Can OFWs Start a Business in the Philippines?
Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can send over Php147 billion to the Philippines every year. Thanks to overseas remittances to the Philippines, they can pay their families’ daily expenses and children’s tuition fees. However, OFWs barely build up their own savings. While it’s understandable that their families back home depend on them, OFWs also deserve to see their hard work pay off.
Sure, being able to feed their families and send their kids to school are great pay-offs. But what if the OFW gets laid off, or it’s time for them to retire? They have to be prepared for these scenarios; otherwise, they’d only go back to the vicious cycle of finding work, earning little, and not saving enough.
Furthermore, savings allow OFWs to return home sooner. And if they start a business instead of working for another employer, they can be their own boss and find it easier to make their dreams come true.
But can an OFW start a business in the Philippines? How will their business ownership differ from a non-OFW?
Starting a Business as an OFW
OFWs can start a business in the Philippines, but only if they’re based in the country again. If they want to start a business from abroad, it should also be based in their country.
Starting a business is the best way for OFWs to preserve the wealth they’ve built. But it’s also a risky venture. It takes a while for a business to be stable, unlike employment. When you work for another company, you only need to wait five or six months before being regularized – assuming you’re not a contractual employee. Once you completed the probationary period, you’ll earn steadily.
On the other hand, a business has a high risk of failure. You’ll sacrifice your sleep, family time, hobbies, and social life for it to work, yet it can still fail for a variety of reasons. Today is an especially tough time for businesses, with the pandemic and quarantine protocols. Still, many people start businesses during this period. It proved beneficial as a hedge against unemployment.
Hence, despite the risky nature of a business, OFWs should still consider it. It would also be part of the legacy they’d leave in time. After all, no one wants to work until they pass. As the modern-day heroes, they and their families deserve to live more comfortably because of passive income.
Ways for OFWs to Build Capital
The hardest part of starting a business is building up capital. Though anyone can seek financing from banks or alternative lenders, getting approved is another story. There are plenty of requirements, such as a certain amount of assets, number of employees, etc.
To reduce financial risks, OFWs should save their own capital. To do so, they must resist sending 70% to 90% of their salaries back home. Of course, this strategy won’t apply to every OFW. Only those who have the choice to do so can follow it. Still, every OFW should open their own bank account and invest any amount they can for it. Even saving Php100 a day will go a long way.
OFWs should also limit buying luxurious gifts with their hard-earned money. There are other ways to make their families happy besides new smartphones, clothes, shoes, and appliances. They should focus on what their families need instead of what they want. That way, OFWs can set a more realistic budget for remittance and deposit the rest in their savings account.
Excelling in Business
It takes certain traits to succeed in business. In the Philippines, street-smart people are assumed to be good entrepreneurs. But aside from street-smartness, entrepreneurs also need organizational skills, financial management skills, persistence, planning skills, and more. And some of those skills are only learned through studying.
Although they don’t need to get a business degree, they will benefit from reading books about business, attending entrepreneurship events, and being mentored by an experienced business leader. Honing their entrepreneurial skills can reduce their business’ risks for failure. The more business-savvy they become, the better they can set up their business for success.
No matter the business they choose – be it online selling, food business, multi-level marketing, or drop shipping – OFWs should also apply the lessons they’ve learned while working abroad. And that’s commitment. Entrepreneurship won’t be easier than working. But if they’re committed to it just as they were committed to their jobs abroad, they will get the motivation to grow their business. As a result, they never have to be apart from their families again, and they can help the Philippine economy.