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Blue collar income

Discuss working and making a living overseas, starting a business, or studying abroad.

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Blue collar income

Postby BenT » April 5th, 2017, 6:43 pm

By nature, blue collar work entails personal labor in proportion to income. I'm looking for further feedback on how to capitalize particular skills and knowledge without having to bust knuckles every day for a living. (I'll write my personal story and situation in an introduction later.)

Beyond starting a YouTube channel that covers topics in an uncommonly straightforward way, I can't think of a way to residually capitalize off of my knowledge. I have some ideas about starting a DIY car and home maintenance website that gives answers without the usual fluff of articles and forums. (There's nothing more frustrating than trying to find information in the middle of a time-sensitive process, and some dudes start writing about their personal lives in a forum.)

Another route I'm trying is through licensing ideas. Still no hits on the first one I've put out, but it doesn't require risking thousands of dollars on non-provisional patents. I've only spent a little over $100 for my provisional patent and a mock-up. The cool part is you can license and invent anywhere in the world.

Still one route I've considered is selling my metal art. Any craftsman or artist who makes a name or develops state-side connections can continue their work abroad. You'll take a hit in shipping costs to get your work to a gallery, but your overhead costs if you want to open a studio or hire people are rock bottom in some locales.

Any other skilled trade ideas? I foresee trouble making it in the local labor markets as an expat, but I don't have to make as much if I'm debt free and own a house (or two.)


(Now that I think about it, house flipping might be a good idea around growing cities. But that's going to take connections and local knowledge of real estate. Perhaps a few years into living somewhere...)
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Re: Blue collar income

Postby Kradmelder » April 6th, 2017, 12:16 pm

It very much depends on what your skill is and the local market. Like there is no point trying to be a blue collar labourer in a country full of unskilled labour. There is no point being an industrial craftsman in a nation where industry is being outsourced and the whole nation is service sector.

Where you could do well if you are a qualfied tool and die maker is here. With the collapsing Rand and high import duties, mines always need spare parts and local manufacture would have huge spin offs. Like make parts for Caterpillar and such and sell them for far less than import costs. See what I mean it is skill and location dependent?
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Re: Blue collar income

Postby onethousandknives » May 25th, 2017, 12:57 pm

So all right, work blue collar as well, have a painting business here in USA. So based on my research regarding basically the portability of your skill, whatever it is, here's some options I thought of a bit. But to answer the question shortly, I wouldn't be, say, a roofer in USA, and go be a roofer in a third world country, if you know English and are a native speaker. Even illegally with no degree, you'd make in some countries in an hour, more than the daily minimum or average wage for full time work, with no college degree. In VN with no college I was offered $22 for 2 hour classes basically as soon as I hopped off the plane. By comparison my girlfriend would need to work 3 8 hour days for that much money. Obviously obtaining a work visa is hard/impossible under such conditions, but you likely wouldn't get a work visa to be a roofer either, as that's a job a local can do, and most countries base work visa requirements on not taking jobs from local workers. Other options without college include, say, working at a hotel, tour guides, etc, and those could get visas, too. Those generally pay less than teaching, but you can moonlight as a teacher or give private tutoring.

Anyway, blue collar related ideas...

*Product representative, or working for a company making materials or tools in your field. Admittedly, not as much blue collar, but might be possible, for example, to be a company rep, and make the proper English version of the website, make sure everything has proper English translations, and more importantly, provide detailed knowledge of whatever they're selling, that locals wouldn't know, as possibly the product wouldn't have been around for very many years there compared to USA. I'm thinking, again, in terms of paint. For example, a certain American paint company has just started recently selling paint in Asia, it might be possible, with the right connections made here in USA, to become a company rep and work in some capacity overseas, and handle... something or other. So depending on what your specific trade is, there's the possibility.

*Sell tools or sundries that are of higher quality than commonly available local stuff. In Vietnam, paint brushes, rollers, etc, were extremely poor quality, mostly all cheap chip brushes and really bad quality rollers, that I saw at the few paint stores I went in/saw. Of course they didn't cost much, either. But it's stuff no professional would use in USA. So accordingly, lots of paint jobs in the country are rather... meh, looking, bad cut lines, bad coverage, everything, really, and it's partially due to the tools.

Problem is, convincing people the tool is worth the money to save labor and get a better result. If a roller cover in USA costs me $5, and it can roll a 4x8 sheet of drywall with good coverage smoothly with one dip in the paint (these really exist) and I bought them in bulk, or coordinated or whatever to get them from China, what have you. Same with brushes, get ultra accurate brushes that cost about $10-15 here, that can cut an 8 foot line accurately. Problem is, a worker only costs $6 or $10 per day (who often pretends to work because the boss pretends to pay...) A lot of managers understandably just use more manpower to accomplish the same thing, even if it's less efficient. But, depending on your clientèle, who might really care about quality, then you might have a market for your higher end tools. For example, even some of the government owned tourist buildings in VN had kinda sloppy paint jobs, and they got enough money, but likely just couldn't source good tools for the workers to use easily.

*Start your own business with your skill here, and hire locals. I do know on a painting forum I read a post about a guy in Malaysia doing this. His problem was as I said above, with equipment being cheap Chinese garbage, compared to home. I'm not sure if he was a speaker of any native languages there or what.

*Go to another first world country and work there. Japan for example, after earthquakes, had a bunch of American contractors come and work there. They ended up turning away a few contractors who went in, bags full of tools on tourist visas, to work. Depending on the country, there may be a shortage of skilled contractors. And also, to be fair about USA, we don't look down on blue collar work as much as some other countries, whereas a country like Japan often looks down on it, so there's shortages of workers. Also, I know specifically with Japan, there's actually a demand for American style houses, and a lack of DIY building stores ala Home Depot, etc. So I've heard of some people actually putting an entire house's worth of lumber, drywall, fixtures, whatever, from USA, into a 40 foot container and shipping it to Japan.

*Import and export. With cars for example, this is lucrative, and especially if you have your own knowledge and ability to repair them, can be lucrative. Overseas, cars are way more expensive than USA, mostly due to taxes, etc. Some cars are hard to get there. In Vietnam, a 2000s Ford Explorer might be $10,000, but only maybe $2000 for a nice one here in USA. Vietnam specifically has fairly tough customs and importation laws, and you'd have to pay a 80-100% import tax, but it could still bring a lot of profit. Then in reverse to USA, obviously we know it from everyone wanting to import a Skyline from Japan, there's certain vehicles from overseas, that can fetch a lot of money here. A big thing being classic cars. But some cars, like mini-trucks, are dirt cheap in Asia, and go for a lot here. If you could get vehicles basically on the way to the junkyard for $200-400, and then fix them yourself, and/or hire locals to do it, then export them here for the collector market and make $3000-5000 or so per vehicle, or more sometimes, that's damned good. For USA specifically, any car can be imported if it's over 25 years old as long as you pay customs duties.

I dunno, it's just ideas. Maybe helpful, maybe not, I dunno. I'm in somewhat the same boat as you, and have to work on getting some patents filed as well, and hope I can get that to be my longterm income source in the future. I pray that God that all works.
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