Mind Your Own Business

Many of us dreams of one day becoming our own boss. Unfortunately most of us Filipinos are not trained to be one. From our childhood, we are told to study very hard in order that when we grow up and eventually finish college, we would land in a good paying job. We were casted with that kind of mindset. And with the current situation of our country’s economy, many are not up for it. Many fear of the idea of losing.

We cannot go on being employees forever. In setting up your own business, you get to provide employment for yourself, and in broad spectrum, you provide employment to others. You can set your own working hours, provided of course you can answer the needs of your clients. You can set up your own house rules in your workplace. You get to exercise absolute control of everything at your disposal.

There is a great sense of fulfillment when you run your own business. You see your ideas and well-thought plans put at work. And providing an employment to others, and honing their skills in hopes that someday they too can use their own trade to provide employment themselves, is a very rewarding accomplishment.

You put your reputation on the line, so it is very important to be true to your words all the time. Life is a gamble. It is either you choose not to take any chances and stay well within the comforts of your employer’s office or you can place a bet on your own abilities for your own advancement. Life, as we know it, is all about taking chances. We create our own reality. The fact that we are short of cash is not a proper excuse; there are always ways to start. It is limited only to your imagination.

The power of your thoughts, your ideas, and your dreams can only manifest itself when you act on it. If you simply chose to sit and wait for whatever life may bring you, definitely nothing will happen. You have to pull your thoughts together and make your ideas into reality. Go out of your comfort zone and explore your own skills and abilities, and soon you’ll find out what rewards await for those who have the determination for it.

 

Ain’t No Golds In The Pyramids

During one of my college days, I was contacted by someone who identified herself as a businesswoman and offers me to join a seminar regarding a new business opportunity that I might interest me.i didn’t know how that woman got my number, and suspicion was pushed aside by excitement. Eager to earn money and naivety attributes, I agreed to attend – at least just to see what was going on. I was psyched and excited because for the first time I get to become part (I thought) of something big, and eager more to be called a businessman myself.

The “business meeting” was held in a building in Makati’s financial district, and at an unusual schedule – it started 8 in the evening and it went painfully long that night. A man in a sleek suit came in front of his audience and began boasting his accumulation of wealth so short a time during his service with the business organization. He definitely talks a lot, but little did he explain much about the nature of the products they offer and their organizational structure is not clear. All he talked about, all his keywords, is just “make big money fast”.

Here are some of his keywords and catchphrases:

  • “Make money fast”
  • “I was able to buy my own car in a period of six months…”
  • “Your money’s growth is proportional to the numbers of people you can persuade to join us…”
  • “Admit to yourself that you are greedy…”
  • “Live in luxury while your money works for you…”
  • “Invest… just invest…”

All I have to do, they said, is to invest and create a vast portfolio of contacts and sure as hell my money that time will multiply ten folds in just six months. Amazed, I asked further about the product I am to offer if ever, indeed, I invest. It was a “machine” with that laser or something that was “the answer to all sickness”. All there was to do, they say, was simply to place the patient’s palm in front of the laser beam and the illness will be identified and given medication recommendations in an instant.

Well, I’m not a science geek, and my understanding in science and technology, particularly in particle physics, is not very deep. But I’m not stupid enough to believe that there are such machines like they are offering. Dismayed and a little bit dumbfounded, I politely turned down all their offer and refused to give them any contact information of my friends.

Welcome, my friend, to world of pyramiding scams! A place filled with empty promises and guaranteed risks.

If I was not wise enough and gave in to what they’re saying, I would have shelled out my life’s saving in hopes to gain big time only to learn later that it was a sham, and probably dragged someone else to my own fate.

They will promise you great returns but at the same time not telling you much about their line of trade and focused only on accumulating wealth. Plus, many other people would attend the so-called meeting. But the truth is, many of them are accomplices acting to be participants. And they are rehearsed to applause everything the speaker would say. And they will depict themselves to be in total agreement to the speaker. In short their job is to create an atmosphere of exaggerated optimism. And it is funny because they are strategically placed between the innocent prospective investors. They are playing with your psychology as well.

The best thing when you encounter something like this is to be wise. Never let your guards down. Watch out for red flags that would indicate their falseness. It just takes a common sense to do so. Make quick mental calculations: to multiply your current investment in such an overstated rate is out of this world. It’s far from reality as real investments take time and industrious undertakings. Even if you could have a good portfolio in the stock market, it still takes time before you could enjoy big earnings. And do not let yourself be taken by those “wonder machines” produces miracles as their main products. Teach yourself to be intelligent. If you really want to go into a business, make one that is in line with interests and skills.

A great day to all the Filipinos around the globe! Stay sharp always!

MY PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY DEBUT

Sometimes it is not the very camera that matters; it is the lighting that gives life to the picture.
Photo By Christopher Barja. Sometimes it is not the very camera that matters; it is the lighting that gives life to the picture.

 

My product photography debut. Simple and easy way of taking pictures of your products. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take a good shot. It’s all in the lighting, and a good camera.

Original file:

Original Dimension: 3240 x 4320 px

F-stop: f/5.3

Shutter speed: 1.6 seconds

ISO speed: ISO-100

Lighting: Yellow incandescent lamp, white LED, white flourescent

Digital manipulation:

Size reassignment: cut by 75%

Color balance: Cyan: +40, Magenta: 0, Yellow: -20

Channel adjustments: Red contrast: +30, Green contrast: +10, Blue contrast: 0

Money – Source It Out

Make sure you have an adequate amount of cash when starting your own business. Everything at your disposal counts.

By Dear Comrade Christopher Barja 

So where to get the money you need for your business? Basically, there two types of sources where you can get that capital you need in order to start your venture – internal and external. Internal sources are basically your own resources and that of those people that you know very well.

The very first thing that you must consider is reaching down on your own pocket. Your own personal savings are always on your disposal, and ready for you to use anytime you need it. Since it is yours, it is completely within your control. And you don’t have to worry of having to incur a debt. As a general practice, it is not wise to start the life of your business with a staggering amount of debt. Your savings gives you all the leverage that you need, but debt may drag you down.

Aside from your personal savings, you can also sell your non-performing assets to raise your funds. Examples of your non-performing assets are your personal properties which you no longer use or not essential for your business operations. If you have a hand bag by Coco Chanel that costs P80k, and you needed to start your business that requires to shell out a total of P100k but you only have P21k in hand, you might consider selling that hand bag to fill your start-up requirements.

But sometimes, incurring a debt is very advantageous. That is, if the credit term is long – too long that that it gives you all the time needed for you to recover all your investments before settling your debt. The very basic examples of people where you can borrow money for your business are your parents. Because they are directly related to you, entrusting you that you would eventually pay them back is not a problem. And since most of the time our parents would be very lenient to us in their collection, you can always extend the credit term. Plus, they may not charge you interests at all. But prudence should be observed so as to not to be so relax on paying them back. They are still your creditors. They are simply extending you with favors of using their hard-earned money for you to start with, and you are responsible for that.

Friends and other relatives are also examples where you can borrow. Like your parents, they have complete understanding of your character. They know that you can be entrusted with their money, and they already have the confidence that you are going to pay them in time. They may not be as lenient as our parents and may charge you a small interest, but they, more often than not, may give you considerably friendly credit terms. More caution must be given regarding this matter since relationship between you and your friends could become volatile if in case you won’t be able to meet your obligations on time – or worse, if ever you fail on your venture and won’t be able to pay at all.

When all else fail, and no-one within your circle of friends can lend you the money you need, you can bank on the external sources.

One example of these external sources is a bank. A bank can let you borrow money at a specified interest rate. But borrowing from a bank may be a cumbersome process. First they will require you to present them your income tax returns for the past several years. They will require you to declare your business’s assets, monthly income. And hardest of all, they will require you to pawn collateral from your property or several of your properties with market value far more than the amount you are going to loan. If things don’t go well in your business that makes you unable to pay, the bank will foreclose those properties.

There are also some micro-financing institutions that lends to small scale business owners either for start-up capital or to augment an existing one. A cooperative that engages in micro lending is one of these examples. Some cooperatives may even extend some kind of non-financial assistance to its members.

And there are also the so-called informal lenders. The most common of these types are the Indian nationals that we are very familiar about. Often times seen riding their motorcycles, they go from stall to stall to offer credit and collect payment. We are all familiar of their terms – the 5-6 system. 5-6, that is, means that when you borrow P500 from them, you are to pay them P600 in a course of a week. That’s an interest of 20% weekly. Moreover, that’s 80% monthly or more than 950% annually! But it is already an unusual occurrence where a credit with a 5-6 term be extended for a year. Most of the times when the person who fell from this scheme is unable to pay for several months, that person simply runs away from his Indian lender.

So if you are in short of cash from your personal resources, make it a point to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of borrowing money from other persons or financial institution. If you think your parents can lend you some, then go for it. And if you are very confident that you can pay back when you enter into a 5-6, go for it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with incurring a debt, as long as you can pay on time.