Generating an Income in the Philippines

One of our biggest obstacles while contemplating our move to the Philippines was how we would generate a consistent income once we’d arrived.  We’re not old enough yet to collect a pension, and we knew our severance packages would carry us for only so long.  Years ago, this uncertainty would have been more than enough for us to put our dream on the proverbial “back burner,” where it would have disappeared into the black hole of unrealized  goals.  But not this time…

Avid followers of both Tony Robbins and Timothy Ferriss,  we decided now was the time to do whatever it takes to attain our life-changing goal.  As often noted by Tony Robbins, the literal definition of decide is “to cut off from,” meaning elimination of all other possibilities.  We decided to move to the Philippines; now it was time to act on this decision.  We joined online Boards, asked questions, and learned as much as we could learn.  We removed everything that did not support our goal, a technique learned from Timothy Ferriss, author of The Four-Hour Work Week.  We cut off access to anything that could be used as an excuse, leaving us no option but to actually do what had we decided to do — we now had no choice.

We got rid of our house, cars, furniture and winter clothes.  Accounts were settled and closed, and we made proper arrangements to maintain a U.S. mailing address.   Calendar out, we set our departure date and purchased plane tickets.  There was no turning back now.  An incredible feeling, really.  In essence, it took any potential “safety net” away from our decision, and there was nothing left to do but physically get on the plane, and address any new challenge as it arose.  We planned appropriately and had enough in the bank to allow us time to relax for bit and then find our home.  A few months passed, and it was now time to address the issue of income.

Without work visas we were not eligible for employment (but frankly, we didn’t want “jobs”).  Our aim was to earn enough money for monthly expenses, plus occasional travel, etc.  We had basic knowledge of the popular online freelancing options and knew that each of us possessed skills that would lend themselves well to work that appeared to be in demand.  After researching a number of sites, we decided upon oDesk and created very detailed profiles.  We took their free, skills-related tests to further bolster our profiles.  In a short period of time we each had our first client, and then another.  We now both have regular clients and work on continuing projects.  Talk about “flex time” — we work a few hours each day around our own schedule (nothing remotely close to the 9:00-5:00 routine), and with a little advance notice, we can inform our clients when we will not be available.

If you are wondering if these online freelancing sites actually work, the answer is a resounding “yes!”  You must be prepared to set aside significant time to perfect your profile and showcase your skills.  Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck… there is no greater turnoff than reading a profile filled with typos (especially if a contractor is promoting themself as a Virtual Assistant, Writer or Editor!).

We receive payment from oDesk every Wednesday in U.S. Dollars and then make a direct transfer to our local, Philippines bank for only $0.99 cents per transaction.  Between the two of us, a “slow” week is $900 USD ($3,600 USD/month) or P160,000/month… not too bad, considering our two-bedroom, two-bathroom house is only P10,000/month.

For those of you considering relocation to the Philippines (or any other country, for that matter), I highly recommend you take a look at  (alternatively, where I also have a profile).  Enter search terms relative to your skills and expertise; I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the number of opportunities available. Good luck!