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Money-making, home-based hobbies

Some easy business ventures perfect for newbie or small entrepreneurs.

By Maan D’Asis-Pamaran

JULY 2013

The wet-season days are cold and dark—a setting perfect for curling up on a cozy couch with a good book, or to catch up on some much-deserved beauty sleep. Or you can also utilize this window of time to jumpstart a little entrepreneurial venture and earn a little extra on the side.

Here are some practical home-based biz ideas with tips straight from the pros.

Start sweet!

Rory Cruz-Subida, manager of The Maya Kitchen ( says food is a business idea that can never go wrong. “One easy business to start off with is by offering hotcakes for breakfast, baon or merienda in your neighborhood. To make them even more attractive to buyers, you can also make your own syrup using the powder mix that they put into those pearl drinks into ketchup dispensers, add water and shake.” Other items that you can sell include cupcakes and brownies made from premixes. “You can also sell ulam to moms who don’t have the time to cook dinner for their families. You just need to put a blackboard outside your home to advertise your product for the day.” Some extra pointers:

• “If your house is strategically located in high-traffic areas like a tricycle terminal, you are in luck! All you need to do is to set up a stand for your merienda items. For order-based products such as cupcakes, you can start by offering through a Facebook page or through networking with friends.”

• The use of premixes is advised “because it eliminates the need for guesswork, and it also saves you time and effort in buying ingredients separately. … Having a premix base gives a guarantee to the consistency of your product, so you don’t hear your customers complain that your item tastes different from the last one that they purchased.”

• “My rule of thumb for markup is to multiply the cost of ingredients by three. That way, [you] will be able to cover the cost of your cooking gas and electricity, plus make you a tidy profit,” she advises.

Get hooked!

Trey Ajusto, also known as the Gantsilyo Guru (gantsilyo, says crocheting is “a craft that can be done anywhere and at any time of day. … You just need a crochet hook and yarn to be able to make something and [you] can crochet whenever [you] have time.” She also gives a thumbs-up to the added benefits of crochet: “I’ve read testimonials and articles about the mental and physical health benefits of crochet. … There is a certain amount of focus needed to crochet … [T]he time that you take to create something also gives you the space to be alone with yourself and be removed from some issues in your life.” The activity can also be a good hand exercise; the crochet artist met a grandmother who found crocheting relieving for her arthritic hands.

• Inspiration can be found everywhere; Ajusto encourages experimenting with colors and customizing one’s design.

• Start small and use the internet to showcase and sell your work. “[Use] free platforms like Facebook and There are also shopping sites like, Phindies, Chicanda, and Etsy that showcase handmade products. You can also put up your own blog and accept orders from there. If you have enough products to sell, you can also join craft bazaars. See what works for you and do your research,” she advises.

• While there’s no clear-cut formula for pricing, Ajusto considers materials and labor. “I compute labor by setting a fixed rate on my end and multiplying it by the amount of time it takes me to finish the product. You may also want to consider the level of difficulty of each project. Of course, after you determine your materials and labor cost, you should also consider other costs like shipping and packaging.”

Go glam!

Any woman worth her Swarovski crystals knows that accessories can be the key to pulling an outfit together. Arte Bikolana’s Melody Grace Balmedina pursued her passion for fashion by starting her own accessories business and is now garnering her fair share of celebrity clientele. Starting out by making simple accessories, positive feedback and demand made her seriously consider going into business in 2011. “At the time, I was a supervisor at a call center, and while I worked in the office, I was already selling accessories on the side.” Balmedina’s tips on getting started:

• “If you start small, you can easily manage your profit and expenses. You can expand your inventory as the demand grows for your products. Mark-up and pricing depends on materials and how elaborate the design is. The more work you put on it, the higher the cost.”

• Watch the trends and use your imagination. “You have to love what you do to follow and create trends. I read a lot of magazines about fashion, accessories, what’s hot and what’s not, both locally and internationally.”

• Good marketing strategies fueled Balmedina’s success. “Online presence plays a big factor. In my case, social media and celebrity endorsers helped build my business. I was lucky enough to be able to provide accessories for … celebrities that endorsed my brand and helped market my products in the same industry. With the help of social media and common friends, I am happy that Arte Bikolana made it international. Just have the right people to promote [it] and make sure that you offer quality, and any business will go a long way.”

We hope these ideas are getting you fired up. Want more? Thammie Sy of gives tips on effectively crafting a blog. Grab a copy of the July issue of
HealthToday now!

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