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Lost passport leads to this OFW's break into entrepreneurship

Now he's helping others become their own bosses, too.
By Elyssa Christine Lopez |

 

Losing your passport in a foreign land is usually a recipe for disaster. But for Dave Almarinez, this misfortune was nothing but serendipity as it jumpstarted his entrepreneurial journey.

 

Fresh from college, Almarinez immediately took his chances in unfamiliar shores and worked as a financial consultant in Singapore. There was a steady income, but he barely had savings because of the monthly stipend he sends back home.

 

It was the man who returned his lost passport that opened to him the idea of direct selling. “This was 18 years ago and he was selling beverages. I asked him if I could start the venture back home with only P50,000,” Almarinez shares. “And he said yes. Right then and there, I resigned my post and flew back home.”

 

 

Risk-taking attitude

The former financial consultant always had the can-do spirit. Growing up, his family was never well off; he sold snacks like peanuts and corncobs to friends in elementary school just to add to his daily allowance.

 

In the real world, quitting a fair-paying job just to pursue a business Almarinez had no background in sounds absurd. Once back in the Philippines, he invited friends and relatives to join his direct-selling business, but no one dared to take the leap. “In hindsight, it only drove me to do better and prove to my naysayers that I can make it,” Almarinez shares. 

 

And so he did. In months’ time, Almarinez found local partners and managed to grow a business named Nature’s Sunshine, which was eventually renamed Synergy, to 37 local distribution centers, even increasing the company’s profits by 300% during his last three years as its head in the country.

 

Another calling

In 2007, the 41-year-old entrepreneur found another calling: public service. “In the Philippines, when they hear you’re a businessman and a public servant at the same time, their eyebrows raise with malice,” Almarinez says. “But in reality, it actually disciplines public servants to do better with their jobs because they’re more prone to issues as more eyes are watching you.”

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Almarinez has been serving as an elected board member of the provincial government of Laguna while simultaneously heading a new direct marketing company, Organo Gold. This Canada-based direct selling giant sells various products like coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and even personal care items, and now has presence in 44 countries.

 

Almarinez admits that the job is not easy considering the multiple responsibilities he has, but immediately credits the team behind him. “It’s tempting to have the superman thinking and do everything at once, but no matter how great you are, you will need help,” Almarinez shares.  

 

The direct-selling company aims to give its distributors financial independence with its comprehensive membership plans. Anyone who signs up as a distributor may choose a starter pack which can earn them around 10 to 20% commission from every product they sell. Their commission grows once they start to invite more members in their team, becoming a small distribution company themselves, and heading their own businesses.

 

 “We’re not just giving opportunities, but also the proper skill set to do business. Anyone can earn more, as long as they’re willing to do their part of the job,” Almarinez says.   

 

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Photos from Dave Almarinez's FB account

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