Having your own time, being your own boss, and working from home – too good to be true? Not when you’re a business owner or freelancer. There’s a new paradigm shift as more people are freelancing and starting their own businesses. In the Philippines, the number’s close to 900,000, and that’s only taking into account those who use oDesk, Elance, and Freelancer. The number is greater if you include those who use Facebook and Instagram as e-commerce avenues and traditional platforms.
With the self-fulfillment working for yourself provides, more Filipinos are grabbing the bull by the horns. Everyone wants a slice of it, but many ask, “I don’t know what I’m good at. Will people pay for my services?”
Moneymax.ph rounds up 9 businesses you can start with Php 50,000 or less:
Starting Capital: Php 15,000
“If you want to start selling accessories, then online channels are your best bet for distribution,” Pat of Bahia Accessories begins. Bahia Accessories is a Facebook store selling unique, handcrafted goods from rope, fabric, and other scrap materials. “Not only is online the cheapest means, but you’ll be able to reach a wider audience through social media.”
Php 15,000 is a good starting capital, but it can increase depending on factors such as more expensive materials. The use of leather can raise your starting capital to Php 30,000. The initial amount is enough to cover labor, materials, overhead costs, product development, and even website and design development for accessories such as small pouches, bracelets, and drawstring bags.
Starting Capital: Php 1,800
“There are so many options to choose from when it comes to monetizing a blog,” Jason Acidre, sole author of Kaiserthesage.com, begins. It’s your go-to blog if you want to learn more on SEO, link building, and content strategy among others. “Consider affiliate marketing, ad displays, or selling products and/or services when blogging.”
When Moneymax.ph asked him what it takes to start a successful blog, he points out, “research and writing skills, knowledge in building traffic and your personal brand, building relationships with your network, and identifying opportunities.”
As for the finances, Php 1,800 can get you a personal domain name and a 3-month hosting plan. You would need to inject some cash to start monetizing your blog since most free blog-hosting sites do not allow advertisements. Now you have your own personalized blog site; let your work do the talking. With so many blogs on the internet, it’s important to stand out, and one way is to put out your best work, every time.
Online Retail Store (Design & Manufacturing)
Starting Capital: Php 20,000
“You need the passion to last. It’s exciting at first – starting a clothing business – but once the thrill dies down and the responsibilities set in, you have to keep going,” Cj, an online retail entrepreneur, begins when asked the ins and outs of starting the business. “I started with Php 20,000. That was enough to cover expenses for materials, labor, and photoshoots for marketing and promotional purposes.”
“Aside from passion, you have to accompany that with innovation and financial knowledge,” she continues. With the rapid pace in which trends are set, you need to keep your client base interested. This does not only encompass the designs of your clothes but other initiatives as well, from marketing to promos. As for financial knowledge, it’s important to do the math. A cost-benefit analysis will allow you mathematical proof whether your venture will be worthwhile or not.
Food Cart Franchise
Starting Capital: Php 50,000
A food cart franchise allows you to learn the ropes of business with a system in place. Food carts offering one or two products start at a franchise fee of Php 35,000, which includes equipment, training, and customer support to name a few. If you want to invest in larger franchises, the fee is much higher.
A word of caution though is additional costs will arise. Make sure you have an emergency fund when unforeseen events come up. In relation, also consider your monthly rent for your cart as this will eat up a portion of your earnings. A Php 35,000 food cart franchise will not earn more than a Php 300,000 franchise offering more products, so placing the Php 35,000 in a mall might not be a good idea if you will be paying more on rent than what you’re earning. Make sure to take all business costs into consideration before taking the plunge.
Starting Capital: Php 25,000
All you need is a dependable laptop to come up with your finished product – be it for logo, banner, and layout designs and infographics. What you’ll need to look for when shopping for a high-performance laptop are large storage capacity (500 GB or higher), an up-to-date processor (Intel Core i7), and high RAM usage (4GB or higher) and graphics performance (e.g. NVIDIA graphics processor). You’ll want a laptop that won’t lag and freeze when running software such as Adobe Illustrator. If you don’t have the cash to buy Illustrator, you can use free alternatives such as Adobe Photoshop Express, GIMP, and Krita.
“Post your projects on social media, and when the people in your network see the quality of your work, your client base will come to you,” Elisha, a freelance graphic designer, says.
Starting Capital: Php 50,000
From weddings to private lessons, there are numerous ways you can monetize your talent with make-up. A professional brush set will cost around Php 4,000 while a set of high-quality products can cost up to Php 28,000.
“When I was starting out, I didn’t have enough money to buy foundation in a variety of shades,” Rai, a make-up artist, says. “One beauty hack I did was to buy the lightest and darkest shades and mix them to match various skin tones of my clients.”
One of the key things to success is tapping your network. You may start out small with only a select group of clients, but if you deliver well and let your work do the talking, your network will organically grow through referrals.
Starting Capital: Php 50,000
There are numerous ways to monetize your knack for capturing people’s special moments or picturesque scenery. You can offer your services during events or sell your photos online. Php 20,000 will get you a DSLR, which offers superior quality compared to point-and-shoot cameras; however, if you want to turn your hobby into a business, you will need more equipment to widen your scope of services. Aside from a dependable camera, you will need extra lenses depending on projects (wide angle versus zoom lenses), extra batteries and SD cards, and lighting equipment, to name a few.
Have a portfolio ready and sprinkle your social media pages with your photos to show the quality of your work. Aside from online marketing, tap your network, especially when landing your first gigs. If your clients are happy, they won’t hesitate to refer you to their family and friends.
Starting Capital: Php 2,000
If you love kids and enjoy studying, pair the two together and tutor. Assuming you already have a trusty laptop and a printer to create and print worksheets and handouts, a budget of Php 2,000 will get you the needed school supplies (pen, paper, etc.) and a few textbooks. Even if your expenses increase the more resources you need, you’ll be able to charge extra for additional services, such as in-home tutoring or one-on-one sessions.
“Since the business is very time-dependent, planning is key,” Mica, a private tutor for grade-school kids, advises. “Especially during busier weeks, you need to plan in advance and consider unavoidable circumstances, such as when your students come late or change schedules at the last minute.”
If you have a knack for getting kids to listen to you, and you’ve always excelled academically, consider tutoring as a business.
Starting Capital: Php 15,000
If you have a penchant for playing around with words, you can turn your writing hobby into a business. Be it writing online articles or the next Harry Potter saga, there are numerous ways to generate income through writing. Php 15,000 will get you a standard laptop, and you can type away on Microsoft Word.
You can be a contributor for online blogs and websites; you can look for writing gigs via oDesk, Elance, and Freelancer; or you can write your own full-length novel and either be a ghostwriter or self-publisher. Of course, if you want to self-publish, there are additional costs – book design fees, marketing and promotional expenses, and getting an editor are some.
What to look out for
Competition, finances, and registration are three challenges to overcome when starting a business. More distribution channels open up more opportunities for businesses and consumers alike, but that also means competition has increased. Keep in mind there will always be competition, and what’s important is to find your strengths and niche. If you’re a blogger who loves the backpacking lifestyle, then a travel blog is more appropriate than a fashion-centric one.
As for finances, lack of capital can limit you. You want to create a fashion brand covering clothes and shoes, but you only have enough to buy materials for clothes. Consider this a challenge. Being tight on finances will allow you to maximize what little you have. If you’re thinking of self-publishing but you don’t have enough to cover costs for an editor, a PR person, and a book designer, you can either take the time to design your own cover and learn the ropes of Adobe Illustrator or you can market and promote your own work.
Lastly, whether you’re a freelancer or a small business owner, it’s important to pay your taxes. This is for your benefit and enables you for SSS, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth benefits and loans. Click the links for the processes on how to claim your benefits or apply for a loan (SSS, Pag-IBIG, PhilHealth). In addition, if you plan to buy a house or a car and need to take out a loan, you’ll need to show your income tax returns. Registering with the BIR is not only for employees but includes those who are self-employed as well.
The risks and challenges of starting a business on your own are high and many. The key is to keep going. Never be discouraged. As Kim Lato, founder of Kimstore, said in an interview with Moneymax.ph, “Take the risk. You won’t be on a high all the time. Sometimes there’ll be lows. The only thing that makes me different from another person is that they didn’t try.”