Kind of a funny headline? Well I chose it to make your think a little ‘out of the box’.
Hundreds of people per day come to this site from Google and the other, lesser search engines. One of the most frequent phrases they search for is ‘Jobs for foreigners in the Philippines’, ‘jobs for Americans in the Philippines‘, or words to that effect.
You can see in the two sample articles linked above, what they typically get from the search engines. Mainly, editorial content of mine, making no bones about the fact that I am not very much in favor of jobs, particularly jobs for foreigners in the Philippines.
I looked over these facts this morning and I said to myself, “well, just how helpful is that?”. And I answered myself too, “Ummm, not very.” (Yes, I do talk to myself a lot, you haven’t figured that out yet? 😉 )
I was reading my friend Bob’s column the other day and it made me think a bit more about my own belief that almost anyone who wants to be entrepreneurial actually can be entrepreneurial. I’ll leave that thought for another day. If you, in your own mind, have condemned yourself to be a ‘follower only’, then so be it. I don’t agree.
If you answer ads about working in the Philippines you will see many that seem to offer jobs, but in reality are just come-ons for things like “Herbal Life”. Remember that? (Lose weight now, ask me how). It’s a creaze like Amway that swept through the US 20 years ago.
(Remember, I mentioned many times that the Philippines is very like (copycatting) US crazes, but often many years behind)
Anyway, one aspect of looking here that many seem to totally ignore is call centers, They are huge in the Philippines. See:
The call center industry is an up-and-coming industry in the Philippines. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is regarded as one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
The Philippines is also considered as location of choice due to its less expensive operational and labor costs. In 2007, The Philippines remain as a top BPO destination for the estimated $150-billion business process outsourcing industry. .
A typical call center production floor in the Philippines
The reason I mention call centers is two-fold.
First for those we just touched upon, convinced they can’t do anything except work for someone else.
Well, some of the call center agents are foreigners (although many of you reading this won’t qualify because of age requirements
(remember, age and gender discrimination in the Philippines is an absolute right of business here)
Additionally, the common starting salaries in Metro Manila (likely the highest wages anywhere in the Philippines) are about P15K per month to P18K per month …~$300 to ~$450 USD per month, depending on the exchange rate. Not many foreigners are able to live in say, Makati, on something that low.
But, those who start as agents or operators might finds a quick path to promotion. Team leaders, first and second-level supervisors and trainers of all levels are often foreigners … and although competition is very strong, if you actually are good at what you do … and if you work hard …
(call center work is very time intensive and your every minute on the phone and every keystroke on your computer is monitored, )
You might like it.
Now, you didn’t think you were getting off Scot free without a little mini-lecture on entrepreneurship, did you?
Call centers don’t have to be gigantic corporations. Existing call centers often have agent positions and other support bundled in small increments for the budding entrepreneur. For a simple flat rate you can rent as few as a single agent seats and start you own call center, growing as you business grows.
Think of any job you have ever seen where someone gets paid to answer phones and enter data. Example, when I was last in the US I know of several receptionist types who called people with reminders for appointments, kept doctors and engineers schedules and such. They were paid about $12 and hour. That’s nearly P100,000 per month here, 5 times what a competent call agent earns. So you could pay well, pay for the ‘seat’ and technology, charge your US customer 40% less than he is paying now (and no US taxes and Social Security) for the same quality of work? beginning to see any possibilities? Your thoughts, please?