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2017 Fresh Start? Smart Business Ideas for Yin-Fire Rooster Year

January 26, 2017       Within Reach
Fresh Start for 2017!
Smart business ideas for the
incoming Yin-Fire Rooster year

The Chinese lunar new year of 2017 is supposed to be the best time for fresh starts.  By now, many of you may be having thoughts about getting into entrepreneurship and leave the rat race to make things on your own.  The Duterte administration via the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Trade and Industry has a Php 1-Billion peso war chest for assisting small and medium scale businesses (startups and existing) fluorish with easier access to business financing as opposed to the 5-6 lending operation of underground economy entrepreneurs.

If you have saved up for diving into some business opportunity, both your savings and the financing opportunity of the DBM/DTI should help you sail smoothly.  As long as you know what you are getting into and are not flying blind running a business of your own.  You might also just be thinking of a career change and are unsure of what better opportunities lie ahead for you as a novice entrepreneur or job hopper.

Here are the most interesting business ideas to start for the incoming 2017 Yin-Fire Rooster year!

Brick-and-Mortar Shops

The Mamak Stall: Pinoy Carinderia Style

In Malaysia and Indonesia, a carinderia is called a mamak stall which is actually a 24-7 eatery with high-quality food and clean service plus wi-fi and cable TV showing the latest world football matches.  This kind of upgraded service can be a good food enterprise business in the Philippines too. 

Most Pinoy small business ideas often start around a two or three caldero-ulam, carinderia which scales up as more people become patrons.  If you know how to cook comfort food, and your ulam-selling business is located in a high-traffic area, you can make extra income or go full time as the neighborhood mamak stall or carinderia.  Some local carinderias even evolve to become legendary brands for the kind of food they offer—from home-cooked bulalo to pancit favorites, even to local oversized burgers. 

Mamak stall in Malaysia--local regulations have made carinderias
in Malaysia posh and some of the best local hangouts and
meeting points in their country.

If the food is good and the prices are fair, word-of-mouth helps you gain more business.  You still need to be aware of local sanitation codes and health permits if you start this sort of food business in the Philippines. 

In Malaysia they have a Mamak Stall service code or standard business guide that a carinderia owner must fulfill to be allowed to operate a food business.  Though it is true that food businesses are attractive and seem easy to operate, they are also one business idea that bleeds cash and gets some entrepreneurs into deep debt if they can't get enough customers to break even because all carinderia food products are perishable: unsold food is lost money.

Bespoke Crafts: DIY Handmade Stuff

Self-name brands or designer products which are handmade—from woodcraft boxes for collectible cards, to leather notebook covers, basket weave purses or canvass messenger bags you handsew personally are some of the hottest selling one-offs in online craft community websites. 
From eBay, to Amazon, to Etsy, and Lumberjocks. 

Image Credit:  REACH Unlimited
Handmade sandals from Marikina and Paete Laguna can find more
buyers online on community DIY craft seller websites.

Handicraft products are no longer the cheap labor, rural community hanap-buhay assembly line but have evolved into one-offs and indie designer labels that are highly sought after the world over—you just need to build something and people will line up to buy high-quality, handcrafted products from you: whether it be a basketweave wallet, leather notebook cover, a woodern gaming box, gaming tables, or even jewelery.

If you can build or hand manufacture anything that has a niche market that looks you up on the web---notebook addicts looking for that perfect monogrammed personalized leather folder cover or handmade rare-stone stud or hoop earrings.---you can create things and sell them online or from a brick-and-mortar store as a full time job.  Subscription boxes allow you to keep a regular clientele happy with gifts for themselves and allow first time buyers a chance to look at what you offer.

Cargo Bike Service

Bicycle enthusiasts and hobbyists can rejoice because cargo bike services are making it big the world over.  The renaissance of bike messengers and cargo bike small package delivery was brought on by the poplularity of three-wheel and two-wheel cargo bikes that have a built-in package rack or holder. 

Cargo bike messenger in Europe.  You can go freelance
offering your services or work for a company as their
in-house bike messenger.

Going green has made some companies forego buying a small delivery van and choose a team of messenger bikers instead if all their business deliveries are made in a  local area only. 

An investment into three or four bicycles rigged to carry small cargo packages or buying bespoke cargo bikes is not as large as one or two, motor vehicle delivery vans.  Know your local area, and talk to shops or restaurants that need a delivery service where your crew of cargo bikers can fit like a T.

Open a Gaming Pub Cybercafe

If you have saved up some money, from OFW family members sending you hard-earned moolah and asking you put up a business, a great idea will be to invest it on a gaming pub cybercafe franchise or start your own.  The professional gaming circuit caught on worldwide and changed the lowly internet shop to a gamer's paradise complete with cafe for short-order snacks and drinks to enjoy the most complete gaming experience.

Early gaming fans who decided to professionalize the environment upgraded the hole-in-the-wall internet shop concept into a posh hangout with the best PC equipment from ergonomic gaming chairs to gaming keyboard and mouse to top rack video cards and monitors.

At a gaming pub cybercafe, the price of a movie ticket can get you 8 hours of airconditioned bliss, playing Defense of the Ancients 2, get great fastfood snacks and surf the web too while you're at it.  Teens and young adults vie for the chance to put together a winning gaming team and win either local or international recognition and prizes that reach up to Php 40 millions pesos for a regional Asian tournament and even bigger for international tournaments.

Image Credit:  (fair use)
The Intramuros TnC Cybercafe branch which uses
the best NVIDIA GeForce video cards in its PCs.

Local franchise brands like Mineski and TheNet.ComGaming actually are better money-making businesses than some food restaurant franchises.  Location is everything, and you really need to be near schools or places where young adults who love online gaming flock.  Of course, you can also spend as low as Php 25 for an hour and scale that up if you want more time gaming or surfing the web. 

Manila is known as one of the better places in the ASEAN where you can find a gaming pub cybercafe that looks and feels better than western gaming cybercafes.  If you are bent on putting up your own gaming cybercafe brand, you do require some expertise with setting up computer hardware and local networking servers as well as be knowledgeable with the worldwide gaming circuit.

Online Business and Career Options

Write Content

The biggest waste of time you can spend is any time as a call-center agent, unless you want drudgery for months dealing with people who are difficult to please, or who simply can't read the instructions on a video game console.  The better BPO work experience in your resume is to write content or edit content writers' work.  The time you spend gets you to write or edit better, and lead you off into a career of writing which you may use for the good stuff—writing fiction, non-fiction or how-to books.

Filipinos are almost as good writing as they are speaking in English—given the 3 million Wattpad account holder in the country (bigger than the number of Facebook account users).

Image Credit: thatcopywritergirl aka Mallory Hall (fair use)
Some content writers are good enough to be their own brand
and offer content writing services to marketing managers
and product managers.

To be honest, you don't have to be a particularly good writer nor an expert with academic credentials to write content.  You need to be able to check facts accurately or understand what you are writing about (if you write a sports blog—you should know and love the game inside out)   Content is big business these days on the internet: Everything from entertainment news sites to trivia  list sites and even inspirational or motivational list sites all pulling in plenty of users who demand fresh reading every day.  Very good content writers even become their own brand and run freelance services off their own writer-for-hire websites.

Rates for content writers can be as low as the starting salary of a call center agent but may reach up to Php 80,000 to Php 100,000 for seasoned content writers/editors who can manage a team of writers for several content websites.  Not bad at all.  And every year you put into the content writing job gets you a geometrically higher rate if you are really good.  Unlike call center agents, the scaling of pay is not as attractive.

Virtual Assistant

Many businesses are choosing not to have a physical address and have their employees work at home or on-the-go.  From  full-time in-house assistants and secretaries, some businesses and even expat businessmen use online assistants instead.

As long as the Internet of Things is evolving and making it easier and cheaper to have virtual assistants, you can find opportunities as long as you are organized, can deliver requirements on schedule and have more than competent expertise with your skill set—as secretary, researcher, or I.T. professional.

Image Credit: works as a community hub that connects freelance
expertise with companies looking for people to work on
short-term or long-term projects.

Going freelance instead of working for a BPO is also a popular career option for seasoned tech professionals and customer service web workers.  One only needs a PC with a good internet connection plus a headset for communicating with your team, employer or start-up business partner and you can work as a virtual assistant or as a freelance professional working offsite for your company. 

A BPO I.T. resource person has already estimated that the online freelance worker community will still be having growth within the next 5 years as many people the world over choose this kind of work environment over a nine-to-five job going to a physical office address.

Online Courses and Tutoring

Celebrity musicians, renowned painters and artists, or even tenured teachers in universities in western countries have parlayed their work experience and skill mastery into an online business opportunity—teaching.

You can enroll in a drum course or a guitar course, find a famous painter teaching fantasy art painting, or even Ivy League schools running college credit courses online--where you only pay for official certification only, but you can learn something for free. 

Renowned fantasy art painter, Rebecca Guay has her yearly, limited enrollment,fantasy art illustration course.  Hanes Grossman and Flo Mounier, cult-favorite technical drummers have online sessions for teaching technique for extreme metal drumming on their artist websites.  Many Ivy League schools are offering online college credit courses in all areas of education--from design to lit classes to computer engineering on the Coursera website.  All you'll need is a video capture and headset to conduct the sessions.

Image Credit:

Learning online is becoming a popular trend because people can get university credits for their online courses or they can learn new digital design skills faster from online tutoring than by attending a local school and paying an exorbitant fee for a run-through tutorial of an app.  You can even have private tutoring lessons from the most popular guitarists or drummers in the world.

If you are skilled or qualified in a particular area—from music, to writing, to painting or college subjects, then you could tutor others.  Some schools on the web offer the opportunity so if you are working in a local university that has this offering, you can jump in and earn extra income.  Of you can put up your own website or sell a tutorial DVD.

Trading Stuff Online

Many Filipino shops that sell retail also have an online presence, usually on Facebook to have a greater reach to customers looking for very particular products--from solar panels, to antique collectible doodad and toys, to second-hand books and novels. 

If you have a shop, it will be wise to curate your most saleable items and feature them as high rez photos online like on Facebook so everyone gets to see what your wares look like.  Some shops still do not do this and expect their brand or walk-ins at their physical store will move their merchandise.

It has been proven that curated items in an online shop move faster than just a landscape photo of all your merchandise.  If you sell old records, it is better to upload pics of your stuff online so regular customers know when to come back and not forget what you have every week or month. 

Image Credit: booksfromunderground facebook vendor
You can sell anything online like second-hand books and
move them faster if you curate each item like this online thrift

Stuff can be anything from collectible items and antiques, survival equipment, factory overruns of brand clothing labels.  Or old toys you want to dispose of.  Finding user or buyer groups online is easier now on social media and they usually share contacts who are also interested in the stuff you may be selling.

You can also do this for baked goods, gourmet cooking in small batches, catering services.  For selling fruit-growing trees too and ornamental plants!  Anything you can sell in a brick-and-mortar shop, you can curate and offer online to extend the reach of your store.

If your store is a community store, having your stuff curated online should help buyers in your community be aware that they can go to your area and pick up stuff.  Again, if you sell small items, a subscription box offer would provide you with regular buyers and allow new buyers to sample your wares.

2017 is a big year for everyone because good fortune shines on those who are looking to start something fresh, whether that is a career change or starting a new business and becoming an entrepreneur.  Even the country's change in leadership has boosted opportunities for even the smallest entrepreneur and give them a chance to fluorish by providing financial assistance for them to sustain their livelihood as small scale enterpreneurs.  Make sure of your future by choosing a good path and do amazing whether you are starting from scratch or upgrading your chances.  The Lord does say that a mustard seed grows into a very bountiful large tree, with patience and faith.


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