Way back when e-commerce and digital marketing are still under the radar in the Philippines, Filipino tech entrepreneur Mannix Pabalan was digging through the internet and reading different books to understand the industry.

He knew that this will soon burst.

“When I first heard about this new business paradigm back in the late ‘90s, I knew then and there that this is the industry to be. From then on, I have exerted all personal effort to shift careers from management consulting to IT and Digital,” he wrote on his personal blog.

It turned out to be right as digital marketing is now considered as one of the fastest rising industries in the world.

With his keen observation and unwavering enthusiasm, he gave birth to his brainchild AyosDito.ph in 2008 and led Lazada’s digital marketing arm in 2012.

Fast forward today, he now owns a digital marketing agency, Hashtag Digital with CBN-PH000000461

Humble Beginnings

Putting up his startup company in 2012 wasn’t a lap of luxury; it comes with diverse challenges especially when it comes to funding.

“The challenging part is the bootstrap style that until now we are implementing.  We have not had financiers neither a working capital to speak off.  All we had then was my 3 worn out laptops and another from my colleague and my ever reliable pc (personal computer) which to date is still working,” he narrated.

Mannix Pabalan - Faces Behind ASEAN SMEs

“We didn’t even have an office since we cannot afford one and tried to value why we should even have one.  We were blessed that we were able to start Hashtag Digital with a big client and I personally thank them for trusting us even if we are just a start-up company,” he continued. 

Learnings and realizations from clients

While other business owners can’t still fully grasp the importance of digital marketing in their business, Mannix remained patient and kept his positive outlook. There’s even an instance where he accepted a client with only a 5,000-peso (100 USD) budget.

“I have this take that especially in digital marketing and internet, CEOs have a hard time digesting how this new media will benefit them.  Not until they test it and see it, will they eventually bite the bullet and use it extensively.  If we did not take that one client, we could have not enjoyed now an account that delivers us almost a million a month,” he shared.

Mannix Pabalan - Faces Behind ASEAN SMEs

Hashtag Digital’s team

“Most of our client partners took some time to realize it but we have never lost any patience in walking them through and giving them our real concern for the improvement of their campaign,” he said.

Mannix believes that their concern and patience to their clients makes them different from multinational agencies.  “Everything starts small and with the right execution, things will get bigger and brighter as what Hashtag Digital is then.”

Giving Back

Despite being fully engaged with his company and having several activities, Mannix never forgets to give back.

“I have a very soft heart for children and the youth in general. I have managed to help selected out of school youth to finish their studies and are now doing good in their chosen field.  I have not asked for anything in return but for them to finish their school and to take care of their parents.”

Mannix Pabalan - Faces Behind ASEAN SMEs

One of his gift giving activities with children

Aside from it, he also supports an adoption house where he brings his colleagues every Christmas to give back and share their blessings.

Road to victory

As he continues to help MSMEs and other companies to take advantage on the vast power of the new media, Mannix has brought Hashtag Digital to the international scene.

“With all the calculated risks I did, we did, everything paid off.  Now we have a branch office in Dubai, UAE that just had its 3rd year anniversary and have positioned our operations already in Singapore early in 2017,” he humbly shared.

Mannix’s entrepreneurial journey taught us that we can succeed shifting our career as long as we’re observant and open to learn endlessly.

It won’t be easy – everyone would probably do it if it was. But then, if shifting career would bring back your enthusiasm and it would make an impact to other people and to the world, then go for it.

Faces Behind ASEAN SMEs by Confirmis


For more stories, visit www.facesofsme.com



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