Philippine Telecommuting

Introduction To Telecommuting:

Over the weekend several thoughts to this subject … a may write more articles on this theme in the near future.  But here’s what got me going, recently.

Last week,  my friend Bob Martin published a web magazine post on telecommuting, making some interesting observations about how slowly this technology/business strategy seems to be progressing ( a view i certainly share) as well as some thoughts as to how the telecommuting work-style might be very applicable to folks who want to live in the Philippines but still earn an income here.

Some of the comments to Bob’s article, in particular, made me realize just how ill-defined this term is … it certainly means many different things to many different people.  For example, many people think of telecommuting only as allowing a person with a “conventional” 9 to 5 job to work at that same job, full time or at least several days each work week.  Others suggest that telecommuting would apply to situations similar to Bob and I … neither one of us has a “job” but both of us use telecommuting techniques to continue earning a living.

To avoid getting into any boring and confusing definition debate, let me say that for my purposes here I will adopt the broader definition.  telecommuting can be either the “traditional” or the “lose”, entrepreneurial style, or anything in between.

Is Philippine Telecommuting Practical?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes … and I can base this on real-world examples.  An example would be a new acquaintance I recently made via email.  the gentleman wrote me with some questions regarding the practicality of living here with two small children.  he has already addressed the reliable income issue … he’s a computer programmer and has already worked out issues with his employer that make the employer happy to accept him working “at a distance” for at least several years.

A second example would be a former business associate of mine who makes his home in Colorado.  He telecommutes in reverse.  he developed a very innovative railroad safety product which he envisioned he would sell all over the US.  But American railroads have been very slow to see the advantages.  But his business is a booming success … his major client?  The Chinese Ministry of Railroads.  His product is installed all over China and every installation is monitored and remotely ‘tuned” and maintained from his home office in Colorado.  The majority of his interface with the customer is done remotely too … if he, for example, is conducting a training class for Chinese railroad maintenance managers, scattered all over China it’s much more cost effective for both parties to do the class via online conferencing than to move everyone to Beijing or Loveland.  He does travel to China about twice a year, but business travel is a fact of life and a ticket from Denver to Beijing is often cheaper than a ticket from Denver to Fargo, North Dakota … and the food in the hotel is better ;-)

Can I Earn A Living “Telecommuting” Without a “Regular” Job Or Business?

I’m going to come down squarely on the yes side here as well.  And, I’ll say without hesitation that earning a living online in the Philippines is a lot smarter way of planning for the future than the average “expat wanna be” I talk with whose idea of supporting himself here is to find an equivalent to his “regular’ job back in the US … or Germany or Australia, etc.  Even if you are very good at what you do, have lots of education and qualifications, etc., it’s unlikely you will find a job in the Philippines that comes anywhere near paying what you are earning in the US.  wages are very low here (more than 120 Filipinos per hour, 8766 hours per year, leave the Philippines to work abroad … more than 1,000,000 in 2006 alone).  You can rest assured that they all didn’t leave by choice.  In addition, if you did find a job that paid a living wage you have to be able to show that it can’t be filled by a Filipino before you, as a foreigner can take it.  So what’s a person to do?

Creative Commons License photo credit: wrestlingentropy Make your own opportunity.  I already mentioned that Bob and I earn money from entrepreneurial online ventures.  You can find out a lot more at Bob’s Virtual Earner blog, or my companion blog, Retired Pay World or in about a thousand other online resources.  There’s a lot to be said for shifting the responsibility for your financial security and later retirement to your own shoulders .. those who think I’m too radical in these thoughts might want to consider a few facts about why having a job is a bad idea.

Okay. already too long here … now that I’ve shown you a few of the reasons why I think Philippines telecommuting can be done successfully. I’ll post again very soon about some of the practical aspects of how.

I welcome comments, constructive criticisms, disagreements, questions or just plain talk.  You can leave a comment to this article or email me direct at: davestarr (at) gmail (dot) com or call me on 1-719-966-4295. I’m usually on Yahoo Messenger (davestarr) and will be happy to chat there.  If you liked this article, please subscribe to my RSS feed so you get all my news and views.

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