Archives for February 2017

Cast for Keeps

I remember when I had Zeeka. I wanted to frame and keep everything — from how little her hands were, to hair from her first haircut, etc. As parents, we want to preserve these things to show our children when they grow up and for us to preserve the happy memories. This is the mission of Cast for Keeps, a small business in the Philippines. I had a chance to interview Andrea. Andrea Aranas is the Managing Director of Cast For Keeps and this is her story.

Andrea: I am a spontaneous person. I love random things depending on my mood and as of now I am into crafts and vlogging. But the things I like that will never change is public speaking, hosting, playing sports, and trying new things. I have a small family – it’s just my husband, my daughter and me. My husband and I have been married for over a year. We love travelling by car, but we don’t really go to specific destinations. We just love to go on joyrides. I never had the chance to work as I started crafting my own business, but I want to work with public schools and help the less fortunate as this has been my advocacy since I was in grade school. I have a passion for helping the needy,  especially children from to broken families.

Interview with Andrea Aranas

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

Andrea: I do lifecasting. Where I use molds and casting techniques to capture 3D copies of the hands and feet of my clients and turn them into rare memorabilia. I only started this year.

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

Andrea: The first lifecasts I did were for infants’ hands and feet. Then, I realized other members of the family deserve to have their own keepsakes. Lifecasting preserves the memories of my clients’ their babies and  children as they grow. Then, beginning this month, I am trying out a product to cater to corporate clients.

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

Andrea: I saw it randomly on the internet and thought it was cute, then I got curious and wanted to try it out.

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

Andrea: It was hard to find Suppliers of the materials. I had to look for high quality items, so all
my ingredients are shipped from Australia.

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

Andrea: Well, many Filipinos are hesitant to splurge on memories. They’d be more practical.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an entrepreneur/startup founder should have when
starting their own business?

Andrea: Willingness to take risks. Patience. Perseverance.

Ginger: What are some unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an entrepreneur/startup founder?

Andrea: You will always lose money in the beginning, so you should really work on capital first if you do not want to take too big a risk.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other entrepreneurs?

Andrea: Do what you love to do, but be creative.

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Andrea: Yes.

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

Andrea: Personally, I resell. Then, I declutter and try selling things I son’t need or making something out of them that will easily be sold.

Ginger: How do you market your products? What’s your growth strategy?

Andrea: Facebook, of course. Also advertisements, tie-ups, sponsorships, and, most importantly, word of mouth.

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

Andrea: Nothing much. Just my smartphone.

Ginger: Thank you so much, Andrea, for sharing some tips and your experiences 🙂 And we have good news for my dear readers! Andrea will be giving away 1000 off for any services.

Mechanics to join the raffle (these are just 3 easy steps!):

  1. Like the Cast For Keeps Facebook page: www.facebook.com/castforkeeps
  2. Follow them on Instagram: @castforkeeps
  3. Tell us why you want to win on the comment section below!

Contact information about your business:
Email address: castforkeeps@gmail.com
Mobile Number: 09174344671
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/castforkeeps
Instagram account: @castforkeeps

 

 

#LoveSnR during the Love Month

Did you have a sweet Valentine’s Day? Don’t fret because going to S&R Membership Shopping can give you the right amount of sweetness that you crave for! We did our monthly grocery shopping at S&R and I took note of the products that you might be interested in having or in giving this Love Month.

  1. These cookies in these cute bear tin cans can melt anyone’s heart.

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2) Looking for the perfect gift for mom this love month? Check out these three products from Ariete: The Ariete Popcorn Maker at Php 1599 from Php 2199, The Ariete Hotdog Maker at Php 2199 and the Ariete Cotton Candy Maker at Php 3299 from 4299. These stylish and vintage looking equipments are sold at lower prices at S&R.

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3) For mallow lovers, this Trufettes de France Orange Mallow Dark Chocolate – Chocolat Noir will be perfect!

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4) If you have not tried this, you are missing out on life, sister! This Pepero Double Dip is one of my favorites! A big box has 8 packs and I can finish 3 packs in one sitting. This is available at S&R for only Php 299.95.

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5) The Classic Brown & Haley Roca Collection is one of the most loved and sought after chocolates! The boxes includes these two flavors: Almond and Dark Roca.

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6) My daughter loves this! I think other kids will love it, too, since these M&Ms in tubular containers doubles as a wand for them! haha!

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7) This Witor’s Il Boero Chocolate is to die for. In this classy container comes little pieces of chocolate that makes every calorie worth it! Forget about the calories, this dessert is to die for!

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8) Now the first of the simple looking desserts is the Talenti Gelato. The packaging is very simple, but it’s super yummy! Try the Salted Peanut Caramel Ice cream and tell us what you think!

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9) Now, the second very simple looking dessert, but is super yummy, too, is Holly’s Yoghurt. This is also one of my favorites! It’s not too sweet. It had the right amount of tartness. This is something that you must buy!

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10) For those who love milk, lemonade and coffee, these drinks from Califia are amazing. I also love the shape of the bottle! I bought Almond milk and it’s perfect for snacking!

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11) If you’re not one to express feeling through words, then this gigantic cookie may help you out.

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12) For the men in your life, a bottle of wine will show them how much you care!

 

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These are some of things that can make your Love Month sweeter than ever! Head over to S&R and try out these things! Let me know which ones are your favorite by using #LoveSnR and #SnReveryday! Visit the S&R Member Shopping page for more information on discounts and promos!

 

Why YOU is More Important

Life is complicated. That’s a reality that each one of us needs to accept. My life is not perfect, and it may seem to be, but under the scrutinizing eyes of of someone more mature, they may be able pick out a lot of flaws and imperfections. No matter how much we strive to make our lives perfect, it will never be.

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So, do we just throw in the towel, and live life miserably. No! Of course, not. What makes life exciting and worth living is practically that. We go through life wanting to live it to the fullest (may be not perfect). Each and every breath leads us to things that are new, ideas that haven’t been uncovered, decisions we make that surprise even ourselves.

I was talking to a company last week that mentioned their goal (it was a really great goal), which was to help people achieve success. It truly is wonderful to see a company that aims to achieve that. It was refreshing to see a company go beyond products and services, and to have its main motivation to make it a point that me, their consumer, achieves success. But it got me thinking, do we really know what our own definition of success is.

For the businesses that we create, it may be easier to define. Having a sustainable, profitable business may be it. And to add to that, some of us may even add a higher purpose to what our business is all about. But this is for our business. What about us? We often attach ourselves too much to the business that we have (it’s really hard to separate and some may even say that it’s not really a business but a passion, so it will never be separated), but is the business’ success your own definition of success?

I personally see businesses as a tool to get you to your own definition of success — a means to an end. Some may see traveling the world as their own “end”; being a simple nomad and an advocate of discovery. Others may see living a simple life with no worries surrounded by loved ones as their ultimate dream. Others see that their ultimate “end” is having no end to what they are currently doing, since it’s their passion. It’s something to think about. What is your end? What is your definition of success?

Never forget that what ultimately matters is your own success. Success for me when you are happy with yourself, your choices and how you lived your life. When you are contented with your life, you are successful. You cannot compare your own success with other people, because we all live different lives. You cannot let competition drive you. You have to be your own worst enemy and your own best friend. Motivation will come from no one els, but you.

This is the reason why YOU is the most important thing in this world. Look inside and you’ll find clarity.

Tupperware Brands Philippines presents Hello Kitty

When my daughter was younger, she had this liking for anything that had Hello Kitty on it. How could you not love Hello Kitty? When I found out that there was a new collection that Tupperware Brands Philippines came out with that had Hello Kitty as their design, I just had to see for myself! I wanted to give it to my daughter as a Valentine’s Day surprise!

This are the things that I got!

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For your little girl, these are the products that we will try!

*image from Tupperware Brands PH

*image from Tupperware Brands PH

First off, they have this set that comes in a lovely fuchsia container. They have the Hello Kitty Kids Plus+ Powder, Hello Kitty Kids Plus+ Cologne and the Hello Kitty Kids Plus + Head-to-Toe Wash. It had a really nice flowery scent that you would love. I’m saying “you” would love, because we all know that we love cuddling and smelling our little toddlers! haha!

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Making toddlers eat their meals is a pain in the ass! Seriously, you need to keep them entertained, distracted, etc. You need to pull off all sorts of stuff just to get them to finish their food. I noticed though that when we eat in restaurants with cute little cutlery sets for children, she eats very well. At home, for the past few days, she’s been eating well ever since she received her own Hello Kitty Dining Plate with matching Cutlery Set. Check out this set in this month’s Tupperware Brand Philippines catalogue: http://bit.ly/MidMonthSpecials

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And of course, we need something “matchy-matchy”. Every mother and daughter pair needs to have at least one item that both of them have. We already have matching clothes, so when I saw this, I really wanted to get both. The black Hello Kitty 425mL Eco Bottle is obviously for me and the red one is for my daughter.

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And for the mommies and big sisters, Tupperware Brands Philippines also has Hello Kitty Eau Fraiche made especially for you. I have the 60ml bottle of Pink, which was this very endearing glass bottle perfume in the form of Hello Kitty. They also have the Blue and Purple scents. It’s a very light frangrance that women-on-the-go (like me) would want.

Here is a short unboxing video or me and my little cutie, Zeeka Eureka!

Let me know if you got any of these things and if you liked it! 🙂

For more details on Tupperware Brands Philippines, you can go to these links:

o FB: facebook.com/TupperwareBrandsPh
o IG: @tupperwarebrandsph
o Website: www.tupperwarebrands.ph

Music Together by The Great Leap Academy

I woke up today feeling amazing. I feel that I can accomplish anything today. Feeling this way may be due to the fact that I loved what I did yesterday, which was talk to people. Have you noticed that when you are exposed to something you love doing, it doesn’t feel like work?

In the same way, my daughter thinks it’s fun going to school. In school, they dance, sing, and play while learning the alphabet, number, etc. I have noticed that my daughter loves music. She loves singing. Recently, we went on a field trip to Manila Ocean Park, and she was singing in the bus the entire time! Because of this love for music, I decided to try out The Great Leap Academy once again. The last time I brought her to this place was when she was a baby, and we both had a great time.

Zeeka Eureka at The Great Leap Academy

Zeeka Eureka at The Great Leap Academy

In BGC, they have two branches: the one at Kensington Place and another one at Serendra. The Great Leap Academy’s number one goal is to provide a home-like environment and the kind of influences that encourage children of all ages to become creative, independent, responsible, well rounded, self-directed adults who can make decisions for themselves.

We arrived there for the 3:00 PM class. The minute we walked inside, Zeeka was greeted by two really enthusiastic teachers. We arrived just in time so we all went straight to the mat area — yours truly, Zeeka and yaya Ana. We started immediately and the first song was a welcome song. The teacher gave us a beat to follow by clapping. She sang it beautifully without any background music. It was so cool!

“In Music Together, not all song are with CD accompaniment. There’s a balance between acapella, instrument accompaniment and CD accompaniment. Also, not all songs are kiddy songs. It’s a mixture of different kinds of genre – jazz, broadway, world music, blues, pop etc. kase we wanted to create a musically rich environment for the child. We are exposing them to authentic music immersion,” said one of the TGLA representatives.

What was great was that the two teachers kept my daughter very engaged. It was so nice to see her follow everything that was said. There was also a time for dancing-your-heart-out! It was so funny seeing her dance!

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What The Great Leap Academy uses is an International Program called Music Together. The Joy of Family Music® since 1987 Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music program for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and the adults who love them. These classes are mixed-age classes for children 0-5 years old—and. Grown-ups are actually encouraged to join, too!

When you enroll with The Great Leap Academy, it comes with a song book and the songs that you can take home and play at home. The entire curriculum is research based. 8 sessions (plus two bonus classes) is at Php 7700. It’s worth it!

It was really a great experience, not only for my daughter but also for me (and yaya… haha!). If you are looking for bonding activities that you can do with you child, I highly suggest that you enroll at The Great Leap Academy. Hope to see you, too!

 

5 Key Things to Remember when Creating a Retail Business

I always had a fascination with retail businesses. I think it is because I like the idea of having something tangible that you create. Although, I don’t think I, myself, can actually make the actual product (unfortunately, I don’t have the skill for that). For those who don’t know and probably a lot of you don’t know this, but a few years back, I actually dabbled into starting my own retail business, too. It was called HYD or Hot Young Designers. The idea was to collaborate and carry the lines of 5 new fashion designers, and help market them. In essence, it was a social enterprise.
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This business only lasted a year though. My business partner and I decided to cut our losses short and just be happy with what we attempted to do and learn from it. There is part of me that still wants to pursue having my own retail business, but a part of me that also says that I have to say no. So, i’ll probably just take it easy first and chose the latter. I need to focus on the things that I am involved with now. With that, I think the help that I can give those aspiring retail entrepreneurs is through writing about my experience, sharing with you the experience of other successful retailers and to come up with learning events that you can attend.

For today, I’m listing down 5 key things to remember when creating a retail business:

Understand your Customer

In this business, for whatever it is that you will sell, it’s about understanding the customer. Oftentimes, having a tangible product can make it even more distracting to veer away from the customer and focus on the product, especially if the product that you are selling is a customised one (you created it from scratch). My suggestions is identify segment or segments of the market that you want to sell to and show the design of the product or a prototype, even before you create the actual product. By doing this, you get to garner feedback that will be crucial to how you create your business or product.

Research More about the Retail Industry

Going into retail, just like any other business, is risky. Retail usually involves creation or even just handling actual products that may be more capital intensive than a service based business. When aspiring to be a retailer, it may be beneficial to talk to already successful retailers. One of the successful ones that I have come across and interviewed is my friend, Cory Marquez of Invitation House. Here is her story on the humble beginnings of Invitation House, which now has 5 stores in the Philippines.

Check out the Different Types of Retail Businesses

* Store retailing. Store retailing is basically having a brick and mortar store, whether it is your own store or if you just have a spot given to you at a department store. Choosing this type of retailing business usually addresses the basic needs of man, like food, clothing, etc.
* Specialty stores. These kinds of stores normally focus now on a specialised “want” of the customer. Invitation House is a sample of a specialty store. It focuses on the desire of customers to have special invitations, cute artsy notecards, etc.
* Nonstore retailing. These retailers have chosen not to sell via a brick and mortar store, but through other means like building an eCommerce shop, selling via Easy or Shopify, selling via HomeTV shopping, or through catalogs that are sent out. It can also be non-digital, like having pop up stores.
* Other forms of “Retail”
– DIY Retailing. An example of this are the vending machines that you see around — from coffee to sanitary napkins. The only thing that the owner needs to do is to replenish supplies and collect payment.
– Crowd Funding platforms. Some of the new retailers also turn to crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter.com.

Check out the different Business models

There may be a dozen ways to sell your products and services, but here are some of those that I can think of:
– Consignment (be it in an actual brick-an-mortar store or via an online shop like Lazada, Zalora, etc.)
– Direct Selling or Door-to-Door
– Crowd Funding (as mentioned above)
– Sales from Social Media Channels

Create a Business Plan after doing all of your Research

It will really be beneficial if you could write down the plan, including the projections for both your expenses and income. Before the launch of HYD, we actually had this in place. What we lacked was more research about the retail industry. We didn’t know that return on investment (ROI) would be longer for retail than it is for a service based business. We also forgot to take into consideration the expenses for keeping the Quality in check. Writing it down will be beneficial since you will be able to go through different scenarios in your mind and you’ll often see it more clearly when it’s written down.

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Sign up to join this WORKSHOP at: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/starting-your-online-retail-business

 

There are a lot more lessons that I have learned from other more successful retailers that I can share via this blog. I will continuously share these things with you. I hope that you have learned from these few tips. If you are a retailer with a story that others can learn from, just leave a comment below and let’s talk about it.

A Reality Show for Start-ups: The Final Pitch

I am an avid fan of Shark Tank. I love watching Start-up pitch their ideas, even if some are super unprepared. I love seeing the different ideas that people have. Man, there are a lot of unique and creative ideas. I love taking note of the judges questions and I am always amazed at how good they are with numbers. I think Shark Tank is the only show that I watch where I have my notebook by my side to actually take down notes. You may laugh at me (haha!) but I do learn a lot from this show.

In my mind, the end goal really of the start-ups joining the show is either to raise capital (which is pretty normal) or to gain enough publicity to build traction. And for the rest of us watching the show, it’s really for our entertainment and education. Anything that I could learn from, I love!

Imagine my delight when I was invited to the Final Pitch press conference. I didn’t get to go (because I had to focus this week on Taxumo, but I decided to share it anyway. The Final Pitch is something like Shark Tank. The show will challenge entrepreneur contestants in every way — from exploring funding options, refining their business plans, and marketing their products and services. The show is set to air on History Channel this May, 2017

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“The Final Pitch aims to help entrepreneurs find success by connecting them to investors who can finance them, and to mentors who can fine-tune their businesses—reducing risk factors and boosting growth potential and sustainability,” shares the creator and host of The Final Pitch, John Aguilar.

The show will make entrepreneurs go through a series of challenges that will test their creativity, motivation and character. At the same time, they will learn the secrets behind the success of their potential investors, who are also tasked to handpick the top finalists to proceed on the show.

L-R The Final Pitch creator John Aguilar, venture capitalist Jose ‘Jomag’ Magsaysay, CEO of MFT Group of Companies Mica Tan, Chairman and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, and Chairman and CEO of Catala Corporation Joseph Calata

L-R The Final Pitch creator John Aguilar, venture capitalist Jose ‘Jomag’ Magsaysay, CEO of MFT Group of Companies Mica Tan, Chairman and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, and Chairman and CEO of Catala Corporation Joseph Calata

For Jose ‘Jomag’ Magsaysay, founder of a well-loved global food brand and one of the investors on ‘The Final Pitch’, his picks for the show would be based on whether or not he can see them as future business partners. “I’m looking for people who deserve a break, as I believe in the person more than the business,” he shares.

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Other investors include the multi-awarded Chairman and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong; self-made billionaire and the youngest chairman of a publicly-listed company in the PSE, Joseph Calata; and lastly, 25-year old millennial CEO of the angel investing group MFT Group of Companies, Mica Tan.

In addition to the potential funding from the investors, contestants will receive business coaching from an esteemed lineup of mentors, who are composed of well-known business experts and inclusive business champions, namely Department of Trade and Industry Secretary, Mon Lopez; former President of MicroVentures, Inc., Senator Bam Aquino; Chairman of Start Up Village, Prof. Jay Bernardo and; President of the Ateneo Center for Entrepreneurship-Masters In Entrepreneurship (ACE-ME), Dr. Andy J. Ferreira, among others.

I think this is a good initiative, because (1) Filipinos need to see that there are a lot of opportunities out there — opportunities to solve problems, opportunities to innovate and opportunities to make a difference; (2) We need to stir up the start-up ecosystem in the Philippines and having more publicity for the entire industry is good (in that way, we, startups won’t have to explain what we actually do, especially to our friends and parents. haha!);  and lastly, (3) We need to strive to be better than we are and let go of that “okay na ako” attitude. We, Filipinos, are very talented individuals and it’s such a waste to see people full of potential not maximize their talents and skills.

So there, these are the reasons why I, personally think, that we need shows and other activities like this. Will we join this competition and represent Taxumo? Maybe. We will have to think about it! haha!

But for those who are ready to join, here are some details:

To join The Final Pitch, applicants will be required to fill up and submit an online entry form to The Final Pitch via its official website www.TheFinalPitch.ph Deadline for submission of entries is until March 17, 2017. Investors interested in becoming a part of the show or investing in the entrepreneurs behind the scenes may also get in touch with The Final Pitch through through its website.

*The Final Pitch’ is produced by Streetpark Productions Inc., the company behind the longest-running real estate and construction TV show Philippine Realty TV. For more info and for sponsorship and partnership inquiries, visit www.TheFinalPitch.ph or call 0917-8136674.

Goodluck to all my readers who want to join! Message me so that we can all watch you!

Identifying Potential Niches in Blogging

If you want to earn from blogging, you need to choose a niche. Choose a niche that you think will be profitable for you now and in the future. Blogging is a lot similar to starting your own business. There are a lot of pain points that you can address via your products and service offerings, but ultimately, you narrow down your choices to those that will make most business sense.

What I have seen in the blogging community is that a lot of them go for what is hip and trendy. I don’t blame them. Business owners are like that, too. A few months back, in the Tandang Sora area, there was at two food parks. Now, when you visit that area, there are around more than half a dozen food parks. But it’s normal to go for things that are already proven, things that are cool, and things that seem profitable. Although, there is always a benefit to being the first mover.

Going back to blogging, a lot of the people I see are fashion bloggers, food bloggers, beauty bloggers, finance bloggers and mom bloggers. It’s great that there are a lot of bloggers who are part of these segments, but there are a lot of other niches that you can start checking out, too (especially if you have the ability, skill and passion for it!). One of the niches that isn’t quite as popular is fitness. I’ve only come across a few fitness, health or sports bloggers.

My friend Allan and I were talking about this. I believe that in order for an industry to thrive, we all have to work together to make this industry enticing. There are lead influencers in the industry like Jaymie Pizarro, the Fit Stop Crew (Amazing work, Jackie, Jeff, etc.!) There are famous coaches, too! But if you want to make the fitness industry something that can generate revenue as a whole, from coaches, to gyms, to these famous bloggers to aspiring bloggers, we need more “movement” in that industry.

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Since we create learning events, we are coming up with a Fitness Blogging 101 workshop, in which you can learn how to make it big in this niche. There are a lot of untapped potential brands who need the help of bloggers that fall under fitness, health and nutrition. So if you want to blog, but still figuring out what topic to write about, try going with FITNESS.

Another thing is that there people are building a lot of gyms, yoga studios, crossfit boxes, etc. A lot of people, too, are considering becoming a fitness instructor. Blogging can make you stand out! Blogging can be a way for you to amplify you message and build your brand. It can also be way for you to build an audience and to build a good base of followers.

So if you haven’t considered coming to this workshop, hope you consider it now! Fitness is one of the potential niches in blogging. We look forward to helping you!

Sign up using this link: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/fitness-blogging-101

P.S. You’ll have a free yoga session, too, and free CREDITS from KFIT! 🙂