Do you love to…
Turn your passion into profit. We all can gain from putting our fulfillment and service ahead of the cash. Bold lifestyles of adventure and satisfaction that create income are in our personal as well as social best interests.
This series is looking at the great cost of an error in the outdated socio-economic mindset that is based around a trimodal concept of learning… earning… retiring. This progression is flawed in numerous ways… and outdated from times when physical strength was required to contribute to society. This error is pushing the global financial system into bankruptcy and ruin. High costs of pensions and social security do not work in an the global economies aging demographic model.
Take for example last week’s New York Times article (linked below) “A City Borrows So Its Schools Open on Time”. Here is an excerpt: PHILADELPHIA — Just a month after Detroit became the largest American city to file for bankruptcy, and with major cities like Chicago and Los Angeles struggling, this former manufacturing behemoth is also edging toward a financial precipice.
For a number of years, Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the City Council have been working, with some success and a fair amount of taxpayer pain, to shore up the city’s finances, which have been troubled by mounting debt, a shrinking tax base and unfunded pension and health care obligations to retirees. But the school district, supported by the same weary municipal taxpayers, though under the control of a state reform commission for more than a decade, had been largely ignored.
In this instance of Philadelphia… the retiring is screwing up the learning. The actuarial lunacy of excessive pensions can be seen creating a triple negative whammy. First, the city’s pension is underfunded so pensioners are not likely to get what they expect. Second, the city’s need to appear to fund those pensions will create higher taxes that instead of attracting business and revenues will drive them away. Third, the population who remain will be poorly educated (due to the fiscal crunch) and less likely to be productive.
This learn… earn…. retire mindset creates a really terrible negative downward spiral. The real irony is that the retirement promised would not bring the retirees the fulfillment they expected. The supposed golden years are more often the tarnished and rusty years. Retirement suggests not having to plan, work. serve and grow. This sounds like a rut. Ray Kroc summarized the value of that in his book “Grinding it out The Making of McDonalds” (See link below) when he wrote: “A rut is nothing but a grave with the ends kicked out“.
This series is looking at many ways to have fun earning… from growing ginseng to writing to shopping. This note from kind reader Cindy Martin caught my attention.
Gary & Merri – I just returned from a 5-week stay in Ecuador. I was in the Galapagos for three weeks and it was an amazing trip. I then stayed around Quito for the remaining 2 weeks. Per your advice, I did a tour with Roberto Ribadeneira. I had a 2-day shopping/exporting tour. He is simply amazing. This is my second time in Quito/Otavalo/Cotacochi.
The difference going on the tour with Roberto and shopping by myself was night and day. He knows where to go, what to see and is amazing dealing with the artesians. He is knowledgeable and so willing to share his experiences. His exporting services are great! I will definitely be using his services in the future. I just wanted to thank you for recommending Roberto. He made my trip much more enjoyable and I learned so much. What I learned from him more than paid for the cost of the tour. Not only that, I feel like I have gained a very good friend and for that I am very grateful!! Thanks again for all you both do. Cindy
Thank you, Cindy, for letting us know. With such an endorsement, I asked Roberto, who is the leader of the Ateam Ecuador in Quito to share with us details about that tour. Here is his report.
Shoppers Adventure and Savings Tour
By Roberto Ribadeneira
We have many people signing for our tours. One thing that helps is that the tours are private, which means that we customize our itinerary to make it work for our clients.
Cindy was one of the first people that signed for the tour, she was at the Galapagos Islands and thought it would be a great idea to do business in Ecuador and take some products to the USA.
The adventure began once Cindy signed for the tour and we coordinated how many days and what specifics she wanted.
I picked up Cindy at her hotel in Quito. We drove to the valley and then took a route that goes from outside the city to Calderon, which is north of the city. This same route will be open to access the new airport sometime in 2014.
The nice thing about traveling from Quito to Cotacachi is that you can see the mountains, lakes and enjoy the view. We got to talk and define what was her plan for her business. While traveling I can give some advice, talk about our exporting experience and also about what you need to get your business going.
Lago San Pablo – Ecuador
It is nice because while we enjoy some informal conversation we can also know what is the business perspective and what our client is looking to get. So this maximizes the time that we have in Otavalo and Cotacachi for our shopping and uses the time on the road to get some basic information.
After less than two hours we checked in at Land of the Sun Hotel in Cotacachi. We priced the tour to include the hotel, meals and breakfast so you don’t have to worry about a single thing when you tour with us.
Land of the Sun Hotel
We headed to Otavalo to the Poncho Market to look for Alpaca products. There is this really nice old man who has this place and sells many Alpaca items, Cindy already talked to him before and knew some of the prices. Gladly we were able to get him to give us a little more discounts and also to have some products ready for us the next day.
Having someone around is good when unexpected things happen. We couldn’t get money our of the ATM machines so we had to go from one bank to another, until finally we were able to get some money out. Otherwise how we were going to pay for the products? So I asked at one bank, then at another bank, talked to the security guard until they finally recommended a place that always works.
Keep in mind that people don’t take checks or credits cards. The place is cash only as most of them are informal and don’t have bank accounts. That is also why it is handy to have the tour paid in full, so all the cash that you need will go to the products that you want to buy, not the hotel or the food or transportation.
Poncho Market at Otavalo
We went back from Otavalo to Cotacachi, having reserved the products that Cindy needed. We had a great meal at the hotel, took a short break and went back to work.
I explained to Cindy about having products shipped from Ecuador, the common mistakes that we all have made when calculating the cost and also how to set up a website while not spending too much money.
There are things that we need to know when setting up an online business, the main one is to realize that it takes time to bring traffic and also to set it up. While you do that I always recommend getting your business going as sales should not be based solely on what the internet traffic can bring, until you get to that point it is always wise to build your sales through regular sales while traffic grows to your website.
We went over having a shopping cart, having a merchant and processor accounts and charging customers for the products. All this will add to the expenses but are fundamental in the electronic age when people prefer to pay with credit cards, but you have to make sure that you provide a secure website with a PCI compliance platform to reduce the risk of online fraud.
By the end of the day our shopping was done. We knew how to deal with the ATM withdraw, as for most of the ATM machines the daily cap is USD $500. We also checked with a supplier for some purses and had the Alpaca products reserved. We also talked about some ideas for selling the products and tips of getting more customers to buy.
The day was over, we met with some friends who were at the hotel to have a nice dinner conversation about economics and the future of Ecuador, while sharing other business ideas that may work in the future.
On the next day we had pretty much everything ready to make it really smooth. Cindy knew that she had enough money to buy everything since we already figured out how to deal with the ATM machines. We went to the bank and then headed to Otavalo. We picked the best products available, made a list and loaded everything into the car. I told Cindy that is was really important to get the freight right, that could make or break the profit, so I took a scale to weigh every single product and made sure that we can calculate the price correctly.
Weighing the Products at the Market
With all the products in, I made an inventory, detailed the pricing and weight and we were ready to head back to Cotacachi.
We had lunch and reviewed more business ideas and information. Since things went so well we even have time to go to Cuicocha, a beautiful lake 15 minutes from Cotacachi. The view is mesmerizing with the lake in the middle of the mountains.
Back at the hotel for the last day before we returned to Quito, Cindy had a great idea, how about a nice last treat before she goes back to the USA? Turns out that the hotel offers an incredible massage given by a lady who has over 15 years of experience. In Cindy’s words, “one of the best massages that she has ever had.”
It was so good that we are going to include in our future tours the massages as part of the deal.
We reviewed the last remaining things to do and we were ready to get things packed and head back to Quito. I had an order to pick up in Otavalo so after that last stop we were ready to call it for the day.
While traveling back we have more time to talk and go over some other ideas, and also to get to know each other. I took a route to her hotel surrounding the city, turns out that the traffic was incredible bad. It took as about an hour and a half to get to Quito, but about one hour to enter the city from that route. Well, we made most out of it sharing some fun stories.
A very famous soccer player died that week and the government planned this huge funeral service at Ruminaui Coliseum. Of course touring and working I didn’t read the papers those days, so I didn’t know that almost every road was going to be closed due to that.
Traffic jam at Quito (on a Friday Night)
We took the products out of the car and I gave some traveling tips to Cindy, since the new airport is an hour from the city’s downtown, it is always wise to make preparations so you don’t miss your flight, and always ask the front desk at the hotel to call a taxi the day before, just to be sure.
We all learned something new and the more we toured, the more experience that we get, so every time that I go on a tour I am very happy that I always get to experience new things. Also when something goes wrong or we have problems that we have to solve, that helps the next time that we have to deal with a similar issue.
If you are looking for a personalized tour, which includes business ideas, deals in hotels and restaurants (an all included service) and our help getting the products that you need, we have the best service out there, plus I really like doing this, so hopefully you will have lots of fun with me! Thanks to Cindy’s recommendations we are including in our tour a complementary massage, so you can relax after a long day of work with me.
Please call or email so we can give you the Best Deal in the market. 1-888-482-3850 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you want to do with the rest of your life? Is shopping your thing? Turn your passion into profit with Shopping in Ecuador.
Meet Roberto Ribadeneira at our October 4-5 International Investing and Business Seminar. See details here.
Stay on for a special person to person think tank as an International Club member.
New York Times article: A City Borrows So Its Schools Open on Time
Ray Kroc’s book Grinding it out The Making of McDonalds