I am happy to say that Filipinos are now catching up and opening their minds to technological advancement. With such acceptance is the opening of new doors of opportunities to actually earn online. With today’s increasing unemployment rate and with hundreds of thousands of college graduates every year, the need to explore online jobs and opportunities is a necessity.
An example – During the early 1990′s until early 2000, the selling of used or second hand clothes (wag-wag) was a booming business until the market was saturated by sudden increase of “wagwagan” which resulted to a bad competition and decrease in sales. Many shops closed.
But young and aggressive entrepreneurs saw another market much bigger than the regular suki or walk-ins – the internet. They selected the finest and sometimes branded clothes and began selling them online through e-bay and multiply. The Idea was a success and it started the online selling revolution. Today, almost everything is being sold online and many of the sellers are Filipinos.
With the birth of social networking, marketing and selling your product online became easier. The world is changing fast and we Filipinos should learn to adapt and foresee the future of business. In 10 years, EVERYTHING will be sold online.
I have been following Ygolottes’, an online retail shop and e-bay store based in the mountains of La Trinidad, Benguet. Jag, the online entrepreneur behind Ygolottes’ was kind enough to share some information about online selling. To those of you who would like to learn how to sell stuff or your products online, read this article in full, it will surely help.
Here is a summary of the interview:
Q: How did you get started in this business?
A: Actually I started selling when I was in grade 2. Every time our lola Getty would bring guavas from Bokod, I would put some guavas in the bilao and sell outside our gate. That’s how I started to like selling. Then after graduating from college, I bought some stuffs in divisoria and sold it in the workplace or at the weekend bazaar at Corfu.
Q: Why did you choose to start your own business?
A: I thought of starting a business to help augment finances at home and for me, buying and selling is like a hobby (it also relieves stress
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your business?
A: I used to have a physical store. I hired a sales lady to take care of it during the day and I drop by the store after office hours. I am not able to monitor all sales since we were selling toys and pre-loved items so inventory was a bit difficult. And for the love of selling, I also tried to sell stuffed toys at session road at night— It was profitable. BUT one day, I got sick because even when it drizzles or when it was cold, I do not wear a hat or a jacket— With that… I thought of starting to sell online via eBay Philippines. I am able to sell 24/7 without having to close the store everyday like what I used to do. When I reach home, I monitor sales and I even have a monthly report sent automatically to my email telling me what items are sold the most or what items are sold. Inventory is very easy since ebay was designed to make online selling easy. If you know how to facebook, you’ll definitely learn how to use ebay as well. Registration is FREE.
I also love to auction pre-loved stuffs. One time I bought a pre-loved GUCCI boots at P350.00. I cleaned it and took good pictures of it (I do not photoshop pictures). I posted it at eBay for 7 days (FREE SHIPPING) with an auction price of P999.00, after 7 days P999.00 became P2,300.00. Another was when I posted a Miu Miu dress I bought at P85.00. I auctioned at P99.00 and after the auction, it went up to P1,200.00. I did not even know that Miu Miu is also a product of Prada.
So if you have pre-loved stuffs at home, try to sell them on ebay.ph.
Q: Is this your first business?
A: No, this is not my first business.
A: I started my business from a salary loan. I went to Divisoria to buy clothes to sell here in the workplace, at the weekend bazaar at Corfu then eventually online. From there, I rolled the money.
Q: How many employees do you have? Full- or part-time?
A: When I had my physical store I had one sales lady. But for my online store it’s just me doing everything from taking pictures, posting items for sale, sending invoice to buyers, preparing shipments for pick up by Air21.
Q: Who are your customers?
A: Most of my customers are from the NCR, while I also have buyers from Visayas and Mindanao and other parts of Luzon. I had one customer from Israel who bought who bought Baguio Silver.
Q: Do you have a business plan? A marketing plan?
A: My auntie encouraged me to make a business plan. She even sent me a template where I can input sales and inventory but until now I still have to work on it.
As for the marketing plan, I advertise my online stores via online forums like Girl Talk of Cosmopolitan, Entrepreneur.ph, and facebook.
Q: What has been your most effective marketing tactic or technique?
A: When I started posting and promoting my items in facebook, sales went up.
Q: What three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
A: You reap what you sow. When you are patient and hardworking, you will be rewarded in the end.
Q: If you were to start another business, what might it be?
A: I would like to go into sewing quality but affordable comforter blankets and I would still go into online selling
Q: Do you believe business has any obligation to make the world a better place?
A: Yes. In doing business, make sure that you are honest in dealing with customers. In online selling there are a lot of “BOGUS SELLERS/SCAMMERS”, they rob hard earned money from people’s pockets by offering “BOGUS PRODUCTS”. These scammers have good customer relations when selling their items but after receiving payments, their mobile numbers cannot be reached. These experiences with scammers make potential buyers doubt legitimate online sellers who do honest business online.
That is why honest online sellers help one another in informing buyers about how to go about with buying and selling online. At eBay.ph you can check the seller’s feedbacks s/he received from buyers and sellers. Feedbacks are very helpful in establishing trust between the buyer and seller.
Q: How does your business “give back” to the community or to society?
A: In a way, promoting local items like the Baguio Silver and Wood crafts on my online stores makes people aware that we also have local products. Although Italy Silver is a big competitor of Baguio Silver, I still promote our very own. I even offer re-selling or wholesale prices to interested sellers from other areas like Palawan and Cebu.
• What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
- For college students, I recommend that they go into honest online selling. It is a bit tedious at the start of building an online store but when everything is set-up, posting or listing items for sale will be easy. I always say, “If you know how to facebook, then you will also know how to ebay. They can attend to their classes and school activities and their stores are online 24/7. They can monitor their stores everyday or every other day to send sales invoice and answer queries about items they are selling. You can start with selling items you are not using like clothes, bags, shoes— it’s like opening your online ukay or wagwag shop. You’ll never know, the items you have kept for so long in a box would become your additional allowance for the month.
• If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
- I should have started selling online earlier as sideline… with my regular job.
• What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?<br />
2. Good interpersonal communication
• How many hours do you work a day on average?
- In my regular job, I am at work for 8-10 hours and when I arrive home, I spend 1-2 hours in my online stores.
• Describe/outline your typical day?
- In a day, I wake up early to prepare my son for school. Go to work and after work, I go to town to market food. When I reach home, we eat dinner and play with my kids. After the kids are settled, I go online to check on my stores. I pack items to be picked up by Air21 the following day. Then sleep at about 1am or sometimes earlier.
• How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?home.
• What motivates you?
-My children and giving them a promising future.
• How do you generate new ideas?
- In terms of online selling, I am able to generate new ideas by visiting other online stores, reading about business related articles and thinking about how I will be able to serve my customers to their full satisfaction when they receive their items.
• How far are you willing to go to succeed?
- I would like to really succeed in my online selling so that others will also be motivated to sell online. I am also willing to teach stay at home moms and dads who are very much interested to learn how to sell online. I do not see them as a competition but as partners in promoting our products from the Cordilleras— if I am able to teach and mentor other moms, dads or other individuals to sell online and they succeed?—then that’s success for me.
• What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
- hmmm my greatest fear is that I wake up one day and I have nothing to feed to my children. That is why I work hard for them.
• How do you define success?</p>
- Success is achieving my goals…
• How do you build a successful customer base?
- Good customer service and offering quality and affordable products made my customers visit my online store often.
• How did you decide on the location for your business?
- I decided to go online when I can no longer juggle work, a physical store and a growing family. Having an online store is less tiring and less time is consumed when I check on my online store. When I had a physical store, I had to spend my weekends at the store. But now, I spend my weekends at home or go out with my children.
• Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
- Some say yes, that’s why some go into franchising where everything is set up. While others say no— you just have to be patient and hardworking… I BELIEVE in both. Because in ebay everything you need for an online store set up is already there and I need patience and hard work to make my ebay store work.
• If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
- My great grandma Victorina Lamsis-Fernando, I’ll ask her how to be more thrifty.
• Who has been your greatest inspiration?
- My greatest inspiration is my family.
• What book has inspired you the most? (OR What is your favorite book?)
- no book in particular—harry potter books? Hehehe
• What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
- I get to meet people online who eventually become my friends. I get to relieve stress by shopping stuff to sell.
• In one word characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
• What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made? How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
- In online selling, there was a time that I sold an item and at the same time someone from La Trinidad got interested also with my item. The person gave his word that he will buy the item. So I didn’t sell my item to the highest bidder in my auction. Then after 5 days, the person backed out from buying my item and I received a negative feedback from my highest bidder—SO MY ITEM was not sold to either of the two. I LEARNED NOT TO DEAL MY ITEMS OUTSIDE EBAY or have transactions outside ebay.
• What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?</p>
- I love to do crafts, I watch movies at home with my children or just stay online monitoring my stores.
• What makes you happy?
- To see my children happy
• What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
- I had to give up a lot of my wants—
• Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
- I really admire powersellers at ebay.
• Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
- Hopefully a POWERSELLER in ebay. It’s a prestigious status for online sellers at ebay (IT MEANS A LOT)
Jag provided us with this background of the POWERSELLER STATUS:
1. To become a PowerSeller you must:
o Be an active member for 90 days.
o Average a minimum of $1000 in sales per month, for three consecutive months.
o Maintain a minimum of 4 average monthly listings for three consecutive months.
o Have an overall feedback rating of 100, of which 98% or more is positive.
o Have an account in good financial standing.
o Uphold the eBay community values, including honesty, timeliness and mutual respect
o Comply with all eBay listing and marketplace policies.
2. Understand PowerSeller Tiers. There are several tiers of PowerSeller, and your benefits vary depending on your tier. The tier you fall in is determined by consistent sales volume over a period of months.
There are 6 PowerSeller Tiers:
o Bronze PowerSellers have a minimum of $1000 in sales per a month. Bronze tier benefits include prioritized online support from eBay.
o Silver PowerSellers must have a minimum of $3000 of business a month. Silver PowerSellers get both prioritized online support and toll free phone support.
o Gold PowerSellers are required to do $10,000 of volume a month. These PowerSellers get all the benefits of the first two tiers plus free access to eBay’s Account Manager Software.
o Platinum PowerSellers get all the benefits of the gold tier but must do $25,000 of business monthly.
o Titanium PowerSellers must do $150,000 or more of business a month.
o Diamond PowerSellers have to do a minimum of $500,000 in sales or sell at least 50,000 items per month. This is the highest PowerSeller level!
Jag’s success in online marketing is an example that the world wide web is larger than the regular business store.
If you would like to see or purchase her products, just click on the links below.
WEBSITES: Ebay: http://stores.ebay.ph/ygolottes