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11 Business Ideas OFWs Can Invest In Now

OFWs are one of the staples of the Filipino economy, making up 10 percent of the Philippines’ GDP. Being an OFW provides you with an opportunity to travel and experience work from a global perspective.

There are many reasons Filipinos decide to become an OFW, but one of the main reasons is to make a higher salary to bring home to the family. For OFWs, a Friday payday is not an opportunity for a lavish night out on the town, rather it means taking a trip to the nearest remittance center to send the hard-earned money back home to the Philippines.

Besides sending money home, you can also consider growing your income further to add to your family’s savings.

Business ideas for OFWs

Don’t worry, it can be quite confusing and intimidating at first. With all the options available in the market, you may be unsure on where to start, and this article aims to provide you with practical choices that you can consider.

Here are 11 business ideas that you can invest in today that will help generate some passive income to rely on once you return home to the Philippines.

1. Buy and sell goods

A great way to make some additional income while working as an OFW is to sell imported products to people back home in the Philippines. You do not have to have a lot of inventory to set up shop, rather simply sell products on a per-order basis.

For instance, if you are stationed in the United States, you could sell authentic sports jerseys or makeup products to fellow Filipinos back home. You could advertise your storefront via social media, social media ads, and word of mouth from friends and family.

2. Open an online store

e-commerce store

Do you have a special talent? Do you love photography and art? If so, use your talents to generate some additional income while you are overseas. For instance, you can set up a storefront on Etsy and sell anything from clothing and accessories, to handcrafted jewelry, to craft supplies and tools, to wedding décor.

The possibilities are literally endless. If you have a passion, you might as well share it with others and get paid to do so! If art is not your passion, consider opening an online storefront on Amazon or eBay, where you can sell almost anything imaginable.

3. Get started in the stock market

You don’t have to have millions to start investing in the stock market, in fact, you can start investing online for as little as ₱5,000.00. To be successful in the stock market, you will need to conduct thorough research to gain the basic knowledge necessary to make good investments.

Do not let the fear of the unknown stop you from investing in stocks. There are plenty of online and professional resources you can utilize to get started.

4. Invest in real estate

Investing in real estate is a great way to generate some additional income as an OFW, and if done correctly it can be quite profitable. Monthly rent generated by your rental properties will help support your family back home, and could even provide you with an opportunity to save and invest in additional ventures.

The key to success is educating yourself on how to make money in real estate before investing in property. The last thing you want is to invest your hard-earned money into a “fixer upper” property that has little promise to generate any real income. Before you purchase any property, make a point to attend some sort of real estate training course, or conduct thorough independent research to gain insight on how to be successful in the real estate business.

5. Safely invest in mutual funds

Mutual funds and unit investment trust funds, (UITFs), are safe investment options that require little to no effort on your part. You can get started with a mutual fund or UITF for as little as

invest in mutual funds

₱5,000.00. Mutual funds and UITFs are great investments for OFWs because they are managed by a financial professional, allowing you to focus on other business ventures to generate some passive income.

Some financial institutions may require you to appear in person to open a mutual fund or a UITF. Other banks will allow you to open a mutual fund or UITF overseas if you already have a savings account established. Make sure to check with your bank prior to leaving the country if you think you may be interested in investing in a mutual fund or UITF.

If you don’t have enough money on hand to finance your business venture, you can avail a personal loan to help get your business started. Use our cash loan calculator to help you find the right option based on your requirements.

6. Start a recruitment service

Filipino workers are in high demand all over the world, giving you a great opportunity to match individuals with companies who are actively seeking foreign workers. If you already acquired a business network of professional contacts during your travels abroad, it may be well worth considering this business venture.

However, before you start offering recruitment services, you will need to gain accreditation from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

7. Open a simple sari-sari store

If you have a spouse or family member back home who is eager to work, consider setting up a sari-sari store. A sari-sari store is a very common business venture for spouses of OFWs, and you can start one with very little up-front investment. In fact, your spouse or family member could even run this store from your home in the Philippines.

To get additional business, consider selling imported items, and make sure your store is located in a place with heavy foot traffic. A sari-sari store is a great way to get your entire family involved, and even teach your children about business at a young age.

8. Easily manage a food cart business

For many Filipinos, having a snack at any given time of the day is a common practice especially when you’re out and about on business or just for pleasure. A great way to capitalize on this is by going into a food cart business. There are a lot of food cart franchises available so it would be best to perform substantial research on which would be your best option with regards to the location you’re targeting.

It is also suggested that you go for a more established and well recognized brand, albeit higher priced, compared to an unfamiliar name that the public may not easily patronize. For optimal results, consider placing your food cart in a mall, grocery store, or other parking lot with high foot traffic.

9. Open a franchise restaurant

Opening a restaurant franchise as an OFW is an outstanding opportunity to make good money because you know you are investing your hard-earned money into a proven, successful business concept. 

There are many different franchise opportunities available to you as an OFW, and for a variety of budgets. For instance, you could open your own franchise for as little as ₱300,000.00. A franchise will help ensure the money you make abroad will not be depleted by the time you return home. A franchise is a great investment that has potential to grow and prosper.

Keep in mind that opening a franchise is a big responsibility and require a big initial capital commitment upfront, but can pay off if it is ran successfully. There are an abundance of online resources to help you learn how to achieve success in franchising, as well as help you determine what type of franchise would be best for you.

10. Become a blogger


If you have a passion for writing, consider starting a professional blog. As a blogger, you will publish content targeted towards a specific audience on a regular basis. You will make money via advertising sponsorship and affiliate marketing. Many OFWs are highly successful within the blogging industry, and there are many online resources to help you get started on the road to success.

Start with a topic you are passionate about, and promote your posts on your other social media networks to establish a strong following. Profiting from a blog will require up-front effort, and may take a while to get started; however, once you start making money it is a business venture that can prove to be highly profitable and enjoyable.

11. Start a travel agency

As an OFW you are probably someone who likes to travel, thus it may make perfect sense to enter the travel and tourism industry. The Philippines has many beautiful locations that people abroad may not be aware of. What better way to help the Philippine economy than to promote tourism of your homeland?

With your own travel agency, you could offer services as simple as ticket booking, accommodation and tour packages, to more complex services such as Visa and passport assistance. In terms of marketing your business, the internet, social media in particular, will play a pivotal role on your success in acquiring new clients both local and abroad.

Things to think about

You will not be working overseas forever, so generating some additional income you can rely on when you return home should be of utmost importance to you. There are numerous opportunities to generate passive income while working overseas; however, you do need to approach every new business venture with care.

Before you start any new business or job, make sure you understand your target market, and conduct thorough research into the industry to help you achieve success. Try not to invest in fads or trends, and always make sure any business venture you embark on is legitimate.

Above all, do not be discouraged if you are unable to fund a franchise venture on your own. A lot of successful entrepreneurs did not have the funds available to start their new business venture. Keep in mind that there are many financing options available in the market, that can help you get up and running fast.

This article was first published in March 2017 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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