Author Topic: An opportunity in Costa Rica  (Read 4764 times)

Tim Sales

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An opportunity in Costa Rica
« on: November 29, 2015, 10:04:39 AM »
My wife and I RE'd in 1997 in our mid thirties and set out for Mexico with two small children and a dog.  We were looking for a less expensive, less consumer oriented, multi cultural life for ourselves and our children.  In 2002 we settled in Monteverde, Costa Rica where we raised our boys and have built an incredible off the grid farm (Coffee, dairy, organic vegetables & meats, value added products). While we have been financially independent for 20 years now,  we are trying to build the farm into a self sustaining business that is self funding and provides all food, shelter and energy needs for not only us,  but for other stakeholders as well.   Our children are now both in college in the US,  and we would like to start freeing ourselves up to do more travelling and perhaps spend more time near our kids.   We are looking for a couple to come live on our farm as "managers".  We are looking for self motivated,  self taught “doers” with a proven history of getting things done.   People who can identify and prioritize what needs to be done and who can figure things out by reading,  or talking to others.   Personal attributes should include the following - not necessarily in this mix.  One half of the team lives for gardening and getting dirty,  is a creative foodie,  loves to interact with people and is an entrepreneur.  The other half of the team has an engineering/systems outlook and lives to solve problems.  Taking care of (and improving)  the physical systems of the farm -  electricity and gas generation,  drinking water system,  irrigation systems,  ponds, roads,  buildings, etc.  all need management and care.   

We will provide housing and most utilities,, including water,  electricity,  and methane from our biodigester for cooking,  so living here can be quite inexpensive,  but we will not be paying a salary. Applicants should have their own “safety net”  source of income at minimum of US$1,500 per month.   An entrepreneurial couple that has managed to “retire” (has their financial act together)  early is perfect.   Our intention is that the farm managers will earn additional revenue through percentage splits from the farms business enterprises.  We have several revenue sources currently.   All have great unrealized potential because we travel a lot and are spread too thin.  Our expectation is that the farm managers will play a significant role in maintaining,  improving,  and growing these enterprises.  We do not want somebody who lives here and works elsewhere - ie,  over the internet.  The focus needs to be on maintaining and bettering this farm.   If you a are interested and would like more information,  contact me via this posting. 

Wanna-Be-FI-Bri

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2016, 07:06:59 AM »
This is something my little brother Mark would love to do!  Can you send me photos of what the place looks like.  Mark recently returned from a study abroad opportunity in Costa Rica and is itching to go back.  Would you be interested in having a single, 24-year-old foodie hipster live and work there?

arebelspy

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2016, 02:09:52 AM »
The wife and I are ER'd and looking into doing something like this eventually, but honestly, the upside for the person working there sounds pretty low.

Like, you're looking for someone already self sufficient (early retired/financially independent) to work for free improving your farm/business to make you money, and they, in return, get... free lodging?

And the work that sounds required is far above and beyond the simple "maintain a farm," but infrastructure, business development, and growth.

You mention, briefly, "percentage splits"--it might be worth it to elaborate more on why someone would want to do this, because there seems very little benefit/upside for the person you're looking for.

Like, I can see plenty of young people who earn money online, are broke and don't know better being interested, but you preclude that possibility by requiring them to already have independent income without needing to earn more online. 

I can't see people already FI wanting to do this with so little benefit.  Essentially a full time job, for two people, that nets them around 12,000 (estimating living costs/utilities at 1k/mo in a typical ER'd budget)?  Or $6,000 annually each, for a full time, physically and intellectually demanding job?  Assuming 40 hours/week (though I'd bet it would be more), they'd be making something like $2.90/hour.

At that point why wouldn't they start their own farm like this, and work on their own opportunities?  Thus my comment about young people who want to live abroad, make a little money online, and not knowing better.  But the already ER'd couple with resources can buy/start their own and have ownership, rather than working for very little.

I'm not trying to offend you--I'd actually like to learn from you, because we're looking at settling down and doing something similar with our kids (we had been thinking Belize, but Costa Rica is on the table as well)--we just ER'd at 30, and are having our first child in the next month.  We're traveling the world full time right now, but were thinking about settling to an off-grid homesteading/small farm type living to raise the kids at some point.

I'd love to hear more about your experiences, especially as it relates to the kids.

I'm just trying to explain how I see this, at first glance, and likely how others will, so perhaps you can tweak the opportunity, or explain it differently, if I'm missing something, highlighting why one would want to take this job at such low benefit when they're already FI.  Hope that makes sense.  :)
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kirby14

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2016, 09:00:44 AM »
I'm with arebelspy on this one. It sounds like something that some people would be very interested in if the profit split info was explained better. Otherwise, just getting free shelter is far from worth the work. You want to make sure the people that are working your farm have an incentive to make it the best it can be.

therethere

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2016, 09:07:34 AM »
I would be interested if there was some kind of living expenses provided. But to still have to pay for all expenses except shelter it seems like a TON of work especially if there is no backfill person to allow for taking time off. If you reconsider and provide some confirmed additional payment, DH and I would seriously consider it (both engineers and DIY oriented).
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DebtFreeBy25

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2016, 03:58:59 PM »
Just chiming in to agree with arebelspy. This sounds like a full-time job for two people. What does the profit-sharing look like? What's the income potential? Most people who are making 1,500/month not working are not going to be interested in working FT for lodging and an undefined profit-share. I would think that most in a FI situation already have a paid for home and, thus, their housing expenses are already fairly low.

Midcenturymater

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2016, 08:21:04 AM »
I think this would be better aimed at post college students who want an adventure...I can't imagine e anyone e fi Shorewood wish to do the work that is a farm just for free board.
I can see a post college student want I g a challenge doing it for a short periods of time.

But huge congrats on developing something like this in a foreign country. And sustaining it.
I imagine you are,ready for a break for a bit knowing how much work things like this are.

bobechs

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2016, 08:59:51 AM »
If this works --getting some top talent to come in and improve your business in return for room with no board--the next step is to monetize the intellectual capital you have created  by franchising it.

I mean, what farm owner wouldn't like to have a fool-proof plan to offload  the hard work on voluntary semi-slaves?

Then go MLM on their asses.

MVal

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2016, 10:03:36 PM »
I agree with what everyone else is saying here...early retirees aren't looking to work their asses off to make money they don't need. Have you thought about finding WWOOFers to do something like this? You can post opportunities like that on their site for a fee, I believe. 

I do love Costa Rica and lived where you are in Monteverde for 4 weeks while in college, volunteering with the CASEM Co-op and the Monteverde Institute and had a ball. I've always dreamed about going back. But if I were clearing $1500 a month as an early retiree, I probably wouldn't be interested in all the work you have proposed here. I'd rather spend my days zip-lining over the canopy and volunteering with environmental projects. It is a rather interesting proposition, though, and your farm sounds amazing. I would identify more as the "first half" of the team you mentioned you're looking for; unfortunately, I'm a single lady and don't have the other half.
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jooles

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2016, 01:05:11 PM »
Agreed.  Folks who are FI are not interested in maintaining your real estate and developing your business model for "fun".

retiringearly

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2016, 03:28:27 PM »
I am glad that I am not the only person to think this sounds like a bad deal.

Blindsquirrel

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2016, 07:13:58 AM »
   Please post/PM me if you find someone to take this. Have always want an indentured servant! :)
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile.

clarkfan1979

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2016, 06:58:09 PM »
Any additional information on the "profit splits"?

That would be the only reason someone would work full-time for free lodging.

Work-trade to work on a farm in Hawaii is fairly common. You get free food from the farm and free lodging in exchange for 20 hours/week of unskilled labor. Lodging in Hawaii can be expensive, so it is fairly popular.

It seems as though you are asking for 40 hours/week of skilled labor for free lodging in a very inexpensive place to live.

Shane

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2016, 07:13:12 PM »
It appears the OP was last active on the MMM site on December 10, 2015. Apparently this was his first and last post.


Blindsquirrel

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Re: An opportunity in Costa Rica
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2016, 05:46:40 PM »
It was the indentured servant crack, I'm a meany. :)
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile.