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Business Young Man - Long Term Plans
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Johnny 99 Offline

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Joined: Jan 2014
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Post: #1
Young Man - Long Term Plans
Hey Guys,

Long time follower, first time poster. As someone who is always working on self improvement, this forum has been a treasure trove of information for me over the past year or so. Definitely respect the information and opinion provided by those older/wiser than myself and always like to hear different takes on ideas I have. Recently I have seen quite a few threads where young guys are asking, “what should I do with my life, etc.” (i.e. If you turned 20 tomorrow...) and I hope adding one more doesn’t offend anybody.

I like to think of myself as an entrepreneur and have started a small business in SA previously. Basically, I have some ideas about how to tackle the next 2-5 years of my life and would appreciate any feedback or criticism of anything and everything I say, or even better, how would you do things differently?

A little about me: mid twenties, business degree from good school in Canada, traveled/lived in Asia, Europe and SA. working at an IT company as I pay off my student loans. Fit, healthy, been foolishly stuck in LTRs for the past few years (but that’s a story for another post).

Why do I want to change the path I’m on? At the risk of sounding overly pessimistic, I believe that Canada is heading for a period of sustained decline as a country with less good paying job opportunities for educated/skilled workers, higher taxes to pay for the aging population, and more unequal wealth distribution (evidenced by rise of property prices relative to average wage over the past two decades). All of these factors essentially make it more difficult for young workers to get ahead, pay off debt, buy a house, etc. than it has been for the past couple of generations. Economy is weak (currency falling relative to US, and is likely to stay that way IMHO). Young guys are getting fucked over while older generations will have it made in the shade, essentially. Does not apply for oil sands workers, etc. but that is not my bag by any means.

Stage One: The (Low Risk) Planning

Before venturing abroad - more on that in a minute - I am planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign based on a product that I have developed and I believe will be able to gain traction. I work with people who have worked with successful campaigns in the past and have done my reading on what it takes to manage a Kickstarter campaign. My goal here is to use the campaign to generate marketing buzz for my product, after which I would like to put automated systems in place to sell these products online to generate passive income. My real hope here is to generate enough monthly income to pay down my student loan. Clearly, if the campaign is more successful than I anticipate, I will shoot higher and build a business around the product. Time frame to launch is 4-6 months.

Stage One A: The (High Risk) Planning

I have dabbled in bitcoin in the past, but (perhaps like others here) I sold when I had doubled my money rather than patiently waiting (not a strong suit of mine). And of course I am kicking myself right now. With that being said, Bitcoin (as well as other virtual currencies) clearly have more upside potential (along with significant downside risk). That being said, I am thinking of sinking ~$2000 into either Bitcoin or another high risk short term investment that has the potential of generating some seed capital for a business I would like to start in the future. All I know is that if I don’t buy and it goes to $10,000/coin I will commit hari kari (another personality flaw, weighing opportunity cost too heavily). Any thoughts on this?

Stage One B: The Meanwhile

While I am doing the things above, I will be working, saving cash, making connections and working on self improvement.

Stage Two: The Philippines

Let me let you guys in on a little secret, IT isn’t all it’s cracked up to be as a career if you work as a 9-5 wage slave. That’s not to say that there isn’t significant money to be made. For example, resellers that offer the services my company sells get paid recurring commissions for the duration of the (3-5 year) contract. Now of course these resellers typically have overhead, offices, etc. However, I believe it would be possible to make these sales without incurring any fixed costs.

Clearly the title of this section is the dead giveaway here. The Philippines is surpassing England/Canada/Australia/USA and even India as the place to learn English: because of it’s cheap and plentiful labour and minimally accented English. Now to be transparent, I have never been to the Phils even when I travelled through SEA, so feel free to call me out if I am full of shit with this assertion.

Essentially, I would set up a call center (not sure where this would be located), email/call people across the US/Canada to offer IT services from various providers. The beauty as I see it of this operation is that once I can earn enough in monthly commissions to cover the costs of the call center, I have essentially given myself a 3-5 year “free pass” where even if the business goes under I continue to be paid commissions on those sales made while I figure out what to do next. Selling this stuff is easy in my experience because all businesses are in need of computers, connectivity, etc. I would pay for decent employees (although at wages lower than the Canadian minimum wage) and train them personally; this would be more or a high volume operation than a high pressure operation and I anticipate closing a lot of the bigger deals myself initially once my employees have generated the leads. Timeline 1-2 years from now.

Stage Three: New Opportunities

I can see myself living in the Phils for a couple of years, being mobile and keeping my lifestyle low key (biggest expenses would be my two main hobbies of motorcycles and kiteboarding), while I enjoy the girls (goes without saying this played a factor in choosing the Philippines as a place to live), network with expats/local business leaders (I have experience in working the the US and Canadian Embassies from doing business in SA) and look for the big opportunity that will be my retirement plan (perhaps you guys have some insight here as well, clearly opportunities for language schools, outsourcing operations). Timeline, 3-5 years from now.

Anyway, that covers a lot of topics and leaves out a lot of details, but I don’t feel like any of my plans are unreasonable and most importantly I know from experience I have the ability to actually execute them (and I also know that isn’t a guarantee of success, but I never stop trying).

Would appreciate any feedback on the major challenges I will face and what I need to consider. If this turns into a thread about how to start a business in the Philippines/SEA and make a living, I am all ears to hear about the must know facts.

Thanks guys.
02-08-2014 04:10 AM
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cardguy Offline

Posts: 4,481
Joined: Nov 2012
Post: #2
RE: Young Man - Long Term Plans
I can't help you much.

But I can tell you this - goals are for losers! :-)
(This post was last modified: 02-08-2014 06:35 AM by cardguy.)
02-08-2014 06:34 AM
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TopPanda Offline

Posts: 197
Joined: Aug 2013
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Post: #3
RE: Young Man - Long Term Plans
I just got another job back in the UK after travelling in SE Asia for a year. SE Asia is great fun, but it's not an easy place to do business.

I've got my eye on buying more first world real estate. Why not do the same?

Stuff I've seen on my travels...
Chinese Ladies Mapped by Province
02-08-2014 10:35 AM
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Johnny 99 Offline

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Joined: Jan 2014
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Post: #4
RE: Young Man - Long Term Plans
cardguy, thanks for the life hacks, I do try to incorporate as many as I can into my daily routine.

TopPanda, whereabouts are you buying real estate? Canada is overpriced by any measure, US looks like an obvious choice but the Canadian dollar just went for a shit so essentially prices just jumped 10%+. Not saying it can't be done, definitely a great investment in the long term but tough on cash flow in the short term for someone without a large bankroll.
02-08-2014 02:33 PM
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paninaro Offline

Posts: 421
Joined: Jul 2013
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Post: #5
RE: Young Man - Long Term Plans
You have a lot of questions in your post. Here's my take:

1. Focus on the product you want to fund through Kickstarter, not Kickstarter itself. It's not going to give you the brand awareness or marketing boost that you expect. It's on stepping stone on a long path, if your goal is to make a company and product that will be successful.

2. Forget about Bitcoin. Yes, it may double in value. You may also win the lottery tomorrow or get hit by a car. Your time is valuable, so focus on your business and other areas. You only have 24 hours in a day, so spend them wisely.

3. Yes, Phils is a popular place for callcenters. You don't need to run your own -- you can just hire a company to do outbound telesales if that's what your business is. Realize if you are there and running your own, get ready to work 10pm-8am, as that's when it's the business day in North America. The bigger hurdle I see here is what you're selling. Yes, every business needs computers, internet, etc... and they all already have it. It's a difficult battle to get a company to switch vendors, and it's often not just about price.
02-09-2014 01:10 AM
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Seductionsextravel Sebi Offline

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Joined: Sep 2013
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Post: #6
RE: Young Man - Long Term Plans
I would be very careful to do business in South East Asia. A lot of people failed there not because the ideas were poor but because the laws are anything else than foreigner friendly and the working mentality of the people are also not really reliable and efficient. Maybe it would be a good idea to do some business in a western country and then design it in a way that you can live location independent or at least enjoy a life with a lot of traveling.
02-09-2014 09:13 AM
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Johnny 99 Offline

Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2014
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Post: #7
RE: Young Man - Long Term Plans
Hey guys, thanks for the responses, looking back at my post I definitely should have asked a more focused question.


1. Great advice, as you mentioned, I am trying to focus is on the business behind the campaign first (margins, production, etc.) and I am only thinking Kickstarter because the product is suited for it (easy to ship, low lead times), it's an idea I have had for a while but only recently have I been inspired to get my shit together (3D modeling, prototyping, testing).

2. Fair enough.

3. Very true, but I find people are willing to sign a large contract (100K+ over 3-5 years after only speaking on the phone if services are from a known provider). There is more information asymmetry than you might expect, and some people are paying quite a bit more than they could be, so if they feel they are being screwed over by their current provider it is easier to convince them to switch. You are right that I have no idea how to set a a call center in the Phillippines.

Sebi, thanks for the advice. I definitely need to do some more traveling and networking before I talk seriously about this stuff.
02-10-2014 12:56 AM
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