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This entry was co-authored by Jason Acidre, a seasoned digital marketing consultant who has been developing strategies for numerous SMBs, highly-valued startups, and Fortune/Inc. 500 brands since 2010.
You may not be aware of it, but you’re actually in the business of selling.
What do you sell, you ask? Your time and skills. It doesn’t matter what you do exactly—the bottom line is that people pay you to provide something of value.
We’re all business people.
And the internet age has ushered in a whole new way of conducting business.
At the time of this writing, the world’s richest man is Jeff Bezos, whose net worth is more than a hundred billion dollars. What does he do? He created Amazon—the world’s biggest online shopping store.
More than a century ago, the wealthiest and most powerful people on the planet were businessmen who traded steel and oil.
Today? You’ll see icons like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Folks who made billions creating digital products and online services.
Proof that in the digital age, online businesses are king.
Related: 12 Ways to Get Rich
You can buy almost anything online right now, whether it’s a physical product, software or service. But what exactly do people sell online?
To give you a better picture, let’s break it down into 4 categories.
- Time: Services, Consulting, Freelancing
- Information: Premium content
- Physical Products: Sold through online stores or online selling platforms (Ecommerce)
- Digital Products: Access to software, apps, web-based tools, Service as Software (SaaS), & online courses
Here’s the thing, there are literally hundreds of ways to make money fast. Don’t believe me?
Here’s an extensive list of ways you can quickly cash in (both online & offline). We won’t cover them in detail though as most of these are not scalable (read: no capability or potential to grow).
|Method||Level of Difficulty||Profitability|
|No-Risk Match Betting||Medium||Medium|
|Paid for web searching||Low||Low|
|Online Market Trading||High||Medium|
|Start your own website||High||High|
|Get “Paid To” sites||Low||Low|
|Write and Publish an Ebook||High||Medium|
|Mobile Phone Recycling||Low||Low|
|Cashback when shopping||Low||Low|
|Part Time Online Jobs||Medium||Medium|
|Sell Second Hand Course Books||Low||Low|
|Buy and Sell Domain Names||High||Medium|
|Be a Mystery Shopper||Low||Low|
|Be an Extra||Low||Low|
|Sell old stuff||Low||Low|
|Rent out your parking space||Low||Medium|
|Dog Walking and Sitting||Low||Low|
|Be a Charity Collector||Low||Low|
|Rent your house for filming||Low||Medium|
|Sell used clothes||Low||Low|
6 Ways to Earn Money Online in the Philippines
- Blogging & Content Publishing
- Create an Online Store: Ecommerce & Dropshipping
- Freelancing Business
- Affiliate Marketing
- Website Flipping
- Launch a Startup: Selling Digital Products
Now comes the juicy part: Legit, tested, and proven ways to make money online.
These have the potential to grow into money-making machines that scale with the right skills and know-how.
1. Blogging & Content Publishing
How do we know this: I started blogging back in June 2010, and earned $10,000 in my first 5 months of blogging (P450,000 during that time).
What is Blogging?
“Web log” or simply, Blog, was created in the early days of the internet to serve as an online personal diary.
It shouldn’t be confused with a regular website, because a blog primarily serves as an “online journal” where the author shares his view and posts them in reverse chronological order.
Aside from blogs, there are two other types of blog content publishing:
Podcasts are digital audio files (some include video) that are presented in episodes and can be downloaded or streamed over the web. Most follow your usual talk show format, while others simply narrate content. Popular ones include The Tim Ferriss Podcast and Joe Rogan.
Vlogging (Video Blogging):
Video blogs are essentially content presented in video format. YouTube remains the king when it comes to serving as a platform for vloggers due to its popularity and reach. Popular vloggers include PewDiePie and Casey Neistat.
8 Ways to Monetize a Blog
Here’s the number one thing that a newbie asks before or after creating a blog: “How can I make money off my blog?”
Here are the different ways you can monetize a blog.
Ads are perhaps the most ubiquitous form of income generator when it comes to most websites or blogs. In a nutshell, you earn money by displaying ads in your blog.
Google Adsense remains the most popular ad network although there are others, like Clicksor and Bidvetiser. You’ll encounter terms like PPC (Pay Per Click), CTR (Click Through Rate), and CPC (Cost Per Click) as you learn more about ads for websites and blogs.
2. Offer Services
Blogs serve as a great platform for promoting your services. For example, if you’re a copywriter, you can offer paid services to write for other people or blogs.
You can create a “Work with Me” page where you can list out your services which can include your rates for freelance blogging or coaching sessions for budding copywriters.
3. Paid Reviews and Sponsored Posts
This happens when a business reaches out to you to review their product on your website. You are not necessarily required to give them a positive rating, and it’s ethical practice to disclose any sponsored reviews to your site visitors.
Some businesses may opt to sponsor a specific post instead and request for a link back to their official website.
We covered this in a previous article discussing Passive Income Ideas. In a nutshell, a lead is personal information from an individual who expressed interest in a company’s service or product.
This interest comes in various ways and forms: signing up for a job application, filling in personal details to download a free e-book or program, getting discounts by signing up for coupons, and more.
Here’s one way of generating income for leads. Let’s say your website covers Nursing review tips and guides. When people sign up for your free newsletter or guides, you can include links or buttons that will lead to Nursing Review center websites who may pay you for the referral.
5. Affiliate Marketing
Ever seen those links below those YouTube videos you watch?
For example, popular YouTube site, Linus Tech Tips (LTT), provides content around tech mainly covering PC components and gadget reviews. In the video description section, you’ll see links to the products or services mentioned in the video.
When you click on them, it will direct you to the company’s page or website where you can buy it (e.g Amazon, eBay, etc). And if you buy the product through the link, the LTT channel will earn a commission from the purchase.
It’s the same with blogs. The author(s) may include links to services or products that they personally recommend or use and earn via commission for each successful sale from a visitor who clicked through their link.
6. Paid Live Workshops/Webinars
The idea is basically the same as attending a regular training seminar or workshop but you do the presentation online. For example, if you want to know more about direct email response copywriting, you can sign up for live workshops from experts on that field.
They will teach you via live stream or some sort of pre-recorded material that you can access on the web after you pay for it.
7. Offering Premium Content
You probably tried a game or two on your mobile phone, right? Notice how most options and levels are locked the first time you start the game?
If you want to access those, you’ll be asked to purchase it with real money or have you watch a video advertisement so the creator can still get paid in some way.
Companies call this option, “Freemium”, which is a pricing strategy that provides the service/software/media/content for free initially but will require you to pay for additional services and premium features.
You can apply the same pricing strategy for the service or product you offer. Hook them in with freebies and useful content then offer premium features or materials for the paid option.
8. Selling your own Products
If you’re an expert in a particular field or have your very own product (e.g., Social Media Manager, published an e-book), you can sell them online.
For a social media manager, for example, she can create an online course that will show others how to be one for a fee.
If you have an e-book, you can sell it through online platforms like Amazon and Goodreads, or even simply market it through your network in Facebook or your website.
How to Start a Blog
We’ve covered this in great detail in the past and you can check out the guide here: How to start a blog in 20 minutes and make money
How much do you need to get started (capital & requirements)?
- $10 – $20/year for domain registration (via GoDaddy or NameCheap), depending on the TLD you’re purchasing (.ph and .com.ph tend to be more expensive than .com domains).
- Hosting starts at $3.95/month with SiteGround or BlueHost (hosting is the server where your website’s files will be stored).
- Passion for writing – back when I started, I spent 10-20 hours per week writing and marketing my blog.
- And if you don’t have the time to write, you can also choose to hire freelance writers (try Manila Craigslist’s writing/editing jobs’ section). You can start small by offering to pay anywhere from P500 – P1,000 per article.
Quick Steps on How to Create a Blog:
1. Decide what niche/industry you’ll focus on writing about (it’s advisable to choose those that you’re genuinely interested or passionate about).
Here are a few samples of topic areas that have huge readership potentials, where you can write useful tutorials, personal experiences, or product/service reviews:
- Business & Finance
- Family & Relationships
- Travel & Lifestyle
- Professional Advice (Health, Law, Education, etc…)
2. Create a content plan. Start by listing the topic ideas that you want to cover on your blog. Choose to write the topics that people actually search for (you can use free tools like Google Keyword Planner to determine which topics have strong demand and get searched frequently on the web).
3. Think of a brand name for your blog – and see if the domain name is still available. You can check availability and purchase the domain name directly from GoDaddy.
4. Find a Webhost. I personally recommend SiteGround (this is where most of my websites are hosted – because of the impressive uptime and service quality), but if you’re looking for a cheaper option as you’re still getting started, BlueHost would be a great option as well.
Once you have both the domain and webhost, you can start pointing your domain to your chosen webhost. You can check out our complete guide on how to start a blog for more detailed instructions.
Related: 10 Best Web Hosting for Business Websites & Blogs in the Philippines
5. Choose a blogging platform. There are several options to choose from, but WordPress is the most popular choice for beginners (because it’s so easy-to-use).
And it will only take a few clicks to install WordPress from most web hosting C-Panel dashboards (including both SiteGround & BlueHost).
6. Design your blog. Once you’ve successfully installed WordPress, you can start tweaking your brand new website.
There are literally hundreds of free customizable WordPress themes that you can use. From your WordPress admin dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes > Add New:
Although, if you prefer to use premium WordPress themes, you can check out StudioPress (their themes’ prices range from $35 – $150).
7. Start Writing. The job is not done just yet, and the next steps would actually be the hardest ones
It’s crucial to understand from the get-go that making money through blogging takes a lot of effort – and it’s not as easy as what most would tell you.
Keys to Success:
- Learn how to write content for the web effectively.
- Half of the job is marketing. Learn SEO best practices. Connect and build relationships with other bloggers/publishers in your industry.
- Have a unique voice in your target space. Focus on creating useful/engaging content on topics that you rarely see being covered/done elsewhere.
- Focus on creating evergreen content – as they get searched and consumed more often (and they mostly remain relevant for a long period of time, unlike news-related pieces).
Example of a successful blog:
NerdWallet started as a small content website sharing personal finance advice back in 2009. They started with an $800 capital. After almost a decade, they are now valued at $520 million.
2. Create an Online Store: Ecommerce & Dropshipping
How do we know this: We’ve worked closely with some of the biggest names on the web in ecommerce education and dropshipping – such as SaleHoo, Oberlo, Shopify, and more. We’ve also done several tests of our own on starting a dropshipping business in the past.
What is Ecommerce?
Electronic Commerce or Ecommerce refers to various forms of business transactions done on the internet. When you buy something online, that’s ecommerce in action.
What is Dropshipping and how it works?
Imagine owning a pet store specializing in selling various types of pet food. But instead of having actual pet food inventory sitting in your physical store, you only buy them once an actual order is placed by a customer.
It sidesteps the problem of having perishable pet food stock which eliminates potential losses should they unfortunately expire. But more importantly, it allows you to quickly get into business without the need to buy goods or inventory that you will be reselling.
And here’s the kicker—you can do all these online. No need to set up an actual physical store! Start your pet food empire from the comfort of your couch.
Learn more about Dropshipping at SaleHoo
That’s what Dropshipping is. The retailer (you) takes orders/purchases from customers and then routes them directly to your suppliers. They will then take care of creating and supplying the product then ship it directly to the buyer.
Your main job is to set up the online store (website, social media page, etc) and payment mechanism.
How do Dropshipping sites make money?
Like an actual physical retail store, you earn through markup from buying wholesale (from your dropshipper) and then selling the products at retail prices.
How to Build and Launch an Online Store using Shopify
Before we get started, I’d like to mention that there are other eCommerce Platforms that are far more customizable (like WooCommerce, Wix, and Magento).
Though Shopify is the easiest one to setup, as it doesn’t require in-depth technical coding skills for anyone to get started. Plus, they offer a free version that you can test to see if the dropshipping business model is right for you.
How much do you need to get started (capital and requirements)?
- Domain name purchased through Shopify – $13/year.
- Basic Shopify plan starts at $13/month (which includes the website builder, SSL certificate, unlimited product uploads and file storage, and more).
- Time and effort (10 – 20 hours per week) in setting up the website, product/market research, uploading products to your online store, writing product details/descriptions, designing your logo (or product images), fulfilling orders, responding to customer emails, marketing your website (social media ads and/or SEO).
- And eventually getting more help by hiring a virtual assistant to do order fulfillment, email support, and writing product details, and a designer who can work on your site’s design needs.
Everything can be done alone (I did), but it seriously takes a lot of research, patience, and hard work.
Further reading: An in-depth guide on how to start an online store in 15 minutes.
Quick Guide on How to Start an Ecommerce Business & Setup a Shopify Store
1. Product Research.
Determine what products you want to sell online. Here are several places where you can find inspirations on what to sell (through dropshipping):
- Amazon’s bestsellers
- AliExpress’ popular searches
- Lazada’s most popular section
- Google Trends
2. Create an account on Shopify.
Go to Shopify.com and sign up for a new account by entering your details.
On picking a store name, you can also use Shopify’s free business name generator tool to help you find available domain names.
3. Set up your Shopify Store.
Once you get to your Shopify’s account dashboard, they have a system in place that will pretty much guide you on everything you need to do to launch your store.
4. Choose a theme (design layout) for your store.
Go to Themes.Shopify.com, which offers hundreds of free and paid templates to choose from. Once you’ve picked the best one for your store, you can just hit the start with this theme button (and it will redirect you to your store so you can install the theme).
After installing the theme, you can begin customizing your store’s layout – from color themes, fonts, website element placements, and more.
5. Set up your Shopify store’s business and store management settings.
Shopify has also made it easier for their users to get started through these guides for the overall initial setup.
The list of guides will get you through your site’s general settings, tax, shipping, payment methods, policies, billing, as well as in adding and organizing your products.
6. Start adding products.
For dropshipped products, there are apps built solely for Shopify that makes the process of adding products faster and a whole lot easier.
Just visit Shopify’s app store and search for any of these services (most of them have free accounts):
- Oberlo (dropshipping products straight from AliExpress)
- Printful (for Print on Demand products)
- Printify (for Print on Demand products)
These apps will basically handle and automate most of the ecommere fulfillment stages (right after adding the products you want to sell on your site). From order fulfillment, shipping, order tracking, to product inventory updates – it’s all automated.
7. Launch your online store!
But before starting your marketing campaign for your online store, be sure to check that everything is working:
- Perform test orders to ensure your site’s order system works (read more about test orders for Shopify).
- Review your site’s shipping settings (a lot of new shop owners tend to miss this one). Make sure you have entered your preferred settings for shipping zones and/or weight-based shipping rates (especially when you plan to offer free shipping).
Keys to Success:
- Learn Facebook Advertising for Eommerce.
- Know the best practices for Conversion Rate Optimization.
- Stringent product research. Sell high-quality products that you – yourself – would actually buy.
- Focus on Branding – have a plan for it starting from day 1.
- Learn Email Marketing and Influencer Marketing for Ecommerce
- Start Live-selling on popular social media platforms.
Example of a successful ecommerce site:
Daniel Wellington is one of the most celebrated success stories in the world of ecommerce. The business started small by dropshipping china-made watches back in 2011 and is now worth north of $200 million (they also have a store now in Trinoma).
Other Useful Resources:
- Complete Guide to Running a Successful Ecommerce Business
- How to Start an Ecommerce Business: Ultimate Guide
- A Complete Blueprint to Starting an Ecommerce Business
3. Freelancing Business
How do we know this: I started as a freelance SEO consultant back in 2010, and eventually scaled to start our own agency a year later. A digital marketing agency that later on generated over $1.4 million in revenue in 2 years.
What is Freelancing?
It’s the term used when a self-employed person offers his or her services to clients, usually on contract basis. Freelancers also often serve multiple clients at a time.
Types of work you can offer as a Freelancer
We did a comprehensive review of several high-paying remote jobs that may also work in a freelance or part-time set up. And to show you more, we’ve compiled a list of the other freelance job opportunities that we haven’t covered in the guide mentioned above.
- 3D Artist
- Academic Writer
- App Developer
- Book Designer
- Book Editor
- C Programmer
- CAD Designer
- Comic Artist
- Commercial Writer
- Computer Programmer
- Concept Artist
- Creative Director
- Web Developer
- Electrical Engineer
- Fashion Designer
- Fashion Stylist
- Fiction Editor
- Film Editor
- Flash Designer
- Game Developer
- Digital Marketer
- Graphic Designer
- Industrial Design
- Interior Designer
- IT Consultant
- Logo Designer
- Marketing Consultant
- Media Buyer
- Medical Transcription
- Motion Graphics
- Online Tutor
- Photo Editor
- Product Designer
- Professional Services
- Video Editor
How do Freelancers earn money?
Clients pay them for each specialization that they provide. Having multiple clients on a per-contract basis also allows for some flexibility in terms of workload and bigger potential earnings.
How to start and scale a Freelancing business
How much do you need to get started (requirements & capital)?
- Spare time so you can actually take on projects outside your day job.
- More time to further hone your skills and self-study (you can pretty much learn anything over the Internet – for free).
- Accounts on Freelancing platforms and job sites
- Communication skills for client relations.
- $30-50/year for domain registration and web hosting for your own website/blog, where you can showcase your portfolio and expertise (which will help you land more clients in the long run)
Quick Guide on Becoming a Freelancer & Starting your own service-oriented business
1. Assess your skills
Determine the skills you have that people/businesses would actually need and pay for.
If you think your skills and knowledge about a certain craft aren’t substantial enough, start learning more about it. There are thousands of free resources & learning materials about almost anything on the web at your disposal (just “Google it”).
2. Find clients
The Internet age has certainly made almost everything easier for anyone these days – and that includes finding work.
You can start looking for projects through these platforms:
- Manila Craigslist (Jobs Section)
- Gawin PH
- Raket PH
- Star of Service
- People Per Hour
3. Start bidding on projects
Start small and gradually build your way up.
Reputation is everything in this line of work, and that’s where you’d have to focus on mostly, by ensuring you’re providing high-quality work.
The consistency you put in your work should help you get more positive feedback/reviews and referrals (that will give you the ability to charge more in the future).
4. Document your process
If you want to scale your freelancing business, it will be very vital to create your own process documentation.
Because in this business model, your time and skills are your product. You will need to hire more people and build your own team to grow. And that’s where these process workflows, training modules, and report templates will come in handy.
5. Personal Branding
Build a website – it’s the new business card.
Demonstrate your expertise by publishing useful guides related to the work you do. It’s one of the best ways to woo and impress potential clients.
You could also pitch yourself as a resource speaker for local events, seminars and conferences.
6. Continuously learn
Never stop learning and make it a habit to read. It’s a competitive edge that most successful entrepreneurs have.
And it also allows you to consistently improve your process and service quality.
Keys to Success:
- A solid work portfolio
- The right network, where you can learn and get referrals. That’s why it’s imperative to be more involved in your community (join industry-specific FB groups or local organizations).
- Marketing and personal branding – as it can help you create a steady stream of inbound client inquiries in the future.
- Process documentation to semi-automate recruitment and training of new hires.
- Continuous self-learning. Because there are so many things to learn about running a business, managing people, and improving your services.
Example of a successful freelance business:
We’ll be a bit biased on this one, and just share Jason’s personal blog, that has been continuously earning decent money (through offering freelance consulting services) for the past several years.
And have eventually scaled the business by starting a boutique digital marketing agency.
Related: How to Make Money Freelancing in the Philippines
4. Affiliate Marketing
How do we know this: I worked as an in-house marketing consultant for Affilorama for 2 years. They are one of the biggest affiliate marketing education portals on the web, and I had the chance to build several affiliate sites (for testing purposes) in the past.
What is Affiliate Marketing and how it works?
Affiliate Marketing is the act of promoting a company or another person’s product or service and then earning through commission from each item sold.
How do Affiliates make money?
Say you built your own blog where you do product reviews for computer peripherals. Each product will be linked to the vendor’s official website or a third-party seller (e.g Lazada, Amazon).
When a reader clicks through one of these links and actually buys the product, you get to earn a small percentage of the sale as commission. Loyalty portals and other types of incentive programs can also be categorized as forms of affiliate marketing.
How to Start an Affiliate Marketing Business
1. Market Research
Identify which industries or product categories you’d be genuinely interested in creating content around on.
Do a keyword research (using Google Keyword Planner & Google Trends) to validate if there’s really a demand for the information, products, or services you want to write about on your website.
2. Find Affiliate Programs or Join Affiliate Networks
Once you’ve identified the product/service types you want to promote, you can start looking for brands who have affiliate programs.
You can start with a quick Google search (using search queries like “product category” + “affiliate program”):
It’s advisable to choose products you really believe in or you’re likely to buy for yourself.
Or you could also apply and join affiliate networks, which provide massive lists of brands (for different business categories) that offer affiliate programs exclusively through their network.
These networks will also provide you the affiliate links and ad banners you can use on your website, as well as tracking tools to see how many people are clicking and purchasing from the brands you are promoting.
Here are some of the top affiliate networks where you can join for free:
3. Start Promoting Products
There are several ways to promote products and earn commissions through the affiliate links you’re sharing to your audience, but here’s the best 3 that work (and can be scaled) most of the time:
Build a website:
The main aim is to educate your target audience.
You don’t necessarily need to solely write product reviews, as it’s best to build a strong readership and develop your website as an authority in its space (niche), in order to encourage people to check out the products you’re promoting.
So this means nurturing your audience by providing other useful guides that are highly related to the products you are promoting (ex: writing about parenting tips, if your site is promoting baby products).
The money is in the list, as most experts say. People are more receptive to buy through offers coming from email newsletters, especially to those that they personally subscribed into.
Building an email list requires a website or offers (like offering free ebooks in exchange for signing up to your email newsletter).
Another viable option is through making videos for product reviews (or product comparisons) and posting them on YouTube.
It’s the second largest search engine in the world, and people often do search for videos about the products they are interested in before purchasing (to see if it’s really any good).
Keys to Success:
- Traffic, Traffic, Traffic. Learn how to drive visitors to your website or Youtube videos through SEO, PPC, and/or social media.
- Consistently create highly engaging content. The only way you can encourage your readers/viewers to check out the product you’re promoting is if you’ve laid out your content well enough for them to believe that it can solve their problems.
Example of a successful affiliate site:
Wirecutter started as a blog that extensively reviews consumer products (and earns through affiliate commisions). They were acquired by the New York Times for $30 million in 2016.
5. Website Flipping
How do we know this: We analyze and improve websites’ traffic performance for a living. Assessing a website’s value is somewhat part of our job as well.
What is site flipping?
Build/buy/improve a website, generate value or revenue, then sell it.
That’s what Website Flipping is in a nutshell.
It’s essentially the same concept that you see on cable TV shows where they find and buy a tumbledown house, renovate it, then sell it for a big profit.
How to Start a Website Flipping Business
1. Build or Buy a Website
We’ve discussed above how you can create different types of websites.
If you can follow those steps, then you’d be on your way to starting this business.
As for buying existing websites, it’s best to learn how to evaluate websites first in terms of traffic, website performance, earnings, and potential growth.
Where can you buy websites:
2. Improve your Website
Learn how to build quality traffic and monetize a website (we’ve also covered these aspects earlier for blogs, affiliate sites, and online stores).
The more traffic a site gets, the more it can earn (through ads, affiliate commissions, or product sales). And the more it earns, the higher the price you can sell it for.
3. Sell your Website
Understand that you’re selling a business (not just a website).
It’s important to consider all the efforts/expenses you’ve spent in building and improving the website too – to make sure that you are actually selling it for a higher profit.
Where can you sell your websites:
Keys to Success
- Master how to build profitable websites and how to drive traffic to them.
- Due diligence – learn how to evaluate websites, if you’re planning to buy (and then sell for a higher profit).
Example of a website being sold:
The site below is earning $15,000/month on an average and is now being sold for $400,000.
Related: How to Sell a Business in the Philippines
6. Launch a Startup: Selling Digital Products
How we know this: We’ve worked with dozens of startups in the past 8 years of doing consulting work and executing digital marketing campaigns – in which many of them are SaaS or in the business of selling access to online courses.
What is a Digital Product?
What do apps, software, video, and mp3s have in common? They can all be delivered and distributed easily online.
A Digital Product simply refers to a product or tool that can be manufactured once and distributed many times over. This makes it have the obvious advantage over physical products in terms of inventory creation and distribution.
Different types of Digital Products:
Grammarly and ProWritingAid are examples of web-based apps for copywriters.
They help writers ensure that their copy is flawless, error-free and effective through features like spelling correction, vocabulary enhancement suggestions, checks for grammar and context, and much more.
Both are great examples of web-based apps because you need to be connected to the internet in order to use them.
Who wouldn’t be familiar with this one? With smartphone usage at its all-time high (and rising), almost everyone we know owns one. What made smartphones, “smart”, anyway? Here’s the answer: Apps.
Thanks to Steve Jobs and Apple, the iPhone introduced a whole new ballgame when it came to what a smartphone can really do. Need to check on someone? Use (insert your social media app here).
Want to know the best place to eat Thai food? Yelp is here to help. Don’t know a place to stay at during your travels? AirBnB is your best bet.
Like everyone says, “There’s an app for that”
The digital revolution not only disrupted both the video and music industry—it also changed the whole landscape when it came to how we buy and read books.
Electronic books or Ebooks production and consumption were magnified when Amazon came up with the Kindle—an electronic device made exactly for reading.
Since then authors and publishers almost always have an electronic version of their book because it’s made it much easier to produce and distribute them. For consumers, it made the process of buying books as easy as a touch of a button.
Software & SaaS (Sofware as Service)
From games to productivity suites, Anti-virus programs, payroll systems, Word and Spreadsheets, to operating systems and design tools—software has embedded themselves in our lives so deeply we wouldn’t know how to work effectively and conduct business without them.
Video, Audio, and Online Courses
Check out Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare, CodeAcademy, edX, and others if you want to learn a course or two via the web. These are websites that offer training and full courses for almost every topic or skill that you can think of.
From learning how to code, making websites, learning how to write scientific papers, building physical products, creating video, producing music, learning math and sciences—the internet proved to be a great equalizer when it comes to accessing the wealth of information available worldwide.
Web Elements and Design Templates
In your internet browser I bet you probably have an extension or plug-in installed. Adblockers are a popular example.
Some install extensions that improve their productivity, some want them for changing their browser’s theme, while some install it to get some specific task/action accomplished.
For web designers, access to a wide variety of fonts and templates, plug-ins, and others are a must because it allows for better creativity in their designs.
These are all examples of web and design elements that you can create and sell to all sorts of people, depending on the niche you want to specialize in.
Keys to Success:
- An idea that can ultimately solve a problem with a huge demand – which can also provide a better solution than what’s currently existing in the market.
- Execution matters more than the idea. It’s crucial to have a robust team of developers and marketers that’s up to the task to build and sell the solution.
Example of a promising digital product:
MasterClass offers premium online courses from the world’s best practitioners. The company raised a total of $56 million in funding.
Tips for Building & Running a Successful Online Business in the Philippines
The internet has transformed the way Filipinos do business. Now, small independent brands are able to make seven-figure income and grow to become major players in the industry.
However, building and running an online business is no walk in the park. To help you achieve success, here are some tips to keep in mind.
1. Choose the right platform
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting their business is choosing the wrong platform. When you make this mistake, most of your marketing efforts will be put to waste, and your business wouldn’t grow to its maximum potential.
To know which platform you should put your focus on, you have to think about your audience. If you pick a platform that is not frequented by your target market, you won’t get the outcome you want.
For instance, Facebook has many active users in the Philippines, but if your audience loves to shop on Lazada, that’s where you should put your effort in. That said, Filipinos split their time with different social media accounts so make sure to consider that factor as well.
Aside from your audience, you should also think about your company. What products do you offer? What is your brand personality like?
All these factors should influence the platform you choose. Virtual brands do well on platforms such as Shopify, while B2B brands may do well on Alibaba. Here are some of the most popular platforms in the Philippines:
- Facebook Marketplace
2. Don’t be afraid to overdeliver
There are thousands of online businesses in the Philippines, and whatever product or service you choose to sell, chances are, you will be dealing with tough competition.
To help you overcome this hurdle and stand out, you need to exceed the expectations of your customers. This is important especially when launching because once people develop a positive first impression of your brand, they will become repeat customers.
Overdelivering is not just about offering the best products. It also involves going beyond traditional content forms and educating customers on how they can improve their life. Once people see the lifetime value of your product/service, you can maximize revenue potential.
To do this, you need to follow this mindset: serve, not sell.
Identify the unique problems of your customers and tailor your content and offers to solve these problems. The better your audience can relate to your content, the more they will believe you can give them the solution they need.
Once you figure out how to do this, money will follow.
3. Prioritize your reputation
When it comes to online businesses, it’s all about reputation. Thousands of people have access to your platforms and a single caption or review can spiral into a major problem.
To avoid this, set up alerts when your brand is mentioned on social media or any other platform. Additionally, be consistent about your social media guidelines.
If you have other people posting on your behalf, be clear about what you expect from them. More than that, master the art of dealing with customer praises and complaints.
4. Invest in SEO
When people need products, the first thing they do is look them up on Google. Organic traffic is one of the best sources of revenue so whatever platforms you are most active in, never take SEO for granted.
Search engine optimization involves following guidelines and techniques that allow your online business to be more search engine friendly.
Contrary to what you think, it’s not too technical and it’s possible to do it on your own with the right tools. You can also outsource SEO if you don’t have time to learn about it.
5. Have a clear content marketing strategy
Because of the intense online competition you are facing, posting for the sake of posting is not recommended. Every content you post should be intentional.
Having a set content marketing strategy will help you build your audience in ways you never thought were possible. This will allow you to nurture current and potential customers, and get more targeted traffic.
For instance, one of the best marketing strategies you can follow is to use videos. If most of your target audience are on TikTok, leverage the platform to make viral content. Other marketing ideas worth trying are blog posts and affiliate marketing.
6. Focus on a niche
Starting an online business is overwhelming, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with product ideas. However, this will only confuse your audience.
One of the tricks you can exercise is to focus on your niche. For instance, if you are selling baked goods, do not offer electronic devices.
When you focus on your niche, you can optimize your online store better. It will also be easier to inspire trust among your customers.
How to Scale your Online Business
When you start an online business, one of the buzzwords you will hear all the time is “scaling your business.” But what does it mean?
Scaling a business refers to adding revenue at a quicker rate compared to taking on new costs. It involves setting the elements that support and enable growth in your company.
This can involve effective tools, systems, staff, partners, and processes, among many others. To scale your business, follow these tips below.
Always think big
Just because you’re still starting your online business does not mean you should limit your goals. The ultimate way to scale your business is to think big. What do you want to achieve and where do you want your business to go?
Instead of thinking in small steps, go macro. Set a goal to achieve in the next year, two years, five years, and even your first decade. If you are stuck on what you want to achieve for today, your journey for tomorrow will not be productive.
Listen to your customers
Even if you have the best products in the country, your online business would fail if you don’t foster customer loyalty. Remember that it is easier to retain customers than to acquire new ones.
But how do you inspire your customers to develop an emotional connection to your brand? Simple – give them what they want. Ask them key questions such as:
- What are their current problems?
- What products would they like to see in your shop?
- What’s stopping them from buying?
- How can you give them more value?
Become an authority figure
You may think it’s impossible for a small online shop to become an industry leader. However, it’s possible to upstage major brands when you have a clear strategy.
When you become an industry leader, you can gain the trust of people and give their life more value. The ultimate way to do this is to get published as much as you can through the following:
- Creating a blog
- Writing a guest column/blog
- Sponsoring an event
- Sponsoring a podcast
- Starting a podcast
- Diversify your content
- Speak at events
Running an online business can be stressful. You can’t possibly spend 10 hours per day juggling orders, thinking about your next Instagram post, and replying to customer inquiries.
If you are serious about scaling your online business, you need to invest in building and documenting processes so you could easily outsource some of your business’ most important tasks. This will enable you to focus on more important matters.
For instance, you can hire someone to take care of your business’s payroll, or you can hire a freelancer to write content for your website.
Always measure analytics
Running a business without measuring your KPIs is like baking a cookie without measuring the ingredients. You can still bake one, but it won’t be as good as when you follow exact measurements.
Nowadays, there are tons of tools you can use to your advantage. Measuring your analytics will help you understand your customers better, and therefore improve your offers. Some of the metrics you should track include:
- Net income
- Break-even point
- Sales growth
- Average monthly leads
- Average lead conversion rate
- Growth and profit percentage
- Cost per lead
- Cost per sale
Leverage email automation
Whether you sell digital products, food, or clothes, you can benefit from email automation. For instance, you can build your email list and automatically send out e-coupons and discounts on notoriously slow months to drive more sales.
Just like other forms of marketing, email automation needs constant optimization and testing. But when you’re done with the trial and error stage, you can enjoy a system that constantly promotes and nurtures leads even while you sleep.
Prioritize social media branding
Social media is undoubtedly a powerful tool for online businesses. When you don’t do well in social media, you will be overtaken by other brands who use it to their advantage.
So what can you do to maintain consistent social media branding? First, you need to use the same handles on each platform. This will make it easier for customers to find you and connect with you if they want to.
Cross-promoting on different social media channels to get noticed is also recommended. Customers following your brand on Facebook may prefer Instagram as their social network so captioning “check out our new Instagram reels” could get people to follow your page and engage with your future posts.
Disclaimer: All information listed in this article is for information purposes only. Although utmost effort was made to ensure accuracy of information on this website, readers must not solely rely on it in making any investment or financial decision since it does not take into consideration the risk tolerance, financial situation, investment goals, and experience of readers. It is best to consult a professional financial planner or your bank before investing to make a more informed choice and limit your risk exposure.
Yhong Lacson says
Thanks sir Amiel for sharing thia amazing content. I’m a newbie to online world and just started my own personal website couple months ago. And still figuring out how can make money out of it.
Thanks, Good Bless
Thanks for this amazing article. Could you guys write more about tax obligations as an online entrepreneur here in the Philippines? Like how do you file taxes as a blogger/ dropshipping entrepreneur? I dont see comprehensive info about it online
Yna Isabelle Flores says
Hi Amiel! Awesome blog you’ve got here it’s very detailed and inspiring! I’m a freelancer myself and I just got it through this freelance hiring site and I didn’t know that I can use my blogging skills (which is a hobby by the way) as a means to earn passive income, well ofcourse upon monetization. It is so cool! Thanks for this Amiel, keep it up and you rock!
Thank you! Very nice and helpful website. I love it!
Coach Jack Usman says
Thank you very much Mr. Pineda you are a great author. This is very helpful article. Mabuhay!
Rued Almadilla says
Thanks Mr. Amiel.. I’m gonna share this to my friends and colleagues..
Martina Hahn says
Hello Mr. Amiel,
you forgot Network Marting. It is similar like affiliate Marketing and direct selling with the opportunity to create also a team.
I work with Forever Living Products (The Aloe Vera Company) since 2002 and I found now your article because I’m searching for sites in the Philippines for free ads.
I have since 2 weeks a team in the area of Manila. If someone wants to join Forever Living in the Philippines feel free to contact me.
Best regards, Martina Hahn, firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are my take:
1. Create an online business with the most in-demand digital products, for example software or eBooks.
2. Build a blog and become a writer – freelance writing is notoriously hard to break into but it offers very high rewards, so do some research on niche topics that are in demand
3. Sell physical products online – create your own online business selling coffee cups, planners, makeup, whatever you know has high demand
4. Start teaching classes or workshops – experts of all types are constantly needed to teach these things because everyone needs experts sometimes, find out what people need help with and start charging for lessons.