My last article about Online Business Philippines expounded at some length (yes, I know, too long to suit some) about the idea of teaching English Online from the Philippines or from any other country you might be living in.
I promised coverage on real business that work from the Philippine, or anywhere else, without bring up that nasty old English teaching subject again. I’m delivering as promised.
Online Business Philippines — Case Studies
- 1 Online Business Philippines — Case Studies
- 1.1 Online Business Philippines — Foreigner/Filipino Operated.
- 1.2 Online Business Philippines — Foreigner Operated.
- 1.3 Online Business Philippines — Filipino Operated.
I didn’t want to just drift around at random, and I didn’t want to fail to give as broad a cross section as I could in one reasonably short blog article, so I chose to cover three real-world, currently up and running successful business that should be pretty easy to understand.
Or, let me rephrase that. I will try to make them a little easier to understand by showing you some basic techniques for analyzing “where the money” is.
I think even if you aren’t trying to start a business just now, you might find some interest in following along here, because I find that many folks out there believe there is some magic skill one can pug into, if lucky, or rich, or both, to Make Money Online.
The phrase Make Money Online is really a phrase that ought to be banned from most people’s vocabularies. It certainly should be locked away in a safe and never brought out again until you have a successful business going. Why?
because there is no such thing as “Making Money Online”, at least in the sense many folks use it.
In business, on or off line, there is only one basic principle. You can get the gist of a whole Harvard or Wharton School MBA in just this one sentence:
Find something people want to buy and sell it to them.
Kindly remit your $40,000 USD MBA tuition fee by express courier in small, unmarked bills and I’ll forward tour diploma by return mail … (joke, lang, as we say in the Philippines)
Seriously, lets get right to the guts of the lesson here:
One of the ways I decided to differentiate businesses in order to select some workable examples for you to learn from was to break examples down into Foreigner operated, Mixed Foreigner/Filip9ino operated and pure Filipino operated examples.
People tend to get way too wrapped around the axle about the nationality of the owners of business here in the Philippines I have found.
So I am going to give you current, real world examples that show it really doesn’t matter what the color of your passport is. Nor d0oes it matter where you are located.
Here’s example one:
Online Business Philippines — Foreigner/Filipino Operated.
My first example was easy to chose in many ways, because ‘m well acquainted with the owner, Bob Martin. Many of you are as well, and many of you read Bob’s excellent Philippine Magazine. I’ll wager, though, that a significant percentage of you have never considered the fact that even a successful magazine/blog effort like Living in the Philippines.com is going to provide a significant income. This site, wowphilippines.com is a site that absolutely can provide an income. I but this site in the Foreigner/Filipino category because one of Bob’s valuable business partners is his lovely wife Feyma, a US citizen now, but Filipino bred and born.
A Filipino on his/her own could start and operate a site like this, or a foreigner on his/her own could as well, but the degree of difficulty is going to be much higher than for a partnership, preferably a “mom and pop” partnership like this one.
Without going into specifics, let’s first refer back to my business simplified mantra from a few paragraphs ago … what is this site all about?
Find something people want to buy and sell it to them.
That’s what WowPhilippines does and does well. Just take a quick survey of the menu items and note the breadth and depth of selection of items for sale here. How many of you have daydreamed 9or been asked to help finance) a sari-sari store (neighborhood variety store) in the Philippines before?
This is a sari-sari store on steroids, with quality, prices and service orders of magnitude above a typical Philippine retail operation.
But every retail operation needs an USP (Unique Selling Proposition) if it going to succeed and proper.
The unique selling proposition here is, people from all over the world can order gifts and even day-to-day Philippine essentials (like cell phone load) from anywhere in the world.
If you have ever tried to buy something for a loved one or other family left behind in the Philippines, you will know just how unique this is. In the US, when you want to buy something for a friend or relative in a distant state, you just pick up the phone, or go online , and order it. Job done. If that distant person is in the Philippine? Not so much.
Profit potential? Good. One could make a manageable living in the Philippines with a well-run operation like this. More than several thousand people per day search on phrases involving “sanding gifts to the Philippines” and this site is on the first page of Google results for many of them, so an appreciable amount of traffic will land here without any other advertising or promotion.
Degree of difficulty to set up? Moderate to high. You need sources of supply, you need helpers to run around and get things shipped, picked up, etc. You need an online payment processor so you can accept payments online, you need the ecommerce site structure behind the scenes that handles the shopping cart, etc. But it’s doable for anyone who wants to study, and learn. Setting up a “dirt-based” store doesn’t just “happen” either.
Investment required to get started? If you bought the software needed as a “turnkey’ operation, with some competent consulting assistance, perhaps, and made sure you didn’t invest in a lot of physical stock upfront before you got things moving, perhaps a few thousand dollars. Compared to setting up a ‘real” luxury item store, even at Philippine prices, the amount is still very much within reason.
Market Saturation? Hardly. If you think, I bet you can figure out a number of items Bob isn’t selling that might go over well, too. If I wanted to go into this business, I wouldn’t go head-to-head with Bob or any other experienced player. I’d look closely at niches that are not being served at all in the Philippines today. There are a bunch of them I could pull right off the top of my head.
Extra credit question. Can you find any other ways, aside from selling gifts, that this site is earning money for Bob?
Online Business Philippines — Foreigner Operated.
I included this site mainly because the owner. Tom Nixon is a frequent visitor and valuable contributor here at PhilFAQS. This example site is what is commonly called a directory or Yellow Pages type site.
I’m not sure how Tom got interested in the subject, but he picked a good one. People are definitely interested in online schools. Parents with problem or mentally or physically challenged children, children away from home who now want to get their education back on track, expat parents in distant countries who want their children to have an “American” education … the list goes on. In fact there are so many people interested in this subject that Google shows well over 90,000 people per month search on just the term “online high schools”. That’s more than two per minute, each and every minute of the month.
And where is Tom sitting in all this? Why right up at the top of Google’s first page of search results, so you know he is getting a substantial share of those searchers.
When they land on BestOnlineHighSchools.com what do they see?
Well they don’t see just ads and more ads, that’s for sure. Remember our motto from the beginning of this article?
Find something people want to buy and sell it to them.
What’s Tom selling right off the bat?
- A book, packed with answers to the specific questions people come to get answered
- A browsable directory of hundred and hundreds of schools
- A custom search engine for online schools online. Want a school that’s free, or some other criterion important to you? Tom provides
- Focused news and articles ion this specific subject.
- And more …
But Dave, I hear you say, he’s not really ‘selling’ much. Aside from his own book, the rest of what you are talking about is free. In fact, he has to put in some non-trivial amount of effort just to keep the site alive and up to date.
Well, my answer is, Tom is selling. Selling a lot, but some of it my be too subtle for the uninitiated to realize.
See those Google AdSense ads? See the featured schools column (you don’t suppose those schools get featured for free, do you?). See the dedicated advertising page which gives you the terms and pricing for buying advertising space?
Oh yes. folks. Plenty is being sold here.
The unique selling proposition here is, people from all over the world can find essential information and comprehensive, expert opinion on online education from anywhere in the world.
Profit potential for a site like this? Moderate to high, depending on two main factors. Picking a niche that thousands of people are interested in, and putting in the work required. I looked around and found at least a half-dozen other sites that say they provide lists of online schools. They are all pretty much “blah”. You have to be willing to do the work to make yourself a cut above.
Degree of difficulty to get set up? Low to moderate. There’s no complicated ecommerce and payment processing issues here and, more than anything, it’s a matter of putting in the time and making the site complete.
Investment Required? Quite low, at least to get started. A basic site like this can be set up very simply in WordPress or other free software, and it can be started with zero custom programming or professional design assistance. Find something people are looking for and deliver it to the.
I believe this site is using a professional design, which certainly makes it look better. But the design would not take the place of the groundwork (grunt work)that was done to find and provide useful information. A site put together like this one would make money even with the ugliest, free, off-the-shelf theme around.
Market Saturation: Nearly impossible. Would I go head0-to-head with a site like this? Oh, no way.
But is there still big potential for a similar site on a different subject? Oh goodness yes. Take a look at “nursing schools. Two-thirds at least of the traffic potential according to Google. Nursing school sites I have seen with the quality and search engine rankings that come even close to Tom’s site? Zero. How about “Electrician schools”? Well over 20,000 searches per month and good ad profit potential. Truck driving schools, CDL training, you name it, the searchers are out there … pick a niche with good search traffic and provide for them.
Extra credit question. Aside from “banner ads” and direct ad sales which I already pointed you to, can you figure out another, highly profitable way Tom might use to monetizing this site? (hint, CPA … and no, not the accountant type of CPA … Google is your friend)
Online Business Philippines — Filipino Operated.
It really doesn’t make much difference with any of these business examples what color passport the owner/operator carries. But I wanted to throw this one in here because it’s owned by a friend of mine, it’s simple in concept, and it has a really thought-provoking story behind it.
Motorcycle Philippines So what’s this site about? Pretty simple in concept. It’s a forum for Philippine-related discussion about motorcycles, a classified advertising site, devoted to the Philippine motorcycle market and a portal site that keeps Philippine (foreigner and Filipino alike) up top date on everything motorcycle-related in the Philippines.
You mean to tell me that you can make money just talking about motorcycles? Talking mainly between Filipinos, no less?
Yes, I certainly do. It’s mainly about numbers, you see. There’s well over 20,000 active members in Motorcycle Philippines forum. And thousands and thousands of other who visit based on searches. Buying motorcycles, best deals on motorcycles, etc. Visitors who see ads are money, pure and simple.
Here’s the cute story of how this site came to be where it is today. It’s a lesson in both realizing what you have right in front of you, and using your head to analyze where profit is actually made. It’s never magic, it is analysis that counts.
The site was started years ago by a foreigner living in the Philippines who liked motorcycles. It was strictly a hobby operation. Get a domain name, rent space on a server, install simple forum software and watch the visitor counts grow.
Well the fellow who started MotorCyclePhilippines grew bored. He wasn’t really doing anything to monetize the site and he was spending time moderating the forums and attending to the many technical details a growing site needs.
He decided, when his annual bill for is webserver hosting came due to contact the fellow who he was renting his server space from, Abe Orlandres ..,. a Filipino well know in Philippine blogging circles as “Yuga Tech”, and who also operates Philippine Web Hosting, to give notice that he didn’t want the site any longer and just to shut it off when the service interval came to an end.
Abe asked him if he was sure, and he said he was, so when the domain name (URL) expired, Abe just registered it in his name and kept on running the site on the server where it had been all along. The rest, along with the thought and effort involved in keeping the site up, and monetizing it, is, as they say, history.
The unique selling proposition here is, people from all over the world can find essential information and comprehensive, expert opinion on motorcycles and riding motorcycles in the Philippines from anywhere in the world.
Profit potential for a site like this? Moderate to high. With the number of active users, and the number of advertisers in the world interested in selling to them, the only way this site could not make money is to chase it away.
Degree of difficulty to get set up? Low to moderate. Standard, free forum software could be used to start out. Every web hosting company worth dealing with has software like this available, for free, as part of their standard hosting plans. Advertising can be handled by free services like Google AdSense, Adbrite and others who would be only too glad to have a site like this in their inventory … they sell eyeballs to advertisers, and this site has eyeballs.
Also, an important point to consider about a site like this is, it is 90%+ percent what we call in the business “User Generated” content. No one has to sit and research and write, or take pictures and edit and upload them, or make videos or podcasts and deal with all that content production … like write 3,000 word articles like tis one.
The users make all the content, on their own, and are happy for the chance to do so.
Investment Required? Quite low. As I just mentioned, you can sort this with standard services and software … we really are talking pocket change to get a site like this started.
Market Saturation: Nearly impossible. Just look at sites like Facebook, Google new Plus competitor, etc. and etc. people love to go online, they love to interact with others who share interest, and they love hobbies. Like motorcycles. Or model trains. Or Airplanes. Or golf. Or saving money to retire early. The list goes on.
My only caution on something like this is, do not dream up a focus that is too narrowly focused. A lot of foreigners contact me with different sorts of business ideas that will serve foreigners in the Philippines, for example.
Nice ideas, many of them. But there are, at most, a few hundred thousand foreigners in the Philippines and many are not “online joiners”. Many (like me) pride themselves mainly on being cheap. as well. Not a broad or lucrative market.
There are nearly seven billion other people in the world today … pick a broader market. You can live in the Philippines, make money while living in the Philippines and make the money from other people everywhere.
Extra credit question. How much do you suppose each of those little 480×60 advertising banners in the top od each page costs. Would they be sold per month, per thousand views, or ??? (hint, all the information is available online, if you want to learn how to make money online, you need to do the digging.)
Conclusions For Online Business Philippines
OK, I lied earlier. This post didn’t make 3,000 words. barely2800. Thanks for sticking with me so far. And for those of you who did, did you learn something about making money online, particularly real life, ongoing Online Business Philippines?