Photos of Conan in Movies

Why I Quit My Business And Moved To Thailand

Sunday, 01 July 2007

I quit my business and moved to Thailand 2 years ago. I have been to Thailand 3 times before and last time I vowed that I wouldnever return.

Yet 2 years later I sold up everything and moved to Thailand.

What possessed me to do such a thing? And NO it was nothing to do with a Thai girl... 

Unlike most tourists who come to Thailand and fall in love with their holiday beer goggles on, either fall in love with the whole experience or with a girl in particular. I did not like the place at all.

Annoying touts, beer bars, stupid drunk tourists with no idea of how to behave in someone else's country, let alone how to act in public. I could go on and on but my previous experience of Thailand in 1998 I liked, but in 2005 I stopped over on my way to and from Europe and I decidedly hated the place.

After this I returned to Australia and started working a new business plan. 

At the time I was working closely with an Affiliate program owner as an Internet Marketer but the fellow I was working with became increasingly greedy and impossible to deal with as soon as some serious money was put on the table.

His ridiculous demands that I go back to the client that I had been meeting and negotiating with for the last 3 months and double the price or he was not going to get involved (even though all it would take for him was 15 minutes of programming to pull in a nice big client whos test campaign would pull in several thousands of dollars a month between us.)

The real problem that I saw was not only this client but I had also been working on another 4 major clients who if this 1st deal went through was going to have a fantastic little business seeing each company involved sharing customers and profits in a way that was pure win/win. This was some serious money and more importantly as a start up it was important for my business reputation - this was going to put me on the map. 12 months of hard work was almost ready to pay off. 

So 12 months of hard slog and my reputation went down the drain, there was no way I could get this fellow to see reason and the handshake agreement was meaningless to him. The worst part was that he had recently moved to America, which made it impossible to visit him personally and talk about it face to face (it's easier to be rude over email).

The other companies were trained monkeys, toilet trained that is, not business trained. 

Of the three major affiliate companies in Australia one was not even interested in hearing what I had to say, the other listened and then offered me $100 per client that I signed up with them and the third said that I could work with them but the way their system worked it would only be a matter of time when my clients kicked me out and cut my share from me and I had no protection from this.

So Clixgalore went into action offering me $500 to do a better job than their entire marketing department (this was from the head of that department) had done in that entire year. I was offering them 3 market leaders in telecommunications/software. Each the biggest sellers in their markets and they were markets that already sold well online. Plus another large 2 large players who had about 100,000 members nationally each and who were on mailing and emailing lists. Considering Australia has a population of 20 million they are huge mailing lists and worth a fortune to whomever contacts it correctly.

So $500 or tell them to stick it. Guess which I did, politely but firmly telling them even if I had a lobotomy their offer was still ludicrous. 

This is the frustrating point that I was at when John called me.

John had moved to Thailand 6 months before and was loving it, he had 'fallen' into a great job and was living a life he would not have believed was possible 12 months before.

One of the fellows who trained at his gym was working on a movie called Powerkids - Victor. Victor is a very wealthy fellow but enjoyed working on TV and movies for fun. Victor and John got along well as Jon managed the gym where Victor trained.

Anyway Victor introduced John to the Assistant Director at Baa Ram Ewe, and they liked him, he  is rather well built having been a competitive bodybuilder in his younger years and a clean cut guy. He got a small part as a bodyguard in the opening scenes of the movie.

John called me up that afternoon, excited. He had trained to be an actor and had one small part in a movie before and had done numerous community plays but it had always been his dream to be a movie actor.

Things were going well for him, he just moved to Thailand a little while before, had landed a dream job with a great boss and now had scored a part in the movies.

I was excited for him, he had gambled everything on the chance that he could start a new life in a new country and win and he did.

I got off the phone and reflected upon how I was going to get out of my current mess. The only way I could think I could get forward would be to lose these clients I had worked on for 12 months and build my own affiliate program, learn programming php, MySQL, PERL, etc to a great degree, learn how to build, operate, cluster and load balance my own servers. AND customise the affiliate software to suit my needs. 

I figured it would take me 6 months of solid work to get even close to getting something working well enough that I could go out and chase some new clients. Which means 12 months until I had income again....

My eyes drifted out the open window onto the scene below. Bondi Beach on a summers day, waves rolling in, girls sunbaking and swimming in the clean blue waters. Ahhh.... do I really want to be cooped inside on a computer for the next 5 years building a business that I am not really interested in? I mean I enjoyed getting and making the deals, that was fun, but the whole 16 hours a day of the techie stuff was not to my liking, not after just coming out of 4 years of 16 hour days in my previous computer business.

What else could I do? What did I really like doing? Socialising, meeting new people, having lots of time off, and enough money to actually do things in my time off - like travel.

I thought back to when I was a teenager and I first got on TV - it was the news coverage of an International surfing carrnival but I was so excited to see myself on TV, I wanted to be an actor.

I have always wanted to be an actor, since my schoolboy days, even then I just wanted to be a professional wrestler so I could launch into a movie career. 

I'd have to be a very successful actor though otherwise I would not have the money and the fame (Update: whata newbie mistake, fame isn't good) that makes it all worthwhile. I had no doubt that I could do this, I am very persistant - also called stubborn, arrogant, mule headed, and one track minded, but I tend to be very good at what I put my mind to as I get really involved with it and want to know how everything works.

15 minutes after I got off the phone with John I called back.

"John, I'm coming to Thailand, can you get me an introduction for the movie?"

"Yes, when are you coming and for how long?"

"I am leaving Australia, I don't know how long, I am coming..." now at this point I had not even thought about this, I was reacting off the cuff. So I made up a date that was not too close to scare me but not too far off that I would be able to delay, anyway I had to be there before the movie filmed.

"Six weeks, I am coming in six weeks, I'll email you more later"

John said "What date?" and forced me to chose a date, then he called next day to check if I'd booked yet.

So my mind was made up, I was going to try become a top professional actor no matter what. 

Here is an excert of an email I wrote to another close friend at the time:-

I have decided to move to Thailand, one of my mates just moved there and 
has landed a job 2nd in charge of one of the largest gyms in the country
(130 employees), he is on good money and loving life, gets to train when
he wants with the best equipment, the Thai's love big guys and he is
earning $35/hr personal training!! (minimum wage in Thailand is about $35/week)

Also he is meeting all the waelthy people and has already had an offer
for continuing movie work in Thai action movies and is meeting the
producer on wednesday. I am going to go over and do movies, f! being here.

I don't want ot be here anymore, it's just not exciting. If I'm getting
drunk here every weekend there is something seriously wrong
 .... 1st stop is Thailand gather some cash and some more experience, then I
want ot move to Czech Republic, they make a fair few movies there and
have just started making US movies there now. Also an old friend is near there and
has offered me to stay with her

Anyway that's about it for now.

I guess that captures the moment fairly well.  Turns out Thailand had a better movie industry than I thought and I have not as yet made it to Czech or any of the other budget movie producers in Europe (Bulgaria, Romania)

(2015 UPDATE: Have now - Romania, and a Letter of Intent to Bulgaria in 2016)

When I told my friends that I was moving to Thailand to go full time with my acting most of my close friends knew me well enough to think this hare brained scheme is something I would probably follow through on.

Another friend looked at me in shock - "What if you fail?"

Looking around me at that time, 2nd floor of a popular restaurant directly opposite Bondi Beach with wonderful beach views, a crowd of very select quality clientelle and my good friends surrounding me.

"Well, I guess if I fail they'll put me on a plane and send me back to all this! Ohhh what punishment."

And so it was that I quit my business and moved to Thailand, now that does not mean that you should quit your job and move, make a plan, have a purpose.

So many tourists get bitten by the bug and turn into train wrecks, drinking and partying until all their money is gone then often killing themselves or taking low paid work that does not allow you to enjoy Thailand anywhere near as much as you did when you were flush with overseas cash. 

And I did get that starting part in Powerkids, this was followed closely by the Satin TVC. Not a big splash but very encouraging for a new arrival in a strange country.


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