailing. “When our shop was forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were inspired to continue promoting mindful eating by baking homemade goodies. We also created healthy drinks, which were a hit as more people ,” she shares.

“I find it invigorating to take risks and make tough decisions that will ultimately determine the future of my business. With every setback, I can learn and grow, which helps me become a more resilient and effective leader,” she adds.

To keep the highs and lows of running a company from dampening her entrepreneurial spirit, Danika takes time for herself, too. “I consider taking breaks an essential aspect of maintaining my well-being, as it helps me to steer clear of burnout.” She adds, “These involve setting aside time for like exercising, , or simply spending quality time with loved ones."

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Keep It Playful

Mercedes Cruz owns Bloop, an online personalized stationery shop. She started by giving friends and family gift wrappers with prints of their faces wearing Santa hats. Everyone was so amused that they convinced her to start her own business. As they say, the rest is history.

“I really enjoy being able to create products and designs that I think our customers will like. It has become my own passion project. I’m lucky enough to enjoy my work, so as long as I'm not feeling burned out, I’ll keep working and creating,” she says.

For Mercedes and many successful entrepreneurs, the creative process is a life force. Continuing to make things and showing up – even when you feel stuck or when times are tough – are key. “Action is really the key to starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur. Whether it’s right or wrong, you will find the answer soon enough once you start. You can always pivot from there,” advises the graphic artist.

Successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common – a fighting spirit. It’s not easy starting a business, and it’s even harder to keep one afloat. Moreover, it’s always a balancing act, which makes these Filipinas even more inspiring. Take inspiration from their stories as you write yours.