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How to start an online business according to Kuya Manzano

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Being an entrepreneur is a grueling job, even for Kuya Manzano. The journey can be strenuous, filled with bleak reality checks, unpredictable turns and a great deal of financial and emotional strain. 

However, being an entrepreneur was always a lucrative job for theatre and television actor, Kuya Manzano, in spite of all the hurdles that he faces on a daily basis. 

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

Due to financial constraints a couple of years ago, Kuya thought of putting up his own business called, ‘The iChill Theatre Cafe.’

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

“Since I have always been an entrepreneur, I thought of bringing to the local scene a venue where you can eat and have access to independent art. We have many of those places in Madrid, Spain. So I believe the Filipinos could benefit from it and appreciate it too. I learned a lot about business, but it was also tough!”

But the challenge didn’t just end there. One may recall that when the lockdown was imposed in mid-March back in 2020 that restaurants were struggling heavily facing pandemic-related layoffs and closings.

However, the tech-savvy Kuya was able to keep his business up and running during the lockdown, thanks to his witty entrepreneurial skills.

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

A few adjustments had to be made when the pandemic hit and he is currently utilizing online platforms to keep it afloat. 

“We had to close our coffee shop after 7 years due to the lockdown. So we transformed it into an online shop. I’m very happy with the changes, but the beginning is always hard. However, we now see progress every month. So I am always happy if there is progress,” he underscored. 

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

In spite of his limited resources, Kuya was able to find other creative ways to make ends meet and to make the online transition follow through.

“I sold all we had at the cafĂ©. I even sold my TV, books, and furniture. And with the proceeds I started buying more inventory to then sell for some profit margin online,” he explained.

Kuya stressed that even if his earnings are still not tangible a year later, he is pleased to see that there has been progress. 

Photo from Instagram (@kuyamanzano)

“I am still in the process of making some real money. One year is nothing for a business venture. If there is progression it is good enough. Of course, I keep on tweaking to improve results.”

Having that said, Kuya rounded up some tips on how one can start their own online business.

1. Have a Facebook account – Facebook has the largest network of humans to interact with and connect with.  Facebook also has a very useful tool which will be relevant to online selling called Facebook Marketplace.

2. Go to the Marketplace Icon – Facebook’s Marketplace has a myriad of products you may not find anywhere else. You can find items that are regularly retailed or you may even get other people’s second hand items/junk. 

3. Finalize the items you want to trade on Facebook Marketplace – You can sell practically anything here. Please note that Facebook Marketplace has few regulation features, so trade/buy prudently and responsibly. 

4. Post nice pics of your product – Nice photos can add appeal over people with the same product and add to your accounts branding as well.

5. Add a short but useful descriptive title – Come up with a short but useful descriptive title that buyers would reasonably search for. A good search title combined with a great photo will make your items sell faster.

6. Write a concise description of the item – Come up with a concise description of the item especially details that have more meaning to your target buyer. So if you were selling a mirrorless camera, details such as focal length, aperture, and PRICE are very important.

7. Negotiate with buyers through the chat function of Facebook  Marketplace – This chat function somewhat insulates you from the buyer. However a good negotiation will eventually have you have direct contact with buyers/sellers.

8. Actual physical trade/transaction –  Meet and close the deal with your buyer. Facebook Marketplace is more of a free for all so you would have less control on your security of the people you buy and sell with. So again, transact prudently and responsibly.

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