Meet Joanna

Creative Entrepreneur

Istorya

My name is Joanna.

I run an online business and I like to think I mentor young women too – my employees

I am an alumna of The Purposeful Creative & I took up the following programs:

My name is Regina.

I run an online business and I like to think I mentor young women too – my employees

I am an alumna of The Purposeful Creative & I took up the following programs:

How She Got Started

What led you to this industry?

I’ve always had fascination with arts and craft. I loved to tinker with my grandmothers broken accessories and transform them to new piece. Home economics was one of my favorite subjects because I get to try different skills using my hands. I’m also an old soul and I value relationships, particularly family relationships.

So when I saw hand-stamped jewellery being done in USA, I knew I had to bring it here in the Philippines as well.
 

What was the final trigger that really pushed you to take the leap & start Istorya?

It was a walk in a mall when I found myself surrounded by this rows and rows of accessories – that I thought: I want to create something with more meaning in them. Something made slowly, lovingly, and with meaning. Something with a story. And so, Istorya was born.

 

What was the best piece of business/leadership advice you were given when you were starting off?

Don’t compare your work/journey with other people’s journeys. When I was just starting out I used to compare my output with other creative’s – a lot! I compare my work with others who have been doing their craft for years. It discouraged me and I doubted my abilities. Good thing I realized that these people started like me too, and it’s okay. Learn from your experience and move forward.

When I was just starting out I used to compare my output with other creative’s – a lot! I compare my work with others who have been doing their craft for years. It discouraged me and I doubted my abilities.

 

Her Journey (So Far): The Wins and Joys

What is the best part of your job?

The best part is always receiving messages from our clients on how our creations made affected them in so many positive ways, happy, joyful, excited, sentimental – you name it. For me it’s such a privilege to be making pieces out of people’s stories and memories.



Imagine who you were and where your career/business was a year ago. In the past year, what have been 3 of your most tangible achievements?

  1. I learned to delegate and trust my team more.
  2. I took bigger risk, my theme for this year is – a year of empowered decisions and I’ve been incorporating that with all the major decisions I had to make for my business.
  3. I learned that I have greater responsibilities than just making my business grow and that is empowering my employees too. Majority of my staff are out of school youths so I’ve given the responsibility upon myself to cultivate them into becoming a more confident and the best possible version of themselves. I mentor them and encourage them to dream bigger.

What’s the thing in your life/career now that still makes you go, “Wow, I never thought I’d be the type of person who’d be able to do/achieve this.”

Sometime 2 years ago, Department of Tourism asked me to make bracelets to be given away to international travel bloggers at an event in Switzerland. That was pretty cool. The greatest achievement for me is still being able to help and mentor the young women in my team.

 

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute to your success – or getting where you are now?

I would say perseverance. Running an online business is HARD and I will say it, it’s not always fun. No matter how glamorous and enticing people assume it to be, it’s still hard. You’re a one-woman operation until you’re big enough to have a team. You’d think, it gets easier but it doesn’t because you’re faced with new and bigger challenges. I’m trying to look at problems as challenges that will pull me up to the next level because in reality, that’s what it is.

 

Roadblocks & Self-Doubt

When you were just starting out, what was the biggest roadblock that was holding you back?

I waited till everything was “perfect”. The timing was perfect, waited till my craft was perfect. I had so many reasons on why I cant start just yet. Maybe next week, maybe next month. In the end, I had to stop making reasons for myself, my passion grew bigger than my fears and I just took the plunge and learned from there. 5 years later, everything is still not perfect but boy was I happy I started despite the fear and doubts.
 

Do you ever experience self-doubt? In what concrete ways does self-doubt come up in your life?

Yes, I think it’s human nature to experience doubt. When I see other people doing “better” than me, doubt starts creeping in. You didn’t try harder, you should’ve done this and that. I feel it, I acknowledge the feeling and I let it go.
 

What’s your #1 go-to thing to do when self-doubt creeps up on you?

I review my goals, I review my achievements,. I review my plans, this gives me peace of mind. Meditation helps a lot too!
 

What’s the hardest part about your job?

Focusing on priorities. Running a business requires so much of your attention to so many different things that its difficult to focus.
 

What’s the most meaningful part of your job?

Being an instrument in nurturing human connection through our creations
 

What’s the most meaningful part of your job?

Making my clients so happy and again, being friends with them after!

Let’s Talk About The F Word: Finances

Note: We want to get more women talking about money more openly. It’s such a useful and educational topic to have – and we want to encourage more discussions about it. So, here we go!

How much capital did you need to start your business?

Php 20,000.

How did you decide on your financial goals when you first started your biz/freelancing?

No. I kind of just winged it. I don’t suggest this though. My business started as a side hustle that eventually turned full time so it didn’t require a lot of my time when I was starting Istorya.

What’s your personal definition of a life of abundance? 

For me, I’d say I am abundant if I’m able to build the house of my dreams. A house by the mountains with a nice vegetable garden and beautiful views of the mountain I want to be able to support my parents as they grow older. An abundant life is being able to travel or create memorable experiences with my family. An abundant life is living a comfortable life and having extra to give to people who in need.

Do you still get worried about sustaining your business and lifestyle long-term? How do you balance the whole ‘doing what you love’ and ‘earning from it’?

Yes, I make plans for my business, plans for growth and innovation. I make sure I stay relevant. I value my clients because they’re the life blood of our business.



Looking Forward: Joanna’s Next Braver Goals

What’s the next big/challenging goal you’re working towards?

Scaling my business. I’m (still) finding the right balance on slaing up without spending too much.
 

What quotation or saying inspires you and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love?

Courage, dear child.

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned (so far) in pursuing your passion+purpose?

The book, The Alchemist comes to mind. That book gave me courage, inspiration and excitement on what the future of going for my passion hold.

What’s the biggest mindset or skill or takeaway that you learned from The Purposeful Creative that managed to get ingrained in yourself and the way you now do things?

Don’t cater to everybody. Be true to your values and vision and your tribe will find you. This is one of my guiding principle when I create social media content.


Don’t cater to everybody. Be true to your values and vision and your tribe will find you.

How has your business/brand/career changed your life? Who has it allowed you to become, and where has the journey taken you?

It has allowed me to become a better leader. It has greatly expanded my comfort zone. It has allowed me to dream bigger.

What is your ultimate goal? What’s the bigger Why behind what you do?

I want to build a company that believes in, values and nurtures human relationship.

Know that you don’t have to know everything now. I believe in listening to your heart but have a wise head on your shoulder as well.

- Joanna Gutierrez

What advice would you give to a young woman who is… scared to start or fail because – what other people will think?

Read up on successful people’s stories. Read up on the success story of someone you admire. Pay special attention when they were just starting. They were once in your place, scared, unsure, doubtful. Acknowledge that you WILL make mistakes, that’s okay because that’s part of the journey. It means your courageous enough to take action.

What advice would you give to a young woman who is… feels hindered by the fact that she doesn’t have money to start?

This I feel is a good barometer of how important that dream/passion is for you. If it’s important enough, you will find a way to sustain fund the start of that dream. There are so many opportunities to earn extra money nowadays, if it’s that important, you’ll be able to find a way.

What advice would you give to a young woman who is... struggling with finding the motivation or push to begin? (aka making all the excuses and procrastinating)

Make a timeline for yourself and try hard to stick to it. Have an accountability partner, someone you trust and respect. Someone you know will push you forward if needed. Make that call, set that meeting – now, that way you have no other choice but to move forward.

What advice would you give to a young woman who is… thinking, “What if I’m not good enough?”

Its okay, we all feel that way sometimes. Knowing this, I want you to assess your feelings. Where is it coming from? Is it valid? If so, what are you doing about it? I find that dong an action towards a certain feeling of doubt/fear/insecurity helps me diffuse the feeling. Know that most of the business/creatives you see out there probably felt that way too when they were just starting. Just don’t let that feeling cripple you on starting your dream.

Ready to follow Joanna's lead & take *YOUR* next brave steps towards a life of passion+purpose?

Check out the workshops she attended with us: