The Panama economy is booming and that creates opportunity. Like I discussed in my free book Fund Your Freedom Overseas, a great way to make money overseas is to find the need then fill the need.
I’d heard about Julie’s company and decided to put it to the test a few weeks ago. I brought my cat with me when I moved to Panama. I’m the first to admit that she is spoiled. She loves Friskies can cat food with lots of gravy. Unfortunately in Boquete they only have pate cat food. Friskies gravy style cat food is available in Panama City and I usually pick up a few cases when I’m there for a tour. But with no tour in October and November the gravy cat food supply was getting low.
So, I emailed Julie an order for several cases of Friskies can cat food with gravy. The next day she located it. She let me know the amount I owed, I deposited the money in to her bank account in Panama (that’s how you pay people in Panama) and the food was delivered to Boquete the next day. Julie and SimplifyPanama.com sure did simplify my life in Panama. The alternative would have been a $200 round trip flight to Panama City, a freezing 18 hour round-trip bus ride, or ordering the cat food on Amazon then paying a fortune to get it delivered to Panama.
It’s not just cat food. SimplifyPanama.com can help you locate construction materials, computer supplies, buy a car, locate an apartment or just take you shopping. Julie knows where to find things in Panama. You name it and Julie is ready to assist.
Boquete and David stores have many more products than they did 4 years ago when I first came to Panama. But there are still some things you can only get in Panama City. No doubt that will change over time. But for now, Julie’s SimplifyPanama.com fills a need! Panama City is so big it is hard to find anything unless you know exactly where to go. Julie knows where to go!
When did you move to Panama?
I moved to Panama four and a half years ago.
Where did you move from?
Portland, Oregon USA
Where do you live in Panama and why did you pick that area?
Panama City. I am here because of the work opportunities.
Tell us about your business and how you got started.
I spent the first couple of years in Panama managing hotels and as a buyer for a gourmet food and wine importer. My plan was to open my business, but wanted to get a feel for Panama first. During those years, I realized what I felt was needed is small business services & concierge assistance for individuals.
Customer service in Panama is weak, and it’s difficult to find what is needed, especially for busy business owners in remote areas who can’t leave their businesses. Simplify Panama has been well received, and nearly all of our clients come to us by word-of-mouth. We have clients throughout the country. In fact, one of the hotels I managed is a client.
Was it difficult to set up your business in Panama?
I was already aware that government bureaucracy and red tape would be a hurdle in opening my business. Having lived in Panama for a few years, I planned ahead and took my time going through the process of starting my business. I didn’t find the process difficult, just time consuming. Perhaps I’d heard enough stories to expect the worst, so I was pleased that it wasn’t as difficult as I’d anticipated. My advise to anyone planning to open a business is to be prepared. Have all documentation in order.
If you could relocate to Panama all over again, what things would you do differently?
My initial reaction was to say that I would have opened my business sooner. But in reality, I needed the time here to learn everything that I needed know. If I’d opened sooner, I would not have been as well prepared. So, I really can’t think of anything I would have done differently.
What are your favorite things about living in Panama?
The warm weather, the proximity to both oceans and the mountains, the natural beauty and the wildlife.
What do you like least about living in Panama?
The garbage problem. There is a culture of throwing trash on the ground, in the sea, etc. Also the garbage collection and recycling programs are lacking. It has been getting better, but has a long way to go.
Do you have any tips for someone considering relocating to Panama?
Make sure to visit, stay a while, really get to know the place. Get to know some locals and get a sense of the local culture. Living on vacation is very different than living day to day. And of course, learn as much Spanish as possible.
In conclusion. . .
In Panama, you may not be able accomplish things the way you would in your country. But there is usually a way! Julie’s SimplifyPanama.com service sure does make life easier in Panama