Archives for August 2017

Freelancers’ Questions About Taxation, Answered!

I have seen a shift in the mindset of a lot of freelancers (for this working online and for those rendering offline services). Back in 2013, when we at Manila Workshops started to create learning events for Freelancers and aspiring freelancers, we saw that most of them were in that realm of trying things out. Some of the freelancers that we encountered were starting a freelancing career and most of them were still thinking of starting. Four years after, we see that now, a lot of them want to make this their full time profession. They want to make this a career and their main source of income.

Since they will make this their primary source of income, a lot of questions on legitimising and registration with the government come up. As you know, as a freelancer, you need to fix and do everything (as an employee, people in HR do it for you). Registering as a freelancer in the Philippines is actually quite easy. I kid you not! You just need resources (like this article) to guide you.

Do I need to pay taxes even if I earn only a little from Freelancing?

Yes, you need to pay taxes, and it’s clearly stated in Section 74 in the Philippine Tax Code. It says that for as long as you receive income, regardless of the source (even from international entities), you are required to pay taxes. Again, we are seeing more freelancers pay taxes because of their need for a proof of their income which they will use to get VISAs, loans, health cards or HMO plans, etc.

So, I’m now earning a small amount of money from my freelancing career, but I am also employed. How do I declare my income to the Bureau of Internal Revenue?

First, you have to register as a non-PRC Licensed professional. You may opt not to have a DTI Certificate of Registration. In DTI you reserve the name of your business, which is something that is not really that important if you’re registering as an individual. As a freelancer, you NEED NOT go to the municipal hall to register for a barangay business permit. Just go straight to the BIR. Although, some BIR Revenue District Offices (RDOs) may require you to get an Occupational Tax Receipt issued by the Local Government Unit (LGU).

What are the instances when I need to get a barangay business permit and clearance?

For example, you are a yoga teacher that is commissioned by different yoga studios, you need not get a barangay permit. Once you open your own studio though, this becomes a sole proprietor/business that you will need to register. You will need to go to DTI and the Municipal Hall, and of course, BIR. If you don’t have employees, you need not go to SSS, Philhealth and Pagibig, since you will just have to pay for your own SSS/PHIC/Pag-ibig contributions under your own identification number as a voluntary contributor.

For employees, they have to option to opt for “substituted filing”, which means they are exempted from filing an income tax returns on their own. To qualify, one should have only worked for one employer during a calendar year and has no other sources of income. This can be availed by signing off on the Form 2316 (proof of remittance of payroll tax) provided by employers after the end of the year, or after an employee has moved on. The Form 2316 will then be submitted by the employer (or ex-employer) to the BIR.

If one has worked for more than one employer during a calendar year, he or she would have to file for either of the following:

Form 1700 – use this form if one has no other sources of income other than employment income, and add all employment income and deduct all payroll taxes withheld by employer(s), and pay remaining tax due (if any)

Form 1701* – use this form if one has other sources of income in addition to employment income, or earning purely business income; use this form to report all sources of income (employment, business, others)

*Self-employed freelancers, professionals and sole-proprietors are required to also file quarterly income tax forms (Form 1701Q) in addition to the annual Form 1701. However, employment income are not required to be included in the quarterly tax returns as these are to be reported only at year-end.

Self-employed freelancers, professionals and sole-proprietors are also required to pay monthly “sales” tax. Depending on their classification (see section below), they will need to file either:

Percentage taxes (Form 2551M) – gross revenues x 3%

VAT (Forms 2550M and 2550Q) – gross revenues x 12%, less the VAT charged by VAT-registered vendors/suppliers

But before going to taxation, what are the requirements to register as a freelancer in BIR?

First of all, you have to decide on a business address. The city where your business address will be should match the Revenue District Office of the BIR that your TIN will be attached to. If you previously worked in Makati, and have decided to use your home address in Pasig as your business address, be sure to transfer your TIN from the Revenue District in Makati to the Revenue District in Pasig. Just fill up the form 1905 (Download Form 1905) then submit it at the current Revenue District Office. Wait for at least a week before going to the new RDO to register as a freelancer.;

The list of the BIR Revenue District Offices is here: https://www.bir.gov.ph/index.php/contact-us/directory/revenue-district-offices.html

Once I have transferred my RDO, what should I do?

You should fill out the form 1901 (download Form 1901). You can get it from the Officer of the day or from the guard from the entrance of the RDO.

For the Taxpayer Type, as a freelancer, choose professional – In General. (It’s best though to ask the Officer of the Day on how they classify Freelancers).

Be sure also that you start as a Non-Vat entity. Vat Entities are those that earn Php 1.919 Million a year. Be sure also that you say that you still don’t have employees, if you’re working alone. Check the form, and ASK QUESTIONS before signing and submitting the form.

Each form is only at Php 500 which you can pay at the Authorized Agent Banks (AABs) near the RDO using form 0605. There will also be a certification fee and you also have to pay for Documentary Stamps. These will be around Php 30 to Php 50. You will get the Certificate of Registration a week or two weeks after.

Before leaving the Revenue District Office though, you can order for you Official Receipt booklet. Some of the accredited suppliers are in the BIR premises. If you don’t see them, just ask the BIR Officer the details of the supplier that you may contact. One order is normally 10 booklets at the minimum. This may cost 1000 to 2000 pesos for 10 booklets (depends on the design and if duplicate or in triplicate).

When you go back for the Certificate of Registration, you will also receive the following: ATP or Authority to Print and your books of accounts. The BIR will stamp your books of accounts (journal/ledger/subsidiary professional income book and subsidiary purchases/expenses book) and also your official receipts.

You will know if you are registered when you have your Certificate of Registration. Once you have your COR or form 2303, you SHOULD already start filing and paying for your taxes. Be sure to file even if you haven’t earned anything for the month.

Here is the schedule for the tax deadlines for a Non-Vat Entity

Percentage Tax (Form 2551M) – BIR Deadline is on the 20th of every month
Quarterly Income Tax (Form 1701Q) – Q1 is on April 15 / Q2 is on August 15 / Q3 is on November 15 / Annual Income Tax Return is on April 15 of the following year

Once you have your Certificate of Registration, this is where Taxumo, an online web application service can help you file and pay for your taxes. All you need to do is:

  • Copy the details in your Certificate of Registration to your Taxumo Profile
  • Fill in your income and expenses tabs
  • Click on the tax cost to submit your tax filing
  • Payment can be done online, too! Just go to Taxumo.com
  • Taxumo will save your BIR confirmation and the payment confirmation in your dashboard as proof of payment.

YOU’RE DONE! It’s so simple. Please view this video if you need more information.

I hope this article helps!

Love lots,

Ginger

P.S.

These are other links to some other articles that can help you:
http://www.freelancing.ph/bir-requirements-every-filipino-freelancer-should-know/
https://www.rappler.com/business/53578-self-employed-how-to-register-bir

P.P.S.

How to Maximize your Time at The Freelancer Fair

First of all, thank you, thank you! Thank you for your overwhelming response for this year’s The Freelancer Fair that will be held on September 2 at the Bayanihan Center, Pioneer, from 8 am to 5pm. I hope that you are as excited as I am! I hope that you learn a lot, meet more co-freelancers and aspiring freelancers, meet new clients and people you can collaborate with, be inspired to be one (if you aren’t already) and get to see if the freelancing life is for you! For my readers who have just heard about this event, it’s not too late. This long post will tell you what it is about and at the same time, give advice to those who have already purchased a ticket on how to maximize your time at the The Freelancer Fair.

What is the Freelancer Fair?

In the Philippines, we have around 1.5M freelancers who are working online. Most of these freelancers are virtual assistants, graphic artists, programmers, marketers, animators, etc. This number does not include the freelancers who are working “offline”, such as photographers, videographers, make-up artists, fitness coaches, consultants, etc.

Both of these numbers are growing, as the “gig economy” is now being widely accepted as a viable option for a career or a profession. Manila Workshops has always believed that we have talented people in the Philippines and we want to make it widely known that being a freelancer is a legit profession. The successful people who have made it in this industry took it to heart to always be ahead of the curve by learning new skills and by adapting to the changes happening.

But more than a profession, we also want to educate people on how Freelancing is the door to many more possibilities you can do with your life whether it’s simply having more time with your family, or finally getting started with that business or passion you’ve always dreamed of.

With this year’s theme Cultivating Relationships, the event promises to give you a full day of learning through a series of talks, panel discussions and networking with freelancers, industry experts and businesses.

What are the Official Hashtags?

The official hashtags are #RiseOfTheFree and #TheFreelancerFair. Kindly use these hashtags when posting. Also, please follow and like the new page that we have created on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefreelancerfair/

Where and what time is The Freelancer Fair?

The Freelancer Fair will be held at the Bayanihan Center. It’s along Pioneer. Please CLICK HERE for the map details. There is FREE parking beside the venue that can accommodate a lot of cars! 🙂 The event will start at 9:00 am, but registration will open at 8:00 am. Please come during this period (from 8:00 to 9:00 in the morning). This is to avoid long lines in the registration area.

Registration and Entering the Venue Proper

Please wear comfortable clothing, but please no shorts and slippers please. There will be different lines at the registration area. We will have the following lines:

a. Paid online – Surname or Last Name starts with A to L
b. Paid online – Surname or Last Name starts with M to Z
c. Walk-ins – Surname or Last Name starts with A to L
d. Walk-ins – Surname or Last Name starts with M to Z
e. VIPS / Sponsors (including Booth Sponsors) / Media

Children 17 years old and younger can enter the venue for free. Kindly present a proof of their age/birthday at the registration area. Please attend though to your children at all times. Also, let’s be respectful of other people’s intent to listen and learn. Any behaviour that is not conducive to learning is highly discouraged. 🙂 Hope you understand!

Upon signing up, you will be given an ID, which you need to wear at all times (since Bayanihan security is strict). At the back of your ID will be a copy of the program. You will also be given a loot bag, which you will use to keep all of your belongings and all the freebies that you will get from our partner brands and sponsors. It will also contain the Booth Stamping Game Sheet / Feedback Form. IF YOU PRE-ORDERED FOOD AND DRINKS, be sure also that you get the food stubs from the registration area.

PRE-ORDER FOOD AND DRINKS

The venue does not allow cash transactions for food and drinks inside the venue. If you want to order food and drinks, please PRE-ORDER from our partner merchants. This is highly recommended as restaurants, cafes, etc. are across the street. The time spent to buy and line up may have been time spent networking! 🙂

Here is the list of the partner food and beverage merchants:

BEVERAGE PARTNERS

ORDER COFFEE FROM BLACK BRIDGE: http://bit.ly/BlackBridgeTFF2017

ORDER MILK TEA FROM NITRO 7: http://bit.ly/Nitro7TFF2017

FOOD ORDERS

For those who asked, yes, you can bring water jugs, too, and it is advisable to bring water.

For those who are breastfeeding, please do let anyone from Manila Workshops know. They will direct you to the room where you can breastfeed if you need privacy.

BRING CALLING CARDS OR COPIES OF YOUR WORK (JUST IN CASE)

You’ll never know if a someone in the fair would be interested to avail of your service. It’s good to be prepared and ready to network. Be sure to use the hashtags when posting, since a lot of the attendees will follow the event by searching for the hashtags. Also, update your Facebook, Linked-In, and other profiles prior to The Freelancer Fair.

There will be different communities that will be present. They will have booths during the event. Be sure to network and get to know people in these booths! The community leaders and members will be there to help answer any questions that you may have and will be open to welcome you with open arms into this industry! 🙂

BE SURE TO INTERACT WITH THE SPEAKERS AND PANELISTS!

We have an interesting line-up of speakers, and these people are very open and willing to help you jumpstart your freelancing career. Don’t be shy to approach them!

Here is the list of speakers:

PROGRAM & SPEAKER SCHEDULE: 

Hosts: Marv de Leon and Jieneb Kho

◊ Part 1: FREELANCING: AN OVERVIEW
9:00 am to 9:15 am: Opening Remarks: Cultivating Relationships w/ Ginger Arboleda, CEO of Manila Workshops
9:15 am to 9:35 am: The Freelancing Industry in the Philippines w/  Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim, Director of Department of Information Communications & Technology (DICT)
9:40 am to 10:00 am: Freelancing Association: Introduction of DCAP w/ Genesis Reonico, Founder of OnlineJobsUniversity.com and President of the Digital Career Advocates of the Philippines

◊ Part 2: FREELANCING AS A PROFESSION: SUPPORT & SERVICES 
10:00 am to 10:20 am: Business Registration and Taxation w/ Dandy Victa, President of Manila Civil Service Review & Mark Ong, CFO of Taxumo
10:20 am to 11:00 am: Freelancers’ Funds Flow w/ Paolo Baltao, EON & Miguel Warren, PAYONEER
11:00 am to 11:20 am: Freelancers: Finding Your Purpose w/ Jackie Cañiza, Founder of Haraya Coaching
11:00 am to 11:40 am: Talk from Facebook with Paolo Lacuna, SMB Business Development Lead, PH at Facebook
11:40 am to 12:15 pm: Freelancing Opportunities and Tools w/ Lory Desuasido (Bizmates.ph), Fitz Villafuerte, Founder of 199jobs.com and Julia Jamie Madrazo, OnlineJobs.ph
12:15 pm to 1:00 pm: Lunch Break

◊ Part 3: ONLINE FREELANCING
1:00 pm to 1:20 pm: Building Relationship Through Email w/ Allan Ngo, Founder of Digital Solopreneur
1:20 pm to 2:00 pm: Building a Brand and Relationships as Freelancers (Panel) w/ Nix Eniego, Marketing Head of Sprout Solutions & CJ Maturino, Founder of Online Freelance Community, together with successful & seasoned freelancers – Allie Pasag, John Pagulayan, Nina Mendoza & Liberty Baldovino
2:20 pm to 2:40pm: Fitness Freelancing Opportunities and Tips (Panel) with Rach Bonifacio of Treehouse Yoga, Toni Nicolas (Yoga / Zumba Instructor) & Allan Enriquez, Fitness Blogger

◊ Part 4: SOFTWARE & SERVICE FREELANCING
3:00 pm to 3:15 pm: Financial Freelancing w/ Bong Fajardo, Jr., Regional Sales Manager of SunLife Financial Philippines
3:15 pm to 3:30 pm: Real Estate Freelancing w/ Icel Dy of Spectrum Investments

◊ Part 5: CREATIVE DESIGN & FREELANCING
4:00 pm to 4:20 pm: Creative and Design Freelancing w/ Francis Miranda, CEO of Tagline Communications Inc.
4:20 pm to 4:45 pm: Creative Freelancing: Opportunities and Tips (Panel) w/ Ria Lu, CEO of Komikasi Games Charlie Aquino, Managing Director of SophieCreatives; Dennis Abad, Co-founder of SHOOT! Practical Videography School
5:00 pm: Closing Remarks

JOIN THE BOOTH STAMPING GAME (RAFFLE)!

There will be some raffle prizes from some of our sponsors. To join the raffle, you will need to join the booth stamping game (BSG). The BSG sheet will be your raffle entry. All you need to do is to interact with 20 other people (ideally, people whom you have just met at this event!). 🙂 Come on people… no cheating! This will be to your advantage! Once completed, fill out the feedback form at the back of the sheet and write your name. Submit your sheet to any of the Manila Workshops event directors at the reception area.

Please visit the booths of our sponsors, too! They have mini surprises at their booths, so go and visit them, too!

KEEP A SOUVENIR! ORDER OUR LIMITED EDITION RISE OF THE FREE SHIRTS!

 

To order these nice shirts, please fill out this form: http://bit.ly/2wMcYtl

This day is about learning a few things about being a freelancer in today’s times. It’s also a day of cultivating relationships. Won’t it be more fun and exciting if you go on this journey with other people? I’ve been a freelancer since 2008 and let me tell you that I have made friends and these friends have been with me, supporting me through the “thick and thins” of my freelancing and entrepreneurship career!

Let’s show the world the power of the Filipino Freelancer. Get ready for the Rise of the Free!

Love,

Mommy Ginger

 

 

 

 

P.S. For those who haven’t bought a ticket yet, you still have time! Please visit this link: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/thefreelancerfair2017 Online registrations will close on August 30, but we will accept walk-ins. ONLY PREPAID ATTENDEES THOUGH WILL GET LOOTBAGS 🙂 🙂 See you!

P.P.S. Please join our newly created The Freelancer Fair Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thefreelancerfair/

 

Why Should you Read The Finishers

When creating a technology-based business, you can’t help but be inspired by the stories of Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. One cannot imagine the seemingly unfathomable challenges that they conquered to get to where they are. Reading and watching their stories have inspired people around the globe, including our kababayans. But even when the world is a little bit smaller (or maybe event a lot smaller!) than before, most of us still think that the path to greatness only lie in a few parts of the world.

We’d love to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Jessica Alba, but we still think that we, in the Philippines, may not have a chance. We think that we are still worlds apart, and that dream may never be a reality.

Don’t just let go of your dreams just yet, as this book called The Finishers, may be just what you need. Do you know that in this book, Ezra Ferraz, the author and a good friend of mine, documents 11 stories of founders who have successfully made exits.

An exit strategy is a contingency plan that is executed by an investor, trader, venture capitalist or business owner to liquidate a position in a financial asset or dispose of tangible business assets once certain predetermined criteria for either has been met or exceeded. (Read more here: Exit Strategy http://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/exitstrategy.asp#ixzz4q0aqrY1L). The dream is really to achieve an exit.

And it’s quite a surprise that not everyone really know that we have founders here in the Philippines who have actually exited. “All of these founders hail from different industries. They have different functional expertise. Some are Filipino born and raised. Others are balikbayans. Still others are immigrants. Yet they all find common ground in the shared belief that you can build a world-class tech company right here in the Philippines.”

I have started reading the book and one of the things that I like about this book is that it brings us closer to reality — the reality that we can also achieve our dreams and ambitions, and we can actually make it big in the global tech arena. We often think that only startups in places like Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv or Singapore can make it big. We, too, can create, build and lead a company that can change how the things work in a global scale.

Another reality is that everyone can have a bright idea, but it all boils down to how bad the founder wants it. From the stories that I have read, most of these founders persevered even amidst competition, barriers, uncertainty, etc. They executed ideas and strategies, pivoted when something did’t work and were all relentless.

So if you have a dream, go for it! The Finishers, by author Ezra Ferras, will help you stay motivated and inspired throughout your start-up journey. It will give you a glimpse into the life that you will have and a peek into a life that you can have.

Order here: https://www.facebook.com/TheFinishersPh/

The Finishers will also be available for purchase at The Freelancer Fair: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/thefreelancerfair2017

 

 

When Worlds Collide

As a small business owner, we need quality work but at the same time, something that would be affordable while building our business. We also value relationships. We want to work with suppliers and entities who get us and who we see have the same vision and values as ours. In Manila Workshops, we have been creating workshops for aspiring and current business owners and freelancers. For our events, we need photographers and videographers that we can partner with. We were lucky enough to have met When Worlds Collide!

Today, I am very honored to feature Julianne Caparos and her soon-to-be-husband Timothy Fernandez from When Worlds Collide!

The Story of Julianne Caparos of When Worlds Collide

Most of my childhood years was spent in Dubai then at the age of 13 my family and I then moved to Botswana, Africa, then moved back to the Philippines to study and eventually work. Since I was young, my dad loved taking photos using his SLR (film camera), and I’ve always loved art. Because of that, I got interested in photography and wanted to pursue it, initially as a hobby and not as a business.

Then back in 2014 when I was still working at Smart, I met Tim and he wasn’t the type of person who was into photography. But when we became a couple, he supported me and my hobby in photography. I was that girl who would take photos before eating and taking photos of every corner when travelling. On our first date we went to the Mind Museum, because Tim liked museums and I wanted to take photos inside (haha!). At one point we thought of creating a blog but that drained us out; it wasn’t fun for us. Then eventually, families and friends would ask us to cover their birthday events until the point we got our very first Client.

Julianne and Timothy of When Worlds Collide

When Worlds Collide is actually our sideline business, for now we both still have full time day jobs. Hopefully in 2 years time, I can do it full time already.

when Worlds Collide

Interview with Julianne of When Worlds Collide:

Ginger: What is your Startup/brand/business?  What is it about? How long have you been in business?

Julianne: When Worlds Collide is a photography business. It actually started out as a blog because we thought it was a way to do what we love, which is photography but we realized we didn’t enjoy the writing part of blogging lol! More on capturing that moment already says a lot for Tim and I. Then my best friend decided to tag me along with one of her photoshoot gigs and that’s when we realized how much we enjoyed it and that was just last September 2016.

Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?

Julianne: Our target market would be young families who just started raising kids. We chose this market, specifically for me, is because I love kids and their every reaction is just priceless. These days everyone is pretty much tech savvy and thanks to technology we can treasure every moment that we have through digital photographs and that’s one of our main goals, to provide a photo keepsakes for our clients.

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

Julianne: Well, it just started out as a hobby but after that push we got last year, we decided to give it a try with a couple more photoshoot gigs and see how it would go and so far it turns out to be great.

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Julianne: A lot! lol! It was fun but at the same time difficult. Difficult in terms of handling different clients and their expectations. The biggest obstacle probably was getting people to trust our services at the beginning, which I guess is normal for all.

Ginger: What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business in your country?

Julianne: Greatest challenge with our type of business is competing with others in the same business. Other than that meeting the budget of various clients.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder should have when starting their own business?

Julianne: “Courage” to start your business, “patience” especially with Clients, along the way you’ll learn how to handle different situations and “passion” because without it, I feel a business would never succeed.

Ginger: Unforgettable moments or  lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder

Julianne: The very first shoot I did and got paid, that was definitely an unforgettable moment. The biggest lesson I learned? bargaining our rates with Clients. At first it was difficult to say “nope our rates are fixed” thinking that we wouldn’t get any clients that way, but I had to be firm and along the way we lost Clients because we didn’t meet their budget. However, we also did gain a new base of Clients who trusts our services so far.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Julianne: Our advice to other aspiring Entrepreneurs is to make that first leap, you’ll never if your dream business will work if you don’t take action. As to Entrepreneurs who are just starting out just like Tim and I, don’t give up, you will get a lot of praises at the same time unsatisfied Clients but you’ll learn on how to improve and become more successful.

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Julianne: I think everyone can but not everyone should become entrepreneurs. You need to love what you do and not feel like it’s a routine or pushing yourself just to make ends meet.

Ginger: What are ways that you can do to raise capital?

Julianne: In a photography business, your main investment are your gears. We started just last September 2016 but we started buying our gadgets as early as 2014, all from the money we make from working at our 9-5 day jobs and and sometimes from our parents who are ever supportive.

Ginger: How do you market your products? Growth strategy?

Julianne: Through Facebook groups, word of mouth and at times through xdeals with other Entrepreneurs who are just starting out. Our long term plan is actually to have an office space already, probably a studio but for now my goal is to further enhance my skills in this business.

Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?

Julianne: Facebook and our website to promote and communicate with our Clients. Lightroom, After Effects and wetransfer/dropbox for editing and transferring of files.

Ginger: Thank you so much, Julianne, and of course to Tim, too! Thank you for supporting Manila Workshops and I hope you continue to inspire and grow your business! 

 

Contact information of When Worlds Collide:

Website: http://whenworldscollide.ph

Email address: whenworldscollideph@gmail.com

Mobile Number: 09178368418

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/whenworldscollidephotography/

Keeping your Skin Healthy when You Can’t Follow a Korean Skin Care Routine

I’ve been blogging about the 10 step Korean skin care routine, but not everyone will have the luxury of time to follow it. So I wondered, is it possible to have great skin, even without following the 10 steps? If so, what steps are essential and what steps can you do away with? The inquisitive me was brought to the doorstep of Derm HQ, the clinic of Dra. Gail Vitas. Dra. Gaile is a dermatologist of almost 4 years. In her clinic, she offers the basic offerings like facial, wart removal, diamond peel, etc. and also advanced treatments for psoriasis, skin asthma, acne, etc.

Dra. Gaile Vitas of Derm HQ

Dra. Gaile tells me that she customizes what she suggests to each of her patients. Why? Each individual will have a different skin type.

*Image from Sephora

Also, each one will be of a different age, each one will have habits that are different from others, etc. So I asked Dra. Gaile Vitas about my own situation. I wanted to know if I really had to follow the 10 steps. This is my profile:

Ginger – 30-40 Female / rarely gets pimples / works in front of the computer (a lot!) / hardly gets exposed to the sun / hardly exercises nowadays / has one kid

This is what Dra. Gaile from Derm HQ recommends:

CLEANSER – Use a soap free cleanser (Cetaphil, Avene, etc.) We, Filipinos, think if something has bubbles or mabula, we think it cleans our skin better. This is not true. For those who love to wear make-up also, Dra. Gaile suggests using Micellar Water. Micellar Water is both hydrophilic and hyrophobic, which means that it can remove both oil and water based products.

SUNSCREEN – Dra. Gail advised me to use sunscreen which has 30 SPF and above which protects the skin from UVA and UVB. We all need to re-apply sunscreen after every 2 hours. We should apply 1/4 teaspoon, but if you are swimming, apply every hour. She also mentioned that it’s not about the SPF, but about the area of the skin that the sunscreen covers.  Also, in the Philippines, there are only a few brands that protect your skin, not only from UVA and UVB, but also from Infra red and Visible Light. Since I’m always in front of the computer, Dra. Gaile recommended that I use any of these two brands that you can get from Derm HQ.

These are Frezy Derm and Helio Care. I purchased Frezy Derm, and I love it! Honestly, the best sunscreen I have tried so far.

Here is my review of Frezy Derm!


EXFOLIANT – We should also exfoliate. She still believes that we should use AHA or Alpha Hydroxy Acid or Mandelic Acid (Mandelic acid is actually an alpha hydroxy acid that comes from bitter almonds).

ANTI-AGING – Given my age, and for those of you who are 30 and above, do start using anti-aging products. These are products that contain retinoids, tretinoin (only in low dosages, 0.025%), retinal dehyde, vitamin C, etc. Once you start aging, there is a delay in the production of collagen. These products help delay collagen degeneration.

So if I get tired of following the 10 step skin care routine, these are the things that I should constantly do and use still. These are the products that are important in keeping my skin healthy!

Visit Dra. Gaile of Derm HQ and schedule a consultation! It’s never too late to start your own skin regimen!

DERM HQ is located at 2nd Floor, Island Plaza Bldg, 105 LP Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati City!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dermhq/

 

Plush and Play: Interview with Fabien Courteille

I have heard so many great stories about people starting social entrepreneurship businesses. Two of my friends have successful social entrepreneurship businesses, Ron and Nikki or Bayani Brew and Kat of Aurelia and Amelia!

Today, I’m so proud to share with you a story of another founder who started a social entrepreneurship business called Plush and Play. His name is Fabien Courteille.

The Fabien Courteille Story

I was born on January 29, 1989 to a middle class family in Normandie, France and was raised by loving and caring parents. After graduating in a science high school, I took up Bachelor of Business Administration in a public school before migrating to the south of France to take up Master in Entrepreneurship. At the age of 21, I was still looking for a real concrete business idea to start with and was questioning the role of businesses in the society in terms of ethics, social and environmental responsibility.

I have been looking for my purpose and to be able to do something meaningful with my life when I heard about Gawad Kalinga’s social entrepreneurship vision. I started out as a volunteer when I first came to the Philippines. After being immersed in the countryside, I have experienced the world-famous Filipino hospitality. I was living with the GK beneficiaries, sharing meals with them (Adobo every meal… haha!) and sleeping under the same roof while having absolutely nothing in common with them. They taught me how to expand my definition of family.

My foster mother was an orphan at an early age but still managed to take care of herself. She eventually became a seamstress in a factory until she lost her job due to the retrenchment of the manufacturing facility like many others. Her undying commitment and love for her children to be able to have a good education was her driving force to take any underpaid and limiting opportunities in order to earn a few pesos. Often times, her earnings were still not enough to provide for their meals. I found it unfair that millions of mothers in the Philippines are exactly like her – too much effort on really strenuous physical activities with a bad compensation system. Basically, I just wanted to give them a real chance to succeed. 🙂

Interview with Fabien of Plush and Play

Ginger: Hi Fabien! Can you tell everyone what your business is all about?

Fabien: Plush and Play is a social enterprise born in the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm, highlighting the undervalued sewing skills of the mothers of Bulacan to create proudly Filipino toys. Ultimately, we envision to be the leading Filipino global toy company inspiring generations of young heroes and nation builders and contributing to the ultimate goal of Gawad Kalinga which is to end poverty in the country for 5 million families by 2024. Our major goals are to provide sources of income for over 500 poor families in the countryside, to inspire a new generation of Filipino children, to improve local standards in the toy industry and to make the Philippines a country where no children will ever grow up without toys.

Being based in a farm, our first line of products is composed of fruits and vegetables with names inspired by local icons like Manny Pakwan, Buko Martin, and Anne Kamatis. We also make customized plush giveaways or mascots for companies like Maynilad, Landbank, Shell, Accenture, Mentos, etc.. Moreover, we conduct toy making activities in order to teach kids how to handcraft their very own plush toy.

Our tagline is “Hand-Stitched with Love, Stuffed with Dreams!”

Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?

Fabien: Our target market is three-fold:

  • We target socially responsible, nurturing and loving mothers. We offer them affordable, socially responsible and safe products handcrafted with love and inspired by Filipino values and sense of humor, unlike imported toys from China that are of poor quality and many of which are also hazardous to their kids’ health.
  • We target corporations and government agencies that want to strengthen and reward the loyalty of their clients and employees by gifting them with original giveaways. We offer them highly customizable and world-class quality products made with love.
  • Finally we target the young at heart, mostly with age demographics between ten to twenty years old, that want cute, fun and meaningful items like toys, keychains, tote bags, pouches, etc…

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

Fabien: I chose this industry for three main reasons:

(1) To restore the sewing industry

First, the province of Bulacan used to be the Philippines’ pride when it comes to sewing and garments but over the past decade hundreds of factories have been closing down and thousands of mothers have lost their jobs and were left behind with the only option of becoming domestic workers in Manila or abroad. There were mothers in the community who used to be seamstresses but were left jobless when big textile companies started outsourcing their production to China or Cambodia.

(2) To come up with safe toys

Second, we realized that the local market was flooded with low quality imported products, including children’s stuffed toys without any connection to the local culture.

(3) My love and fondness for kids

And lastly, I was becoming the godfather of plenty of kids in the community and I never knew what to offer them. Inspired by the thousands of kids in the GK Communities, I went for the idea of creating stuffed toys.

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these? What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business in your country?

Fabien: Well, I believe being an entrepreneur is all about facing obstacles and finding ways to overcome them every day. My role is to keep the business running, to continue growing it and to reach out to more beneficiaries. We started venturing into an industry where I was totally ignorant, I have never used a sewing machine before coming to the Philippines so a lot of things had to be learned by doing.

Since I am not Filipino I have to deal with the various restrictions in the Philippines in terms of ownership, position or signatory rights and it is not necessarily easy.

We also started our company without capital. We started with only five thousand pesos so our team had to be extra careful on how to spend every peso and make sure to get the best value out of it. If you can’t afford anyone to do something, you need to do it yourself.

The industry that we are part of is very seasonal so we need to keep on finding ways to keep our cashflow in a good position for the rest of the year. Moreover, this is a market flooded by extremely cheap products so we also have to show and create more value for the customers to be able to generate more sales.

Since we are a social enterprise, we deal with communities everyday. Everything that happens within the community and their household affects the operations of the company and vice versa. Of course having fifty families living and working together creates a lot of situations, tensions and arguments therefore it is always difficult to keep it professional.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder should have when starting their own business?

Fabien:

  1. He or she should be committeed. It is not a hobby and it is more than a full time job.
  2. He or she should learn how to surrender himself/herself with the right people as it takes a team to run an organization.
  3. He or she should lead by example, be ready to do whatever job needs to be done and definitely understand the needs of all stakeholders (customers, the beneficiaries, staff , etc…)

Ginger: Unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder

Fabien: One of the most unforgettable moments is when we brought the first Filipino toy to Toy Kingdom. It was a big statement and a big celebration for our seamstresses. We were also the only Filipino brand to take part in the toy expo held at SMX Convention Center. On a personal note, making it to the Top 5 of the BPI Sinag out of 150 entries was something to remember as well.

It was very important for me to understand the situation of the mothers in order to properly work with them and support them. Since I am not a Filipino, nor a woman nor a mother, I thought to be with them for the past six years to ensure that I can connect with them and to fully understand their needs. Aside from that, I knew that I had to make them experience things outside of their usual environment so they can also understand the concepts of quality control, excellence, and customer expectations. We would take them to Manila from time to time and have a fieldtrip for them to see other products in high-end malls like Rockwell. Until today, I am still striving to understand their needs and vice versa. It is a constant learning experience for all of us as our enterprise continues to grow and thrive.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Fabien: My advice is something that I have heard so many times before which is to not give up! Furthermore, one should not compromise or take shortcuts. It takes hard work and integrity to build a solid enterprise to be proud of. Do not mind the negative comments or words of discouragement because the more people say that you are crazy the more you should move forward. After all, the greatest inventors and entrepreneurs in history were either crazy or different so there is nothing wrong about it. HAHA

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Fabien: I believe that everyone should be entrepreneurial, be pro-active, and be on the look out for innovative ideas wherever you work or whatever position you hold because this is what the organization needs to constantly improve. However, I am not sure if everyone should start their own enterprise because running an enterprise is not easy and is not a one man show. You need to bring in people into your organization that have complimentary skill sets in order to move forward with the over-all company objective.

Ginger: What are ways that you can do to raise capital?

Fabien: From the beginning we have been financing all our operations through our cash flow. This is achieved based on our own sales revenues and we just received two sets of grants to build our new workshop of about three hundred square meters in Bulacan. This will allow us to increase production capacity, which would have a potential increase in revenues.

In addition, because of being one the winners of the BPI Sinag competition, the bank gave us access to their credit line whenever we feel the need to make a loan. Also, we have been able to establish preferential payment terms from some our clients such as fifty percent down payment since they understand our commitment to pay the salaries of our community partners on a weekly basis compare to the usual 30 to 90 days payment terms.

Aside from these, several investors have approached us and we plan to open our capital to new equity investment from impact investors this year. This will be used to invest in opening our own concept store in the city, improving our marketing efforts and increasing our staff members.

Ginger: How do you market your products? Growth strategy?

Fabien: We sell our regular toys at the GK Enchanted Farm in Bulacan. Since we know that the market is in Metro Manila we have partnered with several retail stores that are carrying our products. These are Toy Kingdom SM Megamall, The Parenting Emporium, The Philippine Artisan Trade, Yiippee Store, Able Store, and Hop/Bop Shop. Another growing platform in the country is online sales so we established and partnered with some online sites such as our own website, Lazada, Shopinas, and The Good Store. We also sell in bazaars and sometimes participate in a corporate road show.  All in all, we are currently retailing in 6 outlets in Metro Manila with the possibility to expand to thirty-seven other Toy Kingdom outlets. We are also looking into starting a partnership with Toys ‘R Us in the near future.

Another sales channel is creating customized giveaways for corporations or individuals (special gifts, event giveaways, etc). We also started organizing tailored community outreach programs with our corporate partners. Our biggest revenue comes from our corporate clients, some of which have contracts that are as big as twenty thousand dollars. GK is working with 700 corporations and other private institutions. Among this number, we have engaged with over 30 corporations already but our margin for growth is extremely high as we are reaching out to more of them every week.

We have also started making school mascots with the prestigious school of De La Salle University, with over thirty thousand student population with hundreds and thousands of alumni which are now key decision makers in the country. Once successful, we will then replicate this model and work with other private schools in the country.

Aside from selling products, we also conduct toy making workshops and activities for schools and other celebrations. It is a growing channel right now.

In marketing, we leverage the networks of Gawad Kalinga and the parenting community such as The Parenting Emporium. We also greatly use our own social media channels to gain more awareness about the company.

Partners in Malaysia, Singapore, United States and Europe have approached us already to expand beyond the Philippines. This is a key step to a future regional expansion and eventually outside of South East Asia.

Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?

Fabien: We are mostly active online: We have our own wordpress website and eshop. We are also proactive on social media including Facebook Ads.

Ginger: Thank you Fabien for that wonderful story. I’m sure other people who want to start their own social enterprise learned a lot from reading this! Thank you for sharing your talent and for helping the Philippines in ways you know how.

If you want to know more about Plush and Play, here are their contact information and links:

Website: www.plushandplay.com

Email address: plushandplay@yahoo.com

Mobile Number: 09175264941

Facebook Page: https://web.facebook.com/PlushAndPlay

Instagram account: http://instagram.com/plushandplay

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/plushandplay/

 

Freelancing Tools: Proposals for you to win the job quickly

As a freelancer, you will be required to create tons of proposals to win a client. Instead of a job interview or resume, your proposal is vital in getting clients so how do you make your proposal stand out from the hundreds that also want to land the job?

You can get your potential clients’ attention by creating visually enticing templates with some of these freelancing tools that you can use to create a proposal!

Qwilr

This is one of the tools that I personally love and use. This site has ready-to-use templates for different kinds of projects. I love that you don’t need to think about the sections of the proposal or what goes into a proposal. You just need to edit and alter. It’s so much easier to create proposals for AdWords, Branding, Real Estate, Event Planning. Marketing Research and even Android Apps!

They offer a free 30-day trial and have 3 plans you can choose from: Pro, Business and Enterprise.

What I love about it is that it’s so sleek and so simple to use! What makes it stand-out really is the way you can layout your proposal. It just really looks impressive when you send out proposals using this.

Hello Bonsai

If you want to create proposals and send contracts all in one platform then Hello Bonsai is the right freelancing tool for you. It can help you create template proposals and let you know once your proposal is read. Your client can approve the proposal online and you can easily send them a contract to get their e-signature for a closed deal quickly!

Here are the features of Hello Bonsai. You can create proposals and contracts. You can use if for time tracking, create projects, monitor expenses and create invoice and payments. It also has great reporting capabilities.

 

They offer a free plan with limited functionalities where you can create only 3 projects per year or you can sign up with them for $19 a month for a complete suite which can help you effectively run your freelancing business.

What I like about Hello Bonsai is the fact that there are a lot of things that you can do using the platform. It’s also really affordable, too, if you’re a freelancer.

Bidsketch

Aside from creating proposals, this freelancing tool allows you to turn 18% of your leads to clients because it allows you to create landing pages, which clients can download into a .pdf file. Its analytics also allows you to find out how interested your clients are by giving data of how long they viewed the proposal, if they exported it and from which email it came from.

Its plans start at $23 if you want to will only have 1 user and $47 if you have a team of 3. They also offer a 14-day trial for first time users.

Are there freelancing tools that can help create great proposals that you know of? Share your thoughts in the comment box below!