Friends start off as strangers and Martine de Luna is no exemption. I chanced upon her beautiful well-written blog that covered topics I liked. Since then, she has become a friend.
When I was thinking of starting the successful and influential series here, naturally I asked Martine de Luna for advice. So I am grateful for the guidance.
Martine de Luna
Martine, you wrote Working in Freedom. When I was reading the post, there was a photo of you holding your baby. At the same time, you were conducting a workshop on blogging. That created quite an impression on me.
What made you do that? Also, what were you thinking at that time?
“At the moment that I was standing in that workshop with my baby in hand and my work in the other, I felt very ‘Amazon-like,’ in a way. In ancient mythology, the Amazons were women warriors who were known to take their babies to battle, slinging them over their bodies and wielding swords with the other hand. Their work was to fight, protect and conquer. As a modern day working mom, I believe we can do the same things, in our versions of our empires, our personal kingdoms.”
“I was inspired to write a blog post after that. For me to be truly joyful about my role as a wife, a mother, AND to love and respect my work, I needed to ACCEPT that this is my reality. I now view my life as truly rich – in my point of view – because I am living what I profess is a rich life. For me, that is: (1) being a hands-on mother to my children, especially while they are very young; (2) to do work that fits my abilities and at the same time can greatly help others bring their message and offerings out to the world; (3) to have the freedom to make these two life choices, as a woman.”
“It’s far from people’s ideals. I don’t look like society’s version of a woman of power, but that doesn’t matter. To me, I am empowered to make these choices. That is all that matters.”
As you know, I meet a lot of people including moms in my line of work. It seems to me that a lot of stay-at-home moms have the least time for other activities.
Were you ever in a situation when you had to choose to be a full-time mom?
“Of course! I was teaching full time when I got pregnant. After I gave birth, I decided to be a stay at home mom. It’s not that we have the least to give to other activities, though. That is a subjective point of view. Our values and priorities lie elsewhere. That is all.”
“If a stay at home mom chooses to make her homestead her primary objective to grow and nurture, then she should not be viewed as having less time for certain activities. It is because, to her, activities outside of homemaking and child-rearing take second, or third priority.”
Let’s talk about blogging and your passion. What got you started in blogging?
“I started blogging as most mothers did: with a ‘mommy blog’ that talked about my dealings and musings as a new mother. This was in 2010 when I had just returned to work from maternity leave.”
“At that time, I started to become curious about working from home. So I started a sideline job of writing articles for websites in the US. Eventually, after six months of running the blog, I found online work as a copywriter for a digital marketing company in Los Angeles that was looking for offshore workers here in Manila.”
“I learned all I could about blogging and social media from that job. I became their Creative Content Director and was responsible for creating blog content and content for Facebook pages. And then I would apply all I learned to my blog. Eventually, I took a professional approach to my blog, even if it was really just for fun, a virtual ‘playground’ for me.”
“I eventually began another sideline: helping other women bloggers to ‘brand’ their blogs, just as I had done to mine. By this time, I had already won the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards for Best Home Blog. Also, I had been recognized internationally by websites in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United States.”
“In 2013, I resigned from my job as a content director and started my ‘blog coaching’ freelance outfit, on a full-time basis. I also started doing local workshops here in Manila on blogging. Basically, I created a job out of something I just enjoyed doing and was good at.”
“Helping people to bring their message to the world through blogging: This is the ‘passion’ that you are referring to, I believe.”
What motivates you and how do you use this motivation in blog coaching?
“As a working mother, naturally my family motivates me, but usually when we say this, it is out of necessity: We need to provide for our families, therefore we are motivated to work hard for them.”
“I’d like to add a dimension to this. What motivates me (apart from my family) is my REALITY: That I was able to carve out my own path of having ‘designed a life I love.’ I want to teach people to create job descriptions for themselves and offer value to others, instead of simply relying on job ads and resumes. If I can help another mom create a job for herself – one that lets her thrive according to her own definition of success – then I am happy.”
“I use blogs as a launching pad for people to be able to create jobs for themselves; that is just the framework. What motivates me is seeing these women create possibilities for themselves, just as I did for myself.”
I have often talked about success manifesting itself in different ways. We all have different interpretations of what success is. For example, some people think it’s financial, while others think it’s fame and recognition.
How do you help bloggers find their way to their own definition of success?
“In my worldview, success is having the KNOWLEDGE that you can live a life on your own terms while having the FREEDOM to do the work you love and to be detached from what society believes is a success.”
“I hope in my little way, my blog can inspire women – be they singles, career women, fresh grads or seasoned moms – to live life on their own terms, to be free to follow their passions, whatever those are. I happen to believe blogging is a feasible way for these women to process their personal journeys towards personal freedom and success.”
“It’s not for everyone, but for those whom it is for, blogging can be a very fulfilling ENABLER in helping women create jobs for themselves and pursue their bliss, according to their own terms.”
I am a big fan of personal development. No matter how busy a person is, there is always time for personal development. And one of the best ways to grow one’s self is reading books.
If you were to recommend titles, which books should we read?
“I would recommend reading The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, for anyone who wants to reframe the way they think about work.”
“Daniel Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us also helped me to understand a lot about why I do what I do, and why movements and causes matter. I think this is a must-read for anyone who is seeking to improve their goal-setting and achieving clarity for their lives.”
“Also Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You to Be Rich which is one of the most practical personal finance books I’ve read. The application is mostly state-side, but the principles work for anyone who wants to shift their mindset on what it means to be financially free.”
“I love all of Gretchen Rubin’s “happiness” books: The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, and then her latest Better than Before. I love these books because she prescribes a different way of thinking and creating habits and forming mindsets, with the goal of personal, lasting success.”
“For parents, I think Bring Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman offers a refreshing take on modern parenthood, based on what she observed in French parents. It’s highly stimulating and goes against the grain of what we accept as typical parenting practices. I tend to gravitate towards chilled-out parenting, haha!”
“Listen to the Lively Show, by Jess Lively, one of my favorite podcasts for those seeking to live their lives with intention. She always features interesting guests (lots of pro bloggers and entrepreneurs).”
I have invested in myself by attending seminars by some of the most prominent speakers in the country. Some of these people include Francis Kong, Anthony Pangilinan, and Maricel Pangilinan. Furthermore, I have had the privilege of attending a seminar conducted by John Maxwell. Even so, I find reading your blog to be inspiring.
If our readers would like to seek you for coaching, what is the best way to get in touch with you?
“Thank you, Robert. As I mentioned in a blog post before, I don’t mean for people to be inspired by my life. We are all living and journeying in this life together. A blogger merely writes about hers and lets people read it. My hope is that people who read my blog will ask questions, maybe take me up on some of the things I have written, whether to compliment me on them or even criticize me. I welcome both opinions!”
“Speaking of readers letting me know their thoughts: I love email! I work from home or from anywhere as long as I have my laptop! They can reach me through my website’s contact page. I have several options for how they can work with me.”
Martine, do you have any final words for our readers?
“Live deliberately; live on purpose. That might mean letting go of possessions and living simply within your means so that you can enjoy what you have and be grateful for the many things you already have.”
“I would say the same for blogging: Blog with purpose, as an expression of the things you believe in, not what’s trendy or in fashion, which will always fade. Tell stories; Help with information and inspiration. Use your blogs to exercise gratitude and contentment.”
And there you have it – an incredible insight from a very successful and influential blogging coach. You can’t possibly imagine how I feel so privileged to feature Martine de Luna on my blog.
As it is in life, I intend to surround myself with people who are successful in the world of blogging. It is the only way I could continue to learn how to write better.
I hope you are inspired to be the best of who you could be. Starting today, make a commitment to be the best version of yourself. Write in the comments your positive declarations.
If you need coaching and guidance, you already know how to get in touch with Martine de Luna.