Growth Hacking Interview Series #101: Fitz Gerard Villafuerte
Fitz Gerard Villafuerte, RFP is a civil engineer who decided to quit the corporate world back in 2003 to pursue entrepreneurship.
His blog Ready To Be Rich, has won several awards, including the Best Business and Finance Blog at the Philippine Blog Awards.
He has also been recognized by Moneysense Magazine as among the Top 12 Most Influential People in Personal Finance in the Philippines.
He is a Registered Financial Planner and a resource speaker for corporate and socio-civic organizations in the country where he actively promotes entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
How did you start out as a marketer?
It started when I decided to become a freelance software developer. I realized that I cannot just wait for my colleagues to outsource their modules to me. I had to be proactive and find my own clients.
Looking back, what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
The hardest struggle would be meeting the client's expectations, especially their desired deadline.
There are difficult clients who set unreasonable requirements, and you need to learn how to be diplomatic while negotiating.
How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?
My first client was from a referral and I created an optical scanner software for them so they could easily check college exams. This was when I was a freelance software programmer.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
Now, as a financial planner, the most rewarding about what I do is when people come back to me after several months and telling me how they were able to turn their life around because of the money management lessons I gave them.
We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing how else can someone earn online, and what is your advise?
There are many ways to make money online, you just have to find which channel works for you.
As always, I encourage everyone to start by simply writing a blog because this is an effective way to acquaint you with the online world, and helps you develop necessary skills to earn online.
If you were given the chance to build your career all over again, what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?
I would have learned web development earlier, and launched my blog sooner. I started in 2007 but I already had the time and opportunity to go online as early as 2004.
How is your typical work day structured?
I typically start my day at around 10am where I do my morning routine. Depending on my tasks for the day, I would either stay at home and work, go out for a meeting, or run errands.
My work day ends at dinner time, and usually I spend 9pm onwards talking to friends or doing personal projects.
Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?
It took me a long time to be successful at blogging — by success I meant reaching my monthly income goal of at least P15,000 — which I achieved after around 14 months.
I guess what really got me through was my passion for the niche that I had. When people started finding value with what I was writing, income opportunities began presenting itself.
You’ve been tasked with redesigning the company’s brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.
Define their target customers. Know their demographics and psychographics. Then redesign the company's brand, product, and marketing message, to fit that target market.
Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?
I'm always juggling multiple projects, but I make sure that I have THAT one project whose priority is above all else.
I work on my primary project whenever I can, and do the other projects during downtime or when I need to take a break from my primary project.
What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?
I've been doing experiments on Snapchat lately.
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
Read. I am subscribed to a lot of blogs.
Can you tell us about a project you’re most proud of from your past work history?
My blog has always been my most successful online project. It has opened up a lot of opportunities for me, including my current professional career as a registered financial planner.
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
Problogger by Darren Rowse — always a treasure trove of helpful information.
What advice would you share with other Marketer's who want to become more productive?
Learn about the different productivity tools out there and stick to the ones that work for you best. For me, I combine the Eisenhower Matrix + GTD Method + Personal Kanban + Pomodoro.
If there's one Marketing Guru you'd recommend who and why.
Locally, I'd say Josiah Go. I've listened to him talk several times and I would always learn something new from him.