It’s been a couple of weeks now since I posted my first installment of my series, Seasons in the sun, talking about the different “seasons” of life that I have gone through while living in the Philippines. Last time I talked about my winter years in the Philippines after I first arrived in the country. I faced troubles of different types, but thankfully I overcame those issues and put my life back on track. I learned a lot of things about myself and learned how to use my traits and personality for good rather than doing damage to myself and my lifestyle. In short, the Philippine experience taught me a lot.
One of my biggest challenges during my winter years in the Philippines was financial and business. I came here with what I thought was a lot of money, and some good business ideas. I ended up blowing my money, though, and most of my preconceived business plans didn’t turn out very good. I got down where I had almost no money left, and I had to do something, or I’d be in big trouble.
At the urging of my wife, I started doing some online business. I had, while still living in the USA, done some eBay selling, and had actually been quite successful at it. Feyma thought that I could be successful with that while living here in the Philippines. I had my doubts about it, but I didn’t have much choice, I had to do something, so I gave eBay a shot.
We were living in General Santos City at the time, but things were not too good there. There were a lot of bombings going on in the City. At first it didn’t really bother us much, every time there was a bombing it was pretty far removed from us. Then, one weekend the biggest bombing of them all happened at FitMart, RD Plaza Mall. It happened that one of our businesses was there. The bombing happened just 20 meters or so from our business, and people flooded into our place dripping in blood. About 20 people were killed. This incident happened to close to home for us, and we worried about our kids especially. We decided to move to Cebu. At the urging of a friend who lived in Davao, we decided to go have a look in Davao before making the Cebu move. We were sold on Davao and made the move there instead.
When we moved to Davao, the sun came up, the rain clouds lifted and we went straight from Winter into Summer. We passed by Spring altogether.
The eBay business kicked in after only a couple of weeks, and we were doing some really nice business and earning some good money. Our new home, Davao, was treating us well, and we enjoyed living in the City. Things were good.
The business kept growing and within a few months of moving, I needed to hire some employees to help with the eBay business. By chance, I received a text right at this time. It was from Gladys, one of my employees that worked for me at our Internet Cafe in General Santos when we were living there. Gladys was a recent college graduate, and both Feyma and I just loved her. She was an excellent employee. She texted me and asked if I could hire her if she moved to Davao. YES! Perfect timing. I hired her immediately, she moved to Davao, and started working for me. I also hired a few other employees as the business was rapidly growing. Summer it was. Our lives were busy, and we were doing very well.
The eBay business kept on growing, more employees were being hired, and we were making a great deal of money. Life was good. Other businesses that I had also were prospering, and after a few years, we were doing so well with other businesses that we elected to stop selling on eBay. The demand was just too great, we were working too hard, and it got to the point that we just did not need the money that eBay was providing for us, so we elected to quit the eBay business, and focus our attention on other businesses that we had.
At this time, I promoted Gladys to be my overall business manager. She was in charge of all of my different businesses, and she ran the businesses well. At that time, I didn’t focus too much on the businesses, I let Gladys do that and I spent my time on other things – hobbies and dabbling in blogging and such (at this time, I really did not have too much of a “web empire” like I do now). If Gladys needed help she would come to me and we would talk about it, but for the most part, Gladys was running everything. We were very happy.
In addition to increased business and earning more money, we were also blessed with a great exchange rate. The US Dollar at this time was worth up to P56. It really made for a fairly lavish lifestyle for us, and for a lot of other American expats too. We were living the good life, and enjoying every minute of it.
So, I had learned that even if winter came, it passed. A little bit of hard work moved us quickly into summer, and things were indeed hot! Business was good. Family life was good. Gladys quickly became almost like a daughter to us, she was much more than an employee or a manager. In fact, she even called us her “Davao parents” and she was like family to us.
Summer was here and we enjoyed the heat. It was a lot better than the winter that we had been through while living in General Santos.