They say you can’t be an OFW forever. That’s true. At some point in your life, you will feel tired and you want to just stay in the Philippines, open a small business you and your family can sustain, and grow old here.
The challenge is how. More importantly, can you do it?
The answer is yes. In fact, there are many former OFWs who eventually succeed with the right amount of timing, hard work, and determination. If you’re looking for something to lift your spirit, then this one is for you.
Peter Ramores: From mechanic to real estate magnate
He started working as a mechanic in Saudi Arabia when he was 21 years old. Eventually, Ramores rose from the ranks and became a foreman, senior mechanic, and supervisor. Unfortunately, higher ranks in the company he is working for requires Arabs or Arabic-speaking individuals, so he was stuck with his position.
He learned about house and condominium properties offered to Filipinos in Middle East. Although selling wasn’t his forte, he took a chance and worked his way up until he became a manager after three years.
At present, Peter, together with this wife Rachel, are now managing a network of hundred sellers in the Middle East with an average of P1 billion sales every year. Aside from that, they are managing five rental properties that are earning P1 million every month.
Ronelyn Achacoso: From housekeeper to handicrafts owner
She worked as a housekeeper in Brunei. Unfortunately, her employer maltreated her and was accused of theft. She was able to get back home, but her bad experience didn’t stop her from aiming for success.
When she got back home, she looked for opportunities to earn income in her hometown in Davao. She started attending trainings by OWWA on DIY invitation card designs using abaca sheets and flower-making. She was also into arts and crafts, so she used that passion to put up her own business, Nelyn’s Handicrafts.
At present, Ronelyn supplies her crafts to department stores in Davao City.
Rodolfo Valenzuela: From civil engineer-turned hardware salesman to owner of hardware stores
He may be a civil engineer, but he had a hard time looking for a high-paying job that could support his family. As a result, he went to Saudi Arabia and took a job as hardware salesman. His experiences taught him well, paving and encouraging him to put up his own hardware stores.
His advice: make sure to spend and save your salary wisely. More importantly, don’t be afraid to do business.
Mike Casas: From mechanical engineer to King of bottled sardines
He worked in Brunei for four years as a mechanical engineer. His frugal personality made him venture into bottled sardines business, starting with only four people and selling it to friends and family. Word of mouth travelled fast and Mike’s bottled sardines soon became popular not just in his hometown, Dipolog City, but also nationwide.
At present, the bottled sardines are sold nationwide in specialty stores and supermarkets. Some Filipino supermarkets abroad are also carrying his products. He also participated in trade fairs and started exporting his products in Canada and United States. More importantly, Mike hires local fishermen, bottlers, and other personnel so they don’t have to work overseas.
Imelda Ahalul-Dagas: From executive assistant to coffee shop owner
She worked as an executive assistant in Oman and stayed there for 19 years. Later on, Imelda realized that being an OFW is not forever because of the many uncertainties. She looked into her other options until she realized that she wanted to be an entrepreneur. She attended seminars conducted by GoNegosyo and Association of Filipino Franchisers then eventually pursued her passion project of reviving Dennis Coffee, a coffee shop that her grandmother started in Sulu in 1962.
At present, Imelda transformed Dennis Coffee’s old town feel into a “first of its kind” social nook in Zamboanga. Her tips to success: plan well and plan ahead, start with being a part-time entrepreneur to gain experience, and be courageous. Being an entrepreneur calls for a leap of faith.
That being said, are you ready to start your own business? We hope this post inspired you to try and be courageous.