Going back home and my exit strategy

 

This post has been originally shared on my Filipina Expat blog. I am re-posting here.

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We will go back home!
As in Philippines home.
As in for good.
I’m planning now for a 12-month exit strategy.
That’s how serious I am.

Although I have one very big concern.

Not about our finances. It’s not our source of income. It’s not about if my kids’ could settle well in their new environment. I’m not concerned on how we will all adjust in the hustle and bustle of the Philippines when we are so familiar with Dubai.

I’m not much concerned in any of that. I only have one worry.
And that is – I am not a Filipina Expat anymore.
I’m just a Filipina, period. Maybe Filipina Speaker. Filipina Entrepreneur. Filipina Beauty Queen. Filipina Mom.
But not a Filipina Expat anymore.

WHAT SHOULD I DO?!!!

It didn’t ever cross my mind that I’ll be leaving this country until the kids are all in college. I thought by that time I will be a Filipina Expat for another good 10 years or so. I may not be blogging anymore so no big deal. I am not expecting that I would entertain this idea now so soon.

And you may ask me why? Why are we deciding to leave?

First and foremost, if my husband reads this, he would say that this is my idea alone. And I agree with him.
I’m not sure if he is willing to go back home. Maybe he will decide to work for a few more years in Dubai and then move back.
Maybe. I’m not sure and I don’t want to ask him yet. But I know he can’t live without me (he actually said “I can’t live without the kids” but I can believe what I want to believe, right?)

I’m only sure of my plan. And that is going home with my kids this year or early next year.
Of course if I’m going back to Philippines then I need to bring the kids with me. No brainer both for financial reason and my sanity.

This is a big realization for me this 2018. Only a few days ago that I believe this can really happen.
Of course, leaving is an idea that has been there since we became an OFW but you never really thought of going back home because

A) What will I do in the Philippines?
B) I’m too old/qualified to find another job.
C) Even if I find a job, salary would be so meager it’s not worth it.
D) Why would I venture in business when I can have fixed guaranteed income?
E) Our lifestyle will definitely downgrade
D) I love UAE.

And I could list maybe another 10 more reasons. And I’m deadset that Dubai and UAE is my home until I’m old and wrinkled.
I even mentioned it here – Until when do you want to stay in Dubai?

So what does change? What made me decide that I’m ready to go home?

As I keep on saying – we should live the life we really imagined for ourselves.
It took me sometime to really understand this (Correction, I know what it means but I’m so scared just to imagine what steps I need to do to achieve it).
Because living my life the way I imagined it means not being an employed worker. And that means giving up my fat salary, good company and huge benefits. Am I ready for that?

For so many years, the answer is no. I’m not ready and I don’t think I’ll ever be ready.
Well, that was my belief a few years ago.
That our family won’t survive without being employed.
That UAE is haven for us.
That living my ideal life is possible when I’m a pensioner already (I’m not even enrolled in any pension scheme!)

But as they say, the only thing constant in life is CHANGE. And I had a change of heart and most importantly mindset.
Working on my mindset (and this is more than being a positive thinker) made us achieve things that were just dreams years ago. And if I can make it work in Dubai then why not when I’m home.

I now have a better understanding on how I can generate income in the Philippines. I know my skills. I am aware of my capabilities. I understand now what I need to do to make it happen.

So how should I answer my earlier concerns?

A) What will I do in the Philippines? Answer: Do whatever makes you happy. It’s time to live your life.
B) I’m too old/qualified to find another job. Answer: Yes, so don’t be an employee.
C) Even if I find a job, salary would be so meager it’s not worth it. Answer: You’re correct. Be your own boss and make your own income.
D) Why would I venture in business when I can have fixed guaranteed income? Answer: this is a money block that I’m able to overcome thank goodness! Money is available everywhere. If you think setting up a business in the Philippines is hard then it will be hard. If you think there’s a big opportunity and market in the Philippines then that’s what will greet you. 
E) Our lifestyle will definitely downgrade. Answer: Why does it have to change? Is working from home a downgrade compared to working for someone else? I don’t think so. 
D) I love UAE. Answer: I love Philippines more.

It’s exhilarating to think that I’m not scared anymore. And I have done so many scary things these past few months. Inspired actions that I never thought I can ever do. Inspired actions that slowly but surely builds my confidence, my knowledge and my Faith.

One word of warning though: If you get inspired reading this post and decide that you’ll resign soon… like tomorrow, STOP!
The process of going back home requires a lot of planning and determination. And guts.
Are you willing to talk to successful people and ask for their advice?
Do you have hunger for knowledge?
Are you not embarrassed to sell?
Are you not shy to promote yourself?
Do you have the determination to make it work no matter how inconvenient?

If you answer Yes to all of the questions then you have what it takes. If not, build on your mindset first.

If you notice I didn’t mention anything about having a capital. Because it doesn’t matter if you only have 10,ooo pesos or 1 million saved. You can set-up your business from any capital point, you can start with no capital at all (think of having investors instead). If you believe you can make it work then you will make it work. Period.

Money should never ever be an issue to live your life. And that is one of my biggest realization.
I want money to work for me. I don’t want to work for money.
I will work because I want to do what I am doing and as a result lots of money will come in.

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After mentioning to the whole world of our plan to move back home next year, I received several comments and questions from friends and family members too.

  • Totoo na ba yan?
  • Sure ka na ba?
  • Handa ka na ba sa mga problema ng Pilipinas?
  • Anong pagkakaabalahan mo dun?
  • Hindi madali mag negosyo.
  • Mahirap ang buhay dun.
  • I don’t think matutuloy kayo
  • At madami pang iba…

 

8 out of 10 is doubtful of our move. If I’m still the old me, I would have doubted myself too. Are we really ready? Am I doing a mistake? Do I really know what I’m facing.

But I’m now Lyn Joy 2.0 like Ate Korina.

More than ever, I am determined to just take action.

As I was telling Gibson the other night, I am not used to wait for several months to spring into action mode. My motto is seize the opportunity and don’t lose the momentum. Waiting for more than a year to start moving feels like forever to me. I JUST CAN’T WAIT!!!

But my ever supportive, logical and grounded husband is requesting me to take it slow. Moving back for good is something that can’t be taken lightly and I tend to agree. But knowing myself, I want to do something NOW.
And that’s why I created an 18-month exit strategy. That’s the number of months before we fly back home.

How does this exit plan looks like? I’ll share it with you later once I have something concrete and sensible to show.
But what we are doing now is considering the following points:

  1. What will be our main source/sources of income?
  2. How much money should we save?
  3. Where will the kids study?
  4. Where will we live?

This list is just the high-level major points we are considering. If you drill down each point, there would be dozens of questions to answer.

What will be our main source of income?

Yes, we do have our nail salon, but it’s pretty new and the income we generate from that won’t be enough to sustain our lifestyle.
So where else can we get the money? For myself, I am planning to start several businesses that won’t require much capital except my confidence, thick face and charm. Gibson will go into food business.

Next question is how much do we really need to sustain our lifestyle? After considering several factors I came up with an amount that feels right to me. So the question next is how much income should our businesses generate to achieve our monthly budget?

As I figured out the amount, I listed where should I get the money.
I’m asking this question to myself – what can I do monthly to prepare myself to succeed in my business venture?
What are the actions I need to take every month starting now to plan for the BIG MOVE?
You might notice that I keep on saying ‘I’ and not ‘WE’ because I don’t want to wait for my husband (or somebody else) to tell me what should I do. I don’t want to ask for anyone’s approval. Of course I need support but I won’t wait for that support to spring into action. You should read my post about this topic.

I have started using a different notebook which I now call my “Power Couple notebook” wherein I list down all the plans, action steps, finances, and anything I can think of related to our move next year.


I created a calendar of things to do and some milestones I need to achieve every month. I then break it down to actions that I need to take weekly.

I’m treating this relocation as a project and for a project to succeed you need to have a concrete plan and do whatever it takes to succeed.

Where will we live?

This is a question that I thought have been decided by us already but it turned out that Gibson and I have different opinions on it. Now the latest plan is to build our own home. Because even after spending more than a decade as an OFW, the very basic thing that we should have prioritized never happened. So warning to you my fellow OFWs – focus on your goal and use your hard earned money to settle the things that are most important to you. Don’t bother about your son requesting for new Air Jordan or your daughter asking for a Mac laptop as graduation gift. Prioritize.

Good thing about an exit strategy is we now have understood that a house of our own is important to us and we should make it happen. Having an 18-month exit strategy gave us ample time to figure out where and how will we get the funds to start our construction. We can adjust our monthly budget and savings to put into the building our home.

To be honest, I don’t think this house will be a priority if not we decided to go home. I hope you won’t make the same mistake as we did.

***

So many things to consider and so many planning and actions we need to take and I’m SOOOO excited. I’ll try to update you of our journey from time to time.

If this post made you smile, please share 🙂

Have a good day peeps!

Live The Life and Business You Have Imagined!

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