To be among the online rich and famous
From “best-kept secret” to “online darling.”
This is how Filipino female entrepreneurs on the online business platform and members-only network Soul Rich Woman (SRW) are branding themselves, says SRW’s Singapore-based founder Genecia Alluora Luo, in order to reach their desired customers—a trait unique to Filipinos that gives them a competitive edge.
“They want to be online famous, and that’s something that sets Filipinos apart [from other countries in the network],” says Luo, a “serial entrepreneur” and business coach. “There’s a different trend here in the Philippines, that’s why I love this market.”
Luo, a beauty queen who holds the titles Miss Singapore International 2006 and Miss Singapore Chinese Cosmos 2011, set up SRW here in the Philippines around a year ago.
The network now has over 300 Filipino members; across Southeast Asia, it has 11,000. SRW is also present in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam.
The network’s focus is developing what Luo calls the three main factors that drive female entrepreneurship: self-belief, skills and networking. One can sign up to be a member for free through the network’s website, soulrichwoman.com, but a minimal fee is required for one to access the community’s educational resources (10,000 hours of online videos and tutorials), local networking sessions, one-on-one mentorship with relevant business leaders, and business-starter templates.
Here in the Philippines, SRW is managed by two “community leaders” who work closely with the network’s head office in Singapore. The two—one, a life coach; the other, a supplements provider—are mostly in charge of sharing business expertise and knowledge among SRW members, particularly when it comes to online marketing.
“We teach them how to get more customers, and how to create something people want,” she says. That’s why we educate them. The secret to dominating their target markets is to understand buyer psychology.”
It’s more than just digital marketing, which Luo says is too sweeping a term for what SRW teaches. “[We’re all about] how to get noticed online, how to build a brand. SEO (search engine optimization) won’t make you a brand,” she says.
One particular challenge Filipino SRW members need to overcome is their penchant for selling only to their immediate circle. “Filipinos love selling to friends, and they use very offline methods. Or they post on Instagram, Facebook, and just hope for follows or likes,” says Luo. “But eventually, your friends will run out. There are hundreds of thousands of stores online, so you won’t sell just by posting. So we look at how you can maximize your presence on different platforms. How can you create your own voice?”
Aside from heading SRW, Luo also established Queenz*8 Business Group, the umbrella organization of companies such as InQueenz, QueenzKing (which manages Loa’s cafe, Coffee:NowHere), and QueenzApps (e-commerce developer). Here in the Philippines, she plans to expand SRW by conducting “offline” workshops around the country. While most of their members are based in Metro Manila, Luo says they have been receiving inquiries from other regions.
Working since she was 14, she has one simple advice to those who are still on the fence about setting up their own business: Just do it.
“Procrastination robs you of opportunity,” she says.
And, of course, one can always take advantage of the knowledge available on the vast network of SRW, just to get the ball rolling.
“Alone, you are already strong,” says Luo. “But together, we are unstoppable.” —ANNELLE TAYAO-JUEGO
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