The following interview done by Annalyn S. Jusay of Manila Bulletin Tech-News (August 2006) pretty much sums up about me and my blog.
A NICHE BLOG ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Leo Torres is a thirtysomething Overseas Filipino Worker based in Saudi Arabia. Last month, it was reported that he earned US$ 800 from Google AdSense for his entrepreneur-oriented site, really not bad for somebody who just got into the blogging bandwagon a little more than four months ago. Leo’s secret lies in the fact he has been resourceful enough in scouring the web for a wealth of information that would be useful for countless people, especially OFWs like him, who want to embark on a business. Even though much of his info comes from secondary sources, these have been written in simple, readable language. The initial success of Leo’s Entrepinoys site, as well as its sister blogs on franchising and medical transcription, prove that niches can indeed be lucrative, if you know how to find it.
Q. Please tell us something about yourself.
A. I go by the name of Eu-Leh (update: now I used my real name) on my blog. It’s my six-year-old son’s nickname. I’m an OFW for 13 years here in Saudi Arabia. I worked as an IT, software programmer before, audio-visual programmer at present. I’m planning to retire in a few months and will leave this place permanently, I hope. Don’t get me wrong with the word “retire”, I’m still in my 30′s, hahaha. (update: I am now semi-retired from working abroad and now concentrate on blogging here in Las Pinas :) )
Q. What made you decide to come up with a blog on entrepreneurship? What’s your purpose and mission for this?
A. It’s kind of accidental. You see, I’m almost done with my time working here in Saudi Arabia and planning to just go home for good. Invest my little savings and have a more relaxing life together with my family. So I started asking my fellow Pinoys here what is the best business to invest based on their personal experience. Their answers were varied and got me more confused.
Enter internet search. It got me hooked up, the next thing I know, I already had a huge compilation of entrepreneur-related tips, investment and livelihood information. While surfing these things, I stumbled upon the site of Ms. Connie (houseonahill.net) and BatJay (kwentongtambay.nicanordavid.com), and came up with the idea of publishing my compilation on the internet via a blog. I told myself, these are the information most OFWs and Pinoys need nowadays. No need to pay for subscription to access the information. At EntrePinoys, they can get it all for free. (Sounds like an advertisement eh!)
Q. How has the response been so far? Any memorable feedbacks from your readers?
A. I started blogging at EntrePinoys four months ago and the response is really great. I was even surprised that a lot of Pinoys, both local and OFWs, are looking for exactly the same information as I was. At least now, all the contents are inter-related so most of their queries can be found on the same site.
Yup, there are a lot of feedbacks especially from first-time visitors. There are few constructive critisisms too, but most comments are positive and words of congratulations. That alone feels great. I gained a lot of blog friends too!
Q. You also have other blogs. Don’t you find it hard maintaining them? How do you find the time?
A. I have four blogs now. Entrepinoys.blogspot.com is my main blog, and it’s all about investment and livelihood “how-to’s”, Transcribers.blogspot.com is all about medical transcription resources, while EntrepreneurHelp.net is all about entrepreneur news and motivational articles. Most of the contents I posted on the latter were taken from different entrepreneur and free-article sites. The most recent is franchising.blogspot.com, as the name implies, it’s all about franchising information in the Philippines, but it’s still under construction. (update: I got my own domain now and all my blogs at blogspot.com were already transferred. EntrepreneurHelp.net no longer exist but replaced by entrephelp.mixph.com)
Q. How do you research on topics for your blogs? How do you choose which topics to post?
A. Right now, most topics came from internet search. I collected information from different sites and putting it all together preserving all the original links. I made minor editing and fixing layout before posting. I’m planning to expand my research through books, manuals and other printed materials, as well as actual seminars that I’m going to attend when I go home.
The post topic is random. But as much as possible, I don’t post the same topics consecutively. Sometimes I post topic as per the request of the readers.
Q. Please explain your choice of Blogger as your publishing platform.
A. Blogger is simple and the easiest way to get started blogging. Though the features are limited, you can always tweak the HTML code if you’re an advanced user. Since it’s owned by Google, you can always rely on the technology they are using. And most of all, it’s free! I’m also using WordPress on one of my blogs.
Q. What are your plans for your blog(s)?
A. I’m planning to overhaul the layout and replace it with a new theme to be more user- and navigation-friendly, promote and advertise it (blog) to my family and friends, and in online forums and discussion boards. If it becomes too popular, I will sell it to the highest bidder, hahaha.
As of now, I really enjoy blogging and will continue doing it. I don’t know how long it will last, a few months or years from now? But when I start something and really enjoy doing it, the odds of abandoning it is minimal. I see more topics to be posted and more blogs of the same niche to be added on my list.
Q. Can you share with us your experience with Google AdSense? What can you say about it?
A. Adsense is also accidental. It never came into my mind that I can also use my blogs to earn a decent income from it. I just got a hint from Yuga (yugatech.com/blog) and Ka Edong (technobiography.edongskey.com) how to monetize the site. Though not that significant, but when I see it adds up day by day I’m pretty much excited.
Q. How did you discover blogging and what do you like about it as an activity?
A. I discovered blogging through internet searching, and with the help of the bloggers I mentioned earlier, I became one! Blogging is my outlet here in Saudi Arabia where religious and cultural restrictions are strictly implemented. You can practically do nothing outside. So what you got to do with too much boredom and homesickness? Yup, go blogging.
Q. Do you imagine yourself going into blogging full time? What’s your opinion on problogging?
A. I don’t think so. I’m not of the same caliber as Ms. Connie, Yuga and other Pinoy probloggers. And besides, I don’t consider my blogs as a blog since most of its content were taken from other sites. Maybe a semi-blog is more appropriate. For now, I will just enjoy what I’m doing and who knows, if the blog income is really that promising and stable, then maybe.
Problogging? Wow, can’t figure out that new word yet. All I can say is, if you want to do something full time, put in a considerable amount of time, energy, effort and resources into it.