This guest post is part of the #BehindTheBiz series. It features creative Filipinos who started a business during the pandemic, whether out of necessity or just pure passion.
Let’s be honest. Living amid a pandemic sucks.
It’s the recession that no one has predicted. People are being let go by their companies at a rate that we’ve never seen before. Businesses, especially mom and pop shops are put to the test.
The Department of Trade and Industry said that 90,000 micro and small-to-medium sized businesses have shut down due to the restrictions that COVID-19 has put on their operations.
However, according to an Oxford Economics survey, the majority of small businesses in the Philippines remain confident that they will surpass the pandemic’s hurdles and will continue to grow in the next three years. That’s the Filipino spirit right there!
Ozelle Cardines is a great example of Filipino resiliency. After her photo booth business was crippled by the pandemic, she found herself jobless and in debt. Instead of lingering, she went back to her freelancing roots and even started educating people on how they can start a freelancing business.
Hi Ozelle! Welcome to #BehindTheBiz, tell us about you, and what business did you start during the pandemic?
My name is Ozelle Cardines and I have been a freelancer For 10 years. I usually accept WordPress Development, Project Management, Virtual Assistance, and Facebook Advertising offers. I’m also the founder of Homebasedserye – a place where I help Filipinos find lucrative freelancing opportunities and achieve financial freedom.
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Last 2018, I decided to take a risk and built my traditional business. It’s a photo booth business and fortunately, I was able to use my skills to make it a success.
The success of this business drew the attention of some Filipino celebrities and they started to hire us. I realized that I have to focus on our business since it can generate six digits in a month. Long story short, I’ve put all my attention to my photobooth business and left freelancing.
Unfortunately, I didn’t anticipate the COVID-19 pandemic.
I always say “Event business is a haven since we always have occasion and the revenue is limitless.”
The pandemic hit me real hard. In a snap, I was jobless and in debt. I have to stop the operation this year and I have to pay for all the expansion I made for OMG Memories Photobooth.
This made me realize that I can’t only focus on one business and I have to find a way to generate income.
I started my freelancing career again and I am glad that I have a good relationship with my clients and they were able to give me some work.
I noticed that some of my friends lost their jobs and others lost their businesses. I am always the kind of person who’s eager to help regardless of my situation.
There I came up with an idea where I will be providing a masterclass to help them to understand what freelancing is and how they can get financial freedom. I had this thought that I will do it for free but my mentor made me realize that for me to help more people, the business needs to generate revenue.
Homebasedserye was born and I started to plan and created a course that concentrates on financial freedom with freelancing. This is a no brainer course because we will help them to understand freelancing and we will support them on their first client. We have a free masterclass too for people who cannot afford to pay for the advanced course.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
I have a free masterclass every weekend and will offer an advanced course at the end. This is the best way for me to get more clients who are willing to change their financial life. I’m also running Facebook Ads. Freelancing is one of the few careers that survived during this pandemic.
How are you today and what does the future look like?
I feel great running Homebasedserye because I can help Filipinos to achieve financial freedom. At the same time, I am planning to build an agency exclusively for the students so they can get clients easily and we can manage the quality of our freelancers. I’m confident that this is going to be huge.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to start a business during these challenging times?
If you want to create a startup business. Just do it! If you have an idea execute it. After a month or a year, someone might think of the same idea, act on it, and turn it into a million-dollar company. Just keep on trying and you’ll find the sweet spot.
What platform or tools do you use for your business?
I’m using different platforms to run my business, including Kajabi, Google Suites, Adobe Suites, and Zoom.
Where can we go to learn more about you and your business?
Homebasedserye has a website where you can get updates.