App Creation Software for Business Owners from My Start-Apps

Yesterday, I was amidst all of these amazing students with tech related backgrounds. I volunteered to be a a mentor for the 13th SMART SWEEP, which was held at AIM. All of them were truly amazing. I tok the time to teach them a little bit about understanding the pain point of the customer, etc. I hope they got something useful from the things that I was telling them. During my ride home, I thought to myself, another thing that I should probably teach them in the future is professionalism.

For the other start-up business that I have, we are still looking for a competent tech partner or outsourced service provider that we can work with. This start-up was incorporated way back in 2014 and until now, we don’t have an app to show our potential customers. This frustrated me as a small business owner. To make an app, we had to pay close to a quarter to a million pesos, and this was for a buggy app/software. So I know the pain of a small business owner of wanting to have your own mobile application, but not having the funds. But a more important thing is not having control over the project, especially if you have no background in IT.

This is why it was so interesting to see this app creation software created by Mr. Geek Mobile Solutions Inc.

Sparky and Nap from Mr. Geek telling me about their App Creation Software, My Start-Apps

Sparky and Nap from Mr. Geek telling me about their App Creation Software, My Start-Apps

What I loved about the app creation software that they showed me is that anyone (literally… even me!) can create my own mobile application. We all know that by 2020, most of the people in our country will own a smart phone, and this will be the channel of choice when searching for something, shopping for anything, etc.

Here is my interview with the people behind My Start-apps, Sparky and Nap:

See how amazing it is. Anyone, from small hole-in-the-wall restaurants to real estate agents, to small retail stores on Instagram, to influencers can use this application. Are you ready for the future? Is your business ready for a world where most of the population will turn to their mobile phones to accomplish tasks and even fulfil leisurely activities via their phone?

If you are interested to use My Start-Apps, please sign up at http://www.mystart-apps.com/ and use the code #MommyGinger.

MyStart-Apps Pricing
· One Time Setup Fee Regular Price: Php 46,000.00
· One Time Setup Fee Discounted Price to loyal readers of Mommy Ginger (those who use the code): Php 36,000.00
– Also, the annual fee for the first year will be waived.

So hurry and sign up and create a mobile app for yourself or your business!

Online Tax Preparation with a Heart

Never in million years would I have guessed that I would be a TECH STARTUP company co-founder AND focus on online tax preparation. When I was little, I never liked math. One of the reasons why I chose marketing was I assumed it had a few subjects where I had to compute or use a calculator. When I graduated and helped my dad handle the family business, I would be so bored looking at excel spreadsheets that showed profit and loss statements.

I think I only got to love numbers when I joined a bank. Of course, in the beginning, I forced myself to look at spreadsheets and reports containing mostly numbers — all kinds of numbers and computations. Plus, I had to force myself to understand banking language like ADB, MBR, TPR, NPV, TITF, JA, CASA, FLOATS, etc. But, for anyone who knows me, I am a competitive person. I loved the challenge. So when I started understanding number, I found that I loved it and it was “actually” useful! haha! My almost 7 years of service in that bank was the best years of my life. I learned a lot and challenged myself A LOT!

When 2012 came, I went away to seek the life that I wanted, which was to become an entrepreneur. I would watch videos of Marie Forleo, Tyra Banks, Oprah and other influential women on the internet. I really admired each one of them and how they got to where they were. I saw the millions and millions of people whom they have helped. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to see how I could directly help others with a business. This dream was the foundation of Manila Workshops. When I started, it was a challenge getting our name out there. It was even more challenging to manage the “business” side of everything — from sustaining profits, controlling costs and most of all, dealing and paying taxes! I really hated that part.

I would always get stressed it if taxes was the topic. I wished for the longest time that someone would create anything like an online tax preparation system or whatever to make it easier for me. And so, with someone did notice and create a rudimentary system for me. This someone was my husband and my saviour. With this very rough local automation at home, we were able to expand the business of 3 directors to 20 directors.

The TAXUMO Story

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And this is where our Taxumo story begins. We wanted to share this process and system with other small business owners, freelancers and professionals. We created a deck of the idea that we had, and started to pitch it to different people and in different competitions. This is where we started, because it seemed that others were doing this as well. With this, we were chosen as one of the 100 startups in Asia for the Echelon e27 Summit. During this time, we were already slowly developing the product. I was talking to different possible partners and was building alliances. EJ was developing algorithm, framework and the other stuff that we had to have before developing the software.

The next chapter of our story started when we were chosen as top 25 for the Ideaspace incubation program. We got some funds to build the prototype. With the money, we hired a freelance developer who would build the working prototype for us (A big shout out to Barry! Thank you! He developed our MVP and was really good, but had to let go of the project because we didn’t have enough funds to pay him.). This is the typical challenge of a startup. If you’re going through a financial turmoil, this is normal. We were bootstrapping as bootstrapping can be. Then, we were chosen as one of the top 10 startups for the Ideaspace Acceleration program. This came in at the right time. We used the funds to speed up development. A competent team is helping us develop the new system now (shoutout to Spectres Solutions! Wooohoo!)

During this time also, we invited people to be co-founders with us. Why and how did we decide on that? Well, we knew that we needed competent people to join our team to handle different aspects of the business. We knew that we needed an accounting and taxation expert, so we invited Mark. We knew that we needed to be covered legally, so we invited Atty. Kevin. And finally, after a few months of personally handling operations and marketing, the four of us decided to invite Evan, a marketing and advertising expert, and a freelancing advocate. So that’s how our team came to be.

Today is a really important day for us — it’s Ideaspace’s Demo Day. This is where we show the world the months of hard work that we have put into our startup (thanks Charz Medoza for the great design work, our new logo and the new UI/UX that everyone should watch out for!) But forget about us, because this is the time when we share the benefits of Taxumo for all of the Philippine self employed individuals — small businesses, freelancers and professionals. You can now concentrate on starting and building your business. This is the time to REFOCUS on what matters. Refocus on your passion!


 

We know that the reason that you started this business is that you want to make a difference. You long for time to use words or photographs to tell a story. You wanted to see the smiles as your customers run their fingers on that dress that you so painstakingly created. Hearing the conversations of people after a workshop session that they are now inspired to take action makes your heart skip a beat. Seeing an email of gratitude from a US client for great VA work done makes you feel that you can conquer the world. Giving business or life coaching advice to hundreds of people on stage or even through a one on one session makes you elated. All of these things make you remember that it was passion and a sense of purpose that made you decide to start your own business or pursue this profession. This is how we feel. This is how we all should feel about our business.

So join the tribe and worry less about taxes! Pursue your passion. Leave all the taxation worries and sign up for Taxumo (http://taxumo.com). It’s should all be about YOU this 2017!

P.S. Thank you to all of our mentors (Ms. Diane, Sir Manny, Prim, Phil, Gabe, Paul, Edmond, Jojy, Jojo, Jay) and to all of those who helped us make this happen! We love you all! #TeamTaxumo

Startup Marketing Plan vs. Blog Marketing Plan

MG Blog Series

I was about to skip blog writing today for my blog series. A terrible headache hit me the other day. I had to catch up on a lot of things. One of the things that crossed my mind and had to think about was the growth strategy of Taxumo (startup marketing plan, etc.). For those who have been reading my blog, you would know that Taxumo is the startup company that we built. Taxumo takes care of computing, filling out the forms and submitting the data and payment to the BIR, which is the tax ministry here in the Philippines and to an authorized bank. Entrepreneur magazine featured us just this week:

Filing taxes? There’s an app for that

I was inspired to write about marketing plans and strategies for both startups and blogs. Yesterday, I was studying more about Facebook ads and optimizing these advertisements that I create. I am amazed at the numbers and metrics involved. I think this is what people don’t see and get — that marketing, especially nowadays is a “numbers” game.

We all meet marketers and all of them look like extroverted individuals, who probably just love talking to people and hate math. Haha! I know how people think and have been branded to be such also. I took marketing in college, but ended up in banking, which made people wonder A LOT. But after years of marketing different products and services, as a marketer, the lesson that I learned is we gotta love numbers! Metrics show the real picture. Conversions, engagement, leads, sales — all of these are all measured using numbers.

Now, since we are talking more about blogging in this blog series, how do you effectively market your blog. Obviously, one is to tell everyone you meet that you have a blog, but that would take forever. If we talk to each one, multiply it by the number of minutes, that would take forever to reach a goal of having just 500 visitors a day in your site. Now, this is why I thought about startup marketing plans.

The objective of a startup is to have speedy and steady growth especially for the first year or so. They employ strategies that would result to achieving this. Of course not all strategies are “one-size-fits-all”, but some should be evident in each of the marketing strategies of different startups.

1. Among all the people in the world, it SHOULD BE ME!
People love being the first to tell their friends about this cool thing, this new place, this great deal, etc. In the startup world, we seek for beta testers. These are usually our early adopters. Our early adopters should be able to validate that our guess of who are market is is correct. An example of this is how my friends at Cape marketed their product. I actually want to conduct this experiment and test who among my friends and readers value cheap flights!

IF YOU WANT CHEAP FLIGHTS AT AROUND 50-70% OFF, CLICK ON THIS IMAGE AND SIGN UP!

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Now, obviously, I will be able to tell how many of you signed up for Cape’s service because I was given a code to track down how many signed up. Sometimes, these codes can also monitor sales. And if sales are monitored, commissions can also be monitored. This is the reason why there is such a thing as affiliate marketing. This is the gist of what affiliate marketing is (but let’s discuss this topic for another time).

You can employ the same strategy with you blogs. You can announce that you are giving some readers access to something valuable in your site in exchange for their emails. In this environment, emails are very valuable. It allows you to connect with your readers again and again.

2. STAND UP, BE HEARD AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Since early this year, for Taxumo, we have been conducting a lot of FREE taxation workshops. We do this, because we genuinely believe that all you need as taxpayers is an entity who will understand and listen to you, know what your going through, and actually take time out to explain things that you don’t understand about taxes. Once you get it, it’s up to you to use or not use our system. But most of them really do use the system, since the Taxumo team is genuinely there to help them!

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If you want to increase engagement in your blog, take time out to reply to your readers. With the plethora of things that I have to do, I still find the time to talk to people who chat me up on messenger, email me, etc. Seriously! You can ask different people. I always try to find time to answer if time permits. Actively engaging with your readers make them loyal followers!

3. Understand the CUSTOMER JOURNEY

Intimately know what they want and what they need. If it’s a blog, intimately know what they want to read about, where they read, when they would read or search for an article and then be there! Bloggers are mind readers. We should know exactly what our readers want even before they search for it!

These are just some of the things that I thought of when thinking about the similarities of creating a startup marketing plan and a blog marketing plan. As for the latter, I think I’ll try to expound on that more in the next posts for this series.

If there is anything you would want to add, please feel free to leave your comment below. Have a great day, peeps!

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Online Tax Preparation SaaS Taxumo

I was always busy and worried at certain times of the month, and it was always because of tax preparation. I have already paid a cumulative amount of probably Php 20,000 worth of penalties. My previous freelance accountants would forget to pay (because of the multitude of clients that they had to service). I, personally, would forget deadlines, because of my busy schedule. For some forms, I didn’t get to file because I didn’t know that I needed to file them. I do love math, but I really don’t get  how taxes are computed.

My husband wanted to help me. He would see me suffer and he saw that the stress was killing me. Being the programmer that he is, he found a rudimentary way to automate the tax preparation that I did from home. From there, we saw the benefits of the automated process. We then wanted to share this with other business owners, freelancers and professionals.

Paying taxes should be something we do and we should see as our duty. We should do it because it will greatly help our country. We will do our share by making it simple and easy for each and every one of you. This is the reason why we created Taxumo. Taxumo is a do-it-yourself web application that computes, fills out forms and send the data directly to the bank/BIR. You don’t need to start loving math! haha! You don’t need to line up at the bank or the RDOs.

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What makes our team the best people to talk to is that we genuinely understand the pain that you are going through, because we have been there. We know that BIR has been trying to come up with a way to have a robust online tax preparation process and to automate collections. We are here to help both the end users and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Taxumo is a web application that helps in online tax preparation and filing — so we take care of computing, filling out the forms and submitting it to the BIR/Bank.

Although, right now, we don’t handle payments that needed to be paid in the past. What you could do is to use this online tax preparation application for your payments moving forward. Right now, we cater to percentage or non-vat payers. By December, we will also be ready to cater to VAT taxpayers. If you don’t understand these terms and if you want to know if you are a vat or a percentage/non-vat taxpayer, you can check out your certificate of registration of Form 2303. Here is a sample:

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cor-sample-for-taxumo

All of the information you need to complete your profile page is in this document. If you lose it, you can visit your Revenue District Office or RDO (usually in the area where your business address is) of the BIR to secure a copy.

I also created this video so that you have a guide on how to use Taxumo.

The next deadline is on December 20 for Percentage Tax payers! 🙂 I hope you can sign up now while the system is FREE. Just go to http://taxumo.com and see how easy paying taxes can be!

If you have questions, feel free to write it on the comment section below!

 

Create a Blog and BRAND It!

MG Blog Series

Today was a light day! I got to squeeze in time for learning. I was watching and listening to videos from the Teachable summit. For 2017, I want to create a course, but I don’t know what course to create and share with you. This endeavour is something new to me. I felt confused as to where to start and how to start. I then remembered that 8 years ago, blogging was also new to me. It moved me to think about how I started blogging, and to think of the factors that made me get to where I am today. I’m pretty happy that I have gotten this far in blogging, and I attribute a big part of it to branding. Create blogs with great branding, and you’ll go places!

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What is good branding? When you create blogs, consider thinking about the following:

1. Define a blogging objective.

What is the main thing or specific thing that you want people to do, learn or read from your blog. It is important that you have this in mind 24/7 when you create blogs. The topics that you choose, the videos that you make or even the picture or font that you use should be with aligned with the mood, tone or feel of the objective of the blog. Everything should be consistent. Consistency will come in when you have a clear objective.

2. Check on what you can offer that others cannot.

Uniqueness is a big part of the game. All of us can be a certain type of blogger (mom blogger, travel blogger, etc.). What sets you apart can be how you craft your content, the tools and methods of how you relay your message, the tone of your message, and the chosen angle of your message. These are all dependent on what particular niche you are trying to talk to. Knowing your readers really well is what makes you know of your “uniqueness”.  Truly listening and engaging with them will steer you towards the direction you alone will be taking.

3. Don’t forget offline marketing.

Talking to people offline is as important as chatting with them via social media. Building trust or just getting to know people who are part of your chosen community or niche is one big factor for successful branding. People should know who you are as a person. They will trust you more once you connect with them in both the online and offline world. This is especially true when you don’t have your own flock of brand believers who will tell others of who your are and your story.

These are just some tips that worked for me. Do you know of other tips that may have worked for you to develop a good brand. Share them with me please at the comments section below.

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3 Things that Big Brands should Learn about Marketing and Customer Relationships

Times have definitely changed. With the changing times, the market has also evolved. Needs have changed and reactions on how to address those needs have changed even more. With this, traditional marketing as we know it is not that effective anymore. Brands now have to change the way they deal with customers. I have identified 3 things that big brands should learn about marketing in today’s times.

Before we jump into the 3 things, let’s again define what marketing is. Marketing is the exchange of values between buyer and seller. When we talk about values, it doesn’t necessarily mean money (so as to put it in context). Some people may consider other things more valuable like time, relationship, service, etc.

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Going back, these are the 3 things that big brands should learn about marketing and dealing with their customers.

1. Worry about ME, hopefully more than you worry about competition.

I don’t know what made us so competitive. My daughter who is three years old thinks that everything’s a game and she needs to win. She thinks being first to get to elevator, brushing her teeth, taking a bath, all of these things are games to her. For a three year old, I get it. I think these kids just want to have fun.

I don’t get big brands though, when they get very competitive.  It’s good to be aware of what the competitor is doing, but it will be better if you place more focus on us, your potential customers. Sometimes you lose us, because you’re too focused on what the competitor is doing. Focus on what we want rather on getting ahead.

2. Talk to me like i’m a person, because I AM A PERSON.

Personally, i’m sick and tired of brands who see me as “revenue”, “target market” or as a “lead”. See me as a person, because that is what I am.  I am a marketer and the essence of what marketing is all about is understanding the person. Marketing is understanding the behaviour, the feelings, the effect of things on a person, the sentiments of a person and trying to look for a solution and address those by linking your product or service.

It’s not the other way around. Don’t be so in love with your brand, because as a consumer, I couldn’t care less. I have a plethora of choices (and the internet makes it easier to switch), and being a big name doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is that you listen, not only to me, but also to your other customers. You try to win my trust, and yes, you will eventually do if you just listen and make me feel like I matter to you, too.

3. Build relationships as people and not as a brand.

A lot of big companies look into what startup businesses do (especially in the tech startup world). They think tech startups are magical. They try to peek into what these tech startups do, and what made them as big as Facebook, Uber, and the like. I’ve been a part of both worlds — a corporate slave and a struggling tech startup founder, and I have observed some differences. Pertaining to the topic today, I have seen that startups are known not only as brands but as people. And I think that most of the start-ups are not only known as brands, because customer validation and getting out of the building to know their customers is a key thing that do. With this, people or possible clients get to know the people behind the brand and not the brand alone.

One of the things that the big brands can do is send their people to where their customers are so that they can have intimate and real conversations with them. Check on the mood and the sentiments of the customers. Leave the office!

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Best Place to Start a Blog When you Want to Monetize It

The best place to start a blog when you want to monetize it is to think of it as a business.

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The best place to start a blog when you want to monetize it is to have that mindset that it will really be a business. You need to be profitable in order for you to sustain a business. On the on set, if you really want to make blogging your main source of income, you should be committed to do everything you can, learn everything you can, and make a living out of it.

People would think it’s taboo to talk about money when you are talking about passion. As bloggers who are in business, we need to realize early on that we shouldn’t be allergic to talk about money in exchange for the value that we give. There is nothing bad about earning from blogging. Blogging is a legitimate profession — that is why there is a growing number of professional bloggers out there. And when you think about it, it’s great that these people wake up every day, do something that they are passionate about, and earn from it.

I have been silently analyzing different kinds of bloggers for the longest time and I have observed something quite interesting. Those bloggers who earn figures that you wouldn’t believe is possible are those who love numbers and charts. Haha! I’m not generalizing, but since the time that I have been intrigued by quant-based marketing, I have slowly seen the difference. These bloggers who earn huge amounts, in thousands of dollars, do not realize that they are experts in quant-based marketing. They take time to undertand trends, charts, ups and downs of their clicks, visits, and even bids. What they do is very interesting!

Another interesting characteristic of these people is that they don’t stop learning. They search online and try to understand how to make their blogs more engaging to their audience. These bloggers take time to understand what their readers want. They painstakingly go through each report on Google Analytics to see whether their performance is better than what it was yesterday.

So the best place to start a blog is really when you know clearly what your objective is for having the blog. If it’s about monetization, then go all-out!

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

 

 

 

 

PS. See you tomorrow at The Freelancer Fair!

PPS. See you on November 29 for Payoneer’s Freelancer Forum

The Freelancer Fair: What to Expect

Last year, my friend, Evan and I thought of a way to help the freelance industry in the Philippines. During that time, we were creating pocket and intimate events. Freelancers would gather and talk about their Freelance profession. It’s so nice to notice that nowadays, the individuals in this ecosystem are uniting and more and more entities seem open to supporting this economy. We then thought of creating The Freelancer Fair, an event that would gather all freelance professionals, licensed professionals, and small business owners in one roof.

In November 19, 2016 at The Tent, Acacia Estates, Taguig City, Manila Workshops and the Department of Informations, Communications and Technology will be holding the biggest freelancing event in the Philippines called The Freelancer Fair. The Freelancer Fair will be a whole day gathering of freelancers, professionals, business owners and brands that truly support this growing ecosystem.

Please do come and make the most out of it. Build alliances, start collaborations and make new friends. A big part of creating and sustaining a successful freelance career is the support that each one will lend you as you grow your business.

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What to Expect during The Freelancer Fair

During the event, there will be that will talk about different topics that will introduce the community to new concepts, teach aspiring freelancers and newcomers what freelancing is all about and several tips to improve their skill to effectively deal with clients.

The specific topics that will be discussed are the following:

– Building Alliances: Freelancing in the Philippines
– Government’s Role in Building Alliances with Freelancers
– 7 Steps to a Successful Freelance Business
– How to Stand Out: Branding 101
– Simple Taxation for Freelancers
– Art of Pricing
– How to Get International Clients
– Government Benefits for Freelancers
– Receiving Cross-border Payments
– Local Payment Transfers with Paymaya
– 7 Tools that Multiply your Freelance Earnings
– Business Correspondences and Maintaining Key Relationships

Aside from these amazing talks at the Main Hall / Expo Area (The Tent, Acacia Estates), we will be having more in-depth talks at CASA REAL, which is just a stone’s throw away from The Tent. In this venue, the more advanced freelancers can take a pick or attend all of the Premium Talks available.

Here are the tracks that are available:

MARKETING TRACK (10:00 AM to 12:00 NN)
Learn more about creating digital marketing plans and social media from Mr. Rey Baguio of Zarangola Media.

CONTENT TRACK (1:00PM to 3:00 PM)
Learn more about how to create effective content that will sell and get the message across from Ms. Ana Santos of Writer’s Block Philippines.

DESIGN TRACK (3:30 PM to 5:30 PM)
Learn more about design thinking and the basics of user experience with Mr. Philip Smithson, Director of On-Off Design & Technology.

Apart from the informative talks mentioned, there will be around 50 booths of different freelancers and brands that support the community. The different communities that will be present are Freelancing.ph, OnlineJobsUniversity.com, Freelance Blend, Tycoon.ph, Ideaspace, Work in Freedom, Online Filipino Freelancers, The Virtual Nomad, Zarangola Media, Bloggers ng Pinas, Graphic Artists Philippines and Raket.ph.

This event is made possible with the help from these sponsors:

Uber: Uber will give out free rides (up to Php 150 credits each) to new users from now until November 19, 2016. The code is TFF2016!

PayMaya: Paymaya will be giving out Free Paymaya cards

Payoneer: Payoneer is inviting all of us to come to the Freelancer Forum. You can sign up here: http://register.payoneer.com/register-payoneer-forum-manila-29nov-kat/

Taxumo: Taxumo is inviting everyone to sign up in their system http://taxumo.com. They can process your tax payments for you in this simple system!

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Thank you to our minor sponsors!

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Thank you, too, to our media partners, When in Manila, Inquirer POP, Yuneoh, Manila Bulletin, Voice of the Youth Radio, Creativoices and MommyGinger.com.

Tickets to The Freelancer Fair is just at Php 500. This includes access to the talks at The Tent and access to the booths. For those who want to attend the Premium Talks as well, each Track is at Php 1500 and Php 3000 to attend all three tracks. Premium tickets have access to the Expo area, as well. Tickets are available at: http://TheFreelancerFair.com

For sponsorship and booth inquiries, please contact Charis.Villamin@ManilaWorkshops.com
For more details about the expo, please contact Rhea.Buenavista@ManilaWorkshops.com

Hope to see you there!