Need ex­tra in­come, bored with your desk job or want to give another ca­reer a try? No need to pound the pave­ment, up­date your re­sume or even study for that diploma; on­line en­trepreneur­ship just might be your next big break

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - NEWS FEATURES - By Fe Zamora @am­fezam

At 25, Mar­ife Rosas has achieved what many can only dream of: write a book.

And it’s not just one book, but four. The books, which you won’t find in any book­store, are about suc­cess and per­sonal de­vel­op­ment, ad­vice that this col­lege un­der­grad seems to have fol­lowed her­self.

“I’m still in the learn­ing stage,” said Rosas who was nei­ther trained nor taught to be a writer. That did not stop her from writ­ing elec­tronic or e-books that she pub­lishes on­line. Al­though her first book was pub­lished in 2014, it was only with her fourth book—“7 Se­crets to Achieve Your Great­est De­sires”—that she started mak­ing money. Pub­lished in Fe­bru­ary, the book has al­ready sold 60 copies at $17 each.

The need to make ex­tra money and es­cape seem­ingly dead-end jobs in a cor­po­rate set­ting are push­ing many in­ter­net-em­pow­ered Filipinos to on­line en­trepreneur­ship. Some are in re­tail mar­ket­ing, oth­ers in ser­vices. A grow­ing num­ber have also turned to sell­ing dig­i­tal prod­ucts, such as e-books and au­di­bles.

Th­ese wired en­trepreneurs are largely in­ter­net-tu­tored. Mar­lon Sum­a­bat, an on­line fi­nan­cial con­sul­tant, learned the trade by “en­rolling” at Negosyo Univer­sity, an on­line busi­ness school founded by e-book writer, fi­nan­cial coach and dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing guru Jon Orana.

As­pir­ing fi­nan­cial coach So­jit Du learned the ba­sics of on­line en­trepreneur­ship by at­tend­ing Orana’s we­bi­nars and by watch­ing per­sonal fi­nance ad­vo­cate and In­quirer colum­nist Ran­dell Tiong­son on YouTube. He is also an avid YouTube fol­lower of per­sonal strate­gist An­thony Rob­bins, au­thor of the best-seller “Awaken the Gi­ant Within: How to Take Im­me­di­ate Con­trol of Your Men­tal, Emo­tional, Phys­i­cal and Fi­nan­cial Des­tiny.”

Tak­ing the we­bi­nars and watch­ing the YouTube ses­sions “have im­proved (his) self-con­fi­dence in pub­lic speak­ing,” said Du, au­thor of the e-book “How to Build Wealth for Em­ploy­ees.”

Sum­a­bat and Du live in the dig­i­tal world, but only in their spare time. Sum­a­bat is an in­dus­trial en­gi­neer at San Miguel Corp., while Du runs a con­struc­tion firm.

Their on­line jobs help them “earn money and es­cape the bore­dom of of­fice work,” Orana said. “On­line en­trepreneur­ship will give you the money you need and the free­dom you want,” he added. Orana, 40, said he has al­ready earned an es­ti­mated P50 mil­lion from his e-books.

The IT grad­u­ate from Adam­son Univer­sity said he spent years in cor­po­rate jobs. But in 2004, Orana, who had moved to Canada with his fam­ily, found him­self stranded in a kin’s base­ment, job­less and bored. He started look­ing for a job on­line, but didn’t like the idea of work­ing in an of­fice any­more.“It’s like run­ning in a tread­mill. Takbo ka nang takbo, wala ka na­mang nararat­ing (You keep run­ning but don’t get any­where),” he said.

A friend ad­vised him to try on­line en­trepreneur­ship. Orana said he googled the word and found a whole world of pos­si­bil­i­ties. He started off by writ­ing an e-book, which did not sell. In 2008, he hit the jack­pot with his e-book on Bi­b­li­cal quo­ta­tions.

“I no­ticed that peo­ple were look­ing for Bi­ble verses which they quote on­line. An idea popped into my head. Why don’t I com­pile Bi­ble verses by topic?” And so he did. To date, that e-book has made him P24 mil­lion richer.

E-books that pro­vide in­for­ma­tion or so­lu­tion to spe­cific prob­lems are good as gold, Orana said, cit­ing Dale Carnegie’s all-time best­seller “How to Win Friends and In­flu­ence Peo­ple.”

But suc­cess will only come if the e-book writer has ac­cepted an “en­tre­pre­neur and mar­ket­ing mind-set,” Orana cau­tioned. “Many Filipinos have tal­ent, but don’t know how to mon­e­tize it,” he said.

E-book au­thors must also keep their au­di­ence in mind. “On­line peo­ple don’t read, they scan. That’s why it’s im­por­tant to write short sen­tences and para­graphs. En­gage the reader. Tell sto­ries,” Orana said. At the same time, “be cau­tious,” said Orana, who was in Manila in Novem­ber to hold sem­i­nars. “Don’t just quit your job to start an on­line busi­ness.”

That’s ex­actly what Rosas is do­ing. On week­days, she works at a firm that sells en­gi­neer­ing equip­ment. On week­ends, she teaches Sun­day school at a Chris­tian church in Caloocan. In her spare time, she’s at her com­puter, up­dat­ing her web­site mar­ife and an­swer­ing queries from fol­low­ers on Face­book.

“I’m in­spired and en­cour­aged to do more when peo­ple tell me I’ve been of some help to them,” Rosas said. Last week, she gave a talk on achiev­ing fi­nan­cial suc­cess be­fore a group of teach­ers. Not bad for an ed­u­ca­tion un­der­grad from Polytech­nic Univer­sity of the Philip­pines in Sta. Mesa.

With a huge, nearly in­fi­nite mar­ket of over 3 bil­lion peo­ple on­line, there’s no doubt Rosas will find her own share of the pie. Who knows? She just might find her pot of gold!

GROUFIE WITH GURU Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing guru Jon Orana with at­ten­dees of his re­cent fi­nan­cial sem­i­nar in Manila.

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