How To Start an Online Business (Philippines)

Who doesn’t want extra income?

It may not be easy for some, but for the dedicated, nothing is impossible.

It may require you to make a little effort here and there, plus spend a little more time online, but in a span of weeks or months you could be earning extra.

Here are a few key-points that would help you start one:

Do your research.

What products can you sell or resell that are easily accessible to you? It may be a place in your city that can provide you low or wholesale prices of a commodity that you like. (In the Philippines, Divisoria is one place that can give you access to a lot of products that you might be interested in. From clothes to accessories, kitchen wares to gadgets, beads to charms.)

Finding your supplier, as what they call it, is the most crucial part of starting an online business. You may have something in mind on what you want to actually sell, but finding the supplies needed is the hard part. From packaging to the actual product, you need to start your own research on where to buy them at a low price.

The lower the price of your supplies, the bigger your income.

You can also find your suppliers online. From Facebook groups to google searching your needs can be possible. However, you need to be cautious on who you talk to. Make sure that the person you’re transacting with is legit. If possible, offer meet-ups in public places so you can see the products itself before handing over your hard-earned money.

More research.

Once you know where you’re going to get your supplies, you need to do more research. You need to know if the product that you decided on will actually sell.

I’m sure that you already have an idea on how much you’re planning to sell your products. Take into consideration whether there are other online businesses selling the same product that might have a lower or higher price. Start thinking of the advantages of your product to theirs. It may be the same commodity, but presentation matters.

Product Presentation

There will always be another online seller who has identical products. Unless your products are hand-made and originally designed by you. Either way, think of ways on how to make yours stand-out. It doesn’t need to be expensive for it to look good. Since the point here is to earn more, not spend more.

Product presentation comes in a lot of forms, from packaging to the way you photograph your products. This is very important. Presentation is key.

Product Shots

You don’t actually need a professional camera to ensure appealing shots for your products. Even a phone camera can be used, as long as the megapixels of the camera are good enough to get a clear shot. (But of course, you can always invest on a new camera once you’re earning more.)

Natural light is your best friend here. Anything taken with a good lighting can produce a decent shot with clear details. (Again, you can invest in light boxes if you want to, or do DIY!)

Don’t be afraid to use props. You can use fabric backgrounds, plastic flowers, faux furs and special papers. Be creative.

Product shots from my online shop Little Box Of Colors. Taken by an iPhone6+ camera, edited with Snapseed & VSCO.

Social Media

Social media is free. Use it to your own benefit. Be present in all the platforms you can possibly manage. Facebook and Instagram is a must. Set up your own page and use it to your advantage! This is free advertisement at its finest.

A Facebook fan page will take a little longer to gain followers, especially if you do not promote it to people. Your first page invites should start from your family to friends. This will help you get a wider reach and get more likes in the future.

There is a shortcut to gaining more likes, but I don’t recommend it for those who are just starting. It will require you to pay via credit card or PayPal. Facebook will offer you to promote your page by using paid ads. You can use it on your own discretion.

Instagram is usually easier. The correct hashtags will help you in great lengths. Make sure that your profile is set in public. Posting on Instagram frequently can help you gain more likes.

Online Selling Apps

There are apps available in the Google PlayStore and Apple Appstore that can help you build your own online community. In the Philippines, apps like Shopee and Carousell are good options. They look similar to Lazada and Zalora.

Personally, Shopee is my favorite. It provides a protection between the buyer and the seller. It becomes the middleman in terms of payment.

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Shopee’s interface.

Buyer places an order > Buyer pays to Shopee > Seller ships items > Buyer receives order > Pament is released to seller

Of course the process will differ if the buyer chooses a Cash On Delivery payment. But nevertheless, it’s almost the same process. Payment is released to the seller once the items are acknowledged and received by the buyer.

The only downside to this is that the seller will only receive the payment 1-2 weeks upon transaction. But I promise you, it’s worth the wait.

Another favorite feature of mine is the Cash on Delivery and partnered Courier shipments. Once the pick-up of your parcel is scheduled, Shopee will dispatch their partner courier right on your doorstep. They will prepare your proof of shipments receipts for you. All you have to do is to pack your items before hand, make sure that the package has a name label, and you’re good to go. (Pack the items well, use bubble wraps or anything than can act as a cushion especially for fragile goods.)

Carousell is a little different. It is more of a Buy & Sell app that has about 70% pre-loved items in posting. Expect your customers to haggle on this platform. Be patient.

The downside for this app is that it doesn’t have the “Add to cart” option compared to Shopee. The app does not give you an updated inventory on your listings once a product is sold. It also gives the buyers and the sellers an option to have meetup transactions instead of shipments and remittance/bank payments.

Always be Online.

You will have lots of inquiries. May it be per day or per week.  You have to be patient on catering to everyone’s needs and attention. You will face self-righteous customers that will get into your nerves. Again, be patient. Make sure that you reply on time, this helps them keep their interest on your products. When all else fails, customer service will be there to rescue you.

Whether you decide to do this full-time or part-time, the rest of the hard-work is up to you. If you have any questions, feel free to comment down below.

Sig

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