Valerie Fischer: “Pay yourself first”

Pay yourself first. This was actually a learning from my first business venture. If you don’t pay yourself, you will start resenting working hard for your business without getting anything in return. Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started […]

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Pay yourself first. This was actually a learning from my first business venture. If you don’t pay yourself, you will start resenting working hard for your business without getting anything in return.


Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.

How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?

In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.

As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Valerie Fischer.

Valerie Fischer is a Neuro Linguistic Programming practitioner with over 20 years of experience in advertising and marketing and co-founded an e-commerce site for locally made products. This combination gave her a unique process that helps businesses transition and thrive online. In recent months, her Brain Science Selling framework has helped over 3500 online entrepreneurs increase their revenue by as much as 40%.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I sometimes say that I have a PhD in resiliency. It wasn’t an easy childhood for me. In fact, I think that I became an adult at 10 years old. We grew up poor. I was bullied at school and my mom was diagnosed with a life-threatening ailment when I was 12. She died when I was 15. All these taught me grit. I consider these trails as gifts that prepared me for a difficult but fulfilling life.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Thoughts become things is something I have lived by ever since I heard my former boss say it. Those words became more powerful when I realized how it is actually related to how our brain works. Visioning our best selves has so much to do with our present and future success.

You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

  • Grit. My not so easy childhood gave me this gift. I lost my mom at a young age, I became a guardian to my siblings when I was myself still a child. When I thought that life was already getting better, I lost my boyfriend to a convenience store shooting. I went through PTSD for a while. Mob mentality and censorship caused my 17-year friendship with 7 best friends to turn sour. I have been through so much and I am very much grateful for all of these challenges. Despite everything, I am still standing. I am still evolving.
  • Determination. According to Gallup’s Strengths Finder, I am an Achiever. My former bosses used to describe me as “The Girl Who Gets It Done”. I have just always been somebody who does not take no for an answer. There is and will always be a way.
  • Passion. A friend wrote in our college yearbook that this is the one word that she will always associate with me. I give my 101% in whatever I do, whether it’s cleaning the bathroom, which is weirdly, one of my favorite things to do, or presenting million-peso pitches in front of executives.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?

My Second Chapter even has a Second Chapter. I will tell you more about that later.

I started my career as an advertising Accounts Executive in one of the most prestigious ad agencies in the country. Then I shifted to being a marketing officer, crawled my way to the top, until finally becoming a marketing executive at 36 years old. I covered almost everything there is to know about marketing, advertising, trade and local store, to digital, to events and PR and publicity. I got my hands dirty and did my best to climb up the ladder as fast as I could. Sometime in 2015 or 2016 though, I started getting these questions in my head: Is there another world out there? What am I without my job? Who am I outside of the company I work for? What good am I doing for the world?

I felt like my job was all about making money for other people. Despite being a highly engaged employee, something was lacking. I wasn’t aligned with my purpose.

And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?

So, for two years, I prepared to leave. I saved up enough money so I can leave my 9 to 5 without worrying about the next paycheck, at least for the next 6 months. I was also getting married and needed the time to prepare for a D-I-Y one. Finally, I gave my months’ notice. I was so excited to finally be free of the corporate world. I have books lined up, TV shows listed, coffee shops I wanted to visit and friends to reconnect with.

One day, I had breakfast that turned into lunch with a friend and that’s when it all started. I shared with her how difficult it was to get authentic Filipino products for my pre-colonial wedding. I wondered why there was very limited option for locally made home and lifestyle items. We realized then that it was a real insight and a good idea for a business. She had been thinking of an e-commerce site but did not know what products to carry. That was how my first business venture came to be. Pinas Sadya, an e-commerce site for authentic, Filipino-made products that ships internationally. It is a brand that tells the story of the makers, the materials, the tribes, the artisans, and the traditions that come with the products. My unique pre-colonial wedding concept turned into a business.

Was I afraid to start a business? Sure. But really, what did I have to lose? Only the gap year that I was so excited to have. The Universe had other plans and I went along for the ride.

Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?

I would say that taking the plunge was not quitting the job but saying yes to a business opportunity. When I took my NLP certification, one of the exercises we did was having our unconscious-self guide us in our decisions. We asked our unconscious for a Yes and a No sign. That moment that my friend asked me if I would like to take that idea into a business concept, I received my Yes sign. I got goosebumps from the back of my neck that traveled all over my body. That was the sign.

But that was not the end of the story. The e-commerce site was just the beginning of the next chapter. The digital part of the business led me to learning new skills that led me to another next chapter: my training, speaking and coaching business.

What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?

When I took the Gallup Strengths Finder Assessment in 2015, I immediately recognized the Achiever and Relator strengths as those I use in my corporate role as Assistant Vice President for Marketing. One other was Focus, which I thought at the time was something I don’t often use. My top two though was Input and Learner. The assessment also mentioned that my ideal job was as a teacher or mentor. I remember laughing at that. Me, a teacher? A trainer? I took that report for granted and went on with my life. Little did I know that five years later, I was going to be led back to those strengths and be aligned with my purpose.

How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.

I actually went back to the corporate world when my dream job, to be a Chief Marketing Officer was offered to me. Unfortunately, along with 5M other Filipinos, I lost that job at the start of the pandemic. That was again the Universe redirecting me back to my purpose. It was the divine energy guiding me back to my path.

When friends, former colleagues, almost everybody on my Facebook friends list asked for my help in teaching them how to transition to the digital space, I did not hesitate. It felt easy. It felt right.

I designed a unique process using my Neuro Linguistic Programming certification, my 20 years in corporate advertising and marketing PLUS my experience in running a digital business from my first venture. This is the second chapter to my second chapter.

In total, I did 190 paid virtual training in 2020. On my first year of business. In the middle of a worldwide pandemic. I have helped over 3,500 new online entrepreneurs, sellers, agents, business owners increase their revenue by using Brain Science Selling techniques.

The role felt like a superhero costume waiting for me to put on.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I credit my husband not only for fully supporting me, but also for being an inspiration. When I first met him and he would introduce himself at parties, he would say, “I’m a teacher”. That role explains itself.

Every morning before going to work, he would say, “I’m off to save the world!”. And he does. With every child he inspires, every girl or boy who learns from him, he changes the world. At first, I was envious. I wanted that confidence. I wanted clarity on my purpose. I wished I would wake up every day thinking that I am making a difference and not just making somebody else richer and more powerful.

His life inspired me. Just by existing, he made me realize that I too, can make a difference.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

In one of the Facebook groups I joined, one of the coaches/speakers called my framework BS. He said that he is a Clinical Psychologist and that his wife has a PhD in Neuroscience and that my process Brain Science Selling is nonsense. I say interesting because that comment hit me. I was devastated. For a newbie like me, from a third world country, trying to make it to the global scene, that comment struck me hard. For a few days, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, crying and feeling bad for myself.

Then one day, out of nowhere, I realized that people are afraid of what they do not know. Our brain is lazy. It does not want to move away from its regular programming. That is what happened to him. He lashed out at me because he was afraid of what he does not know.

From then on, I decided to be as visible as I can be and to take Brain Science Selling with me. I want to achieve credibility and authority from birthing this concept. I want people to realize that this process is powerful. With all the feedback I have been receiving, the potential is huge. A real estate team reported selling 10 houses in 3 days using one of these techniques. One of my former sales team reported a 40% increase in sales, despite the pandemic.

I did not want to let one comment rule my life and stop me from serving my audience. Nobody deserves that kind of power.

Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?

This interview is an example. When I pitched my story to you, I did not think much of it. I told myself, “Well why not?”. Then when I received the reply that you were interested to share my story, I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe it. It took me 14 days of self-sabotage and procrastination before I actually sat down and did this interview.

How did I overcome it? I imagined the people who will read this and hopefully will take inspiration from my story. After all, this is not about me. It is about them. I wanted to show up for my people.

In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?

To be honest, I only needed the support of my husband. I have always been fiercely independent, and he is the only one I allowed to penetrate my “I can do this on my own” wall.

Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?

I don’t like seeing myself on camera. My left eye is bigger than my right. My white hair shines with the light. I can’t seem to get my eyebrows to cooperate and be on the same line. Doing virtual classes for a living now, I have to manage all of these insecurities. I have to get out of my own anxious mind.

There is a trick recently discovered that not only helps me manage my anxiety, but also helps me get into better rapport with my audience. I stick a photo of my ideal market right beside my laptop’s camera. That way, I have a visual of who I am talking to and at the same time, avoid looking at myself on the Zoom call. I get to look at my audience in the eye without being conscious of how I look on camera.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Pay yourself first. This was actually a learning from my first business venture. If you don’t pay yourself, you will start resenting working hard for your business without getting anything in return.
  2. You have to learn WordPress, and Kartra, and Zoom, and Menti Meter, and many many more programs. Tech is not my game. I teach and train online entrepreneurs about strategies, but the backend of tech always frustrates me.
  3. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Okay, I kind of knew this. But knowing it does not make it easier. After hiring a virtual assistant, a funnel builder, a website developer, I am now able to focus on my own genius, on the one thing that I know I am good at, and that is training and coaching.
  4. Scotch tape is life. I bring one with me wherever I go. I tape a photo to my laptop, tape the mic on the table, tape the ring light on a cabinet if I can’t find enough boxes to elevate it.
  5. Be careful not to gain weight. I remember people saying that actors and actresses gain 20 pounds when they go on camera. I believe the same is true for Zoom. Well, also because I lived on sweets during the pandemic to make me feel better.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Our brain is lazy. It loves patterns, regularity and predictability. The moment we lose this, we start feeling afraid. We fear the unknown, we fear failure.

I would like to start a movement where people will start to feel more courageous. I want them to know that some of our greatest breakthroughs come from our biggest failures. I want people to know that change is the only way to grow.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂

I would love to tell Simon Sinek how his book changed my life. It doesn’t hurt to tag Oprah too. Listening to her podcast, Soulful Conversations feels like getting virtual hugs from her and her guests.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Please check out my website www.valeriefischer.net. I am also on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/valeriepfischer/ and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/valeriepfischer

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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