Helping content creators become entrepreneurs

GO NEGOSYO PILIPINAS ANGAT LAHAT! - Joey Concepcion - The Philippine Star

Today I will be joining Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Z. Duterte for our biggest Youthpreneur event yet. It will be at the world’s second-largest secondary school, Rizal High School in Pasig City here in the National Capital Region.

I am excited because we are expecting a thousand young people to join us for the event. We’ll be introducing to them the many possibilities offered by entrepreneurship and will be bringing with us inspiring entrepreneurs and veteran mentors to help fuel that dream.

Luckily, we’ve had the DepEd with us since we began this program; they have made it possible to reach out to the public schools who help us organize the event and gather the senior high school students who are the primary audience for our entrepreneurship mentoring.

From the previous Youthpreneur events since late last year, a very popular question among the senior high school students is how they can become content creators or influencers. I have spoken to enough professional content creators and influencers to know that it can become a full-time job and a very lucrative one if the content can keep up with the algorithm. Conversely, if one is already an entrepreneur and knows how to tap into that vein of social media gold, it can do wonders for sales and promotions.

A successful 24-year-old food blogger I’ve spoken to recently told me she started dabbling in content creation while she was still in college. It took her almost a year to figure out how to make it sustainable and do it full-time. She also shared that if one is to become a food content creator, you have to decide whether you’d like to do instructional content or food reviews. Both will need some investment. For cooking vlogs, for example, you might need to hire a helper so you can concentrate on the content. Restaurant reviews won’t always involve free meals.

A common thread among these content creator-entrepreneurs is their decision to hire professional management once they’ve established their following and refined their positioning. Having a management company, they tell me, helps with pitching to brands for sponsorship. Yes, you have to be proactive in selling and not just wait for the brands to approach you. Brands will also demand exposure on several platforms, will have their own channels and employ their own social media teams, so be prepared to keep up with them as well.

Successful content creators know that if this is to be a career, they have to safeguard their credibility and protect the trust they developed with their audiences. It’s a difficult balancing act, as content creators will inevitably encounter situations where they have to choose between producing sponsored content and endorsing products they believe in.

Another popular niche is travel content creation. I can see why that is. It sounds like having your cake and eating it, too, right? But if you’re serious about turning content creation into a full-time career – one that will pay the bills and fund the next junket – you better be prepared to put in the hours and invest in good equipment.

Travel content creation is already a very crowded space. The information you have is likely to be available on many sites, so you have to be aware of what value you add to your intended audience and how it can generate revenue.

The revenue streams can come from affiliate marketing, from YouTube ads, brand deals and hotel and transport company promotions. Some content creators partner with travel agencies and design customized travel packages and perhaps throw in online promotion as part of the package.

Another very popular niche among online entrepreneurs is women’s clothing. We’ve had hundreds of online live-sellers at our free entrepreneurship mentoring programs. One young lady I met was an online clothes reseller who earned enough to now be in a position to manufacture her own designs. I advised her to focus on building her brand and identifying her target market, but I found – to my delight and surprise – that she was already ahead of me.

She comes from Taytay, Rizal, which I am told is known for producing affordable and well-made clothes. This means she can manufacture at considerably lower costs. But what makes her different is her insight into the highly competitive women’s apparel market. Filipinas, she found, look for value and quality, but also want that sweet spot between basic and chic. The popularity of K-pop culture introduced the preference for flair in women’s clothing: bright colors, lace, ribbons, frills, anything that makes an outfit unique. And here’s a surprising insight: during peak photo-taking season (like beach season or get-togethers), it’s important for most Pinays to not be seen in pictures wearing the same outfit twice. How is that for insight?

I told her that this is the right time for her to take risks and build on the momentum, and advised her to set another milestone for when she can open a physical store. Even with the strength of e-commerce in moving merchandise, a physical store does something more: project an image of stability and popularity. I told her that timing would be the most important thing here.

She is lucky to have been mentored by Penshoppe’s Bernie Liu during one of our 3M on Wheels free entrepreneurship mentoring events. Bernie advised her to avail of free training where she can find it: on YouTube, from seminars and from free mentoring sessions like the ones we conduct at Go Negosyo. I advised her to go out and learn as much as she can by going to the malls, through travel, by going out and meeting potential mentors and collaborators.

Her question is common among successful online entrepreneurs: Once they’ve achieved success online, how do they take this into the brick-and-mortar world?

For many online-only entrepreneurs, this is their baptism of fire. Here is where they will need mentors and professionals, especially with things like permits, taxes and store design. Even inventory management and logistics will be a challenge, especially if you have several stores.

Our mentors at Go Negosyo tell them to rely on hard numbers before plunking down the money. While instinct may have served them well in the online aspect of the business, they must also be prepared to question preconceived notions when they venture into the real world. Once they understand that, they are on their way to making that successful transition.

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