Q&A with Entrepreneur & Soon-to-be-Author, Marian Bacol - Uba
Marian is a social entrepreneur, speaker, and writer who is on a mission to inspire others, especially minority women, to build a life of their design by transforming past trauma into triumphs. She is currently working on her forthcoming book "Survivor to Thriver" that talks about her journey of overcoming childhood sexual abuse, substance/alcohol abuse and traditional Asian cultural norms to living a thriving life of health and wellness for the mind, body, and spirit. Marian speaks on topics such as social entrepreneurship, minority women in business, personal development and holistic wellness. Please visit www.marianbacoluba.com for more info.
Can you tell our readers about your background?
I was born in the Philippines and moved to LA right before my 5th birthday. I grew up in LA, went to college at UC Irvine as a pre-Med, Biology major (because that’s what most Asian parents want their kids to be) and after my Freshman year switched majors because I couldn’t see myself in the medical field.
I graduated and climbed up the corporate ladder in Marketing and was the Marketing Director at the largest Filipino-American retailer in the USA by 27 years old. I soon realized that the corporate route did not make me happy at all and started my own marketing company that focused on food and restaurants. It fit well with the blog at that time, Marian the Foodie. In 2014, although business was growing, my personal and spiritual life was on a downward spiral (severe depression, suicidal, overdose and had a near-death experience).
I knew I had to do something drastic to change things so I moved to Miami. The past three years has been a crazy journey of spiritual awakening and inner work that has brought me to where I am now. I am on a mission to help other women, especially minority women who are held back by their culture and society, to transform past trauma into their strength and start creating a life in which they thrive.
What inspired you to start your business?
For my marketing business, I was not happy working in a corporate environment and working 60+ hours a week. I knew that I wanted to work hard to build something that was mine and I wanted freedom especially with my time. I wanted to work with brands and businesses that I was excited about and loved. For my current business, I was inspired to start it because I wanted to share how I changed my life and mindset around from a “Survivor to Thriver”. There are so many people that need help dealing with their traumas, healing and moving forward to living a truly happy and purposeful life.
Where is your business based?
How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?
I was still working in my corporate marketing job when I started my blog, Marian the Foodie. I started that on the side and built it up until I felt that I could leave my job and focus full time on that business. I was able to use my marketing expertise and experience but work with people and brands that made me happy. My current business emerged with my following my mission to share my story and help others who have overcome similar trauma.
What have been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?
Social media, joining groups and masterminds, events
What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
I didn’t get much support from my family because they didn’t really understand what I was doing. Growing up as an Asian-American female, you are held back by traditional cultural norms as well as what our society dictates. I overcame it because I knew at the end of the day, if I didn’t pursue my own path, I would be miserable and unhappy. My spiritual path has given me the confidence and faith to know that only I can create the life that I want.
How do you stay focused?
I focus on my mission in this lifetime to share my story and help others heal.
How do you differentiate your business from the competition?
I use my differences as an advantage. There aren’t many Asian-American women talking about these topics and issues.
What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?
Social media and getting involved with masterminds and other groups of like-minded people.
What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Get clear on your goals and mission. Take action. Cultivate meaningful relationships. Always give and add value to others and in your work.
What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?
Instagram to share my work and life with my audience. Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s Meditation app because the guided meditations are beautiful and very impactful. I don’t really read blogs but I do online publications such as MindBodyGreen, Elephant Journal, Tiny Buddha, etc. I listen to many podcasts such as The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes, Super Soul Sundays with Oprah, Tim Ferriss, The MFCEO Project with Andy Frisella, The Balanced Blonde, That’s So Retrograde. There are so many to name but one of my favorite business/personal development is Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans because he has condensed the top things he has learned from all the best performers and entrepreneurs in the world into this book.
What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?
Upwork. I have found my amazing graphic designer and several VAs from Upwork.
Who are your business role models? Why?
Lewis Howes and Oprah because they both have blended business with spirituality and making a significant positive impact in the world.
What do you have planned for the next six months?
Working on completing my book, “Survivor to Thriver”, self-publishing it and getting my message out into the world.
How can our readers connect with you?
I am active on Instagram the most.