Top Business Ideas for OFWs, Part 6: Interview with Sunshine San Joaquin

For the sixth installment of RachFeed’s interview series about business ideas for OFWs, we invited someone who can best provide us with firsthand experience: who better to do it than a person who was an OFW before coming home to venture in the business field?

Let’s all meet Ma. Sunshine S. San Joaquin, a nurse by profession. She worked in the nursing field for 4 years before shifting to sales and marketing the rest of the 8 years she was in Jeddah, K.S.A. as OFW.

She will surely serve as an inspiration to many OFWs who are hoping to stop working away from their families and come home to the Philippines. Just last March 2015, she quit her job in the Middle East to focus on running a business she put up herself, San Joaquin Travel and Tours ( (


With her personal experience as OFW and entrepreneur, she wrote the e-book entitled “A Guide to Riches and Financial Freedom”. In this e-book, she detailed the steps she did for herself and her business, aiming to share her own experience to fellow kababayans.

When we sent her the standard question we sent to all the business bloggers and mentors in this interview series, we received the following answers:

What do you think is the best business an OFW can open in the Philippines even if he/she is still abroad?

SKILLS and TALENTS are very important in determining what kind of business venture an individual should engage in.  Aside from the fact that it should be your passion or something that interests you to do, WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE are the keys to make it successful.

Please keep in mind that the idea of owning a business is very exciting, yet when you are already managing and actually doing it, you will find out that it requires a lot of effort and it can be really exhausting.

When I was an OFW, owning a business while abroad was always a dream. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity while I am earning, I need to put up a business that was always on my mind. But the question was HOW?? I was currently abroad, who can I trust to run the business? What are the things I need to know? What are the documents that I need to furnish in compliance with legality? And above all, what is the best business that has the current demand in the Philippines?

These are overwhelming questions that if you have no idea of what to do and have nobody to trust, then I suggest don’t go for a traditional business. But then again, if any member of your family can help you start up your dream business, then by all means unleash that entrepreneurial spirit of yours.


But being an OFW, I can understand the hardship that everyone goes through on daily work bases, and so it is important that we value every cent of earned money. So be a cautious entrepreneur.

Here are what I can suggest as small businesses for an OFW to start with:

1. Ticketing agent – Web-based airline ticketing is now available. All you have to do is partner with a travel agency who is AITA accredited. There are some necessary permits as a requirement, but these are not hard and complicated to obtain. You can start with PHP 5,000 or up to PHP 50,000 as bond.

PROS: You can offer the service with your network: your friends, your colleagues or even with your company.  OFWs love to travel around the world. And you can do it anywhere as long as you have your internet and computer with you. This will give you a passive income, then later on once you are already established and decide to come home, start with your own travel agency.

CONS: This is not advisable for a shy type person. What you are selling here is your service. So you need to be upfront and diligent as possible.


2. Online businesses – Many can relate with this. In fact, I know several people who are seemingly blessed by doing it, such as blogging, selling e-books, selling services or product online. But sometimes what stops people from becoming successful is the fear of doing new things that requires self-development and adaptation through the process of learning. Investing in education is very important than investing in a new gadget that can easily go out in the market.

PROS: Online business gives you total freedom from rat race and gives you passive income. Market coverage is wide, thanks to the internet.  You manage your own time.

CONS: You have to learn the proper way by adopting the new trends in technology; and you need to be resourceful and patient. Otherwise you will be doing it in a wrong and stagnant way; then it is not helpful.



Do you think this business could be successful enough for the OFW to quit his/her job abroad and return home to simply manage the start-up company?

The answer is “it depends!” It depends on how eager and persuasive a person can be.

Every business doesn’t have the guarantee of success unless the owner is determined to achieve the goal. But the suggestions above can be a good foundation to start a company.  Don’t be afraid to start your own business.

Remember SWOT analysis.

Your STRENGTH AND OPPORTUNITIES will lead you the way to the business you want to start, how much capital it requires to start a business that you believe is helpful, and know your resources. Your WEAKNESS and your THREATS can be determined by the present market; know your competitors and the hindrances that you think your business might face. Be prepared for it.

But above all, remember success is always determined by our God. Start a business with good intentions and do it for His glory; then success is definite.

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