How to be an OFW and Entrepreneur at the Same Time

by Gily Tenorio on November 23, 2011

in Business


Being an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) is not an easy occupation as you think it might be. I know this one because I have been an OFW for more than four years. There are lots of sacrifices and hardships you will encounter as you work abroad, away from your families and loved ones. We know that OFW are increasing each year because of lack of decent employment in our country forcing many Filipinos to look for a “greener pasture” outside the Philippines.

At first, I don’t want to work abroad because in my mind, it is lot better to work in your own country and I don’t like to leave my family. My father was an OFW before but now he’s in the Philippines. He worked in Saudi when I was in the elementary up to college but not continuously. I thanked him for his sacrifices and effort to give us a good life and education we’re having now. In my plan, I don’t want the idea of working abroad for a long period of time, I want to come back and then start a business of my own.

I can apply as an employee again in the Philippines but I’m sure the pay is much less than what I’m earning as an OFW. It’s a fact and I can’t ignore it unless for few special cases. It is the reason why I want to engage in business because I don’t want to be an employee again with a lower salary. If you’re an OFW and you want to start a business while you’re working abroad, I want to share this tips that I am doing when I start my own business while working in South Korea.

1. Start saving now

Money is one important ingredient when starting a business, we can’t deny it. However, it is not the “all” in building a business, there are some other key factors. Basically, there are two possible sources of your capital for business: your savings fund and loan (borrowing of money). It would be a lot better if you could use your own money as a capital so you won’t pay loan fees and interest. Therefore, it is important to save as much as you can and as possible as you can. Use the portion of your savings to start a business.

I know it’s hard to save when you’re getting a low salary. However, it is now the right time to do it for you to have a capital for your business in the future. Otherwise, you could resolve to applying for loans which can give you debt.

2. Research and study what type of business is applicable to you

In business and investment, you should practice the concept ” Understand what you buy.” It means you must know first what you are going into or what are you buying. It can be an investment, insurance, house and lot, real estate property, food cart business, or any kinds of business that you can imagine. There are many ideas and information you could get from the Internet that will help you understand which business could be best for you and your current condition. You should be patient in analyzing and researching these things since it is very hard for you to attend seminars and trainings about the business you are planning to start.

3. Team up with your wife or trusted friends or relatives

If you can start your business alone, it is the best option. However, most of the time, you need someone who can help you to carry out some tasks especially you are not in the Philippines. It would be better if you talk to your wife to assist you in starting your business while you are working abroad. Make sure you have agreement and both of you understand what and how the business will perform. In business and other areas of life, it is always true that two heads are better than one.

4. Learn and co-manage the business

Learning the business is a long process but should not make you afraid of what it will bring in the future. The important thing now is to start it and learn various things along the way. I know it’s hard and many hardships you will face including financial, emotional and physical difficulties. Therefore, it is very important to co-manage your business if you have other partners like your wife or trusted relative and friends. Make sure you also know what is happening in your business and what areas it could be improved. Even you’re abroad you could communicate with your business partner through emails and chat so you are also well-informed how the business is getting through.

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