Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Here are 4 things you can do at home to boost your income

Dear mamas, did you know you could use your home to increase your income? As a work-from-home mom, I always get asked by my readers over at my blog's Facebook page, "I'm a housewife and I want to earn, too. How can I be a working mom but still stay home with my kids?" Well, you can turn your home into your very own office!

Okay, we're not going to talk about renting out your garage or your spare room (but you can do that, if you wish!). We're not even going to talk about upselling your home or putting it up on the real estate market (although you can do that, too, if you want to!). Instead, we'll talk about how  everything you could do in the privacy of your own home can be used to maximize your earnings.

My desk at home! Styled for Real Living. In reality, I work over at the dining table haha

Your home offers a variety of opportunities, and it’s fair to say that you will find ideas for everyone, whether you’re a finance specialist or a DIY craft lover. Even though I've been working from home for over 5 years myself, I'm always on the lookout for more ways to earn money without leaving my house! So let me share a few tips:

1. Turn your hobby into a business.
Everyone has a hobby. But when you begin to spend a lot of time on it, it might be time to consider a way of making your hobby a financial actor of your future. For a lot of people, however, the main issue is to figure out if your hobby is worth the time investment. Sometimes, it’s more of a hunch than anything else. But ultimately, as the saying goes, if you choose a job you love you’ll never have to work a day in your life. That’s precisely what a lot of bloggers, crafters, and artists have embraced to build their career. After all, you can spend time doing what you love and getting paid for it! 

2. Improve your skills.
Perhaps you’re satisfied with your career choice. But you just wish you could land a better-paid job. How about acquiring more competences with online studies – if you’re looking to boost your healthcare career, see more options here on the best online nursing studies, for instance. As a rule of the thumb, online studies can be pursued at home, in the evening or the morning while you’re not working. Thus you can maintain your job while investing your spare time at home into boosting your career. 

3. Downsize your belongings.
If you’ve read articles about the Feng Shui philosophy for your interior decor, you’re probably aware that too much clutter can damage your peace of mind at home. The thing is: Who doesn’t own too much stuff? Everyone has clothes they don’t wear, books they don’t read anymore, and sports gear they haven’t used in years. Everyone has too much stuff, and that’s precisely where your financial improvement lies. You could make the most of a decluttering action to sell all your unwanted, unused and unnecessary items.

This reminds me! I promised my Facebook community that I'll sell my maternity and breastfeeding clothes soon! I still haven't decided if I'll sell on eBay, on Instagram, or exclusively to my blog readers on my Facebook page. What do you think is my best-selling platform?

4. Start investing.
Contrary to the common belief, you can start investing in Index Fund with as little as $1,000. There is no need to invest large sums of money to see positive results. Besides, starting small means that you will be taking fewer risks and are more likely to learn positive lessons on the way without breaking the bank. Indeed, by working with a discount broker, you can start investing with very little money. Additionally, you can also directly buy from a company through DSPPs, which allow you to start with as little as $100. 

But before you get into investing, ask yourself first if stock market investment is for you?  My husband and I know a lot of people who have gotten rich from their buying and selling of stocks. This is still something we don't understand but really really hope we could get into so that our money will make us even more money without us doing any real hard work!

So there you go, mamas! A quick list of income-generating activities you can do from your home. Imagine that—your home can become the HQ of your financial rebirth! From creating a stand-alone home business to using your home savings to invest in the best stock markets, you have plenty of opportunities to grow your income significantly. Lots of people are doing this now. Why don't you try it, too? Good luck!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

How to grow your backyard business in a hot market this summer

My childhood home in the early 80s! It still looks like that but no more trees. 

When I was a kid, summers meant halo-halo from my childhood best friend, Marlyn. We were maybe 9 or 10 years old when she started selling halo-halo. She would rise up early to cook the saba, monggo, sago. She would wait on their doorstep in the dark for the block of ice to be delivered. Then at just 8am, she'd set up a little rickety table, arrange her jars of cheerfully colored ingredients and wait for customers to pass by. I'm always her first customer. I always insisted on paying full price so she always insisted on adding more leche flan and saba and sometimes langka (if she had it). Minsan, kung mabagal ang benta, I'd just ask for more evap milk.

Anyway, because Marlyn was so entrepreneurial, I was inspired to be a summer businesswoman, too! Nung una, ayaw ng magulang ko but when I was 13, pumayag na rin sila. At first, I sold cookies and chocolate mallows but hindi masyadong mabenta. So I sold tocino, tapa and embutido. Yun ang malakas! I put my wares in a pail of ice and iniikot ko yung subdivision every morning, knocking on doors and ringing doorbells. Naka-lista usually and then on Saturdays, that's when I collect payment. I thought I was really clever! When I got really dark because of this, my parents told me to stop because colonial mentality, you know. I still insisted on my business but I finally agreed to stop when a neighbor set her dogs on me kasi ayaw niya nagbayad ng utang. Grabe, I was 13! How could she have done that to a child??? Okay, patay na siya so let's not wish her ill anymore.

Anyway! I'm making this kwento because my old blog sponsor Jolly sent me a nice article that I want to share with you. It reminded me of the good old days when summers were hot and lazy and my friends and I climbed trees, hiked up hills, stared up at the clouds floating in a magnificent blue sky and dreamed of making money when we grew up. I hope this article inspires you, too!

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Filipinos are some of the most fascinating and persistent entrepreneurs in the world. They are remarkably optimistic: More than half of the population believes there are business opportunities in the Philippines and nearly 70% say they have the capabilities to become entrepreneurs1. At the heart of their entrepreneurial spirit is creativity, amplified by the drive to build and succeed amid all odds.

This is best seen among microenterprises, which comprise 9 in every 10 businesses in the Philippines. A residential block is not complete without at least one sari-sari store. Pop-up tiangge stores are scattered around during fiestas. And who will forget about summertime when halo-halo and mais con yelo stalls sprout in every street corner?

Marilou Acuña, Fly Ace Corporation Group Product Manager for Jolly, says, “Every summer, we see the Filipino entrepreneur spirit thrive to turn the summer heat into an opportunity. With the right mindset, tools, and ingredients, microentrepreneurs can grow their business and take it to another level."

How can microenterprises ramp up sales this year? Here are five tips from Jolly Corn:

1. Location, location, location! 
Due to logistical convenience, microentrepreneurs usually set up their pop-up stalls in front of their homes. However, unless their houses are in front of a school or along a busy street, owners must think carefully about their area’s foot traffic and compare it with the potential sales that could be generated by locating to a more strategic place.

2. Leverage on influencers.
Entrepreneurs should identify who the influencers are within the community. By inviting these key individuals to try the product, entrepreneurs encourage good word of mouth from credible persons within the neighborhood.

Microentrepreneurs can then support this good word of mouth through easy-to-do promotional activities such as community bulletin board, flyering, and social media.

3. Sell during community events, cater to groups. 
Microentrepreneurs can hold pop-up stalls during community events such as the annual basketball game and Santacruzan. Another opportunity is catering private groups, such as prayer meetings or the birthday of a neighbor. If all goes well, these events will provide a great platform for referrals and exposure for the business.

4. Avoid too much credit. 
Cash is the lifeblood of the business. Microentrepreneurs should avoid allowing too much credit since they still need cash to buy supplies and sustain operations. If offering credit cannot be avoided, microentrepreneurs should find the right balance and understand its limitation.

5. Find the right partner to perfect the product. 
Product quality is integral to the success of microenterprises. If the product is excellent, people will follow. Quality also includes the health benefits of the product. These days, even microentrepreneurs venture into the healthy food segment as more people become conscious of what they eat.

In the case of mais con yelo, Jolly Corn provides microentrepreneurs with cream corn packed with the same wholesome sweet goodness of freshly harvested corn.



1 425g Jolly Cream Corn, partitioned
1 can Jolly Cow Condensada, partitioned
6 cups shaved ice, partitioned
1 cup corn flakes, partitioned

1. Scoop 3 tablespoons Jolly Cream Corn in a tall glass.
2. Add 1 ½ cups shaved ice. Leave an empty space on top for the toppings, about half an inch.
3. Top shaved ice with 3 tablespoons of Jolly Cream Corn, 2-3 tablespoons condensada, and corn flakes. Serve immediately.


JOLLY is a canned fruits and vegetable line marketed and exclusively distributed by Fly Ace Corp. For more updates, visit jolly.com.ph or like its official Facebook fanpage or follow via Twitter and Instagram (@jollyeatsph).

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

When to turn your hobby into a business

This month marks my blog's 12th birthday. Twelve years I've been blogging, folks! Actually, it should be 13 years because I started blogging on Friendster in 2005 then moved to Blogger and got a proper blog name in May 2006.

Blogging started as a hobby—a very fun hobby, too! But in 2008, I was invited by Nuffnang to join other bloggers all over Asia for a bloggers conference in Singapore. I couldn't believe what I saw there. The bloggers from Singapore, for example, were living lavish lifestyles sponsored by many brands. Meanwhile, the Pinoy bloggers I was with (Alodia Gosiengfiao, Anton San Diego, Ramon Bautista, Hannah Villasis, and more) all told me how they earned from their blog. I just couldn't understand it then but that really was the push that made me decide on monetizing my blog.

Pretend blogging haha for a photo shoot for Biogenic Alcohol.

And here we are! It's 2018. My blog started earning serious money in 2013. Enough to be my family's main source of income for the last 5 years. To say I'm grateful that a little hobby has turned into a massive blessing is an understatement! 

If you're a mama who hopes to start a business but doesn't know where to start, you can start with your hobbies! Who knows, right? Anyway, I wrote this article for now-defunct website, Juana.com.ph. I hope it helps you!

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Hello, my name is Frances and I’m a professional blogger. Yes, by professional, I mean it’s a real job. My blog is registered with the DTI and the BIR, I have official receipts, and I pay my many taxes. What was once an enjoyable hobby is now a legitimate income-generating venture. I never would’ve thought that this would happen when I started my blog—with the fancy-shmancy name of TopazHorizon.com, no less—more than ten years ago. If I had known it was going to become a big business, I’d have given my blog name more thought!

That’s the thing with any hobby—you start it for your own personal pleasure, not because you’re thinking of how it can make you money. So what do you do when it becomes bigger than you expect? Should you turn it into a business? Here’s how to tell when a hobby should become a business: 

Sharing my finds is part of being a mom blogger. It's not always easy to blog about. Sometimes it requires weekends hunting for things and also actually building stuff so that my readers can really get the low down on the stuff I find! 

When you’re spending a lot of time on it
Hobbies are usually the things we do when we can find pockets of time away from our hectic schedules. But when it starts eating up your day, you should consider earning from it. After all, what is it they say? “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” If you can make your hobby earn money, then not only will you look forward to work every day, you also won’t hear your family and friends complaining about you spending too much time on your knitting or baking or surfing! 

Bridal fashion designer and floral bouquet entrepreneur Michi Calica-Sotto may already have a lot on her plate but her love for stand-up paddling [SUP] gave her more ideas. “I spent at least three times a month, [from] 8am to 5pm, paddling. Other weeks it was more. Two weekends a month in Anilao,” she said of her devotion to her hobby. “I also spent two hours a day searching the internet for news on SUP, say, where next to paddle, new gear, forums.” 

With all that time Michi spent on stand-up paddling, she decided she should use that time earning money, too. Hence, her business selling equipment like boards, paddles, and leashes. She also offers tours and classes on SUP.

When you’re spending a lot of money on it
I started blogging because it didn’t cost a thing. As a writer and editor, I already had a computer and an internet connection. But as I became more serious with blogging, I began investing in good cameras, buying clothes for #OOTDs, and spending a lot on Uber attending events. Hobbies can be an expensive pastime!

Michi agrees. She lists the initial costs of SUP: “A board is P60,000, a paddle is P8,000, and a leash is P1,600. Of course there were the outfits at P20,000. Then we must count the overnight stays in the beach, about P10,000 at a time.” She accedes, “I realized my hobby did cost a little something, so it was wise to make some money to sustain it, later on to really promote this sport, as it is the fastest growing sport in the world. SUP is in the rise in our country.”

I wanted my blog to earn money because attending events costs a lot of money! Pamasahe pa lang, ang gastos na!

When there’s no one else who seems to be doing it
Some hobbies are specialized. You can either relish being one the few people who can enjoy it or you can see this as an opportunity to make money! For Tab Abad, it wasn’t really a hobby but an obsession with being well-groomed that pushed her to start her waxing business. As a young girl, Tab enjoyed keeping herself neat. “I love grooming. Growing up, I always had a kikay kit. I’m very hairy so you can imagine my arms! I would always make the hair straight so it does not look magulo. As young as 14, I was already threading my brows, the hair in between. In fact I would always tell the girl at the salon, ‘Just clean it, don’t give it a shape,’ because what do they know of shaping that time? I just want everything neat and orderly.” 

Tab was able to enjoy being neat and orderly when she worked at cosmopolitan Jakarta, which had grooming salons. Until she realized she wanted to go back home. “But going back home meant I would miss all these services I was doing in Jakarta,” she said. “So I decided to ask the franchise of the business for Manila because I needed to make sure I would have some place I can go to for the rest of my life. This I know would make me happy!” 

It also made her lots of money. Tab put up The Strip and Browhaus, a string of successful waxing and grooming salons, at a time when no one was talking about specific grooming services. Everyone either went to a big salon or did hair removal themselves. Tab said, “This was one way to help generate opportunity. Opportunity wherein one would not need to go abroad for greener pastures... Back then, there was hardly any niche or service-specific salon. These services were always taking a back seat in salons, and those that tried still didn’t have that international quality to make it really good and fantastic.” Seeing that no one was offering what she wanted, Tab created a business that catered to her needs. Filipinas who loved a hairless smoothness thanked her forever after that! 

I finally gave blogging workshops because people kept asking me for advice!

When your family and friends and their friends start asking you about it
Some hobbies are so fascinating or require a unique skill that people can’t help but notice it... and want it, too. Anna Chavez never thought her childhood hobby of “lettering” and doodling was going to become a business. While in the thick of her corporate job, Anna took up the pen more seriously. “A few years ago, around 2014, I suddenly realized I missed having a creative outlet so I started to immerse myself in the craft again.” She became so good at calligraphy that her family and friends saw an opportunity for her to earn from it. “It was my cousin, Ghia Pastoral—owner of The Write Impression, which I think is the best invitation and stationery supplier in the country!—who gave me the idea and encouraged me to put my hobby to good use. In early 2015, she started giving me clients for envelope addressing and referred me to her clients along the way.” 

With clients lining up for her services, Anna took the plunge. “It was the most opportune time since I was planning to quit my corporate job of 13 years and finally be a work-at-home mom. So together with my own accounting business, which I also started in 2015, I decided to make calligraphy a full-time job.” 

When you’re consistently earning from it
Last but most telling of all is the money your hobby is making you. Some hobbies make money for a season, like during the holidays when enterprising moms would bake extra goodies or create extra crafts to sell to gift-seeking shoppers. If your hobby’s income goes beyond the season and people are hankering for your products and services all year, then time to make it legit. 

At a workshop for enterprising entrepreneurs I attended a few years ago, financial writer and businessman Fitz Villafuerte told us that if we’re consistently making at least P5,000 a month, then that’s the signal to put up a business. Since my blog was regularly earning way more than that, I realized that this little hobby is actually our family’s main source of income. That’s why my blog is now a business! 

A hobby that becomes your business truly is a dream come true. Every day, I am amazed that I get to do what I love. The entrepreneurial moms featured here agree. Michi is happy her stand-up paddling business lets her work on the beach. Tab is ecstatic that she not only enjoys being perfectly groomed anytime she wishes, but also relishes the fact that many Pinays have access to those services. Anna admits that it’s not all roses. “Of course when projects start piling up, it becomes very exhausting, that when all’s done I would refuse to pick up a pen for days or weeks! But in the end, my love for writing (literally!) wins me over. And I keep reminding myself that not everyone is as lucky – earning from something I love to do, at the comfort of my own home.” 

For stand-up paddle tours, lessons and gear, contact SUP Central Tours in Coron 6390 188 6609; Soloviento Caliraya 09188911968 

For invitation calligraphy for weddings, debuts and corporate events, logo design, and other paper products, contact Calligraphy by Anna on Instagram: @CalligraphyByAnna and anna.aquinochavez@outlook.com

For waxing and face grooming needs, visit the websites of The Strip and Browhaus.

If you need help registering your business and paying your taxes, sign up for Taxumo! Use my code FRANCES to get P100 off the first time you file your taxes and FREE one month for Taxumo PRO =)