10 Ways to Make Your First Million

Last Updated on – Sep 15, 2020 @ 9:41 am

Who wants to be a millionaire?

I’m not talking about the game show (even if it’s a legit way of getting a boatload of money real fast).

I’m talking about amassing revenue and profit that actually gets you into the million-peso club.

A 2017 Credit Suisse report revealed that the average net worth of 86% of Filipinos was $9,773 (around 488,000 pesos).

The same report showed that we have a highly unequal wealth distribution in the country, as only 0.1% of the total population were considered US dollar millionaires.

But that’s not the point of this article. I’m not here to blabber about our country’s living conditions nor highlight its highly skewed distribution of wealth.

I’m here because like you, I also dream of a better life by earning more and becoming financially free. Truth be told, I couldn’t care less about being a “dollar millionaire”.

I’m all for figuring out how to build wealth and giving myself and my loved ones a comfortable life.

Who doesn’t? We’re a family-first type of people after all.

But why aim for a million? Why the need to set an exact number to target?

Because having a specific goal forces us to come up with ways to actually reach it.

I once read somewhere:

“If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

And that’s what this article is all about.

To give you 10 legit ways to help you make your first million pesos. Hope you find these useful.

1. Become a specialist

Arguably the least entrepreneur-centric way of getting to millionaire land.

The idea is simple: Master a skill that catapults you to the top of your field.

Whether you’re a doctor, an architect, painter, programmer, author, or (insert profession here), establishing yourself as one of the elites in your chosen field guarantees demand—and with it, the big bucks.

But how exactly, does one become a master on any kind of skill or profession?

Watch this 1-minute video from Mark Cuban:

This quote from actor and stand-up comedian Steve Martin pretty much sums it up as well:

“Be so good they can’t ignore you”.

Best-selling author and professor, Cal Newport, actually used this as the title for his book. In it, he argued that learning to love what you do is better than ditching it for something you love.

He goes against the popular advice of “Do what you love” or “Follow your dreams”.

Those, according to him, can actually be hazardous to your career and finances without the proper preparation and skill set required to succeed.

Instead, Newport recommends to adopt a craftsman’s mindset and acquire valuable and rare skills that will elevate you above the pack.

He says that jobs that people love have 3 things in common:

  1. Provides high levels of freedom and control (you do have to increase your rare and valuable skills first though to be able to demand a high level of control)
  2. Can provide a source of income
  3. Provides a sense of mission and purpose (you’re motivated to push yourself and master the stuff, be the best)

It’s great advice, really. To believe that you have the capacity to become a specialist at the job you have right now (even if it’s not your dream job) and be able to command top money for it puts you on the right mindset to aspire to earn millions.

2. Sell products online (Shopee/Lazada/Facebook/Own website)

Each time I order Kapeng Barako beans in Shopee, I can’t help but think, “I wonder how many kilos these guys sell in a day?”

Same goes for all other stuff I order online. Whether it’s from a big retailer or from a small, personal shop, I’m amazed and curious at the same time at the revenue generated by online businesses.

I stumbled upon an episode of ABS-CBN’s business-oriented show, “My Puhunan” last year as I was mindlessly scrolling on YouTube. After watching, it gave me a glimpse at the earning potential of online businesses.

It was the story of a guy and how he went from being a massage therapist and security guard to building his online business, “Mr. Suki Mo Ako”.

He started by selling wireless Bluetooth earphones in Facebook Groups which eventually branched out to all sorts of gadgets and accessories. Using Php8,000 as capital, he was able to grow his business big enough to earn 90,000-100,000 a month (at the time the episode was released in 2017).

I bet he earns at least 2-3 times of that figure now if he was able to scale it properly. And even if not (which I seriously doubt), he can easily reinvest his earnings and buy more stock and maximize his sales.

Things couldn’t be easier right now if you are an entrepreneur.

Even without a physical store, you can sell and ship products to almost anywhere in the country.

The guy from my example above packs his wares on his living room floor, for example. Once orders are placed, he goes to the nearest LBC and ships them personally (after his tie-up with Shopee, orders were being picked up at his house)

Without online marketplaces like Shopee or Lazada (and other places online), I would be stuck with buying tasteless and expensive ground coffee in supermarkets. It’s a win-win situation for both seller and consumer.

Related: Top 100+ Online Shopping Sites in the Philippines

3. Invest your money

If Bro. Bo Sanchez’s maids can save up to a million, what’s stopping you?

When we reached out to him to ask what’s his best tip for building wealth, this was his answer:

“Building wealth requires radical patience. …to actually build passive income, you need radical patience. My two maids are millionaires today.  People are awed by that, but it took them more than 8 long years of slow, steady investing. I repeat: Radical patience. That’s the key to building passive income.”

For most Pinoys, banks are the go-to place for stashing away our savings.

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that (banks are a great place to keep your emergency fund), you’re missing out on the earnings potential of your hard-earned cash.

And that’s what Bro. Bo taught his maid, Gina. Instead of lazily putting it in a bank and earning at an abysmal rate (where your Php100k could earn just enough to buy you a movie ticket after a year), she learned about stock market investing and slowly and steadily increased her investments.

Within 6 years, she was able to grow her stock portfolio to 800,000 pesos in 2016.

Even without a high-salary, she was able to grow her money at an impressive rate that can only be achieved via discipline, consistency, and yes—radical patience.

To give you ideas on how and where to start, I highly recommend checking out our list of 12 Best Investments Under 100k.

5 Quick Tips for Saving More Money So You’ll Have More to Invest

  • Establish a monthly budget
    • Track your spending and analyze how your money gets spent monthly.
    • Build a budget and stick to it
  • Cut back on expensive habits
    • Try switching to less-pricey alternatives
  • Get rid of debt
    • Pay off all high-interest debts first (credit cards, loans, etc.,)
    • Set aside a set amount for paying off your debts. Make it automatic.
  • Don’t keep up with the Joneses
    • Spend only on things and experiences that truly matter to you
    • Avoid buying something just to impress others
  • Automate your savings

Recommended Reading: How to Save More Money

4. Run a Franchise Business

Owning a franchise business essentially means the company (franchisor) granted you the rights to sell their products.

It allows people like you and me to own and operate businesses with popular and established brand names that people recognize and trust.

Aside from its brand name, you will be handed over a tried and tested business model so you won’t have to figure out the ropes yourself.

It’s like getting under a mentorship program. Someone will teach you everything you’ll need so you can use that knowledge and be successful yourself.

And while this sounds great, it does have its own set of cons. Mainly, the fees you have to pay and lack of complete control over the business.

After all, you’re merely “renting” the brand name. And as with all businesses, there’s never a 100% guarantee that it will always succeed.

However, franchise businesses are still popular as it takes out much of the guesswork and labor of building a business from scratch. And with a trusted brand name on your signboard, people are more likely to transact with you.

3 Helpful Tips for Franchise Success

  1. Pick the right franchise – Consider your interests and the trust and demand for the product/brand as main factors for choosing a franchise.
  2. Get business-savvy – While franchisors will hold your hand during the setup process (and provide support as needed), you definitely have to develop the chops to run a business effectively. Aside from learning from experience, level-up your knowledge by attending seminars, getting advice from other business owners, reading the best business books, joining mastermind groups, and so on.
  3. Clarify all questions and conditions with the franchisor – You’ll be handing them your hard-earned money after all, it’s imperative that you do your due diligence in knowing everything you can about them and the franchise.

Here are some questions you might want to ask the franchisor:

  1. How much is the total investment package?
  2. Are there any royalty, branding, marketing, or advertisement fees? If so, how are they computed?
  3. Can you describe your training program in detail?
  4. Do you provide assistance for site inspection, evaluation, selection, and construction? If so, do you charge an additional fee for this?
  5. How do you evaluate locations?
  6. How long will it take until I earn a profit?

For a more in-depth look at how to own a franchise business in the Philippines, check out our comprehensive guide here: 25 Best Franchise Business Opportunities in the Philippines

5. Be a Top YouTuber

When I need to cook something, there’s only one place I go to for help:

The Panlasang Pinoy channel on YouTube.

Whether it’s basic adobo or more complex ones like (insert ulam here), I’m 101% sure Vanjo Merano (the dude behind the channel) has a how-to video for it.

Around Christmas time last year, I saw a TV ad with him on it promoting one of his go-to ingredients.

A product tie-up (sponsorship) plus a continuously growing channel. “Not bad, Panlasang Pinoy, not bad”, I thought.

With close to 1.8 million subscribers, I’m pretty sure he has hit the million peso mark already (if we’re talking about total YouTube earnings). I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes several million pesos from YouTube in a year, actually.

How do you (and how much can you) earn in YouTube, anyway?

There are 2 main ways YouTubers get paid:

  1. Number of ad views
  2. Number of ad clicks

The math behind calculating actual earnings is not a straightforward affair, however. There are several factors that affect the amount of revenue a certain video or channel gets paid.

Also, when a channel grows big enough, affiliate marketing options come into play (like the product tie-up Panlasang Pinoy has).

Bottom line? It’s simply near-impossible to accurately nail down YouTube net revenue.

But if you’re still curious (even just for an estimate), then this “YouTube Money Calculator” might help.

Here’s what I’m 100% sure about: Whether you’re going at it full-time, as a side hustle, or just for fun, getting a massive amount of page views in YouTube will definitely let you earn some serious bucks.

It’s not for everyone, sure, but those who do make it (top 5 to 10%) are definitely getting their pockets filled.

6. Build a Blog

As the country that spends close to 4 hours on average daily on Facebook, you’d think there’s not much sense building a blog since everyone seems to be on social media anyway.

The truth is, blogs are never going to go away. Ever.

As long as the content is valuable, useful, and entertaining, there will always be an audience for it.

And with a big enough readership, there are tons of ways you can monetize it.

You can run ads, set up affiliate partnerships, sell stuff (physical or digital products), use it as a platform for getting clients, and so much more.

There are thousands of sites in the Interwebs right now generating hundreds of thousands (dollars) worth of revenue.

I know of a site that generates a gross revenue of $200,000 (10 million pesos) per year at 350,000-500,000 page views per month. It’s a site about succulents, and she basically built a revenue-generating machine by blogging about cute little plants.

And that’s the awesome part. The possibilities for monetization are plenty. Even merely posting articles and getting page visits will still earn you money via ads.

Sometimes, when a blog gets really big (pageviews of more than a million a month), companies buy them to the tune of several million dollars (yes, dollars) or more.

Such is the power, reach, and usefulness of blogs.

Take the popular review website, The Wirecutter, for example.

It’s founder, Brian Lam, started the site in 2011 with about 10 posts per month, doing in-depth reviews on some of the best gadgets.

Fast-forward to 5 years later, the New York Times bought his site for $30 million. That’s right, 1.5 billion pesos.

And while that sounds like a unicorn story, this actually happens quite a lot. Once a site gets massive viewership, people and companies notice. Even if the site “only” generates a couple of hundred thousand pageviews per month, there’s still plenty of reasons that make it look very appealing for big businesses to buy it.

Making your own blog is easy. In fact, you can do it in 20 minutes. Check out our in-depth guide for building a blog with a full, step-by-step walkthrough. The “blog” section of this article also provides some great information on how to set up one yourself.

7. Make an App

At its peak, the now-defunct Flappy Bird grossed up to $50,000 (2.5 million pesos) per day. For those who are unfamiliar, it was a mobile phone game where you had to control the bird so it won’t hit the pipes. And that’s it, basically.

As simple as it was, the game was highly entertaining and challenging which catapulted it to overnight success. Proof that you don’t have to come up with the most complex of ideas to score big in the world of app development.

While Flappy Bird was an indie game created by one guy, blockbuster games like Clash of Clans with big budgets from its developers pull in annual revenue of close to 1 billion dollars during its prime.

Outside of games, there are literally dozens of categories to set your sights on. Just check out your phone’s app store and you’ll see what I mean. And even if you don’t come up with a massively popular one, there’s still incredible revenue potential for something that you don’t have to work on every day.

Not a programmer? Not a problem!

You can hire people to make your app. Online job marketplaces like UpWork allows you to hire app developers who work remotely across the globe. Just be sure to do your due diligence and be smart with hiring the right people so everything will go smoothly.

8. Turn your passion into a Business

Jason Magbanua is considered as one of the premier wedding videographers in the country.

A quick look at his website shows his current rates: 150 or 175 thousand pesos for each of his wedding video packages. For international projects, rates start at $9,000 (Php 450,000).

He can easily make a cool million by just booking 6-7 projects locally.

And I’m willing to bet that since he carved himself as one of the top dogs in this niche, demand is probably more than he can handle.

Perhaps you’re into calligraphy, yoga, digital animation, photography, baking, (insert your passion here) and have tons of knowledge and know-how on the subject. Why not earn from it?

You can do it in two ways:

  • Get clients who need your services as an expert
  • Teach others what you know (set up paid workshops or act as a consultant)

In the case of Jason, he does both (his website showed he offers workshops/seminars as well).

I have a friend who taught herself how to bake and she has been steadily getting clients in the last few years. And even if she only does it on the side, she’s getting good money from it.

And the same process can be applied across all sorts of hobbies or passion.

Each one has the potential to scale. In my friend’s case, perhaps she can hire assistants to increase production and build it big enough to encourage her to open up her own bakeshop.

A yoga instructor can move from one-on-one sessions to setting up classes and opening an actual yoga school.

And so on.

People who are interested in and has a need for your service or product will gladly pay. And the more people you’re able to help, the faster you can scale up your business.

9. Work abroad then put your money where it can grow fast (business, investments, etc.,)

In 2017, there was an estimated 2.3 million Filipinos working abroad. I bet you have a relative or a friend, colleague or acquaintance who is an OFW. It’s very common in our country.

And the number one reason (well, aside from lack of better opportunities here for some) is the earning potential.

You can easily earn 3 to 5 (even 10) times as much as you would earn here, doing the same job.

I’ve seen people work abroad for years, building enough assets to fund a business so they can stop working away from home.

Whether it’s getting a franchise deal, building a business from scratch, or even putting your money on passive investments and then letting compound interest do its work, having a big enough asset base is crucial if you want to grow your money into the millions.

Do note that you can achieve the same results without having plenty of capital to work with. Just keep in mind that it will probably take a bit longer.

If you’re curious to know what type of money-building options you have for your OFW income, here are great places to start:

10. Get a Millionaire Mentor

Or work with someone who has already accomplished what you wish to have.

Having a mentor simply means having access to the wisdom and connections that will make your push towards your first million faster.

Even if you can’t actually “mentor” under this person, you can try and work under their wing, or simply observe and analyze how they do stuff, and learn as much as you can.

Think about it. Who’s that one person you know and want to emulate when it comes to building wealth?

You can always ask. It wouldn’t hurt to try.

You’d be surprised that they are often willing to share what they know.

Aside from having an actual mentor, always look for ways to improve your skills, build your network, and consider taking training (seminars, workshops, mastermind groups, etc.,) and expose yourself to books and other useful material.

With enough exposure, trial and error, and the right mindset, you’ll eventually find your very own path towards success.

And there you have it. Our best tips for making your first million.

Want to know more about wealth-building and how to earn the big bucks? Here are resources to get you started.



About Amiel Pineda

Amiel is the lead business & finance columnist of Grit PH. He escaped from the shackles of BPO life and now pursues his dream of writing full time. He shares his best tips and insights for aspiring homebased workers and freelancers on his site: Homebased Pinoy

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