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  • A business can be a promising source of income, though setting it up is no easy feat. And when you have a nine-to-five job on top of it, more factors come into play.

    "What you don't want to happen is for you to dramatically quit your job, start a business, and promptly see your savings vanish as you struggle to gain a cash flow.And then you'll be both broke and unemployed," says Arturo Benedicto "Art" Ilano, an assistant professor of management strategies at the University of the Philippines Cesar E. A. Virata School of Business.

    Consider starting a sideline instead. It will allow you to keep the security of a regular paycheck and reap the benefits of having an additional stream of income.

    A side business can start from a hobby that you find yourself particularly skilled at. "The ideal sidelines involve artisan activities where your own craftsmanship or style is what brings value to your products. This way, your products become highly sought after. In fact, ironically, the less you produce, the higher the value of your products," suggests Ilano. "So if you're really good, you can potentially earn a lot while having to spend minimal time on your sideline."

    Below, sideline-savvy entrepreneurs share their experiences to help you assess the possibilities.

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    Sideline 1: Small-scale catering
    Forty-five-year-old BPO professional Thadie Magadia found an opportunity to earn through her love for cooking. It was a random encounter with her supervisors in 2006 that gave her the idea to sell her home-cooked meals. "Nag-microwave ako sa pantry ng pasta, tapos naamoy ng isang team leader ko. Sabi nya 'It smells good.' Sabi ko, 'O sige, I'll share it with you.' In turn, she shared it with another team leader, tapos yung team leader na shinare-an niya, lumapit din sa akin. Sabi niya, 'Thadie, meron ka pa ba nito? I wanna order two.' The following day, nung nagdala ako ng four, may mga nagpalista na mag-oorder sila ng ten."

    She has been supplying her colleagues' meals ever since. "I had the passion. I had the market. I'd be stupid not to pursue it."

    Thadie's client base grew soon after. She now uses her free days to deliver orders around the city.

    The numbers: Thadie says that P2,000 will buy enough ingredients and packaging to yield dishes for up to three business days -- depending on your menu, of course. On a regular day, with 20 to 50 orders at roughly P60 for a rice meal and P100 for a hearty serving of pasta, she easily earns back her capital plus profit. 

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    You can also find another market on weekends by joining bazaars. Thadie recalls a particular three-day bazaar where she started with only P1,500 but earned P18,000.

    Worth noting: Thadie points out that, like any business, selling packed meals will require some time to take off. "Don't expect a big return agad kasi nag-aaral ka pa lang. Saan mura bumili? Yung costing mo, for one kilo of pasta, how many kilos of meat? How many packs of sauces? So expect to earn konti lang sa first time." She says you'll get the hang of it eventually.

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    Sideline 2: Online service
    "Starting a side business is easier these days,thanks to the Internet," says Ilano. "And this is where social networks can come in handy. Try posting announcements over Facebook or Instagram, and see if things take off from there."

    Matet Garcia-Reyes, 31, wasn't actively looking for a sideline, but her blog (www.matetreyes.com) opened up opportunities for her. The associate editor of a magazine, she first channeled her passion for writing and traveling into an online journal. It had been up and running for six years when her eureka moment hit.

    "When I posted my stories on my blog, people would always ask if I can help them fix their itinerary of if I know a travel agency who would do that for them," Matet recalls. "So the idea of a travel agency was born."

    Matet launched Trip Republic (www.triprepublic.net) in September 2015. According to this working mom of one, it was more convenient to start an online business than to open a physical office, "since I didn't have a big capital yet when I started." She adds, "Since I'm working full time, no one would be able to oversee a physical office. I am very hands-on, so managing the business online seems a better option for me."

    The numbers: Matet started with P5,000 as capital: P1,000 for purchasing her domain name, and the rest for processing business permits. She earned the amount back in three months.

    Worth noting: Trip Republic's services and packages are advertised mainly through its Facebook page, although Matet provides a link to the agency's website in her blog entries as well.

    Experts agree that social media is an effective tool for creating buzz about a business or a product. Matet herself served some of her first clients through social media. "If you have a good network on Facebook already, I don't think you need to place ads agad," she says. "But when you decide to expand and you have more staff who are ready to answer and entertain more queries, then go for ads."

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    Sideline 3: Online reseller
    Selling items online can be lucrative, but it can also be time-consuming. If you're just looking for a little extra weekend money, then consider what Arya*, 25, is doing. 

    During her downtime at the hotel where she works as a receptionist, she reposts RTW items from a supplier's Facebook account, at no cost. "In-offer nya [supplier] sa 'kin, kasi sabi ko nga gusto ko din mag-business. Sabi niya, dahil may work nga ako, i-repost ko lang yung mga pinopost niya," Arya narrates.

    The numbers: Arya has zero cash outlay, but as they say, low risk means low reward. It's not much, but her "fun budget" gets about a P400 to P600 increase every week from selling the clothes at standard bazaar prices. And it's not bad for the minimal time and effort that online reselling takes. 

    Worth noting: You can usually find suppliers at weekend markets or bazaars. It's easier to find one if you have a favorite stall or a seller that you've developed rapport with. Arya was first a suki before her supplier, Lia Semblante, brought up the business opportunity.

    Lia, a full-time RTW retailer, sells her items every weekend at a tiangge in the village where she and Arya both live; on weekdays, she sells her items on social media. According to her, any regular tiangge seller who is adept at Facebook or Instagram is usually willing to partner with interested resellers.

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    Starting a business? Heed these tips from Ilano:

    Find a side business you are truly excited about.
    "Since much of your time is eaten up by your day job, you better make sure that you are passionate about your side business. Because it's going to eat up whatever time you have left for yourself. You will eventually find yourself sacrificing time with your family, time with your friends, and time for your previous pursuits.

    Know where to find help.
    It may take a long time before you get enough capital together for your business, so try to tap friends, family, or "angel" investors (people who are on the lookout for business potential) for funding. "However, to raise financing through these routes, you need to pitch your idea and convince these people that you know what you're doing, and that there is a big future ahead.

    Test your market.
    While the Internet has made it easier to start side businesses today, the next challenge is to find buyers for your product. "You may start out with friends and family, giving them samples of what you do (for instance, if you're into baking). Gauge their reactions -- this is free market research. ask them to be very candid about how they feel about your product. Once you come up with something that your friends seem to be really excited about, the next step is to offer this to the market at large."

    This story originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Good Housekeeping Philippines magazine.

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    Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

    *Names were changed upon request

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