The Script

The Script post image

If I quit my job, will I be able to make enough money from my internet business? If I go to a good law school, will I make a lot of money? If I relocate to Thailand to set up niche sites, will I ever be successful?

The way I answer these questions is by seeking out scripts. What have I heard about people who move to Thailand? What about those folks who go to law school?

Most of my life, I relied on hand-me-down scripts from TV, reference books, and friends and family– ya know, they saw a TV show, or heard the newscaster, or talked to so and so at the party.

Life scripts that had predictable, good outcomes seemed miserable. “Work this job for 20 years.” “Go to law school and be a lawyer.” The life scripts that seemed more tolerable had dismal outcomes. “Write music and hustle for a record deal.” “Write your book but don’t think you’ll make money from it.” “Be a teacher but never get paid.” And so on.

I was struck by this thought as I was reading Megan’s wonderful blog. She spent a year meeting with 52 strangers (52 cups of coffee) who she identified as successful:

I realized… nobody’s life went according to plan… [that understanding] leaves you with two choices: let the fear of the unknown overwhelm you or embrace the uncertainty…” [source]

And it’s difficult to imagine that Megan could have gone on such a journey without the blogosphere. It’s the same quest each of us can go on right now. We are a few clicks away from a story that could change the way we live.

*  *  *

I can still remember one script, offerred to me by a blogger, that changed the direction of my life. To understand how their message effected me, I need to warp you back to 2008.

I spent a big part of that year in Vietnam. It was the first time I was an expat, and it was one of the best years of my life. I helped set up an office and official company. I visited remote tin mines. I hired two software developers. I participated in one of the world’s great eating cultures. I rode my motorbike through the Mekong delta and into Cambodia. I lived out of hotels for weeks at a time.

I had no job or alarm clock– and neither did any of my friends. We spent our days building opportunities and relationships. I had found my ideal lifestyle. 

View from my apartment in Saigon.

Then in late 2008, the American economy took a huge hit, and along with it, the small stipend from investors that justified our little offshore operation. With no real opportunities in hand that didn’t require a wheelbarrow of cash, I headed back to San Diego to talk things over with Ian.

Things were tight. We had just enough cash at the end of the month to pay Ian, and our newly hired sales representative. We had every penny invested in growing the company. Under these conditions, there was no way I could justify my nascent travel habit.

And so I settled in to what would be the most miserable and frustrating few months of my (short!) entrepreneurial career. 2009 was probably the most emotionally challenging year in my career. Everything was moving slower than my expectations. I was having difficulty imagining making any significant money from our business. I was having second thoughts on how I was spending my time. If our company wasn’t growing, why spend my time on it?

*  *  *

Riding my motorbike in the central highlands of Vietnam.

In the evenings, my routine was to load up my iPhone with a bunch of podcasts and take a long walk. On April 5th, 2009 one of my favorite podcasts off all time, Internet Business Mastery (which I listened to obsessively– thanks Sterling and Jay!), featured a guy named John Jonas.

John had a message, and he sold it hard. He said: “Everything you know about outsourcing is dead wrong.”

What he said hit me. I’m sure Mr. Jonas didn’t know this, but I had just gotten ripped off by some jerk developer on Craiglist, had been paying too much for a few mediocre developers in Vietnam (who could barely speak English!), and to top it all off, I had recently pulled the plug on a disastrous 20K software debacle I contracted on Elance to an Indian development firm.

I knew we needed a great group of people to join us in order to grow, but the cash wasn’t there.

“The Philippines is the best place in the world to hire full time English speaking staff to grow your business.” 

You probably know the key reasons John would have cited. The great English. The enthusiasm Filipinos had for remote work positions. And all sorts of other things that can be true about Filipinos.

And then he said something like:

“In the Philippines you can hire a full time, college educated, English speaking employee for $300 a month.” 

And that’s about when it clicked. I could do that.

When I got home, I turned on my computer and started looking for our first English speaking employee for $300 a month. A few months later, I booked a ticket to the Philippines, a country I knew nothing about.

*  *  *

Here’s an email I found on my computer, dated two months after I heard the podcast:

To: Rob [omitted] ::: From: Dan Andrews ::: Date: Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 1:12 PM

Rob– Wanted to check in and see what’s new… I’m still plugging away at a bunch of websites. I’m going to start recording a podcast starting tomorrow. I’m really excited about that– just a way to get thoughts out and reflect in a positive way without surfing the net or something dumb. Also, I hired a full time virtual assistant and an employee here in California. I’m not sure how its going to work out…

Turns out the Philippines is the true hotspot now for tech outsourcing… I’ve got three guys there testing on a variety of projects and I’m going to be pulling together an office to launch a shit ton of websites. How’s Cebu City sound to you?



*  *  *

A Map of DCers in South East Asia. All the Bali Pegs are Stacked on Top of Each Other! Thailand and the Philippines are Busy

A few months after moving to the Philippines, I bought OutsourcetothePhilippines. The blog was simple. My goal was to share what I was learning about the opportunities for business and adventure in the Philippines.

Thanks to the blog, every month I met more and more of you stepping off the plane.

I couldn’t find anyone else like me in the country, save for Chris Ducker and a few others. At the time, I would have sworn to you that I was the only western internet marketer in the Philippines under 30 years old (I would have been wrong!).

I’m sure Chris Ducker, myself, and a handful of other bloggers have helped bring a bunch of high quality entrepreneurial jobs to the Philippines. No question we’ve seen seen an influx of talented Western entrepreneurs. I couldn’t take a guess at the number, but I’m proud of what’s going on, and I think we’ve made a positive impact.

*  *  *

I’ve always believed many of the most action-oriented among you found us first through the outsourcing blog. That makes sense. Busy entrepreneurs are looking for real answers.

Simple blogs, written from experience, can inspire people to move their families, hire 100’s of people, and change their life script forever.

In this case, some guy said “everything you know about outsourcing is wrong… and I know what you can do about it.”

And he was right.



Published on 01.30.12
  • Seriously, you’re a great writer and awesome wordsmith. Nascent?? I don’t think I’ve heard that since HS vocab.. haha.

    I think all of life is scripts. We’re just playing our part.

  • Very good Dan :)

  • Dude, awesome post! Great to read up on your history leading up to where your at. Super inspiring. Essentially, I’ve stopped trying to follow other people’s scripts, and just simply jump-in and create my own. 

    Everyone’s goals & interests are going to be somewhat different. No one path would necessarily work for everyone. Though I’ll definitely be mindful of other scripts that didn’t work out well for others, to avoid making same mistakes. 

    Always the voice of reason, Dan :)

  • Whoa it must be a walk down memory lane day on TMBA today…

    I came across your regular brilliance (and occasional knuckleheadness) on OTTP podcast about the same time I discovered the IBM podcast. I voraciously listened to the back catalog of both.

    The two podcasts that literally changed my life mate, thanks.

  • Dan

    thanks Stuart. Only 1 curse word and 20 typos/gramatical errors. I’m moving up in the world. 

  • Dan

    thanks Janet !

  • Dan

    thanks for taking the time to stop by Harrison, appreciate it. 

  • Dan

    Thanks Damian, I remember when you first contacted me way back in the day. IBM was huge for me as well. I’m going to try and dig up some more stories, I think there was some good ones back in the first few years of the biz. After searching our records and my inbox, it seems my memory was off on a lot of this stuff. I can’t imagine why! 

  • Dan, I do believe that I did meet/discover you through OTTP… What a long way we’ve come since then.  I can hardly wait to see what the next year brings.  

  • I LOVE this idea of scripts as a way to understand why we do what we do. I think the scariest moments are when it seems there are no more scripts to rely on. 

    There might be scripts somewhere (if we spoke to the right person), but if you don’t know about the script, you’re effectively creating a new one. Creating a new script makes for exciting, but challenging living. When there’s no one to tell you how it’s done, and you don’t know how to do it, how do you figure out what to do?

  • JustinWCooke

    Great post, Dan!

    It’s funny you mentioned John Jonas as inspiring you to pack up and hire some staff in the Philippines.  I wonder how many others he’s had that same effect on?  I wonder how many view YOU as their inspiration for taking control of their lives/careers?

    You and Ian are definitely our mentors when it comes to podcasting.  It was the push from you and Chris Ducker that got us started and we’re starting to see some positive results that are extremely encouraging.

    We actually found you through the DC (Or the TropicalMBA “Inner Circle” post, to be exact)  We were looking for super-sharp guys to connect with…and we found them!

  • Hi Dan

    Great piece, mate.

    Indeed, OTTP led us to become connected, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many more people that found me, through your involvement at OTTP.

    And then I go and end up buying it from you!!!?! 

    Just posted the latest podcast, actually… In case anyone wants to check it out.

    Bottom line though – this journey you’ve had has enabled you to become connected with and meet many, many great people. It’s a testimonial in itself for blogging and for helping people through blogging.

    Keep rockin’ posts like this out, bud.C

  • Dan

    Hey Chris I just downloaded the new show!

    Would love to Skype shortly to hear about your plans in 2012 with the Philippines and everything else that is on your plate. 

    I remember when I first wrote you I was all like “where the hell have you been in the blogosphere, I’ve totally needed to find you!” and i think you wrote back “i only started blogging last month dude! :D

  • Dan

    I really try and step back to take this social publishing thing seriously. I remember when I was 8 or so my mom took out a loan to get a set of encyclopedias. The very idea that I could now be sharing my unique experience across countries and then commenting to you Chris, John, Mike, Damian and the rest and exchanging information is just way too cool. So glad you guys decided to join up with us in the DC, you’ve added a ton to that community. Looking forward to listening to future ASF podcast, you guys have really started strong. 

  • Dan

    ya know I think I met you and Damian via email around the same week, I put up a post about office seat lease rates in Ortigas with the claim it was a better value than Makati and I think we started email correspondence. Who would have guessed the mayhem we have caused since then! Seemed like such an innocent post at the time…

  • Dan

    Speaking of mayhem! Looking forward to catching up in a few weeks John, no question you’ve got a solid handle on your direction.. don’t doubt it. To answer your question, when you are in a spot where you don’t know what to do, the very next thing you do is called “entrepreneurial.” 

  •  And look at the rave reviews! Congratulations.

  • Hell yeah. I love that perspective. See yo’ soon!

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  • Horatious Alger

    A small spelling error on an otherwise great post:

    And it’s difficult to imagine that Megan could have gone on such a journey without the blogosphere. It’s the same quest each of us can go on right now. We are a few clicks away from a story “”””””””””that that””””” could change the way we live.

    Respect for your work!!

  • thank you so much I made the update!

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