Sorry, guys, but my article yesterday, Isdaan ni Bob, was my annual April Fools joke! Yep, the truth is that I have no plans for a fish stall in Bankerohan!
It is true, though, that I have been thinking of doing a more traditional, non-internet business, but nothing nearly as “Filipino” as having a stall in the Public Market! Actually, Feyma and I have a business in mind that we may be setting up later this year. If we were to move ahead with it, it would likely be located in one of the local malls, perhaps SM one of the other local malls. If we do it, I will share more about it later on this site.
Why do I want to venture into a brick and mortar business instead of an Internet business? The answer is simple and only requires one word – diversification. I have a lot of online businesses, and they serve me well. For the past 8 years, I have had no income from any source other than online. But, I am of the opinion that it is always good to branch out, spread your bets over a number of different things, and generally protect yourself from a downturn in one of the venues that you are doing business in.
For example, over the past 2+ years, most of the world has been deeply impacted by a very tough recession. Interestingly, the Philippines has really not been deeply impacted, and in fact the economy here is still growing. It has not entered recession like the rest of the world has. Seeing this has opened my eyes that it would be a good idea for me to diversify into a business that will also be based in the Philippine economy. All of my businesses that I have now are focusing on a clientele everywhere except in the Philippines, and that hurt my business over the past couple of years. I can see now that to diversify into the Philippine economy would be a wise move, and something I should have done before.
Diversification is something that I want to emphasize to you if you plan to live in the Philippines. Not only diversification in terms of a business, but in all financial matters. For example, if you most of your banking in your US bank (or whatever country you currently live in), consider diversifying into two or three different banks in the USA, and also into a Philippine bank or two. Why? Think about this… do you remember a few weeks ago when LiP writer, Jawz told us that his bank in the USA had frozen his ATM card? Well, if he had several different banks in the USA, he could have whipped out an ATM card from one of his other banks to fill the gap while he fixed his situation with the one bank that had frozen his account. If he had a Philippine bank, he could have walked into a local branch and gotten some money or talked with a teller or even the bank manager if need be.
My point is, when you live in the Philippines (or any foreign country) always give yourself plenty of options. You never know when your bank in the USA will be meaning well, and trying to protect you and cut off your funds because “somebody in the Philippines is defrauding your account.” Well, the fact is that there is no fraud going on at all, they just forgot, or did not know that you are now living in the Philippines. In fact, it is a good idea to make sure that your home bank knows that you are in the Philippines, so that they won’t cut you off, but even if you let them know, these things still happen.
Diversify as much as your life as you can before becoming an expat. It will pay off in dividends as the years pass of you living overseas.
Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.