• Back to work—Panama For Real’s at It Again

    Hey guys,

    I know it’s been a while. It wasn’t my intention to let anyone down or cause anyone to wonder if I’d left Panama or stopped doing Panama For Real altogether. The truth is, family has to come first, and family needs food on the table. For that reason, I’ve been working full time at a local high school, teaching literature and speech. It’s a great gig and I’m having a lot of fun getting to know the teachers and students but I can’t help but feel bad every time I get an email or a new comment on the website and I just can’t find the time to answer.

    The Work ID

    The Work ID

    So I’m going to try to do this differently. I’ve been told by a lot of people that I should find a way to monetize the articles on the site or maybe put out better quality videos that I can charge for. I don’t want to do that. I told you guys when I started this that I wanted to provide a free service and give information to the people moving here on basic retirement funds. This isn’t about ripping off the little guy to stuff my pockets. It was never about that.

    However, if I’m going to keep doing Panama For Real, I have to find a way to monetize it. That’s for sure.

    So going forward I’m going to start offering some services and I’m seriously considering starting a tour company. I’ll fill you in on that later if I decide to do it. For right now, I’m going to start offering my services to businesses.

    Let’s face it, businesses come and go in Panama and they tend to do so rather quickly. I’ve driven by a brand new restaurant and then just a few short months later driven by the same location with a drycleaner in its spot. Why is that? Because advertising in Panama sucks. I’m sorry but that’s the truth.

    Most businesses that stick around either offer a service that’s unmatched or they just happen to be in a prime location. Loyalty helps them grow. But that’s the problem new businesses face. That same loyalty that keeps people going to the same restaurant and using the same drycleaner and getting the same hair style at the same salon is the same loyalty that prevents new businesses from gaining loyal customers. They’re already loyal to someone else.

    Wow, you could play a drinking game with how many times I just used the word loyal. 

    This doesn’t mean you can’t find customers. It just means they’re not out there looking for you.

    The big difference is the expat community. I can’t tell you how many emails and comments I get per day. It’s insane. It’s way too much to keep up with. Believe me I try. I’m sure some of you are rather pissed because you messaged me and I haven’t gotten back to you. I do apologize for that. I didn’t mention it to complain or to hear people say, “It’s okay, Chris, we understand.”

    I mentioned it because business owners and real estate developers need to know that people are reaching out to me and they do want specific information about their potential new life here in Panama.

    People moving to this country want to know what’s in. They want to know where to go to get things done. They want to know who to contact to get something fixed or where to go to pick up the items their kids need for school. They want to know which of all the car mechanics is reliable and trustworthy or who they should go see to get their teeth cleaned.

    Hell, they want to know where they could go to get a good meal or where they can get personal attention at a gym.

    They want to know about projects in Panama, investment opportunities, available real estate. Not everyone wants to pay a couple of grand to sit in a room and hear sales pitches. They want to have an idea of what’s going down before they come down. Does that make sense? I think it does.

    If I were living in Wellington, Florida, and got the idea that I might want to move to Panama but wanted to buy into a nice condo in a developing area before others found out about it and demand outweighed supply, I’d want an easy way to get that information.

    So I’m going to try a few new ideas. New to me anyway. Instead of handing out info with each email or comment I get, I’m adding a couple of new pages to the website. In fact, they’re already there. I put them on the site today. I know that I have a lot to offer businesses which will in turn offer a lot to the readers, the potential expats and even some already living here.

    First off, I’m going to go back to writing about Panama and doing the videos as often as I can. The school year is winding down which will give me the time off to get this going again. So advertisement on the website (in the sidebars) and on the videos is still open. If you want to have your business highlighted at the beginning of a video, I’ll charge $200 for that. The sidebar ad, about 250×250 size will be just $50 per month.

    Some new ideas I have, if I get enough interest, is to create a “PFR Business Rolodex” page. On that page, I’m going to create categories (like plumbing, maintenance, restaurants, etc.). For $20 per month I’ll post a business card size ad for your business. You supply the image and I’ll put it up on the page. Here’s the link to that new page on my website: http://www.panamaforreal.com/the-pfr-business-rolodex/

    Here’s the one I’m most excited about. For a one-time $500 fee, I’ll visit your business, take pictures, record video, and post that on the rolodex page and at the beginning of one of my videos, kind of like a TV commercial.

    These prices that I’m posting should be quite fair for the service you’ll be getting and it will allow me to help businesses while funding my trips/website and keeping up with a free service for the readers.

    I’ve also created an investment opportunities page on the site where readers can see potential investment opportunities. So if any companies out there would like to chat about this, and work out a deal, let me know. Here’s the link to that page: http://www.panamaforreal.com/investment-opportunities/

    How does that sound to everybody? I welcome your comments. Tell me everything. From the readers I’d like to know if you would be interested in hearing about investment opportunities? Would it be beneficial to have a page with useful business contacts? What do you think about touring the country with me? 

    For business owners, what do you think about being featured on the rolodex page or having your business highlighted?

    If anyone would like to connect and make one of these deals happen, please email me at chris@panamaforreal.com.

    Thanks for reading. 

    Chris

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16 Responsesso far.

  1. With the smaller stores/restaurants, I don’t think their failures are for the lack of advertising. I believe it’s because of lousy customer service.

    The only way some of the big chain stores survive is because they sell things that often can’t be found elsewhere. Example: I absolutely HATE Do-It center but I sometimes force myself to shop there, cursing all the time. (My experience is in Volcan, so I can’t comment about other areas.)

    Others of the big stores in Volcan give great customer service. But you can scratch Do-It Center off the list.

  2. ana maria says:

    Hello everyone,
    im panamenian and im looking for interesting opportunities, this idea of being a tour guide its interesting. i know english and spanish and can show anyone the ropes… to going around panama and setting up a life and understanding how to go over things.
    it someone is interested. give me a shout out 67472832

  3. Larke Newell says:

    Welcome back, Chris. Panama for Real is one of my favorites and I have missed it. These new ideas of yours are awesome and I will get back to you on that as soon as we return to Panama from Canada in December.

  4. Kathy Winkler says:

    Hi Chris,

    I look forward about hearing about investment opportunities and also where to go for certain services and things, that is a very practical and helpful idea. Also touring around the country with you sounds good as you have been there now long enough to be able to show us the real Panama thru the eyes of an expat/local.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Kathy,

      Thanks so much for your comment and for your kind words. I really want to do this right. I want people to hear the good and bad, then come here and make their final decision. Thanks again!

      Chris

  5. Amy Tuso says:

    Welcome back Chris…I’ve missed reading your posts. As an American about to launch my new life in Panama I welcome everything you have to say and offer. Driving around Panama is a worry for me as there are very poor directional road signs. Just trying to get back over the Bridge of America from Santiago was a nightmare when we missed a cut off that would have made us take a “right” instead of going straight as directed. I’m still not sure where I went wrong. Anyway, I would definitely hire you to show us the ropes of driving in the interior…forget the city…just TOO plain scary!

    Keep up the good work and best wishes for you and your family.
    Amy

    • Chris says:

      Hey Amy! I know what you mean. I still make that mistake sometimes. I think you mean the turnoff that takes you to the Centennial Bridge. If you go one way it’ll take you to the Bridge of the Americas (which will take you right into the heart of the city) and if you go the other way you’ll pass over the Centennial Bridge which will still take you to Panama City, technically, but you’ll end up over near Cerro Patacon (Condado del Rey) area. When are you going to be here permanently?

  6. Melissa says:

    Excellent ideas for your blog and super helpful information for everyone who visits your blog looking for info to make their move and life easier while living there! I added your business rolodex to my Panama Pinterest board for future reference. My husband and I will be visiting Panama in January for our first time. It’s on our list for possible retirement places. Your blog and videos have been amazing help for information!

    • Chris says:

      Awesome! And thank you for adding the page to your Pinterest. I hope to fill it up soon if enough people get on board. Thank you so much for reaching out!

      Chris

  7. Sarge says:

    Great to see you back and to know that All is Well. Good Luck in your future endeavors and your new business plan.

  8. Gino says:

    Hey Chris.
    Welcome back… sounds like you have a plan there.
    I’m not much of a webmaster, but I’m a decent enough graphic designer. If you need help w/ logos or anything let me know and I’ll pro bono for it.
    Best of luck.

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