The Script

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?

September.

xoDan

*  *  *

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.

Cheers,

Dan