I have been receiving inquiries from overseas Filipino workers asking whether there’s a particular good business that they can start in the Philippines while they are out of the country.
First of all, I believe that any kind of endeavor and project that a person desires to enter into requires physical presence and hands-on management.
In the same manner, starting a business in your home country while you are working overseas means you have to take the risk of entrusting your hard-earned money to a close relative, a friend, or to a hired qualified professional.
So before I give my personal suggestions on what specific business can be run while out of the Philippines, let me ask back the inquirers these 10 questions first:
- What are your reasons, purposes and goals for starting a business in the Philippines in absentia or while you are out of the country?
- Have you prepared yourself, emotionally and mentally, for the possible consequences of running a business while you are away?
- Is your business idea aligned with your passion, talents, and personal strengths?
- Are you willing to take the risk of trusting a relative, a friend, or a business partner to run and manage the business and attend trainings on your behalf?
- Have you developed your own business plan, conducted research and surveys on the viability and profitability of your business idea?
- Have you built up an emergency fund for you and your family (of at least 1 year equivalent of your monthly expenses)?
- How much of your savings are you willing to put (and risk losing) in the business?
- Do you have the resources and capacity to come home on emergency cases or if required by the situation?
- Do you have a mentor with a reputable track record and has a high-success rate on his/her business that you are wishing to duplicate?
- Are you willing to be online and reachable 24/7?
If you as an overseas-based Filipino desiring to run a business in the Philippines can satisfy the 10 point-questionnaire above, then you are halfway ready to start your journey towards financial freedom with your “remote-controlled” business.
You can now decide which business is suitable and the most effective for you while you are away from home.
What Are Some of The Best Business Options for OFW’s?
1. Travel Booking Agency
I just learned this recently from someone within my entrepreneurship circle who owns one of the most popular and well-respected travel agencies in the country. Anyone can actually become a partner or an affiliate of an IATA-accredited travel agency including OFW’s themselves.
Upon partnering with an agency, an OFW can start booking plane tickets/hotel itineraries for fellow OFW’s using their own laptops with the ticketing agency which is accredited not only by IATA but also by other government agencies such as the Department of Tourism.
Once the partnership becomes active, you can start your booking business with your fellow OFW’s, friends, and even family members. Continue to network with other OFW’s and aspire to grow and become a full-time travel agent in the future.
2. Franchised business
While most businesses and franchisors would most likely disapprove a franchise applicant who is based overseas, there are a handful who will. Especially if the basic requirements are satisfied such as the business permits and franchise contracts under the OFW’s name.
However, choosing the right “partner” for a sole proprietor business is a great challenge for an OFW. If you like to venture in this type of business, you will need to find someone whom you can trust and with the same mindset as yours to run it successfully.
He should also be willing to attend regular trainings for you as required by the franchisor.
3. Property & Real Estate
The problem with most OFW’s is that they are easily attracted to the offers by real estate agents and brokers just because they heard the phrase “this is a good investment”. When in fact, most OFW’s have no knowledge, thorough understanding, and proper training as to how a property can become a really good investment.
They end up buying a non-income generating house or a condo unit without any clue as to how they will be able to get back the money they initially “invested” in.
Worse, the property becomes a headache due to costly repairs and maintenance, payment of association dues and penalties even if no one is living there, unpaid utility bills or reconnection fees, and continuous deterioration.
But if an OFW invests first on educating himself on how to make money through property and real estate, most likely the house or condo unit that he will buy can become a good source of capital growth and income. Education will also help an OFW avoid dipping his hands in a property that is hard to liquidate or sell.
I suggest attending trainings conducted by the Think Rich Pinoy team headed by Dr. Larry Gamboa and Ms. Maves Angeles. Think Rich Pinoy has been buying and selling foreclosed real estate for years now in the Philippines and turn them around into rental properties or quick sales.
Bare land can also be developed and converted into a small leisure park, a fish pond, a farm, a parking lot, space for lease, or a resort.
Go back to my 10-point questionnaire above before deciding to go into property rental, development, and sales business.
4. Manpower Recruitment & Placement Agency
Incidentally, you’re being employed abroad may just be the best opportunity for you to become an entrepreneur on the sideline by hooking up with companies and individuals who are looking for foreign workers.
A lot of companies in the Middle East, the U.S., Canada, Australia, Hongkong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are constantly looking for Filipino workers due to their above par work ethics and capabilities.
Just make sure that you are duly-accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and that you fully satisfy all the requirements needed to run an overseas manpower recruitment and placement agency.
5. Sari-Sari (Variety/Mini-Grocery) Store Business
The sari-sari store is an iconic symbol of the Filipino entrepreneur. It is the humble equivalent of international convenience store brands like Ministop, 7-Eleven, SPAR, FamilyMart, Circle K, etc.
In short, the sari-sari store is your friendly neighborhood convenience store.
If you want to run a sari-sari store business with your spouse, make sure that you have the perfect location for it and that you have a wide array of products that your neighbors always need. Having an inventory of merchandise and products that can be bought during emergency situations is a big plus point to a sari-sari store business.
It’s a very reliable business with low overhead costs and reasonable profits. I know someone personally who is now a successful grocery store entrepreneur who started his wealth journey from running a lowly sari-sari store business.
Start small and see how it goes within a year. Just tell your spouse or relative to avoid extending credits (utang) as much as possible. If you can’t refuse them, be sure that you limit their credits to just Php100 (US$2.50).
6. Online Selling & Marketing Business (E-Commerce)
Having an online business these days is one of the most convenient and most manageable among other types of business models.
If you think you are good in using the internet and the social media, starting an online business may be the best “remote” income-generating model for you. It can also be your tool for promoting your other “offline” businesses such as those mentioned above.
Ideas and opportunities are endless on what products and services you can sell online. You can write articles, design websites, provide your accounting/bookkeeping services, become a virtual assistant, buy and sell tangible products to customers in the Philippines or elsewhere, start a blog and earn from advertisements and referral commissions, run a webinar, provide professional consultations, and so many others.
I also suggest investing in paper assets such as stocks, mutual funds, bonds, etc. while enjoying your new business. Diversify your money.
A friend has also helped out several OFW’s set up their own organic farming and hog-raising business. They even monitor from abroad the everyday development of their poultry and pigs through the installed CCTV system in the farm.
Observe Due Diligence
Before entering into a business or signing that legal document, make sure that you are dealing with credible and legitimate individuals and business entities.
Do you have other business ideas and suggestions for our Filipino migrant workers? Share them on the comment section below.
Have a very bountiful Christmas to all of you!
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Photo courtesy of Stitch