Making money through the Internet – How attainable is it for Filipinos?


The digital world has proven to have produced a new breed of billionaires and millionaires around the world. And that’s not just about Internet gods like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Jack Ma (Alibaba), Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Google), Pierre Omidyar (eBay), Jack Dorsey, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger (Instagram), Noah Glass, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone (Twitter), the list is long.

But for us mortals who do not have the same caliber in matters of business acumen, technical skills, and marketing prowess (not to mention a strong financial muscle to start and sustain a business venture for a year or two), do we stand a chance in making money through the Internet? Let’s take a look at our own backyard here in the Philippines.

In a country where there are 44,478,808 Internet users (estimate as of July 1, 2016), what choices do we have in making a living using the Internet?

1. BLOGGING – Professional Filipino bloggers monetize their blogs in more ways than one. Among those monetizing schemes are:

  • paid posts
  • press releases from companies willing to pay for an advertising space
  • banner ads
  • advertising widgets
  • pay per click ads
  • text link ads
  • audio advertising
  • pop-ups
  • affiliate marketing
  • product reviews
  • selling of own products and services

2. EBOOK WRITING – You’ve probably heard of Filipino authors like Bob Ong, Jomar Hilario, Bo Sanchez, and many others who have made a name in the eBook industry. Some eBooks on Wattpad have, in fact, become phenomenal hits that they landed on Philippine cinemas (Diary ng Panget, She’s Dating the Gangster, Talk Back and You’re Dead).

The digital age has leveled the playing field among budding writers and experienced authors alike with the growing popularity of online platforms that provide an option for self publishing (Amazon, Wattpad). When no publisher wants to give your story a shot, try independent digital publishing. Who knows, your story could be the next big thing to watch in the movies.

3. VA SERVICES – VA stands for Virtual Assistant. A VA is a digital worker providing a variety of functions and services to clients from any part of the globe (mostly US, UK, Australia). Filipinos offering VA services take on a variety of tasks such as:

  • online research
  • data mining
  • writing
  • data entry
  • lead generation
  • accounting tasks
  • customer service
  • tech support
  • chat support
  • social media management
  • SEO
  • graphic design
  • web design and development
  • video editing
  • audio production
  • project management
  • admin tasks
  • outbound or/and inbound calls

Some VA’s are independent while some are hired as employees either by an agency or directly by the client.

4. SELLING LEADS – Somewhere over the rainbow, there are companies and individuals out there looking for leads. These leads are a huge database of names and their respective contact information like emails, phone numbers, and addresses.

Who buys these leads? BPO companies, small and medium business owners.

If you have a market for leads, lead generation could be your thing. Depending on quality, one lead could sell for around $1-$20 each. For some really good, verified leads, it could sell for more. Multiply it by the number of leads you have and your day is made.

5. E-COMMERCE – Sell your own products or be a reseller of your chosen merchandise. You may set up a Facebook page, a website, or use a free e-commerce platform like Shopify or Shopline. You may also sell your pre-loved items through OLX or have your property rented out through AirBnB.

6. ONLINE TEACHING – This is probably one of the most popular online opportunities there is for Filipinos who are well-versed in English. Filipinos who are fluent English speakers and have neutral accent teach their students via Skype. These students are mostly from Japan, China, and South Korea. Depending on contract, lessons could cover either basic English grammar and pronunciation to business correspondence and the likes.

So would any ordinary Juan and Maria stand a chance of earning online here in the Philippines?

Despite that the Internet connection here is pathetic, the answer is Yes! The possibility is endless. The world is your stage.

Clients from around the globe prefer Filipino virtual workers for a number of reasons: technical skills, fair rates, proficiency of the English language, and good customer service, among others. 

But but but — Hold on, don’t celebrate yet — It’s not as easy as it sounds. Everything that was listed here takes a lot of effort and skills to successfully work.

There’s no easy money, even online, unless it’s a scam. If it was all too easy, then everyone of us would have ditched our day jobs and been smiling our ways to the bank by now, just by working online.  

See, the Internet has opened a plethora of earning opportunities for the skilled individuals and those who are determined to learn new skills that are in-demand in this digital age. It’s for the relentless individuals who are laser-focused on their digital goals. It’s a playground for some. But it’s definitely not for everyone. 

How about you, do you currently earn online? Or is making a living through the Internet something that interests you but you don’t know where to start? Share us your thoughts!

VA Philippines_Try



My “secret” life as a voiceover talent

Okay, so my secret is out. I’m an independent voice over artist.  My voice has been used in numerous radio commercials, corporate audio-video presentations, newscasts, telephone response system, voice overs, and narrations since 1994. Fine, now I just gave away my age.

Voice acting/recording is not my bread and butter though. But while I have other regular sources of income, the voiceover craft has always been an essential spice in my life.  It’s been my passion since I joined the radio industry two decades ago and stayed there for seven fun years.

Long after I left radio, up until now, I still do it. It’s a special part of me that I can’t let go, no matter how hectic and serious my life has become. I’m not as young and carefree anymore and I have more responsibilities now than ever before. While perhaps for some people, voice recording is considered just an odd job, it’s more than that to me. It’s my love, my stress buster.

I love giving life to an otherwise humdrum script. Sometimes I help in formulating the script too. I love being a voice to a faceless character.

Is it lucrative? It depends on one’s skills. Is it in demand? Recently, I see a surge in demand for audiobooks so I believe if you know where to find clients and you’re good at what you do, you can make a killing out of it, regularly.

Working with ABS-CBN Davao Director Beling Rodriguez.

Lots of Filipino voice talents can compete with native English speakers due to our neutral accent (some can even mimic American and British accents). Plus, Filipino talents charge lower rates compared to their American counterparts so those clients who work on a budget, they outsource the job to Filipinos.

To give you an idea about the business side of it, here are sample rate cards (Filipino rates):

30-second Radio Commercial – $100 minimum

Corporate Presentations, tutorial/training modules – $100 (5 minutes audio)

Audio book – $100-$300 per hour of finished audio

All rates above are for raw files only, no music beds included. For complete audio production, the rates are higher depending on client requirements.

Some people don’t understand why a 30-seconder would cost that much and even higher on some cases. The output may sound like a breezy job but the truth is, there’s a lot of work behind a single 30-seconder commercial or audio file.

Behind the scenes of a 30 seconder voice file:

  1. Pre-production reading, rehearsing –   5-10 minutes
  2. Recording  –   5-15 minutes (depending on skills, it could take 30 minutes)
  3. Editing      – 1 hour or more, depending on client requirements

Ergo, a 30-second audio file takes more than an hour to do.

For longer audio files, it would include lots of research. One word or name could mean 15 minutes of researching and calling several people just to make sure your pronunciation is correct.  No, not all the time Google has the answers.  Some words and names may not be on YouTube and other sites where you could verify proper pronunciation. Not even native speakers know all the answers. What I’m saying is, it’s tougher than one might think.

My latest audio projects:

  • Game of Thrones Season Finale Spoiler Alert
  • True Detective Review
  • NBA Draft Confidential
  • Newscasting on weekends

How I do it:

I have set up my own recording system at home just this year, which makes it more convenient and cost-effective compared to doing it in a professional recording studio or in a radio station (which I’ve been doing since the beginning of my voiceover career).

Sometimes clients work on a tight budget so negotiation is part of the business. But I make it a point not to sell myself too short. Like I illustrated in the kind of work that a 30-seconder audio file would entail, imagine a 300-page audio book.

One time, a client said my rate was too high so he tried to haggle. I gave in, considering that I really wanted to do that project. After the recording, he took back his word and said I deserved to get paid in full. Ending, he added more payment before I left the recording studio.

If you have the same passion, pursue it.  It can definitely put food on the table and the great part is that you’re enjoying it.


As Coco Martin's voice coach in a TV commercial.

Worked as a voice coach to multi-awarded young actor Coco Martin in a TV commercial.

I put it this way: It’s my recreation that actually puts good money in my pocket. That’s exactly the reason why I can’t let go of this craft — I love it and I earn from it.

To others in the business world, I’m a budding entrepreneur, a marketing person, a trainer, a struggling writer. Little do they know, I’m a voice talent by heart.

It completes me.