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skhye01

OFW wants to be financially independent

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to_dave007
On 12/25/2019 at 9:33 AM, shadow said:

Our visa business failed miserably this year, earning about 15% of what it has been doing for well over a decade. As we have other baskets to haul our eggs in, it did not yet kill us completely (it almost did), but 2019 saw about a 70% reduction in our income from previous years. As some of you know, I have been having serious health issues the last 60 days, which were brought on at least in part by the stress of this and the fact that there were periods of time that for financial reasons I went without much relied upon medications. Just a few weeks ago, I was having 10 or so very serious angina attacks per day, which of course led to a heart attack (my third). I really did not think I would make it until Christmas. But, I guess I am not that easy to get rid of, and here I am.

So..., this Very Merry Christmas morning I was going through old threads looking for ideas to make 2020 a more profitable year, and found this thread from 2016 which was packed full of ideas and input from members. As it is of great interest to me, I thought I would see if I can revive it. Maybe new ideas and information can be discussed, or members can add input as to their recent business related successes or failures?   

What say ye, ol' merry gentlemen?  

Just a thought..  and perhaps too obvious..  sorry.

I don't know what the reasons are for the major decline in visa business..  but I wonder IS IT REVERSIBLE?.  Can it be corrected?  Is there something that can be done to attract new clients?  Or serve them better? I notice Voyager (sp?) here offering web site services for example.  You know the business better than me. 

How about visa for other countries?

Is there anything NEW that you can sell to this same customer set?

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shadow
10 minutes ago, to_dave007 said:

Just a thought..  and perhaps too obvious..  sorry.

I don't know what the reasons are for the major decline in visa business..  but I wonder IS IT REVERSIBLE?.  Can it be corrected?  Is there something that can be done to attract new clients?  Or serve them better? I notice Voyager (sp?) here offering web site services for example.  You know the business better than me. 

How about visa for other countries?

Is there anything NEW that you can sell to this same customer set?

Most of our business was DCF filings (Direct Consular Filing). This was our specialty, for over a decade we were the only agents assisting with DCF filings. This year USCIS shut down all overseas offices, Manila was one of the first to be shut down. Bottom line is, DCF is no longer available, and it is probably not ever coming back.

We have always processed visas by way of stateside filings, which is the normal and popular method.  However, it takes much longer, and there are literally thousands of agents doing it, online and locally. Many online offer it for much less than we can, and are automated. (we process thousands of visas per month, for ***s of countries, we have an office next to the Embassy, etc") Everybody is doing it, and there are also many good free help sites online. In Dumaguete alone at last count there were over 10 local offices processing US visas. I woulod not even venture a guess in Cebu...

In my opinion, there is too much information for one person to learn completely one category of visa from one country. There are hundreds of agents in the Philippines who have dozens of employees, one or two to specialize for most any type of visa. It's just me and the wife, we cannot compete. 

It is still a going concern, we got a good inquiry just this morning. However, where we were getting 30-40 new clients per year, since May when they started turning away DCF applicants we have had only 3 new visa clients, a trend that I predict to continue indefinitely. 

It was a good run, but we must face the fact that it is over.

I need a new drug!

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RogerDuMond

My 14 year old niece started making these things she calls munchkins and selling them at school. They are chocolate flavour and made from two different kinds of cookie crackers pulverised, and sweetened condensed milk. She rolls them into balls the size of a peso and then rolls them in desiccated coconut. It costs her around 80 pesos to make 100 and she sells them for 3 pesos each. She sells out every day during lunch break and could sell more. It isn't on the scale you would need, but I just posted it here to show what can be done with a unique product aimed at the right demographic group.

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JohnSurrey
2 hours ago, RogerDuMond said:

My 14 year old niece started making these things she calls munchkins and selling them at school. They are chocolate flavour and made from two different kinds of cookie crackers pulverised, and sweetened condensed milk. She rolls them into balls the size of a peso and then rolls them in desiccated coconut. It costs her around 80 pesos to make 100 and she sells them for 3 pesos each. She sells out every day during lunch break and could sell more. It isn't on the scale you would need, but I just posted it here to show what can be done with a unique product aimed at the right demographic group.

3pesos is cheap - if they're 5 in a bag - as they cost 5 pesos here

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RogerDuMond
5 hours ago, JohnSurrey said:

3pesos is cheap - if they're 5 in a bag - as they cost 5 pesos here

3 pesos each piece, not per pack.

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mikewright

Have seen two businesses using Airbnb which seemed to do well.

First was a person in an area on a remote island which didn't have a steady tourist stream, but did attract a regular group of wind and kite surfers at different times of the year. As it was seasonal, there were few resorts or guest houses. Person made a deal with  some locals who had a spare room or two, or a vacant property, and advertised them for rent in Airbnb and on sites catering to that particular sport. The advertised rates were cheap by tourist standards, but more than local rates. The owners were very happy to get the extra income, and the person who was acting in effect as their agent received a good cut, later expanding the business into sports equipment rental, equipment minding facilities etc.

Second example I saw was a person who lives in a very popular tourist area with a steady stream of tourists year round.  He took a lease on a property there, a little bit away from the main drag, but within walking distance. Advertised it on Airbnb, cheap in comparison to other tourist accommodation in the area, but much higher than the lease rental he pays. It is fully booked for most of the year, and he arranges tours for his guests, long-distance taxis, etc.

I think a big part of their success was the good rapport they had built with the property owners and local community, as well as with their guests.

Have also heard of a person who puts his own property on Airbnb, and stays in a nearby hostel when the property is booked.

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