October 2011
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Still Here...

…working hard mostly. I’m been meaning to update my blog for ages, so apologies to anyone that still checks in every now and then. Short story: I’ve started a business here in Vietnam. We’ve been open for about 10 months now and it’s going very very well. It seems that I’ll be living in Vietnam for the foreseeable future, so when I have more free time I’ll try to write more.

For those that haven’t read some of my earliest posts, I had moved to Vietnam in late 2009 and planned on doing volunteer work for about a year and then moving back to United States. Back then, I could have never imagined I would be where I am today. As my 1 year sabbatical in Vietnam was coming to a close last December, I began to reevaluate my reasons for leaving after such a short time and with all the opportunities I saw in Vietnam, I probably would have regretted going back without at least trying to start a business over here.

So with a lot of help from my Aunt, I decided to go for it. The length of time from the initial planning stages to the time my business opened was about 6 months; and although I was confident in my ideas and my business plan, I was still a bit shocked by how quickly everything came together and how short a time before my business became profitable. It only took about 5 months before I was the top ranked business in my category in Ho Chi Minh City. I’m not going reveal what I’m doing over here, because I’d prefer to keep my personal life and business separate. Anyways, I feel that I have a huge opportunity to grow my business by leaps and bounds in the next few years.

So from my own experience I would say that I think that it’s a great time to start a business in Vietnam. Vietnam is probably where China was (on a smaller scale of course) about 10 years ago, and if you asked most people today if they would have liked to invest in China back then, I believe that the resounding response would be YES! Vietnam is still one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with a very young population, low cost of labor, relatively educated (very literate, but higher education is still not on par with the rest of the world), and low internet penetration (25%).

There are also a lot of negatives to living in Vietnam that I think will improve over time…poor public transportation system, terrible drainage system, high inflation (20% this year!), weak currency, massive corruption, and personally from my experience….the lack of timeliness being one of the most frustrating things to me. I’m sure there are a lot more positives and negatives, but I’m writing this post really quickly so that’s the main stuff that comes to mind right now.

I think that staying in Vietnam for awhile will do me a lot of good. Living here keeps me from getting too lazy and comfortable. Back home, I found myself getting into a set pattern everyday. Making money, attaining things, watching TV, etc…..settling into a boring existence with no passion for anything. I guess that can happen anywhere and I’m certainly not blaming it on where I live, but just living among so many ambitious and hard working people that I see around me every day, really encourages me to work harder than I’ve probably every worked before in my life.

I can’t say I love or enjoy living here more than I did back in The States….it’s just different. There are pros and cons to living in either country and it’s not my intent to stir up a debate on the matter because I know there would be a lot of people that take it very personally when you make any critical comments about their respective countries.

With the way the economies around the world are crumbling, and high unemployment everywhere, I feel very fortunate to be living in a country that is still growing quickly, and with limitless opportunities. I think that having lived in another country really gives me a leg up on the locals when it comes to seeing what is missing here in terms of service, technology, etc.

My current business is not the only thing I’m working on. I have a million ideas that have yet to be explored in Vietnam. Once I can hand off management duties to one of my employees, I will start on my next big idea :).

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7 comments to Still Here…

  • Craig N

    Almost an entire year since you posted. Still there?

    • odgnut

      Hey Craig…sorry for the very very late reply…so busy with work that I totally forgot about my blog 🙂

      I am still in Saigon and my business is going strong and much better than expected. I have about 40 employees now and still hiring more.

      Might update the blog again someday….maybe not.

  • Nghia

    That’s great to hear that your business is strong. I have been reading your blog for some time now and enjoying every bits of it. Can you share with us what are you doing now?

  • DT

    LOL…this blog is outdated. You need to update more. I just got back from VN. I am thinking of spending more time VN next time. Quick question, how do you go about getting the motorbike license?

    Gracias!

  • David

    I renewed my Driver license from my country as the DL in vietnam expires the same time. It was a very easy process in VN and although I was confidant I would pass the driving test, I paid tea money to cut the line and to auto pass the driving test anyway so I wouldnt have to waste more time to come back again just in case.

    After the driving test, I would have passed so wasted monies. =(

    http://www.lookatvietnam.com/2009/08/obtaining-vietnamese-drivers-licenses.html

  • Dear Saigon in a cup,

    We are “AppKiddo”, a start-up company (Apps development for small businesses), and we would like to know if we can advertise on your website. In this case, what is your prices range to do so?

    See Appkiddo.com for more information about our company.

    Thank you in advance for your answer.

    Best Regards

    AppKiddo

  • Ted

    I’m looking for a job in sale, Marketing or Business Development consulting.

    A Vietnamese-American educated and worked in USA for some 25 yrs. After teaching English & Vietnamese in Bangkok, Thailand for 4 yrs stink, plus another 3 yrs in Cambodia.

    I’ve worked as a business consulting in USA for 7 yrs, now I’m looking for this line of work. Below are what I used to assist my clients.

    I’m meeting with client/investor and find out what he/she would like to do. From hearing what they’re proposed, I was be able to pinpoint to them, what the channel that best suited for marketing. From an invention, I’m be able to guide them, based on my knowledges .

    Well, beside advises entrepreneurs, investor, provide logistic support. I’m also develop the business plan for them.

    In Vietnam, the foreign investors, entrepreneurs looking for opportunity, thus I’m be able to advises, and assist develop the marketing/business plan and strategies.

    English proficiency, understood client needed, know the market, trends, consumers demanded. These are some of the essential knowledges from a consultant should had.

    Mobile: 0123.894.2094

    E-mail : fernandezjose55@gmail.com

    Kind Regards,

    Ted Nguyen

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