‘The Internet’ is my gold mine

I never knew I had the ability to be an entrepreneur, better yet a graphic designer. Credits goes to.. you got it! The internet.

I didn’t get to appreciate the internet when we we’re still on prepaid, the famous ISP Bonanza, if that rings a bell. Opening the browser feels like it’s taking years to load. Watching videos and downloading songs online wasn’t possible. Until, after long and jargon-embezzled talks,  my brother and I had finally convinced our parents to subscribe to PLDT dsl.

Having the ease of fast internet connection and in turn, fast loading websites, the cyberworld opened a lot of opportunities or a much proper term, “rakets” for me. I ventured in online businesses starting from selling accessories online, to a wholesaler and now a layout designer on Multiply.com.

My online graphic design studio, Witty Minds - http://onewittymind.multiply.com

As an online seller, I enjoy the perks of having a capital-free business. I don’t have to pay anything to put up my business but then I get a whole lot back. This indeed poses a problem for the government because we, online sellers, don’t pay tax. But this is basically the reason why more and more people venture into online business, we don’t have to deal with paying the government crazy-high taxes. We get the sum of money as it is, full, no strings attached. The internet enables the smallest of the entrepreneurs to start with the most basic materials and amount of money that they have on hand and expand from there. This is the present and future of commerce.

But don’t get me wrong, I don’t favor the not-paying-the-taxes scheme, I am just saying that having an online business provides small entrepreneurs a venue to save up and then expand in time. This is the goal of every serious, micro level business that I know. Point is, online sellers will not be forever parasites refusing to pay taxes. I, myself, is considering putting up a real (by that I mean going beyond virtual and seriously having an office) design studio after college.

Team Manila, MOA - An example of an online business turned big time. PHOTO CREDITS: poshpinay.com

But having an online business is not all good, so is the whole of cyberworld. Like every information shared over the internet, we jeopardize security. For an online seller, the security of every transaction is not an assurance, so trust is crucial.  Based on experience, while trying to be vigilant in making sure that every transaction made is with a responsible and trustworthy client, I can’t take away the welcoming-air-and-open-arms kind of personality when dealing with them. You can’t really tell when a client is bogus until that person suddenly pops like a bubble, leaving all bills unpaid.

On the other hand, it’s not just the sellers who should be always on the look out but as well as the consumers. Since putting up an online business is now considered up-for-grabs, not every online business has a face behind the website who can vouch for the store’s authenticity. I’ve known people who have been fooled by sellers. I even heard about a bogus seller who bothered to put up a fully customized site to top up her carefully planned trick. Telling her clients that they need to give a down payment to reserve the imported bags she was selling, she was able to collect P70,000 in cash and then disappeared. It’s really difficult to identify as well when a seller is real unless he/she already has a record of positive feedback and agrees to share personal but authentic information enough to tell that the person you’re transacting with exists.

This is exactly what we’ve been talking about during our comm classes. This have long been the problem with computer mediated communication.  It’s 2010 but still, nothing beats face-to-face communication if we want to relay our message clearly and precisely. I have experienced a lot of misunderstandings and usually get into fights because I transact with clients only through e-mails and SMS. Oftentimes, if I forget to put a smiley or if my message becomes too direct because I was in a hurry, my clients find it offensive and reply with angry messages. I always had to explain myself,  a lot of times so I could get my message across. But our client-designer relationship has already been tainted.

There’s so much to say about the internet but I focused on its e-commerce side because this is where I can relate to the most. I am more than grateful that the internet has been invented or I wouldn’t be having the extra bucks that serves as my saving grace in times of financial crises. The internet, too has helped me discover a skill I never thought I could, it’s graphic designing, as I mentioned in the intro part of this post. I learned to use Adobe Photoshop solely through the help of the different websites and blogs offering tutorials which then became my business. I am basically living half of my life online.

But of course, just like any innovation or any good thing for that matter, it’s always up to us, the users to dictate what effect these would have on us. There’s always the need to control and the need to know when to stop. It’s only by choice that we can make sure every good thing remains good. Let’s try not to overuse or overestimate.

Thoughts of a digital painter on the article “Shaping the Internet Age” by Bill Gates Read the full article here:  http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/billg/writing/shapingtheinternet.mspx

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About Marj Casal

Maria Angelica Nepomuceno Casal is a student of the University of the Philippines Manila and this blog is created as part of the requirements of my OC152 class. And might as well be a long term hobby.
This entry was posted in For OC152 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to ‘The Internet’ is my gold mine

  1. Hi, Marj! 🙂

    I love this post of yours.

    Beyond all of the things the Internet has brought over the years, I think one of its major contributions to us is its offering of countless offerings that we may take to change our lives. Indeed, in one point,the Internet was able to change, not the usual communication means, business transactions, and the like, but on the discoveries we made on ourselves. I guess your capabilities as an artist are honed because of the Net, as well as your dreams in the future are anchored on them. Through the Internet, we are able to explore our strengths and limitations that we may never learn inside the classroom’s walls alone. Who says that those who are enjoying stardom today and whose talents were discovered in the Internet, like Charice, are the only ones who can claim that the Net,in fact, changed their lives?

  2. galeaya says:

    Great post Marj! I’m glad someone focused on the trust issues of SMEs in e-commerce. I’ve always been told that you can’t trust anyone online, since for all you know, it could be a stalker pretending to be someone else. Put a business twist to it, and you have people saying you can’t trust anyone online because they could just be scamming you. I think that it takes a great deal of trust for people to be able to transact online, specially for Filipinos, since it’s a fairly new way of commerce in our country. Add the fact that most online SMES (e-SMEs?) have no physical stores… it just doesn’t warrant trust at the first glance.

    But I think things are changing. Majority of legitimate e-SMEs have began changing how people view e-commerce – by being transparent, accomodating – and people are starting to trust the internet more. It’s already proof that some e-SMEs have become big enough to get themselves physical stores.

    My only wish is that the goverment can do something about e-commerce laws – not to hinder the growth of SMEs, but to better protect consumers and sellers alike.

  3. “Oftentimes, if I forget to put a smiley or if my message becomes too direct because I was in a hurry, my clients find it offensive and reply with angry messages.”

    This is why I always make it a point to include smileys in my text messages so I sound nice to the receiver, but how can one tell if these are enough to make your message seem like how you’ll deliver it when you do it face-to-face? Other people find it annoying when there are too many emoticons in your virtual messages, others find it okay. I guess it all boils down to getting used to the person you talk to (personally and virtually), but the problem is… what about those who you don’t really see in person (just like in your case) ? Ack. Should there be any standards? 😉

    PS

    What does my wink imply? :))

  4. starrylines says:

    wow, marje! 😀 I envy you for discovering your great gift through the net. I hope I also have that! haha! so much for my wishes. Let’s go to my serious comment:

    indeed, many businesses are thriving because of the internet and their use of e-commerce (including the company i had my internship in). This is an advantage but, again, there are disadvantages. But of course, this does not mean that we should drop it altogether just because it has downsides, right? You, for one, are enjoying its benefits and i think this kind of business as well as the “real” ones (not online) are having a great time co-existing. And now, in our age, its hard to imagine one without the other.

  5. barrycade says:

    the focus on e-commerce,risks included, is a brilliant idea and you have all the credibility to talk about it because you do it. this is a good example of not just relating the material to your life, but also making it your own. keep it up!

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