HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Iris San Miguel of Chalan Pago had to pause her work as a real estate agent when the government ordered real estate businesses to temporarily stop operating.

Iris San Miguel  and daughter

Iris San Miguel enjoys quality time with daughter Maliha Carter.

Photo courtesy of Iris San Miguel/The Guam Daily Post

The lost work hours since March because of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions made her eligible to receive federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

But she's well aware PUA is temporary until she gets back on her feet, so she didn't stop looking for a way to make a living.

"I started making online stores," she said.

Not only was she able to supplement the household income, she also got to work from home and take care of her children.

"The pandemic made it hard for me to work because I had to stay home and care for my kids," she said. "I could only work when a babysitter was available and that made things hard for me."

Iris San Miguel's book

Building a business with less than $100

Months later, San Miguel finished writing a book, inspired by the online stores she built amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Her self-published book, "Build Your Online Store In 1 Day With Less Than $100," came out Dec. 9.

It is currently available for sale on Amazon and she hopes in the near future a store on Guam can carry the book on its shelves.

"The inspiration behind this book was that I actually started making money off my online stores," San Miguel told The Guam Daily Post.

Soon, her friends and family asked her how to do what she was doing.

"I could not sit down with each and every one of them and explain the process, so I started writing this book in hopes that it would help more people who are affected by this pandemic and want to make some money from anywhere in the world," she said.

Her book is especially helpful to many on Guam who are still out of a job, still furloughed, or still having their work hours cut.

"You can sell whatever you'd like on the online store that I teach to build because I provide the information of the supplier who has thousands and possibly millions of different products that you can add to your store," she said. "When you build your store and choose which products that you want to sell from the supplier, you do not need to purchase any products to sell."

One only needs to purchase the product after the customer buys from the online store, and the supplier will ship it directly to the customer "so you don't have to be shipping anything out, either."

"It's fairly easy to do," she said.

Overcoming challenges

San Miguel is one of Guam's estimated 27,000 private sector workers who filed individual PUA and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation claims, fewer than the 38,000 initially anticipated.

The unemployment assistance, which the Guam Department of Labor administers, ends after 39 weeks.

The last day covered by PUA is Dec. 26, unless the U.S. Congress extends the program or comes up with a new one.

San Miguel is no longer receiving PUA, but for a time it provided a safe cushion for her family, and for that she said she's thankful.

"I have overcome my challenges by learning how to master making online stores and investing my money so that my money works for me, which allows me to stay home with my kids," she said. "But I really do love to sell, so no matter what happens, I will always be selling real estate."

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