An Online Success and Mystery

Via Pexels by Fancycrave CC0

This is the stuff internet dreams are made of.

A few days ago, I was sent a link to a Reddit post of a 29 year old Filipino running a website with a passive income of Php 50,000 ($1,000) and who works in an online casino. He’s thinking of retiring when he’s 30.

I was impressed and curious.

Could I do this myself? I’d love to have a website with that much passive income and to be able to have enough to think of retiring.

The Reddit thread describes it as a website where the traffic is 5 million hits per day.

That’s a hell of a lot of traffic.

There are so many things that can be done with that traffic. He could set up an auxilliary website on just about anything and direct some of his traffic there. He could create online products to be sold and test market response. There are so many strategies to try.

But he didn’t divulge the website name, citing fears of competition.

Okay, so you think to yourself that this must be a troll. But the details provided seem pretty real and his story sounds authentic. He doesn’t seem to know much about investing money wisely outside of a few time deposits. He doesn’t have much of an understanding of what you need to invest in for retirement. There are so many small things that he says that seem genuine.

There are just a few websites that have that much traffic and even though I’ve looked and tried to piece together what site the post refers to, I’m stumped (and envious! I’d love to have that many people viewing my writing).

Any ideas? Let me know.


How much do bloggers make? | Not just the success stories

via Pixabay CC0

If you are thinking of starting a blog, you’ve probably read up on the many ways to monetize it. There are a lot of how to’s for setting up a blog and getting it up and running, but there are fewer stories to justify all the effort. How much do bloggers really make?

You’ve probably heard the success stories about living off of your blog, but this is 1% of the blogger population. These are the stories we all hear about and income reports are available.

What if your blog is only a few months old?

What ad revenue does your traffic really support?

These are the questions I wanted answered and that I tried to answer when I started researching. Taking the Philippines as a case study, I started looking at blog numbers and revenues from bloggers there.

I found that most blogs are doing a combination of advertising revenue, affiliate links and sponsored articles.

So, what can you earn with a blog?

Advertising Revenue | Google Adsense

If you are a new blogger, putting up a site and a couple of ads seems like a simple and easy way to monetize your site.

Publish a few posts, wait for the traffic to come in, and get your check.

And yes, you can totally make a little bit on the side with advertising.

Para sa Pinoy received $201 in commission for March 2017, and posted her Western union receipt. That’s pretty good for a new blogger and a blog only a few months old. Her first few articles were about how to use government sponsored benefits.

Think pesos makes a $40 – $300 a month while yet other blogs are make only $15 a month despite being 4 years old and having traffic of 10,000.

Then there are those blogs that make a full-time income with a large chunk from advertising.

Kawaling Pinoy is a blog with a focus on Filipino recipies. She has been blogging for 4 years as well but her blog brought in $20,000 in Dec 2016 on traffic of 1.5 million.

That’s incredible (and makes me want to quit my day job and just blog forever).

Affiliate links | Lazada Affiliate program

Blogs can make a lot from affiliate links.

For a blog to do this though, it has to present authoritative information on products and brands to encourage purchases. The competition in something like the tech area is cutthroat.

I’ve seen success stories from the top 1% of the blogging world about affiliate links, but I know (and I think you do to) that it isn’t all that simple or easy.

Let’s take the Lazada affiliate program as an example.

There have been several press releases about the Lazada affiliate program and there are tutorials on how to set it up.

This is useful, but before getting into the building of all those links and before doing all that work, the question remains – is the Lazada affiliate program profitable for its partners?

On Warrior forum, most users posted about small commissions of $25 or $50 dollars after about a year of work. Only one posted a commission of $1,000 to $2,000 per month.

SavingsPinay has never earned from affiliate marketing, despite traffic of 10,000 a month and a concerted effort to monetize her blog.

Daniel Gubalane started with Lazada in 2014 and initially had some difficulties. He later reported successfully being an affiliate, stating that Lazada was 30% of his income after 2 years. He seems to have figured it out, but only after first being disappointed and trying the Zalora program instead (where he made $60 in 3 weeks)

Sponsored posts

Blog networks can help by matching a brand with a blogger who has the readership that brand wants to market to.

The Nuffnang network was founded in Malaysia and ultimately spread to the Singapore, Thailand, China and the Philippines. In the Philippines, Nuffnang has a network of over 40,000 bloggers. They also have a network of brands and actively work with them on their PR campaigns.

These are often sponsored posts.

How much is a sponsored post?

Preview recently did a post on bloggers and mentioned that the amount per post is $20 to $200 (Php1,000 to 10,000) – and that’s for a fairly established blog.

Project vanity (love this name)  posted recently about how much she charges for a sponsored post. She gets the monthly page views a month, divides it by 1,000 and multiples it by $1 or Php50 which is the cost per mille in the Philippines.

So for 100,000 page views a month, you would divide by 1,000 and multiply by 50 to reach $100 or Php 5,000 per post. The last time that she had a sponsored post was 2 months ago, so it’s nice to have but won’t exactly built you your dream house.

The Big Takeaway

You can make money from your blog.

How much you make depends on your traffic and your readers profile, and at the end of the day this still depends on your content and your focus. (And yes, this could mean only $10 a month even after 4 years).

Content is King.

Sounds familiar?

It’s plastered everywhere. Everyone who blogs for a living knows that it’s your content that makes it clickable and shareable. All the other tools that we have can enhance it substantially, but at the end of the day what you write and how you tell the story is what makes it work.

What I found fascinating is the live case study by Tung Tran of Cloud Living. He published the story of how he built his site and monetized it to pay out almost $5,000 a month.

But then he noticed a decline in his traffic. He thought of several possibilities. One was that the site was optimized for Amazon affiliate revenue and that the content “was not of the highest quality”.

People seem to think that if they mechanically follow the “rules” (2,200 words, pictures, keywords, etc) then traffic will automatically come.

I think what gets lost is that its about the quality of the story you tell and how much you love what the topic is.

At the end of the day, the product is you.

How to Budget for a Craft Fair

Via Wikimedia Commons by Leonardo D. Santos CC BY-SA 3.0

Some fairs are simply out of reach for a crafterpreneur.

There are so many costs with a craft fair that people overlook and its important to tally it up first to see what your actual out of pocket actually is.

Below are some of the major items that crafterpreneurs spend on, and hopefully it will help serve as a guide of what to spend on and why.

Rental and booth display

Manila FAME gives you the option of either renting just the space or the space and a prebuilt booth at different prices, so it depends on your budget and what you think is better for your brand.


Some online sellers carry the bare minimum of inventory.

A physical store changes all of that.

You’ll need enough to make people browse and then decide to buy and that means more than one or two of each item.

Spending on inventory is a gamble since you aren’t sure what the market may want. It can also be costly. (Take jewelry for example. Small expensive pieces quickly add up).

Display materials

If you are selling jewelry, you’ll need jewelry boxes to display them in. If you are selling ice cream, you’ll need a freezer. If you are selling shoes, you’ll need a shoe racks and stands.

You get the picture.

Maritess Pineda, founder of MaARTE and ArteFino, stated  “The products may be good, but if it is not properly displayed, then it does not matter.” Product dislay is crucial so don’t overlook it.

Marketing materials

You need a calling card, banners, posters and flyers.

Decide on how you want to display your goods and how the marketing materials should support them or ask the organizers where you can display posters or tarpaulins.

Packing materials

You’ll need to have paper bags, scissors, tape, string, packing materials and pen and paper. Make sure that the amount that you bring is directly correlated to you stock. If you mostly sell small items, then you will mostly need small paper bags. If you sell breakables, bring lots of packing tape and bubble wrap.


With fairs often running for twelve hours and set up and tidying up several hours before and after that, you are going to need to take it in shifts or you will run out of steam.

If you staff it, then you are going to need to consider minimum wage for the staff, which can range from minimum wage of Php 512 to a few thousand depending on who you hire and what your overtime is.


How are you going to move all of that?

If you’ve got a brand booth, it may be bulky and heavy. Then you have all the packing, marketing and miscellaneous items. You might have to hire additional transportation just to move it, so factor that in as well.


If you’ve got a social media account now’s the time to use it.

Pin it, post it, Instagram it and see if you can leverage all those followers to spread them word and buy a few of your things. Promoting it isn’t very difficult these days.

So, spend a little money to make a little money and you might just end up making a lot.

These are really the definitive items that crafterpreneurs spend on for a craft fair. Rental spaces can be really pricey and can be the most expensive item spent on, but this depends on which craft fair you are joining. Inventory can also be a lot with staffing, marketing, display, and packing materials quickly adding to the bill.

Make sure that you write things down and come prepared so that your craft fair can fulfill the expectations that you have of it.

Go craft and then go out and see what a physical location would add to your experience. Often a craft fair will end up being worth the money.

3 of the most Influential Arts and Craft Fairs in Manila

via MaARTE’s Facebook

1. MaARTe

Want to hit the high net worth crowd?

MaARTe’s definitely the right spot.

For an exhibitor’s viewpoint, it is a solid place to showcase items as it attracts a well-heeled crowd. There is also extensive media coverage by ABS CBN, GMA, Inquirer, Philippine Star, and When in Manila.

It’s also very exclusive. The latest event only hosted 31 exhbitors at the Manila Pen. Well-known brands such as Aranaz and Phillip + Inna exhibited alongside Oscar Meija Aritsan Fragrances and Yvette’s Bags.

Your product would be in good company but be prepared.

It’s competitive, exclusive and very tough to get in.

Best fit: Craftsmen with a proven history looking to take their business to the next level.
Facebook: @maartefair
No of Exhibitors: 31
When: Usually August 2017
Where: Manila Peninsula

via ArteFino’s Facebook

2. ArteFino

Although only a year old, ArteFino has the same founders as the MaARTe who have a wonderful track record and a network of heavy hitting local brands.

In line with all that expertise, the ArteFino goal is pretty lofty.

As stated by one of the founders Maritess Pineda, it is to “provide an avenue for people to discover modern applications of Philippine indigenous materials and connect with innovative artisans from different industries.”

So, you’ll see traditional cloth from the Bagobos and the T’bolis reworked to be appealing to the modern girl alongside more familiar brands like Abre Linea and K & K bespoke jewelry.

They believe that the only way for local is global and hope that the money that they raise goes into back into the Philippine communities that they come from.

It has 70 exhibitors and a wide variety of products, all housed in the 1,490 sqm 8 Rockwell penthouse.

And if you want media exposure, you’ve got it.

It was covered by the Philippine tattler, Inquirer,, and Town and Country. It was curated by Ito Kish, and pulls an affluent crowd.

Best fit: Products with an eye to our national traditions and the artist entrepreneur
Phone: For details contact Imelda Canuel, Secretariat, ArteFino 2017 at tel. nos. +63917-5597462 and +6399-88671838
Facebook: ArteFinoPH 
Instagram: @artefinoph
No of Exhibitors: 70
When: Usually August 2017
Where: 8 Rockwell Penthouse

via Manila FAME’s website

3. Manila Fame

Do you want to connect with big customers?

Manila FAME is celebrating its 66th show, and it is the biggest and most well-known of the craft fairs.

This is where big companies go to buy bulk orders. I’ve seen several large national developers send their interior design people to see what is current in the market since almost everyone in the local space is there.

Befitting all that, it’s expensive. It is Php 54,000 for 18 square meters of space and 32,850 for 9 square meters with a aluminum booth.

Still, it’s the best organized and the most thorough. It requires all participants to pass a factory inspection, and be duly registered in the Philippines with the DTI, SEC and BIR documents ready.

Best fit: Craftsmen with mature businesses who can support large orders and are looking at the international stage
Phone: +63.2.8331258, 8325033, 8312201 local 242, 240, 203, 231
No of Exhibitors: 400 approximately
When: Oct 20-22 2017
Where: World Trade Center Metro Manila and the Philippine International Trade Center Exhibit Hall

How Craft Fairs can launch your brand | Stories from Manila

via Wikipedia Commons by Gordon Hatton  CC BY-SA 2.0


While reading about craft stories that became businesses, I found that most people eventually came to the point where they wanted a physical location. Some crafters turn to consignment while others start exhibiting at local craft fairs.

Craft fairs have a lot of benefits that include checking out the competition, exposure, networking and feedback.

Checking out the competition

Everyone and the world is at a craft fair, so it’s an outstanding opportunity to take a look at what’s going on.

Who’s selling what?

What are they selling it for?

What’s the actual quality of the items sold versus what’s really being posted online?

Craft fairs are a great source of information that you might not necessarily find elsewhere. A friend of mine was actively involved in the bazaar business for several years, and she made it a point to go around the fair a few times a day to see how things were going.


Ken Samudio is a marine biologist turned accessories designer whose flower earrings are sold by Luisa Via Roma, Modus Operandi and Bergdorf Goodman.

But it all wouldn’t have happened without his attending the International Fashion Showcase in 2014.

While there, his work was spotted by Sara Maino who was Italia Vogue’s senior editor and lead talent scout. Their emails led to him being picked for a profile on the magazine’s 50th anniversary and eventually, this led to his being one of only twelve designers shown at the Milan Fashion Week.

Think about the odds of that.

And all from a craft fair.

In Manila, he appeared in the 2016 MaArte fair for the benefit of the National Museum and in Manila Fame. Both are big, well respected trade shows with big opportunities to draw in clients, get a lot of press and get to know a market.


Peachy is an online shop selling craft supplies and polymer clay products.

In 2015 she was featured by Chasing Dreams Design Co., who talked about meeting her through the craft fair Pursuit Manila. It was an interview on her business and crafting and what she values, and it has continued to provide exposure to her, long after the initial meeting.

In fact, it’s how I found her.

There’s so much information on the web (in 2013, there were 1 billion websites out there) that the mentions, shares, likes and interviews you have, the better your chances of success.

So, don’t forget it’s all about the people.


Craft fairs instantly tell you if you’ve got the right product.

For instance, Lux 400 started by going to craft fairs and pop up stores and selling fashion accessories.

But if was only when she picked up crocheting as a side hobby and making cute crocheted food items called amigurami food that she found some success. She joined the BGC Art Mart exhibiting them, and customers responded well.

These days Lux 400 is started to get some press – who knows what will happen on her journey?

And who knows what will happen on yours?

A craft fair opens up opportunities and has a lot of value, so why not consider it? Admittedly there is a lot of preparation, but it can pay off in the end.

Have any good experiences with craft fairs? Let us know.

Turning craft into a business | Success stories from Manila

Via Pexels

Given the explosion of ecommerce, it’s only natural to think that a craft hobby might become a business.

In Manila, the arts and crafts scene has exploded.

There are tons more ecommerce sites and fairs than ever before, and serious crafters have begun to monetize them by building brands and blogs to reach an ever larger audience.

It seems like it isn’t easy, but there are a couple of great stories that I like to look at when I think about crafts business success in Manila.

1. Angel Anastasio

It’s interesting to see a business evolving, because while there are stories written after there’s been great success, it’s nice to see something that’s young and just starting.

Angel is a 26 year old entrepreneur who’s balancing several roles: MA Psychology, a day job, and her crafting business 400 Lux. She started by joining a crafts fair to sell accessories but picked up crocheting on the side. “Everything”, she says, “kind of snowballed from there.”

These days she makes anywhere from 8,000 on lean months to 19,000 on better months, but with the recent feature article on her in Cosmopolitan Philippines, that’s likely to increase.

2. Alchemista

Alchemista is a classic craft success story.

It is a jewelry line that started when the founder Georgina took silver smithing classes in Australia during her masters degree in 2003.

When she returned to the Philippines, she continued to work on it and make pieces for herself. Friends and coworkers started to notice, and she eventually put up the alchemista line to focus on her business full time.

She does wax carving and works with a team of metalsmiths to create her signature chunky bold pieces and continues to be active in the jewelry scene. She has been featured in several articles and has won the 2010 Philippine jewelers competition and placed highly in the 2013 GIA Thailand competition.

Hats off to her. Knowing what goes into creating jewelry and the difficulties of sourcing raw materials, it is such an accomplishment to see someone making it in this scene.

3. Common Room

Have you been here?

There are two shops now, one along Katipunan and another in Rockwell Makati that are filled with local crafter projects. There are cards and leather goods and small pieces of furniture. On some days, there are craft workshops in the space.

A venture by sisters Roma and Maan Agsalud, common room showcases items from the crafter community to introduce them to a wider audience. They had previous experience running a small craft kiosk in Alabang town center called PopJunkLove. They wanted a bigger location though and eventually found it in Katipunan.

The 10 years that Roma spent as the chief crafter of PopJunkLove prepared her for the challenge of launching the business. She understood the crafting community and instinctively filled a need that she saw.

It’s definitely inspiring. Who knows who might be the next big business success from a hobby?


What are your stories? Ever want to become an entrepreneur?