Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Credit cards thru my perspective as a consumer and entrepreneur

Just got a letter from the credit card company today, it said “Being a valued credit card holder we have increased your total credit line by Php 50,000.00”. I said to myself “Wow! As if I’ll use my credit card to spend that big an amount. I’m not that suicidal”

When my husband came home from work, I greeted him with “Love, we can readily buy a car now”. He asked “How’s that?” I replied with, “We can use our credit cards for all three on them now has 6-digits limits.” Hahaha. I told him that as a joke, for it amuses me how much these credit card companies tries to please you so you can spend more. Having credit cards today is common and at times necessary.

I know many may say you can live without credit cards and your life is richer. I know that maybe I can have much more money saved if I don’t have them but as a consumer I availed them because of it gives me convenience and at times security.

First of all my husband occasionally goes abroad and before we had credit cards it was hard for us to secure extra pocket money, especially if he has to extended his stay there. With the credit card I know he has the purchasing power to buy things necessary for his travels. Convenience in shopping is one of the things I like about the plastic, since you don’t need to bring large amount of money while shopping. Having a large amount of money with you especially during mall sales makes me nervous, for you have to constantly be on your guard against pickpockets and snatchers, where is the fun in that?

We have been using plastics for seven years now, and while reading messages in one of my e-groups, I read a post about consumer activism and how as good cardholders (pays on time, no late payments, etc) we should demand to these credit card companies to remove the yearly membership fees. I saw in Oprah that this practice is being done in the US. I hope this consumer activism will flourish in our country we really need this kind of actions.

As an entrepreneur, I’m currently studying about having online payments for mylittlebaker. I know that having credit card payment facility on my site would be beneficial for the business for it allows transactions 24/7 anywhere anytime. Anticipating what kind of payment scheme your customer will likely use and how as a business owner will you monitor your transactions can be fascinating and at times a confusing.

Good thing now there are companies that can provide you payment facilities where you can accept credit cards in the Philippines with Email Billing that will help you monitor as well as manage your client billing system.

Credit cards today is already an integral part of both the business sector and consumer what we can do is to regularly assess its worth to us, if it make our life easier then we continue to enjoy the benefits it gives us but if in our assessment it just makes us loose money maybe we should think of just cutting the plastic.

To Teach or not to Teach

I have been teaching in college for nine years now, these past few weeks I am faced with one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, to stop teaching so I can dedicate my time to my growing hobby turned business and at the same time be at home more for my son.

It’s really been a soul searching journey for me; I laid down all my cards at the table so to speak and analyze every reason why I want to teach and why I want to work from home.

My motivations when I chose a career in the academe are the flexible hours and I wanted to take up my master’s degree then. Another reason is that I am a people person, I love to interact with people and the great way to do that is by teaching. I was a programmer before but after a few months with only a few people to talk to and mostly the computer as a companion I became really depressed, it was a really demanding job and I realized I crave for people interaction.

Those were my reasons nine years ago, and at present it seems I have accomplished what I have set out to do, I have earned my Master in Information Technology degree in 2006 and due to the flexible hours I enriched myself through the various seminars and trainings I had like the baking classes, cooking classes, IT seminars, business seminars. Now there is no excuse for the flexible time for as my son grows I realized I need to give more time and attention to him too.

I asked myself I am just teaching because it has become my comfort zone? Have I overgrown it? Am I ready to move on?

Looking back this past year it seems indeed I have move on…
I have put my business online, enjoyed the sales and friends I made because of it and now offers are coming in, new avenues for business are opening up for me.

The only reason I have now for teaching is the love I have for my students but I have to face reality, I have another life besides teaching. So today I asked for a temporary leave of absence for the coming semester and we’ll see if I can come back to teaching the next school year. I may not teach fulltime ever again but perhaps one day a week for a few hours would be possible.

I will miss my students but it is not really goodbye, in today’s technology I’m only an text, an e-mail or a Instant Message away.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Blogging Project

My class in Introduction to Information and Technology have this blogging project, I gave them 5 blog post assignment(one post per week) with specific topics that will end this semester. It is not compulsory, it is to be their final project I let them choose between blogging or the traditional 30-paged term paper about how to earn money online.

My students are freshmen BSBA students so the topic on the research is interesting/beneficial to them. Its been a very long and tiring week on keeping tabs on each of them as they create their blogs. One of our difficulties was there is no computer laboratory at PLMAR that has internet connection, so our communication during this writing project is thru text messaging, yahoo messenger, email and friendster.

After a few sleepless nights checking and linking blogs to my tech site the digitized youth, which I made specially for my students in mind, I now have the pleasure of reading their blogs (and of course grading them).

It is only the second week of our writing activity but I personally gained a deeper understanding of my students. I got to know them outside our classroom and discovered how beautiful and interesting each one of them are, as individuals. And now, I am looking forward to their next posts, I still have to add my comments to their blogs though.

I would also like to invite you to read their blogs they are still newbies but I see a great future in their blogs.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A house or a business? What should I choose?

One of our dreams is to have our own house, and were on the planning stages on when, where and what do we need to have one. Owning a house or pursuing a business is on my mind nowadays, I have to decide which one would have to be first, for if we acquire a house first most of our financial resources would be pooled there and it would take years to pay off a housing loan and there might not be enough money left to start a business. While if we put our financial resources to support/put up a business, that business might grow and then we can have enough savings to buy the house we really wanted someday. It might take a few years but at least I would have an inspiration to really make the business a success.

As of today we don’t really have the money to purchase a house in full and can only pay the down payment, and that’s for a house that is not even our dream house for houses on sale today are really so expensive. I am also checking very carefully on mortgage loans and mortgage loan processing requirements of different banks to be able to assess if we can really afford to have loans.

At present it seems we will go with the business first, but still getting all information about having your own house is really reassuring that maybe you can’t afford it today but you can work hard for it and maybe have it in the future.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Entrepreneur Philippines' 60th Networking Night: Bazaars and Suppliers Special

I attended the networking night of Entrepreneur Magazine’s 60th Networking Night last night which was held at C3 Events Place. It was my first time to attend their networking events which is being held quarterly and I was very thankful that I did.

I am in the process of preparing my online business for the Christmas season and was looking for alternatives where I can sell my products at a physical store perhaps for this coming season. I am considering leaving my teaching work and become a full time entrepreneur and so I am looking for ways for my business to be sustainable by itself.

The event’s topic was about the Night Bazaars and Suppliers Special was really an eye opener for me. A few week’s ago when my husband suggested that I concentrate on my business fulltime I told him that I might need a small store or even a foodcart to sell my products but since I am alone I can’t bake and mind the store at the same time. What I need is a place where I sell at weekends and so that I can bake at week days to prepare for it. I was looking for alternatives and was looking a space to rent at malls and even LRT/MRT stations and having attended the event last night made me realize that maybe joining bazaars would be the answer to my problems.

The Networking Night is a casual business get-together organized by Entrepreneur Philippines Magazine and is open to both existing and aspiring entrepreneurs. They invited Marga Mendoza, Lifestyle Network Project Specialist; Prime Sarmiento, Entrepreneur's Associate Editor and expert in Quiapo suppliers; Judy Cruz-Malabanan, experienced bazaar organizer; and Pinky Antonio of PLA Events to share their expertise and experiences of how to strike a great deal! Margaux Salcedo, another bazaarista and entrepreneur hosted it.

The event was a success I estimated that there were almost 200 or more people that attended some were budding entrepreneurs like me, others already have established businesses and was looking for suppliers or future customers. I was really inspired at the end of the event and made contacts with some of the attendees promising to meet again and bring samples of my goods and maybe strike a deal or two. I even won an imported handbag during the raffle.

What lessons I learned last night:

  • Most people that shop at bazaars are looking for new and unique products.
  • When joining bazaars keep in mind of your operating expenses so at the end of the day you can determine if you profited in your venture.
  • Manage your booth personally and create a relationship with your customers.
    In pricing you products, consider the cost of your rentals(plus other operational expenses) and your target market (in selling to a high end market your can raise your prices)
  • In joining bazaars or in engaging in any other businesses take risks, overcome them and be a success.