33 Businesses You Can Start for Less Than ₱50,000 in the Philippines


Time and money are the top 2 reasons why many budding entrepreneurs end up becoming dreamers rather than doers. Yes, business takes time and costs money; but you can’t realize your dream without investing resources. Time is the irresistible force. It doesn’t matter how far technology has evolved, no one has invented a device that can control time. But money is a different matter. If you are willing to spend the time, you can start a business for less than 50,000 Pesos in the Philippines.

You don’t need millions of pesos to start a business. It’s nice to have an unlimited resource of capital to support a startup with but even then, having truckloads of cash will not guarantee success.

You can have a business that you can start for 50,000 Pesos and build on it to become a multi-million Peso success story in a few years time!

Here are 33 businesses you can start for less than 50,000 Pesos in the Philippines. As a disclaimer, some of the figures stated here were provided by the proprietors themselves.

There will always be a margin of error when it comes to estimating costs and revenues. The takeaway is that these businesses have continued to thrive throughout the last few years.

1. Sari-Sari Store Business

The iconic Filipino neighborhood convenience store remains a go-to small business idea for many budding entrepreneurs. If you ask a proprietor, he or she may share childhood memories of good times spent hanging around a favorite Sari-Sari store.

But it is a business venture that will easily fit a 50,000 Pesos budget and become viable provided management policies are strictly followed. A Sari-Sari store is a business that earns cash every day. The number reason it loses money is that proprietors give credit terms to customers.

If your home has a wide area with good street access, you would have an ideal location for a Sari-Sari store. Start out by selling popular items such as cooking ingredients, candies, snacks, soft drinks, toiletries, instant noodles and canned goods. Slowly add to your product mix by including cell phone load and school supplies.

You may also want to consider setting up a carinderia within the Sari-Sari store. This way you have another source of income. You can bring in new customers and move your inventory faster.

Related: How to Start a Sari-Sari Store with Small Capital in the Philippines

2. English Instructor

If you have an excellent command of the English language, passed TOEFL or Test of English as Foreign Language and enjoy teaching people, you can have a financially rewarding career as an English instructor.

Filipino English instructors are in demand. Outsourcing companies are paying a salary anywhere between 15,000 and 30,000 Pesos a month depending on your qualifications and level of experience.

You can also start your online English instruction business. Set up a website and promote your services heavily on social media and on online job communities.

If you have limited capital, start out with a personal website. A professional web designer may charge you 10,000 Pesos. Add the cost of a brand new desktop PC, hardware and Internet service provider and your start up cost will remain under 50,000 Pesos.

3. Personal Trainer

Have you been an athlete all your life? Do you enjoy exercise? If so, you can start a Personal Training business and share your passion for health and fitness.

Gold medals, Philippine records, and certificates of recognition will not be enough to qualify you as a Personal Trainer. You must be certified by an accredited personal training agency such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NCSA) or International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA).

Certification fees will be your biggest expense. These courses typically range between $600 and $1,000 but it will be worth it as PT sessions usually cost $15 to $30 per hour.

You can set up a home gym with a pair of adjustable kettlebells, Yoga mats, medicine ball, resistance bands, Bosu ball and jump rope for less than $300 or 15,000 Pesos.

4. Photographer

Talk to any photographer and they will tell you they could have bought a brand new car with the money spent on photography equipment. But why spend close to million pesos when starting out?

You can buy a good digital camera like the Nikon D5300 for under $500 or 25,000 Pesos. Lighting equipment can be purchased between 7,500 to 10,000 Pesos.

If you are not confident about your skills, you should take photography lessons which may cost you 7,500 to 10,000 per course. Another option is to find a friend who is a good photographer and ask him or her to train you. In return, offer to apprentice and help around for free.

5. Content Writer

Content writers are in demand because businesses are focusing on content-based strategies to create markets for their products and services. I know this from experience because it did not take long for me to develop a large clientele for content writing services.

Once we landed our first content writing project, we didn’t have to network for additional clients. The projects came in very fast; clients referred us to other companies and it snowballed from there.

Today we include blogging, article writing, copywriting, e-book writing and product reviews among our suite of services.

My only investments were the costs of incorporation, a brand new PC, and headset. As a content writer, you can make anywhere between 45,000 Pesos to 150,000 Pesos per month.

Success in content writing requires you to find the right balance between quality and quantity. Take in as many jobs as you can handle but be ready to scale up operations by hiring additional writers.

6. Transcriber

The first client my company signed up required transcription services in the legal and entertainment industries. I was fortunate enough to have hired 2 excellent transcribers to handle the projects.

Similar to content writing, the amount of income you earn in transcription will depend on the volume of work you can handle. In medical transcription, you are paid per line. In a legal and close caption, you are paid per word.

The rate will also depend on the quality of the audio and the number of speakers involved. The more inaudible, the higher should be your charge. At the start, don’t expect much work because the client will test you out. But stay consistent and the hard work will pay out.

Take advantage of cloud-based programs like Asana for project management and DropBox for file sharing. These are safe, secure and encrypted. Best of all, you can sign up for free.

7. Personal Shopper

If you enjoy shopping, have an eye for quality and value, you could do many Filipinos a world of good by offering Personal Shopper services. I have heard that these services are so far available only to high-end clientele who shop at the most expensive stores in Metro Manila.

Before becoming a Personal Shopper, talk to the merchandisers or someone from top management of the department store. Ask if you can work out a discounting scheme for clients. After all, as a Personal Shopper, you are promoting the retailer directly with clients. It saves them from spending money on marketing and promotional activities.

Set up a website and promote your services in social media. You should find yourself busy during Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the Yuletide season. Of course, your services could be solicited for birthdays, anniversaries and special events that take place every day.

8. Personal Chef

Just like the Personal Shopper, as a Personal Chef, your target clientele are the affluent members of society. They have distinct tastes when it comes to food. Some are very strict with their diets. Others enjoy the good life and want to eat like royalty day in and day out.

So you should have a degree in the culinary arts to become a Personal Chef. I have a friend who has a Personal Chef. Eating in his house is like eating in a 5-star restaurant. Food is plated like a work of art.

He pays his Personal Chef 800 to 1,500 per meal not including ingredients! Oftentimes the ingredients are courtesy of the client who also provides transportation services. So the Personal Chef hardly incurs expenses.

According to the Personal Chef, he can only manage 4 clients a month and that he makes 200,000 Pesos “easy”.

9. Digital Marketer

Presently, more than 2 Billion people are on social media every day. How astonishing is that? For starters, the Internet attracts 3.7 Billion users every day. That means more than 50% of Internet users are on social media on a daily basis. This number is expected to rise as more people are using smartphones to connect to the Internet.

As the Internet grows in popularity so will the demand for digital marketers. More businesses are outsourcing this skill because it requires specialization, advanced training, and experience.

If you want to launch a career as a digital marketer you must be certified. There are courses offered online and in some technical schools. You should be familiar with the basics of web design and management, knowledgeable about SEO, understand the principles of content marketing and have shown success in social media marketing.

In addition to reliable PC or laptop, you should invest in a website to promote your services.

10. Web Designer

Despite the availability of free, downloadable website templates, the demand for web design services remains high. Nowadays, it is no longer enough just to have a website. It must be mobile-responsive, fast, accessible, fully functional and beautiful.

A professional web designer has the tools and expertise with an effective and efficient website. This can be a competitive field so it would be to your advantage to be certified and to have your own business website. It would also improve your value proposition if you’ve learned programming.

Remember, e-commerce is fast becoming the ideal business model for entrepreneurs. Retail giants in the US are dying while malls in the Philippines are experiencing high vacancy rates. These are telltale signs that the face of retail is changing.

11. Catering Business

Having spent 10 years in the food business, it’s not what it seems to be. Don’t let the long lines in restaurants fool you. The mortality rate is very high. And the “magic bullet” is the exorbitant rental rates charged by mall developers.

Food cost in the Philippines is already high because we are a net importer. From experience, food cost here averages 50% at best. Mall developers will charge you 34% of Gross Sales or a fixed rate, whichever is higher.

Now assuming, food cost is 50% and rent is 34%, how much will you have left to pay salaries, benefits, power, water, dues, packaging, cleaning supplies and contingencies?

Once the government pushes through with its “End to End of Contract” or ENDO scheme, these restaurants, and other retail businesses will die a slow and painful death.

A catering business becomes more viable for those who still insist on food retail because you don’t have to deal with feudalistic landlords and myopic minded government agencies. Buy ingredients and hire people when you need them.

Your 50,000 Pesos can go to pans, pots, utensils and other serving equipment.

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