OFWs are considered as modern day heroes because of the their contribution to the growth of the economy. They earn much more abroad compared to their local counterparts here in the Philippines. However, lots of Pinoy workers abroad dream to come home and start their own investments here so can they be with their families. Most of them are hesitant to start because they can’t manage or at least monitor the progress of traditional businesses from abroad. We compiled a list of 10 modern OFW business ideas that our kababayans can venture into with having the security of overseeing their investments even if they are away.
Condormitel is a combination of condominium, dormitory and hotel concept. It is a new version of the condo rental investment business. The innovation is mainly focused on renting the condo on a per-bed-space for students near universities with services comparable to hotels. Investors will be more secure because it targets a continuous market of students, giving it a strong rental demand. You can check the progress of your investment by getting a monthly report sent to you by the managing group.
2. Ride Sharing
Ride sharing services like Grab and Uber have had a huge impact on the Philippine transport industry. Being an OFW, this is a business you can venture into even if you are abroad. Uber and Grab provides weekly and monthly travel reports that will help you monitor the progress of your investment. You can also check your partner driver’s rating to see if he is performing well and providing quality service to riders. The good thing about this investment is that automotive companies like Toyota, Honda, Kia and others are offering low down payment promos that will help you get started with minimal cash out.
3. Vacation Home Rentals
The concept is similar to the ride sharing business but this time it is focused on your real estate property. One example is Airbnb’s business model of renting homes, apartments, rooms and bed spaces for travelers. If you have a property in provinces where tourists often visit this can be a good investment (think of locations near the beach or with tourist attractions near the city center). To start, you can use your own property. Renovate your existing family home that can be offered to travelers on a per room basis. Once the business picks up, you can add more units or even construct a bed and breakfast investment and advertise it on Airbnb. Even if you are away from the Philippines you can still track the progress your investment through monthly and weekly reports provided by services like Airbnb.
4. Online Shops / Online Buy And Sell
Creating an online shop is another good business in the Philippines for an OFW. E-commerce has been booming in the Philippine shopping industry. The advantage of this venture is that you don’t need a physical store to start your shop. Setting up a brand in social media platforms is easy and free. Think of products that are fast-selling and can be shipped using door-to-door services. This will allow you to tap the entire country as your market. Some ideas for your online shop are beauty products, gadgets, shoes, bags, clothing, apparel, collectibles, small furniture and preserved food. You can even buy the products from the country you are working in and ship it to the Philippines to get that supply and demand advantage. Monitor your sales by using an online inventory spreadsheet that can check real time like Google docs.
5. Philippine Products Exporting
Importing Philippine-made products to the foreign country you are currently working in is another lucrative business. We have lots of unique export products that can be marketed abroad. To start this business you can bring samples of your chosen product on your next vacation back home. Then find a good market and possibly a foreign partner that will help you expand the business. Some examples are coconut by-products, fruits, coffee, seafood, chocolates, essential oils, woodcraft and clothing. Once you have demand, re-brand the products according to your customer’s needs and start your exporting venture abroad.
6. Coaching Or Mentoring Services
Working abroad has advantages in terms of learning and technology. You can use your work experience as a mentor or a coach to a specific niche market. For example, OFW engineers, chefs and designers can share their expertise by offering it as a professional coaching service. Start by simply creating a Facebook page and a Youtube channel and share tips to gain followers. Once you have a decent amount of viewers you can start offering your mentoring services online or through face-to-face sessions.
7. VULs, Mutual Funds, UITFs And Stocks
Most overseas workers don’t do financial planning. This is a mistake that you do not want to do because this will come back to haunt you when you decide to retire and lose your monthly income from abroad.
Variable life insurance or VUL is a combination of life insurance and investment product. VULs will give you the security of having a life insurance for your dependents and also an investment plan for your future.
If you are more of a high risk – high reward type of person you can choose to go for mutual funds and UITFs. The advantage of these is that you will have experienced investment managers that will study the market for you. By investing in a pooled fund you are letting your money work for you in a long-term financial program.
Finally, if you have lots of time to study stock investments it also has a lot of upside. For starters, you have complete control of what you buy. You get residual income if the stocks you choose pay good dividends. Since you don’t pay investment management fees, your returns are maximized.
Get weekly or monthly reports online or through the investment managers to track your gains in your investments.
8. Home Based Business / Income
Home based income can be generated through online services. A lot of Filipinos are now working as freelance online employees for businesses from the US, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Middle East and Europe. The popular online services are: data encoding, data analysis, virtual assistance, online advertising, internet marketing, web design, content writing, online surveys, mystery shopping, product researcher, online store merchant, social media manager and video editing. You can start by working part-time yourself so you can learn the industry and eventually turn it into a business once you get enough clients. Since you are working abroad, you will have the luxury to meet potential foreign clients and set up a team in the Philippines to provide the online services.
9. Franchising Business
Being an OFW gives you less time to think about business planning. This is where franchising can be a good option for you. In franchising you will be buying a working business model that will fast track you to the actual operations. Look for a franchisor that provides a business plan, systems for operation, personnel training, supplies management and an inventory reporting system. Some ideas for franchising are food chains, lotto outlets, bayad centers, generic pharmacies, convenience stores, water stations, bigas and other agricultural products.
10. Bring Innovation To The Philippines
Being an OFW gives you an advantage in terms of innovation. You can get ideas from the latest businesses, technology and trends being used abroad and you can be the first to bring it to the Philippines. Ex. new food ideas, coin laundry machines, automotive gadgets, modern construction materials, 3D printing machines, capsule hotels, online grocery services, latest trends in fashion and more. The key is to keep you eyes open for new business ideas and having a vision on potential good businesses for the Pinoy market. Bringing a unique product or service to the Philippines can be very lucrative business.
Closing Tips Before Starting Your Business
- Save for your investment – Set a financial goal and save a portion of your monthly income for your business venture. The faster you can come up with the initial investment, the earlier you can start with your business. If you need more capital you can also look into OFW loans offered by select banks.
- Partnership – When looking for a partner for your investment make sure that the person is trustworthy and is responsible. You don’t want to invest your hard earned money on a partner that is not reliable.
- Talk to a business consultant – Look for a mentor or a professional who has experience with business management. Get tips on how you can launch your business and to sustain a monthly business plan.
- Study your business model – Study the pros and cons of your business. Use online resources to check how the business works and how to avoid pitfalls.
- Monitor your investment – Take advantage of technology and the internet. You can monitor your business by simply asking for a weekly or monthly report. Adjust your strategy if you see any discrepancies in the operation.