Entrepreneur Lorna Bondoc on starting her company later in life

Categories: Entrepreneurship

Lorna Bondoc, Founder of YOVEO Digital.

Lorna Bondoc started her digital marketing business with the benefits of experience, wisdom and passion.

A new start after 40

There are those who have set their hearts on a career path or known with unfailing certainty what they wanted to be when they grew up, and then there are the rest of us. 

There’s no deadline for success, and while some are able to forge their own career path out of a passion and talent they’re born with, it takes time, and trials for most people. For some individuals, figuring out their ideal industry and starting their own gig didn’t happen until they had already blown out 40 (or more) candles on their birthday cake. 

So if you’re worried that you have run out of time to make a name for yourself, this fortysomething female entrepreneur is an inspiring reminder to keep pursuing your goals–and to throw age out of the window.

Lorna Bondoc was an industrial engineer, virtual assistant and corporate consultant before making a grand entrance to the digital marketing world at age 40 with the opening of a boutique digital marketing agency, YOVEO Digital in the Philippines.

Don’t discount baby steps

Lorna grew up in a single-income family. Her father was working in Saudi Arabia and was providing for a family of 4 children. Back then, technology was not as advanced as it is today. Although she loved reading and learning from people, she found it difficult to land a job at the age of 17 because she didn’t have a college degree and most of the job applications were age-specific. 

She was very fortunate to be recruited by DBO. At DBO, she worked on building databases. Due to her educational background, the company offered her training programmes for personal development. They also taught her how to advance in a corporate environment. She signed up for the training programme without hesitation while pursuing her studies in engineering. This programme provided her with the knowledge and skills about project management and team management. Her experiences and knowledge propelled her to a senior position in the company. However, after working in a corporate environment, she realised that candidates who applied for jobs aren’t prepared for it. They merely brought along their resumes and fill out the job application form. She wished that people knew how to present themselves better. 

Finding her passion

Consumed with her virtual assistant career and the capital intensity of her job, Lorna decided to go off on her own. In 2016, she was compelled to reach out and train professionals who are transitioning or individuals who are freelancing, but she didn’t know where to start. The universe must have heard her desire because she met Karen from GO Digital ASEAN, a USD$3.3M initiative funded by Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org and spearheaded by nonprofit international development organisation, The Asia Foundation. Karen has been training individuals with disabilities or people who are drug-dependent to be equipped with digital skills. This initiative was launched in response to the significant threat of COVID-19 on enterprises across ASEAN. 

Lorna facilitated an icebreaker activity for the GO Digital ASEAN participants. 

After speaking with Karen, she was excited to begin her journey of developing digital upskilling modules for job seekers in the Philippines. She even became a partner and a Master Trainer for the GO Digital ASEAN programmes. Her involvement in Go Digital was commendable. She was helping individuals at a whole new level. She developed and delivered course materials for job seekers because she realised that people are not up-to-date when applying for jobs. She also brought businesses from brick and mortar to online. That’s not all. She also went the extra mile to help businesses sustain themselves in the market by offering them free online tools to grow their business. Now, they have over 7000+ people in the programme and are currently working on new course materials for university graduates. One of her goals is also to work on tapping into the freelancing community in the Philippines. 

Lorna at Startup Weekend in Cebu, Philippines. 

Talk the talk and walk the walk

Lorna Bondoc always believed that the right values could carry you all the way to the top. She remained faithful to the life lessons that shaped her as a person, making sure she was always leading by example and lifting others up along the way. She advocates for her community, equipping fishing folks at the village level with digital skills to expand their business, and even working in prisons with soon-to-be-released inmates to increase their future employability. She sees and shares opportunities. She blocks her hours and dedicates her time to people and organisations in a systematic way. 

Lorna taught at the Digital Career Expo at Iligan, Philippines.

She recalls one of the mission trips in the Philippines where she worked with children who couldn’t afford school enrollment. Together with her team, she decided to design course materials to teach these children how to read and write.

Her mother was big on helping the community. She reminded Lorna of the importance of relating to people from all walks of life. Her father, on the other hand, taught her discipline, an attribute she needed as she journeys through her life and career. 

Defining success on her own terms

YOVEO Digital is the name of Lorna Bondoc’s boutique digital marketing agency. The word “yoveo” means “I see” in Spanish. It’s a name that embodies the limitless possibilities that Lorna envisions through the power of digital marketing. Her company, YOVEO Digital, offers a host of corporate services such as digital and strategy consulting, search engine optimisation and social media support, in addition to training for corporations and non-profit organisations.

She desires to give people the opportunity to see life through a different lens. She wants them to know that life can be so much more and she is there to make sure it is. 

Lorna at Women in Tech Conference in Cebu, Philippines. 

The phrase “it’s never too late” is echoed by Lorna who started a business in her 40s. She has learned a series of valuable lessons that come with pursuing her passion and leaping forward into the next, exciting chapter of life. “Never a better time than in your forties,” they said. Recognizing when the time is right, and seizing the opportunity is the absolute key to success.

 

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