Sheila Fuentes from SI’LO Shares Why Social Enterprise Issues Are Best Handled as One Problem at a Time

March 25, 2021 | | 0 Comments

Sheila Fuentes

Sheila Fuentes spoke on the mindset lessons she learned while building her sustainable retail brand, SI’LO. Sheila is based in the Philippines, and pivoted her career from banking with an economics background to the fashion industry. One of the leading concerns for SI’LO is sustainability, but Sheila also mentioned the issue of unethical labors. Adopting new mindsets would help her in situations like the pandemic, when the business model needed to be revised.

Overthinking a problem can lead to overcomplicated solutions. Sustainable fashion contains a lot of moving parts, such as supply chain partners, which leads to unexpected problems scattering an entrepreneur’s attention. Shiela expressed her approach as specifying the problem and having clarity of the main goal. She explained that it’s okay to start without having a perfect process set in place. Attention should be placed on finding a clear goal for a set issue. Sheila gave it a simple order:

“One problem to solve, and then clarity of your vision.”

One common issue for social entrepreneurs comes from initiatives that work directly with communities. Connecting with people that are participants or receivers in an issue supported by the initiative is essential, but a system for these interactions can get lost. Sheila spoke from the perspective of what she observes happening between communities and social entrepreneurs in the Philippines. She shared an example of what it means to build a better relationship and build rapport with a community.

Shiela then goes into her own personal stories of building her mindset and the confidence of her journey. Three years were spent being afraid of what would happen if she quit her full-time job. She transparently shared her thoughts around balancing her full-time job and the business in the beginning. Until one day, she bluntly realized her business was not progressing, and finally said “I need to challenge myself, and go out of this comfort zone”. Sheila goes on to discuss the relationship between decisions and circumstances in overcoming what entrepreneurs may think is holding them back.

Before wrapping up, Sheila directed the conversation further into the topic of mindset. She has a business coach and has experience as a business coach, but she warns that the real block to mindset is ourself. Once moving past self-sabotage, entrepreneurs can grab hold of concepts such as a growth mindset, “selling is serving”, and self-awareness. Having a new mindset around the business opens the door to new approaches. Sheila then explained how these new mindsets start with first assessing your mind, and getting to know what narratives are stored in the subconscious mind.

We finished up with how attached people are to being “validated”. We managed to put a positive spin on the topic by speaking about switching “validation” into acknowledging others for their work. We can really help inspire other people simply by noticing what they’re accomplishing in a genuine way. Acknowledging each other helps lift up the world around us. 

If you would like to earn more, you can connect with Sheila over Instagram.

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