Jason, born and raised in Australia, decided to leave his country for the Philippines, where his mother originally lived. Amid rainy weather in Manila, Jason met Arielle. Jason and Arielle both have the mindset to live in a country that would give them satisfaction, and they know it’s not where they were born in.
When Jason got a job position in Hong Kong, both were gladly willing to leave their country and start a life in Hong Kong, where they got to experience exciting things and the opportunity to travel to China from time to time. When the Hong Kong protest occurred, the couple again decided to a new country – somewhere more peaceful and harmonious.
Canada was a country that was not on their list of choices, but they were destined to be there. Of all the processes Jason and Arielle went through to successfully move to Canada, meeting their immigration consultant might be their most-life changing decision.
They shared how finding the right person to work with you on your immigration journey would grant you a visa and guide you as you build your future in your new home. In just a year of living in Canada, Jason and Arielle have surpassed incredible successes, and they generously share their knowledge about building a small business with those people who’re dreaming of doing the same too.
Jason was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, and after school, he completed a degree in Psychology. He quickly realized during the GFC that he was going to struggle to find employment with this degree. Hence, Jason undertook a Graduate Certificate in Commerce. Jason got his first major start in business management for a small sports company. He then started working for one of the big 4 banks in Australia as a Commercial Banker, helping small businesses with financing requirements and transaction products.
In 2012, Jason then had the opportunity to move overseas and completely change his career, so he moved to the Philippines and took a Business Development role for an advertising company.
Arielle was born and raised in the Philippines, just outside of the capital Manila. After attending university, she worked for a few years in Human Resources Job Placement and Workplace training.
In 2017, Jason and Arielle moved together to Hong Kong, where Arielle began studying to become a bookkeeper, and Jason completed an MBA as a Master of Commerce (Finance) while also working.
In 2019 they moved to Canada. Jason set up a small advertising company that services overseas corporations with online adverts. Arielle set up Fix My Books Inc, which has been running since the pandemic.
Jason joined Arielle’s company to help her grow her business and to help offer additional services, primarily business planning and forecasting, as well as tax filing for individuals, sole proprietors, and corporations.
Jason and Arielle also started a children’s picture book series based on Bane, their Bernese Mountain Dog, and his adventures. The book is for kids aged 2-7 to teach children positive moral values and virtues.
They have published the first and second books in the series and are currently finishing the third book in the series, which should be out before Christmas 2021.
Winston Sterzel, also known by his YouTube channel SerpentZA where he shares his experience living in China. Winston was in Hong Kong at the same time Jason and Arielle were there.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is famous for its 3,000 vertical pillars, each hundreds of feet tall and covered in dense green foliage. This vertical pinnacle in China was the inspiration for the floating mountains in the movie “Avatar.”
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The CRA collects taxes, administers tax law and policy, and delivers benefit programs and tax credits for the federal government and most provincial and territorial governments.
Fix my Books is Arielle's bookkeeping business. It also offers a suite of other services, such as business planning and forecasting, as well as tax filing for individuals, sole proprietors, and corporations.
Jason and Arielle also started a children’s picture book series based on Bane, their Bernese Mountain Dog, and his adventures. The book is for kids aged 2-7 to teach children positive moral values and virtues.
2:25 – Jason’s life in Australia until moving to the Philippines
4:12 – Jason’s educational background
5:48 – Enjoying an intimidating change in environment
8:23 – His family’s decision to leave Australia
9:28 – Taking the more challenging path
14:34 – Arielle’s open plan to leave her home country
17:23 – The Hong Kong Handover
18:12 – Jason and Arielle’s decision to move to Hong Kong
19:05 – Visa processing for Hong Kong
20:39 – Enjoying travel opportunities to China
28:14 – Deciding to leave Hong Kong
33:54 – Weighing the risks of emigrating
36:16 – Searching for option
38:45 – Challenges they encountered while applying for a visa in Canada
44:05 – The importance of career planning when moving to a new country
46:46 – Arielle’s decision to take a bookkeeping course
50:16 – Setting up their own business
53:31 – Arielle’s freelancing experience
56:00 – Handling your failures and learning from them
56:31 – Advantage of Jason and Arielle’s career choices
1:05:16 – Advice to people who want to move and start a business abroad
1:06:30 – NOC Code in Canada
1:10:10 – Resilience as a business owner
1:17:05 – Regrets on leaving their respective homes
1:20:44 – Fix My Books – Jason and Arielle’s business
Jason & Arielle 0:03
Honestly, like I trolled through Upwork for so long, right? Because like when you want to get a start and you're starting a business, you know, it's kind of like freelancing in the beginning you got one or two clients see how it works out. So I was on Upwork, freelancer.com. I tried all these online freelancing sites and it took so long to just get one client that you'll want. Like I was like, What am I doing?
Daniel De Biasi 0:35
Hi, everyone, and welcome to episode number 58 of the Emigrant's Life Podcast, where we share stories of people who love their country to chase a better life. And through the stories you can find ideas, resources, and motivation to do the same. I'm Daniel de biasI and my guest this week are a beautiful example of what a successful immigration journey looks like. Jason is originally from Australia. And after university he decided to move to the Philippines where his mother is from there he met Arielle, who was also thinking of leaving her country and moving abroad. The two moved together to Hong Kong through Jason's work. When the protests started in 2019, they decided it was better to move somewhere else. So they moved to Canada where they hit the ground running, which is a good way of saying that they came prepared and with a good plan. In fact, within a year from their landing, Arielle started her own accounting business, which now is doing exceptionally well. Jasmine and Ariel's Canadian success comes from their experience of living abroad for many years, going through the process multiple times and finding a good immigration advisor. But as you will hear in this episode, the main reason for the success is their attitude towards challenges and failures. If you are planning to move to Canada or want to start a business in Canada, this episode is packed with useful information and resources, which you can also find in the show notes by visiting emigrants.life.com/episode58. And now without further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Jason and Arielle.
Hey, guys, thanks for being on the show.
Jason & Arielle 2:11
No worries, Daniel. Thanks for having us.
Yeah, we're happy to be here.
Daniel De Biasi 2:14
So Jason, shall we start maybe with you like from the beginning like you're originally from Australia. Can you tell me a little bit like what was your life in Australia before you decide to leave?
Jason & Arielle 2:25
Before I left, I finished university and I was working sort of manager at a small sports center. And then I also went to work in a bank for a few years. Like I always loved Australia, it has beautiful weather. It's a great part of the world. Absolutely one of the most beautiful countries I've ever lived in. But I just I don't know, I didn't really fit in there. I have different beliefs socially and politically from a lot of people. And I just kind of wasn't feeling it. So I decided, you know, my mom is from the Philippines. I'm half Filipino. Why don't I go try finding work there? Like I knew the pay was less and your everything was less with respect to anything to do with the monetary needs. But I also just felt, I kind of want to explore, which is what you kind of do in your 20s. And so I just thought, yeah, I'll give it a go. Just the very Australian attitude, you know, give it a go. But honestly, Australia is a great place. It's just unfortunate what's happening there at the moment. I think it's probably a bit of politics swinging too far, one direction, and then it might swing back, you don't know. But it's a good place to move to if people are looking to move there. I've had my cousin in law move there. And he seems to be loving it. But yeah, it just wasn't, like "feeling it." So I decided to get on a plane and move to the Philippines. And I found working in an advertising and marketing agency. And I was working there for about five years. But yeah, it was it was a big change.
Daniel De Biasi 4:08
Was that your background like in marketing? Was that your background? Is that what you study for?
Jason & Arielle 4:12
Ah, no. So my, my initial background, I did a degree in psychology and that was during the global financial crisis. So when I came out of that, I realized, wow, I'm not going to get a job anywhere. So I went back to university and completed a graduate certificate in commerce. And then I went after that and worked in a bank for a few years and I really do love finance, but I kind of just loved every aspect of business. So when it came to just management in general, administration in general, business generally and having my hands in every single element of the business, I really enjoyed. So I kind of just went for the marketing role because getting into the financial world in different countries is difficult because you have a lot of barriers to entry. So regulatory barriers to entry. And I just thought, oh, I'll just take this job in the meantime. But I ended up really enjoying it and really loving my time there. So I kind of just stayed with it. And then when I eventually moved to Hong Kong, I stayed with that company as well.
Daniel De Biasi 5:19
When you moved to the Philippines, you left Australia trying to do something different, which is, from what I heard from other guests as well, this kind of like a really Australian thing to do after graduate from high school or university, you go traveling, because that seems like it was all like a young adult in in Australia do just to explore a bit. So what was your experience when you land in the Philippines, like in such a different environment? Or maybe because your mom was from the Philippines, you already had just, we already had an idea what the Philippines like or how was your experience when you landed in the Philippines?
Jason & Arielle 5:49
Well, it was kind of different, because my mom is from a small town in the Philippines, a small provincial town. And so I've always been there to see my relatives, and not really the main city capital, which is Manila. So when you get off the plane in this sort of tropical paradises, you're like, Oh, this is, you know, really great. And then this one was a bit different. So I got off the plane, in Manila, and it's just traffic noise, like people everywhere, and you're, you're kind of just taken aback straightaway. And, you know, everything hits you all at once. And I remember landing there with a bunch of bags, I think I had like five or six bags with me, all my stuff in these little bags, and just standing outside waiting for someone to try and pick me up to take me to a hotel. It was kind of intimidating. But at the same time, I really enjoyed it, because it was just you're totally out of your element, in terms of what to expect, like a lot of people hate that, because it produces a lot of stress and anxiety. But I really, really liked it. Like the shock at first, it was just oh, this is what I was looking for, you know. And I'm sure that's probably why a lot of Australians go overseas as well. Because usually what happens is they'll do their 12 years of schooling, and they may decide to go to university, but a lot of people take a year off called a gap year, and they'll go travel overseas. And my brother did a similar thing. He took a year off. And he went to I think 40 or 50 different countries all over the world just backpacking. But he did a completely different thing. But I did I just moved somewhat randomly.
Daniel De Biasi 7:31
Because your idea was actually I'm leaving Australia I want to go somewhere else and live somewhere else your brother was more like want to travel, explore, and then come back to Australia? Is that what the difference was?
Jason & Arielle 7:40
Yeah, that was the difference. Like I want I left permanently, I had really no intention of going back home, apart to, you know, occasionally see my family, my brother, he always had the intention of just seeing the world, but then coming back to Australia and settling there, because he loves it as well. But I just thought, you know, I've done everything here. You know, there's not really much else for me to do unless I want to sit down, you know, raise a family here, which, you know, I never had the intention of doing there.
Daniel De Biasi 8:10
And how did your family react to your decision to leaving because it was not just leaving, go for a year and then come back. You probably told your family this is it? I don't want to live in Australia anymore. I just want to live somewhere else. How did they take your decision?
Jason & Arielle 8:23
Like, at first it was like, you know, why the Philippines? It's kind of like a dangerous place in some respects. So what happens if issues with visas and all this other stuff, you're by yourself. But my dad kind of understood it, because he like he loves Australia, but he hates the politics of what goes on there. So he kind of understood why I would want to leave because the changing landscape was not aligning with how we perceive the world to operate. And he was kind of okay with it. My mom's always been a bit of a free spirit, just do what makes you happy. And so this made me happy. And that's what I did.
Daniel De Biasi 9:05
I kind of understand the point of view of your mom because no offense with Philippines but there are definitely more opportunities in Australia than in Philippines. So if you want to raise a family having a future there's probably more opportunities in Australia than there are in Philippines. So for a mother seeing your son going to the Philippines where probably she left or exactly what the reason was, but maybe she saw like, why you're going to the Philippines there's actually more opportunities here? It was a part of the-
Jason & Arielle 9:28
That was a bit of it. But to me, when I went traveling a lot when I was younger, I kind of did a little different from everyone else like people would go to these countries because you know they want to sort of have their exploitative tourists fantasy, right? And when I'd go visit places, like the what really interested me was what are the systems like so what is the system like in the Philippines? What's a republic? You know, this is way different to a Commonwealth country. And I wanted to see what that was like, you know, only having to the only other place I've really gone, which was a republic is the United States. And so I wanted to see what this political system was kind of like, I wanted to see what it was like, from a financial perspective, like how well off people were when it came to doing business there, because you've got like your normal countries where like, they're very open to foreign ownership of businesses like Singapore and Hong Kong. But then you've got like a country like the Philippines, which is a bit more protectionist. And I just really wanted to look at what a system like that was like. And this is not how people usually channel, so it's like, probably very weird for people to hear. But that's kind of the interests that lay ahead for me instead of the whole well, it might be easy to find a job, it might be easy to do this. And I don't know, I just didn't really want to take the easy path. It made life more difficult for myself.
Daniel De Biasi 10:55
How long were you in the Philippines for?
Jason & Arielle 10:57
I stayed there till 2017. So I left in about 2011. And I went to Japan for quite a while. But then I moved really to the Philippines from 2011 to 2017. And then we moved after that. So it was a good five to seven years, on and off.
Daniel De Biasi 11:15
And that's probably where you met Arielle, right?
Jason & Arielle 11:18
Yeah, that's correct. I was at a work function. Honestly, I wasn't supposed to go to this work function. And it was a typhoon at the time. So I thought you could really just blow this off. Because when it comes to a typhoon everywhere, it's like the, you can't argue with excuse. Because if you get caught in the typhoon, you're pretty much stuck where you got caught. So I thought, I'll blow this off. But then at the last minute, I got changed. And I went, and I was just randomly sitting there. And one of the work colleagues had brought Arielle into event. And it was purely as a person to fill the seats, because everyone else had actually blown off the event because of the typhoon. And so we just started talking, and we just had so much in common that even on the first night that we met, I ended up having a conversation with a mom on the telephone and mom asking if I was gonna marry her. I mean that that was one of the cultural shocks to me, you know, from the Philippines. Whereas like in the West, you'd never ask, or even bring up that conversation or even be speaking to the parents the first time. You're just having a meeting someone, right? That, like in that event yeah, I ended up having to speak to her mom about marriage. So yeah, a bit of a change, a bit of a change.
Daniel De Biasi 12:49
And Arielle, what were you doing in the Philippines when you guys met?
Jason & Arielle 12:52
Oh, I was actually working in the event place. I was working in HR in that place. And again, because of the typhoon, I wasn't able to get a cab and go home. So I had to stay just in the work venue and had decided to, like, eat dinner. And I had the book with me at that time. And I saw his work colleague, and his work colleague said, there's free food. So I was like, Oh, you say that to a Filipino? I'm coming. Like wherever this event is. So I ended up going to the event for the free food. And we were sat in the table, right across each other we were sat in the same table. And yeah, that was it. Like we met and we started talking and we talked all night until we could get cabs to go home. Because when we were at the event, you know, after it was over, everyone was trying to get a cab so it was like next to impossible. So we just had to wait for our turn.
I think it was 4am. We left something like that. Yeah, we ended up going to the bar and just sitting there talking for hours, hours and hours. And I couldn't believe it when I looked at my watch, I think yeah, it was about 4am. And I'm like, I have to take you home. This is not acceptable.
Daniel De Biasi 14:11
So you guys met because of the bad weather?
Jason & Arielle 14:13
Yeah, pretty much and it's why we when it rains, we actually really like it because we usually just sit together and read a book and that kind of thing. So it's a bit of reminiscence.
Daniel De Biasi 14:26
And are Arielle, you are originally from the Philippines. You were born in the Philippines. Yes. What's it in your in your radar to leave the Philippines before you met Jason?
Abby Sears 14:34
Actually yes. Because I had a lot of cousins around my age that left the Philippines. So a lot of them went and worked in Dubai, London, things like that. So you know, I would see their pictures on Instagram and Facebook. I'm like, I want to do that too. I want to do that too. Like I want to travel like them and things like that. And my cousins they were working for Emirates, so you can just imagine the flights are free. So they would just travel wherever and it seemed like a great adventure and I've always wanted to do it. It's just that I didn't exactly figure out like, okay, where should I go? I didn't really make a plan. But I met Jason and then we decided that we wanted to move to Hong Kong together. And that's how it started. But it was definitely on my radar. I think actually, it's on a lot of people's radars in the Philippines because we have, I think 10% of our population actually lives abroad for work. They're called Overseas Filipino workers. So a lot of people are very used to, you know, studying in the Philippines, graduating university and like getting a job in a different country.
Jason & Arielle 15:43
But that's not very Filipino of you. You need to abbreviate it. OFW.
Yes. OFWs. Overseas Filipino workers. Yeah.
Daniel De Biasi 15:50
When you moved to Hong Kong was it the first time you left the Philippines, or you went to a different country or you traveled before outside of the Philippines?
Jason & Arielle 15:56
No, I've traveled before outside of the Philippines, we traveled a lot when I was younger, and less. So when when I started going to school and university just because, you know, you didn't have time. But I remember I went back and forth a lot to Hong Kong, just because my family had kind of a business relationship there. So even when we were living in Hong Kong, I would have a family member constantly in Hong Kong, probably once a month, I would see my aunts. And like, depending on the aunt whoever comes that month, I would see them all the time. Sometimes they would just text me Hey, I'm here. I was just like, you didn't even tell me you were coming.
Daniel De Biasi 16:38
Okay, you probably then already have an idea what Hong Kong looked like. And Jason sounds like you've been to Japan before going to Hong Kong. So I guess when you guys decided to move to Hong Kong, there wasn't really a cultural shock for both of you, right?
Jason & Arielle 16:52
Not really like I mean, my dad had business partners as well, and friends that used to live in Hong Kong. And I heard all about it growing up, and we went there quite a lot growing up. And just on a holiday, that kind of thing. And the place never really changed. I mean, it changed a little after the handover. But not much, but not much. It wasn't until like we actually arrived in the final year that we were there that it really started to change a little bit.
Daniel De Biasi 17:19
So what do you mean by the handover? Like I don't know anything about it.
Jason & Arielle 17:22
So the Hong Kong handover, when the British gave back Hong Kong to China to the Chinese 1997. Yeah, in 97. Like, from what I remember, it seemed a bit freer. And then I think there was more sort of economic issues in terms of like people panicking over potential economic issues, with respect to the handover. But after that, the only thing that you'd really notice a change in was the number of foreign police officers that would have been there. So one of the people that I know in Hong Kong, he used to be a fully one of the chief of police, but he was one of the last foreign chief of police. Apart from that's probably the only noticeable difference people would physically see.
Daniel De Biasi 18:08
Why did you guys decide to go to Hong Kong? What was the reason behind your move to Hong Kong?
Jason & Arielle 18:12
That was pretty much because my work. So the company that I was working for, they wanted me to do business development roll out of Hong Kong instead of the Philippines. And so I agreed to that. And because it was a more managerial capacity. And yeah, that was pretty much it. And then we did our own visas and everything. So like they could have done it for us but we kind of just did it because we wanted to sort of learn the process, because we knew that we wouldn't be there forever. And plus, we've done quite a few visas already with Arielle. So when we visited Australia, because she's got a Philippine passport, like there's quite a lot of stuff that you need to go through just for a visit. And so we kind of just did that ourselves, just to see how difficult is this if we want to move later, as a permanent resident.
Daniel De Biasi 19:03
And how was the process?
Jason & Arielle 19:05
For Hong Kong, it's relatively easy.
It would be difficult if you were not married, because they need to prove your marriage and everything there but if you're going for work, like what we did, it's relatively easy and simple. They don't need like an enormous amount of paperwork.
As long as you have like the work visa from the company saying that, you know, you have something that you are going to work for them and things like that. It's quite easy.
Yeah, they make it a very headache free experience, to be honest.
Daniel De Biasi 19:38
So Ariel was able to come to Hong Kong with you just because you guys were a couple because you're not married, right?
Jason & Arielle 19:44
No, she was working as well in Hong Kong.
Daniel De Biasi 19:47
Oh, really? Okay. So both of you managed to find a job in Hong Kong.
Jason & Arielle 19:50
Yeah. Not in the same capacity though, as mine but yeah.
Mine was just like part time work as more of like an admin assistant. But what I really enjoyed in Hong Kong was all the free time that I got to really explore the city. And I learned how to cook because I wanted to learn different types of cuisine. So I learned how to cook in Hong Kong. I can cook like Chinese, Japanese, French, like any type of food I learned it there, and I was such a bad cook before Hong Kong. Yeah.
Daniel De Biasi 20:24
That's a good skill to have.
Jason & Arielle 20:25
Yeah, I'm like, What do you want tonight? Mexican Tex Mex? Like, let me know.
It worked out well.
Daniel De Biasi 20:33
Oh Jason, you're lucky guy.
Jason & Arielle 20:35
Yeah, especially since I can't cook.
But I think one thing we really enjoyed in Hong Kong was not just living in Hong Kong, but traveling to China on the weekend. So it was something we did a lot when we were there. And it was so much fun, because you get to see like, really a different side of China when you go to it. And you don't just go to the major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen. Like, that's very standard. A lot of people go to that. But we went to the place in China, Guilin, where they shot part of Star Wars, remember? And part of Avatar, the Hallelujah mountains, like we went to like places less traveled, and really got to experience the culture. And honestly, the Chinese people are very, like, warm, like people would invite us into their house and feed us, like just random people.
That was actually really cool. You know, you walk around. And it's funny when you speak like a little bit of Mandarin. And because we were learning Mandarin while we were in Hong Kong, and we get in an elevator, and it's in a province that's completely off the grid for any Western tourists.
And this little kid just looks off at me. And he says, Look, it's a white guy. And you just say, you know, say back to him, you know, like, Yeah, well, sure. Like, I am Australian. And they just are shocked that, you know, you know Mandarin, and that you're there for what knows, God knows what reason.
Yeah, I don't think we could have explored China in that way if we didn't speak a little bit of the language because there were some times like we were lost. And there was a lot of like, mining and kind of some basic chords in Mandarin, to try to find their way back to our hotel and things like that. So that was, that was a really fun experience. But there's also like some culture shock because like, you don't know what's acceptable sometimes. So like, sometimes especially little children, they are so curious with him because he has a beard. And they've never seen like a full on beard so kids would just touch his face and like we just like, look at the parents. Like is this okay with you? Like that your kid is like touching a stranger's face.
Yeah. When I when I was on a train in Shenzhen. This kid just kept on a Guangzhou. This kid just came up to me and just put his hands on my face.
Like this wasn't like a slight touch, like he full on just took his head and like, just touch his face all over and I was just like, looking at the parents, like, Is this okay? Like, I don't want trouble.
Daniel De Biasi 23:18
It must be like, it's such a cool experience to be like, in such a different environment.
Jason & Arielle 23:22
Yeah, they're just curious. Yeah. The kids because they've just never seen a person like you before ever, right? And probably now, you know, they may not, but it's just to them. They're so nice and so heartwarming. They're very generous. very hospitable. Yeah. Yeah, it's a good place to go visit as a tourist to be honest, the people are very nice.
Because it's like Hong Kong and the rest of China is quite different. Hong Kong is more like a westernized like it's more like a like-
Daniel De Biasi 23:56
More like a normal for people. Not normal but it's more like what where he used to.
Jason & Arielle 24:01
Yeah, less of a culture shock. It does have the strong British influence, which you know, you see in it's legal system, its financial system, just business generally. And the thing is, it still maintains like a lot of its traditional roots, which I don't think they'll ever go away the Hong Kong people they keep them close to their heart.
Yeah, though. It's a great it's a great place. It's you're right, there's less of a culture shock. I mean, in Hong Kong, basically all the signs like have an English translation. So it's not that hard to get around. You know, it's a very multicultural city. In China, once you go to the smaller cities, there are no like English signs. barely anyone speaks English, like we had a tour guide and he was probably one of the only people who spoke English in that town. And the only reason we got by because we knew like a bit of Mandarin. But other than that, like, if like do not do what we did, you will get lost and there were several times where we literally thought oh no, we're lost in this little town and we don't know how to go home.
That's like I only know 200 or 300 characters in in Mandarin so it's I'm getting very very lost trying to translate street sites now.
Daniel De Biasi 25:13
Because that's the thing when you go to Asian countries, everything is different everything you read is different. You can't really can make sense of what you're reading if you don't know the characters, if you don't know the language. It's not like you could go to other like other like other country even like I just interviewed somebody that went to Poland, for example, he doesn't speak Polish, but he can figure it out, right? Because the same alphabet, they're using the same alphabet, he can figure things out. But when you go to China, there's no way you can figure- I went to Japan, it was exactly the same thing. Like I can't find the bathroom if it doesn't have the symbol of the man and a woman. You won't even be able to find a bathroom.
Jason & Arielle 25:49
speaking Japanese Yeah. Where's the toilet? Yeah, the Japanese one is it's kind of okay. It's like a bit like China. So the major cities like Tokyo and Osaka, they have some English. But then when you go out to places like where I was staying in Japan, which is Fukuoka, there are not many signs at all in English and not many people speak English. So it can be very intimidating.
Daniel De Biasi 26:18
Jason & Arielle 26:19
Yeah. We also stayed in England, actually, for a couple of months. We lived in London, just trying to see if we would, it will be a good fit. At that time, we were deciding between Hong Kong and the UK. And we decided to go with Hong Kong because it wasn't just for his work he had like he had the option to either be in Hong Kong or be in England for his work. And we decided to stay with Hong Kong because it was we really liked the place.
Yeah, it was also still honestly, it's still close to home.
"In the Philippines," because it's about two hours plane ride away. Yeah. When it comes down to the plane ride, right. This is two hours versus three hours driving to get to her family's house from our apartment in Manila. So and the funniest thing about it is, you know, you're several 100 kilometers away in Hong Kong. But we're literally 15 kilometers away in the Philippines and it will take a longer period of time.
Daniel De Biasi 27:20
I hear from Australia, if you want to go to Australia is much closer from China to go to Hong Kong to go to Australia than actually going from London to Australia, right?
Jason & Arielle 27:27
Oh, yeah, that's by far but honestly, like Australia, we we went there to visit his family. We were five hours into the plane ride. And then I hear this thing saying, we are now leaving Australian airspace. I'm like, I thought I thought we left five hours ago. Why are we still in Australia?
Yeah, it's a big place. It's a continent.
Daniel De Biasi 27:50
Yes, it is. Yes, it is. And how long have you guys stayed in Hong Kong?
Jason & Arielle 27:55
We stayed there for nearly exactly two years. Yeah. Almost exactly ywo years. And so when the protests came up, that's kind of when we initiated our move, visa application, because we were thinking about it during that period before the protests.
But we weren't sure.
Yeah, we weren't totally sure. And then when we saw the laws changing, and the sentiment changing, and people starting to get mad, you know, that's when we thought this probably isn't best to just keep staying here, because we're noticing a lot of foreigners leaving.
And so yeah, we didn't want to be the ones like, "left behind" that it was difficult because we honestly really love Hong Kong.
Yeah, we really did.
We, we just knew that it probably wasn't a long term solution to you know, raising a family or anything, because space is such an issue. The cost the cost of living when it comes to having an apartment or anything like that is high. So high that it's just crazy for some people.
Like, honestly, coming from Hong Kong, to Toronto, we are probably the only people you'd hear Oh, wow rent here is cheap. Because because of how much we had to pay Hong Kong.
For the tiny apartment we have.
Daniel De Biasi 29:15
So even in like buying a property in Hong Kong would be almost impossible.
Jason & Arielle 29:19
It's a generational loan.
It's it's one of those loans now where you'd have several people signing on the loan.
Like the grandparents, the parents will sign like as a co-signer for the loan for like, let's say the son or the daughter. Are they the one that goes up to 60 years or Singapore goes up?
Oh, no, Singapore, I think changed some of their laws to 60 year mortgages. Yeah.
Daniel De Biasi 29:41
Jason & Arielle 29:42
Daniel De Biasi 29:43
That's a lifetime the more you have to think. And another thing that I hear from a couple of people that I interview that are trying to live in China, because the fact that you can't become a Chinese citizen. Is it the same thing for Hong Kong.
Jason & Arielle 29:57
Yeah, yeah. So it's, it's it's quite similar. all over Asia and I learned this when I was getting my citizenship from the Philippines is that it's by blood. So by blood, yeah, you need to be descended from person of that country in order to obtain the citizenship. So luckily, because my mom is Filipino, I have a Philippine citizenship. So when you go to places like, you know, Mexico, it's actually I think the same, but then you've got situations where it's like Canada or Britain, and that's deemed your citizenship can be deemed on naturalization so how long you stay in that country over a period of time.
I think in Hong Kong, like the highest level, you can go as just permanent resident, you can be a US citizen. So like us, we were on a residency card, which is basically like a catch all card for like, if you're working there, if you're a student, whatever, everyone's a resident, and then you have to stay seven years to become a permanent resident. And then that's all you can do. You can't be a citizen there.
Daniel De Biasi 31:02
Yeah, that's what I heard.
Jason & Arielle 31:03
Daniel De Biasi 31:04
I can hear like a noise in the background is it a dog or?
Jason & Arielle 31:06
Yeah, sorry it's our dog. He's just breathing so hard.
Breathing very hard.
Sorry, I feel like we're going on a tangent here.
Daniel De Biasi 31:19
No, no, no.
No, no, no, no, that's actually what I like about it. Like going on a tangent, like talking about like, that you can't really become a Chinese citizen could be helpful for people that maybe are thinking to move to China. Because you can't really build a life in China. You're always been. You have to- I think there was another story that I read for like this businessman that stay in China for like, 20 years build like a multiple company in China. And it got to the point where he left is like, can't stay in here. Like, every time I have to renew my visa, after all I've done for the country that still not being able to be a citizen. He just left and went back to England.
Jason & Arielle 31:55
That's correct. You there's another guy who has a similar he has a show on YouTube called Serpentza. He's one of those people he lived in China for about, I think 15 or 20 years. I'm not sure now. But he married a local Chinese girl but he constantly every year need to redo his married papers. Yeah. And it's just it becomes very difficult for a lot of people
Daniel De Biasi 32:22
Do you remember his name? Is it Mark Kitto?
Jason & Arielle 32:25
No, no, his name is Winston. I think.
Daniel De Biasi 32:28
Jason & Arielle 32:29
You can search him on YouTube. It's serpentza that's his YouTube handle. He'll come up for sure. And didn't you message him before?
Yeah. Cuz he used to go around Hong Kong at the same time. Yeah, that we were living there. So he has a lot of fans in Hong Kong that show.
Daniel De Biasi 32:47
No, yeah. No, the guy I was referring to is Mark Kitto. I don't know if you ever heard of him?
Jason & Arielle 32:51
No, no. But his story sounds very similar to a lot of other stories I've heard where they it's just a constant, never ending visa battle that you'll never win. It goes on for as long as you live there.
I mean, you want to make a good life in another country, right? That's why you moved there. And it's, I think that that's hard for people because they, you know, you want some stability, knowing that you're building a life here, or you're building a business here and that they just can't, you know, kick you out or take that away from you. But what if like, just next year, they decide not to renew your visa for whatever reason, you know, like, what position are you put in at that point? So that's something people really have to think about. Like, it's not just China, but like Japan, the Philippines, you can't be citizen. So are you okay with just being a permanent resident? That's something people really have to think about. If the point is to migrate to another country and build a life there, that's really a big consideration that you should take into account before making a major decision in your life.
You also need to sort of weigh up the risks. So you can meet a goal or you meet a guy, there, their citizens, you know, you'll have a marriage visa, your kids will have citizenship there. But you never will, right? That can be pretty intimidating to a lot of people that are probably a bit older and thinking about without the excitement of a new relationship where what happens in the situation where you know, she or he doesn't like me anymore, right? Do I get to see my kids? Do I get to stay there? I mean, that's, that's one of those situations where, you know, you don't really want to be thinking about it. You know when it happens.
Daniel De Biasi 34:33
No, yeah, no, I agree. It's like, for me, metaphor, I like to think is like building a house of cards that you can build as tall as you want but it's so unstable, that something changes you said, don't renew your visa, everything collapsed. So you have to start all over in another country.
Jason & Arielle 34:48
Yeah. And you don't want to be put in that situation. You put in all this effort just to get there. You know, you don't want to be you don't want to just leave.
Daniel De Biasi 34:56
Exactly. Those don't just like me build a life like making friends, you're building a house, maybe you buy a house by property business whatever. You build a new life. And it's so like, I don't know, I couldn't do that. I couldn't do it.
Jason & Arielle 35:10
Yeah, it's it's too much risk for me to carry.
Daniel De Biasi 35:13
I totally get it.
Jason & Arielle 35:15
Yeah, one thing people should also know about living in a place like Hong Kong, since people get sent there a lot for their work, right? A lot of people that you meet, like, we were one of the people who stayed the longest. Most people had like six months contracts. So you would make friends with people, and they would just leave because they have to go to a different country. A lot of them went to Singapore afterwards, because of the protests and things like that. But yeah, it's a very transient city, especially when it comes to foreigners. So you, you'll make a friend and then like, two months, they're gone six months, they're gone. Like it's a very normal thing in Hong Kong.
Yeah, it's kind of sad, but it's kind of cool at the same time.
Yeah, we've got to meet a lot of friends from so many different countries when we were in Hong Kong.
Daniel De Biasi 36:00
And going back to the protests that you see were talking about in Hong Kong, that's probably what you guys decided to leave.
Jason & Arielle 36:07
Daniel De Biasi 36:07
What was your idea? Did you guys have a plan or like a country wanted to go or you Jayson you were offered to another job, another country or something like that?
Jason & Arielle 36:16
So this one was kind of like, it was one of those situations where we really didn't know what to do. So usually, we have a plan for most things. But this is one of the times where like, what do we do, you know, if we want to have a family, or we want to move away from here and change our lives. And so we looked at the UK as an option. And we even started a process for that. It's just that we found a better option. So one day, I think it was August 14, my dad had messaged me about Whoa, look at what Canada is doing with their permanent residency. So I looked at the article, Canada wasn't even on our radar wasn't even on our radar at all until this was brought. And I looked at the message, I read the article, and I thought, wow, they're making this incredibly easy to go move there. So I just started reading about it online, I asked Arielle like, would this be an option that you'd be interested in because you don't really want to go to the UK, you don't have family there. And you know, I didn't want to go back to Australia. And she didn't want to go back to the Philippines and neither did I. So she just said, Yeah, well, my uncle's there. You know, your brother is like thinking of staying there. So why don't we just give it a go? And then that's when the whole process of moving to Canada and doing the application your isles and everything else started up. And there was that turbulent period in the beginning, where you're trying to find someone that you trust-calculating your points.
Calculating your points and trying to find an immigration consultant, like all that stuff. And it's very confusing, because we would try different points calculators, and it would spit out different points for us. So we didn't know do we have the points or not. But when we were doing it at first, right, this is the funniest thing, you know, the points calculator on the main government website was actually tabulating the points wrong.
Daniel De Biasi 38:17
Why that doesn't surprise me.
Jason & Arielle 38:19
Yeah. We just thought, oh, no, you know, what do we do, right? Because it's like, we don't want to apply and get an application rejected. And then you've got to, you know, that whole rejected application problem where you can't apply again. So yeah, we spoke to several immigration consultants. And there are so many scams when it comes to immigration. You need to contact someone that knows what they're doing.
Yeah, we've had times where we've, you know, asked for a basic thing, like, Could we please have your RCIC number, you know, the one for registered immigration consultants, they would refuse to give their number. I'm like, how would we know that you're legit, that you're allowed to do this for us if we don't have your number? So that was one incident. Another incident, they didn't want to when we went on the Zoom meeting, they didn't want to show their face. So we're like, Okay, we have your number, but we don't know if it's actually you that we're speaking to.
There was another instance where there we got another person and they send us a contract. So I did a background check on the company name registered on the contract. And it turns out, they've been involved in some sort of fraud in the Middle East. Yeah, but with visas, and goodness, just one thing after the-
Do your check people, like really check the person who's going to process your visa, make sure I mean, I understand like, we were so excited to come to Canada, we really just wanted to find someone to help us and when you're in that vulnerable position where you want to go to another country so bad. You know, you kind of go in with blind faith and you kind of trust people. And sometimes like we got scammed, like three times. We paid money for these consultations that didn't turn out to be anything, right? So I understand that people may be excited, but still, like do your due diligence and double check these people that you see online or these immigration consultants, like, you know, just a Google search came up that this was a fraudulent company. If we didn't double check, then you know, we could have gone to that consultant.
Daniel De Biasi 40:25
And that can mess up not just losing money and time making messed up your application, maybe because you get rejected maybe, then you won't be able to do another application, because then you go on the blacklist or something, right? That's the risk.
Jason & Arielle 40:37
Yeah, you get you do get put on a blacklist in Canada, if you're found doing like weird or fraudulent, made up applications. And I mean, one of the worst things you could do, which we were doing in the beginning, was looking on forums to, you know, what does this mean that they're asking for? What does this mean, you know, and we thought, okay, you know, just check forums like, people usually do to find a solution. But the problem is, is the people that are telling you this information, literally have no idea. And it wasn't until we spoke to our immigration consultant that he said, No, that's wrong. That's wrong. Don't do that. Don't do that at all.
Daniel De Biasi 41:15
That's Brandon, right? The one you're referring.
Jason & Arielle 41:17
Daniel De Biasi 41:17
Brandon has been on the show before.
Jason & Arielle 41:20
Yeah. He's the man. He's the immigration man. Yeah. If you need immigration consultancy services, Maple immigration.
Yeah. Like, and he, he was so great. He, it wasn't just like, okay, like, I'll process your visa, like, give me the money. That's it. He really helped guide us and was very proactive, not just about the visa, because we were focused on the visa, we were like, Okay, we want to make sure we get the visa, he's like, no, no, you're gonna get the visa for sure you have a good application, focus on what you need to do when you land. So that was something that we didn't even really think about until he mentioned it, that you really have to think about what you do when you land because you know, I mean, when you're in that situation, your goal is just to land in Canada, and be here, you're not thinking about, Oh, what job should I gather whatever. But that was a really great thing that he told us, I think about what you want to do when you land and things like that, because when we were in Hong Kong, I didn't really want to stay in the field that I was working in, I wanted to do something else. And I thought, Okay, this is the perfect opportunity to switch careers, you know, you're starting in another country, it's basically zero, right? You're, you're at zero, so there's nowhere to go about. And that was a chance for me to make the switch.
Yeah, so what Arielle started doing while we were overseas still wish she started doing her bookkeeping course, from a Canadian university whilst in Hong Kong, because she was always struggling what to do. And I said, look like when you were in university, you loved accounting, right? Even though everyone else says it's boring. Nobody finds it interesting. But you love accounting. But you don't like the bureaucracy of having to go through formal years of education, as well as the bureaucracy of having to be certified as a CPA or CA or whatever. Yeah. And so I said, Why don't you think of bookkeeping, because a lot of the information, it's sort of translated, it's a course, it's in a field that you like. And it's something where you actually probably wouldn't need to work for someone, you can start your own thing. And so that's what she did. She started doing this bookkeeping degree. And I remember watching her coming out from work and watching her do it. And she was just killing it. Like, I remember, she went and got a tutor. Because she needed help with-
From Australia. My tutor was Australian and I was in Hong Kong.
For a degree in Canada, and she was asking that, you know, what's this? What's this? And the tutor's saying, Your questions are so more advanced than what I would think from the degree. It's, she just fell in love with it and was immersed by it.
Yeah. And I think the the thing though, like people should think about when they decide to move to another country is do you want to, if it's not for work visa, obviously, if it's a work visa, and they're sponsoring your visa, that's a different conversation. But if you're moving to a new country, like and you feel like you want to start over, you want to switch career fields, I think that's a great time to start it and think about what you want to do. And don't just think, okay, I want to work in accounting, I have to be a CPA, not necessarily, right, like, there's a different way to do it, that may be quicker and cheaper. And you can still work in the same field without, you know, four years of your life and like 10s of 1000s of dollars in student loans. So just think about like different ways that you could do it because when I was in Hong Kong, and I was studying at the Canadian college right via distance education. When I got to Canada, I had the Canadian degree Canadian education, which is the main thing, you know, when you start moving here, you're gonna realize that they're like, Oh, do you have Canadian experience? Do you have Canadian education? So when I got here, I actually had Canadian education. And not many people like questioned it, which was great.
Daniel De Biasi 45:22
And that degree helped you with the points as well to get permanent residency in Canada?
Jason & Arielle 45:26
No. So my degrees are the ones which basically got us the points because I have an MBA and masters of commerce degree as well. Yeah.
Daniel De Biasi 45:36
Jason & Arielle 45:37
But coming for a person that now has four degrees, I can tell you they're totally pointless. It's an expensive lesson to learn. But eventually, I got-
My bachelor's degree from the Philippines. And it's a very well respected university. I didn't really do anything with it. Because I worked in the BPO call center industry in the Philippines. After I graduated, I was basically training people on how to speak English. So my degree was useless for that. And then after that, I switched to bookkeeping. So I mean, it's nice that it's there and you can say you have a bachelor's, but I really don't think I mean, it helped with the points that I had the bachelor's degree as well. But in terms of like being here in Canada, now, it's useless. We don't use it at all for our business or our careers here.
Yeah, it's more of a thing that you put on the bottom of an email signature.
Daniel De Biasi 46:30
And Arielle, going back to the course you were taking from Hong Kong into Canada, was that started when after you spoke to Brandon about moving to Canada? That it's like trying to like, figure out what you wanted to do once you got to Canada, or that started before then?
Jason & Arielle 46:46
No, that started after we spoke to Brandon to try to figure out what to do. And I think one suggestion that he gave that was so great was that to think about not just the degree but the accreditation. So the certificate I got for bookkeeping, it's not just a bookkeeping certificate. It's actually accredited by the Canadian Institute of bookkeeping. So I need three years of Canadian bookkeeping experience. And then I can be a certified bookkeeper, which is like a CPA equivalent for bookkeepers. So when people think about, you know, studying and like even studying via distance education, make sure that you're studying something that not just leads to a certificate, but has professional accreditation, because I had to take some extra subjects from just let's say, the bookkeeping certificate had like nine courses, but the Canadian Institute of bookkeeping required 12. So I only had to take three extra subjects, and I could become a certified bookkeeper. So that was well worth it for me. So I just did those extra subjects anyways. So that's something to think about, not just the certificate, but the professional accreditation, like, is that accredited by the professional associations in Canada? Don't just go to like a random school online.
Daniel De Biasi 48:06
Yeah, absolutely. Otherwise, you're gonna waste your just your time.
Jason & Arielle 48:09
Yeah. And and the good thing about the school I went to, was they didn't charge me a foreign student fee. I got local tuition fees.
Daniel De Biasi 48:19
Oh, wow. That's a big difference.
Jason & Arielle 48:21
Yeah, so I, when I was asking around all these different colleges, they were like, all your foreign student is twice the price, literally, every single subject I would take was gonna be twice the price. So I shopped around a very long time before I found this one. And I was like this as the one, this is the school that I'm going to go through, because it's accredited. They're not charging me a fee. And they have all the subjects I need for the Canadian Institute of bookkeeping, and they had to get those. And, you know, I went so far as to when there was like a subject that the Canadian Institute of bookkeeping needed. That wasn't available at the term, I would go and ask for, let's say, all the equivalents of those are subjects close to what I needed to take and ask the Canadian Institute of bookkeeping, will you accept this as a replacement for this subject? So I didn't need to waste time waiting for the next semester when that subject would be available. So I know, it's a lot of work, but in the end, like I got through it in a very efficient manner. So it was great.
Yeah, it was good because we managed to, like we didn't have the visa yet. But we just thought, Okay, this is not much of a financial gamble. Because it's not one of those like $50,000 degrees. Yeah, let's just do it. Let's get you to do it. And so that way, when you land, like we can just hit the ground running, which Brandon always says that. He says, you guys always like whenever you do something, you hit the ground running and it's vital. Yeah, yeah, you got to otherwise you're just gonna procrastinate. Yeah.
Daniel De Biasi 49:58
Yeah. And actually speaking Don't procrastinate, which you guys didn't do. Because Arielle, you pretty much you you started like after a year you then Canada, you started your own business, right?
Jason & Arielle 50:09
Daniel De Biasi 50:09
Was that your plan to start your own business or that came after after you realize that you can go on your own?
Jason & Arielle 50:16
That was kind of a dream I like even when I was working here, I didn't really think that it was possible. I wasn't, you know, I felt like okay, I'm just new in this country, you know, I just want a job, and then I'll be happy. And then COVID happened. So I already had a job during COVID. But that I think really put things into perspective. Because now people are like, No, don't go into work. Just work online. Right? So I said, Okay, sure. So I was working online, and then I realized, if I can work from home, I can start a business from home. So right when COVID hit, I decided to start my business it wasn't great timing. Yeah, so I decided to start my business. And it was really difficult in the beginning, honestly, there were a lot of nights I was crying, I'm like, my business is just a failure. I'm never gonna get this off the ground, like I just suck. You know, and like, honestly, a year and a half later, here we are. I'm so astounded at how quick my business has grown, how many clients I've had and how happy my clients are with the service. And it's just, I wouldn't have had the guts to do it, if not, for Jason encouraging me, because I'm always like, I'm very, like, kind of cautious with these kinds of things just because like, I'm like, Oh, I don't want to fail. I don't want to I don't want to do you know, something that will just fail. And he's like, so what if you fail? So what? Like, it's so many businesses fail, you know, it doesn't matter, just start a new one or whatever, because I've had several other businesses fail before. But they were more like hobby businesses, I was that I think that was my fault, because I treated it more as like a hobby than the business because I was selling something like I used to make like little, you know, home perfumes, those little things that you put in your house that smell nice. I used to make and sell those in the Philippines. And it didn't really work out. I ended up with like, just so much product, just in the living room and it wasn't selling. So I kind of have this trauma of like starting a business because I'm like, I don't just want it to fail like the last one. But I guess, for whatever reason, even through COVID, and everything things worked out well this time.
Yeah. Yeah. It's just the luck of the draw sometimes. Yeah, yeah. Cuz she'd always complain about, oh, it's gonna fail if I do this. Or if I, you know, if I stopped this, this might stuff up. And then I just said, Look, you're talking to a guy that's had so many failures in his life, then I'm impervious to it. So just do it. And she did. I'm really happy that she did. Because it's been a great decision for her and for us, generally, as a family.
Yeah, like, you know, two income streams, like it's a very stable industry, which is great. In the beginning, though, when I was starting it, you know, everything was bootstrapped, right? I'm not some cashed up business owner. So everything is just like, okay, free what this this free thing that I could use?
Yeah. And then yeah, you're always trying to find the cheapest, the cheapest thing or the sales on software, you know, so that will be like, 50% off the subscription. Yeah. And then you're like, Oh, I gotta get that. Yeah.
And and honestly, like I trolled through Upwork for so long, right? Because like, when you want to get a start, and you're starting a business, you know, it's kind of like freelancing in the beginning get one or two clients see how it works out. So I was on Upwork, freelancer.com. I tried all these online freelancing sites. And it took so long to just get one client that you'll want. Like, I was like, What am I doing? Like, it's, it was like, three months since I started my so I started my business in Feb, and they didn't land my first client till June.
And I was just like, yeah, 217. 217 applications. I remember the number of guests, it's there on Upwork on how many how many jobs I bid on before I landed my first client. 217. And that client turned out to be this kid. Not really kid, but a younger guy from BC. His business is doing so great. Like he actually sold a portion of his business, because he didn't want to deal with it anymore. And because he started another business now, and he's still my client up to now, right? Like, how crazy is that? Like, my first client is still with me. Yeah.
And you saved him a whole heap of messing around and troubles. He's a happy guy. Yeah. So there's not all happy stories. I remember she got two good clients who are still with us today. And then she got a third one who ripped her off. She did all this work for she was up all night, completing all the stuff in QuickBooks. And then the guy just takes the files, doesn't reply to emails and never pays her. And then I said, What have you learned? Don't give files until-
Cuz, you know, like, I was like, obviously, like, kind of very trusting. So I was like, Oh, here you go here's all the work into done and then just no replies. Like, excuse me, are you gonna pay me? Um, yeah, so that's the thing with like, you know, be trusting but also cover yourself, like, make sure that you are covered. Ask for a deposit or something before you start the work. Don't be like me. Be smarter than me.
Daniel De Biasi 55:48
Yes, that's what you need when you start anyway, like, you need like, you have to go through some like mistakes or some failures, you know, in a way before you can actually get that's where you learn from, right? It's not just from the good thing from the bad thing that most of the time you learn from.
Jason & Arielle 56:00
yeah, it's the bad things that actually make you a better business owner, and how you handle them. It's not just, it's not just on landing new clients or whatever. It's, it's not just that, like, business is not all about sales. It's also about, you know, relationship and strategy and like, how you could differentiate yourself from other people in your industry, and things like that.
Daniel De Biasi 56:23
And now your business is doing so well that Jason, you pretty much you quit your job to help Arielle in her business, right?
Jason & Arielle 56:31
Oh, well, I still have my own little advertising company. But yeah, I've pretty much sideline most of that to help with Arielle's business as well. So I've done updating a website as well as now I'm offering business planning services as well as tax filing services and tax preparation services. Yeah, you know, because the work has just been so overwhelming in that industry. I think that it's also to do with the shortage of accountants, tax preparers, tax filers, and bookkeepers in the industry in general. So if people are looking to get into this industry, it's it's one of those industries where you're going to see quite a bit of growth purely because there are so few people available, especially within the bookkeeping realm. And the majority of people in the bookkeeping world will be older and will be retiring in the next 5 to 10 years. So it's one of those skills, which you're going to see a massive skill gap and shortage in the next probably five years or so.
A lot of in the bookkeeping groups that I'm a part of, there are only a few young people actually I you know, I understand, bookkeeping and accounting, tax filing, ew, it's not a sexy subject, you know, everyone's like marketing, advertising, Don Draper, it's like that. And like, this is not like a sexy industry. But if you like numbers, and this is something you're passionate about, I would encourage you to try it out. You can make great money if you're good at what you do, and you know how to sell yourself well. And really, like it's a very good industry to be in. Because if there's something that you specialize in, other people will go to you and say, Hey, can you just take care of this client? Because I know this is your specialty. And it happens a lot where we pass clients along, there's a lot of client referrals happening, because people don't understand that this is a very, very specialized industry. So like I'm a generalist as a bookkeeper. But there are some accountant or bookkeeper, that their specialty is like audits or HST audits as a specialty.
Even now there's new industry is cropping up within the bookkeeping and accounting side. And it's so for example, in the last year, Shopify has just taken off, right? And there are now people within the bookkeeping space that they exclusively just to Shopify companies, they don't do anything else, because it requires a very specific skill, when it comes to how the payments are arranged, how the transactions are arranged, yeah, and the software that you need to use. And so you're seeing a lot of people find like their little niche. And I mean, that's one of Arielle's niches as well as, yeah, ecommerce bookkeeping. Yeah.
But one honestly one specialty here that if you learn how to do it, you will make great money. It's actually accounting for medical marijuana, because no one knows how it's so the laws are so new.
The laws are so vague and there's no enough case related to deal with the tax side of it. That yeah, if people are thinking of getting into this industry, that's probably one of the best places to go. Yeah, because it's constantly evolving. And if you can can really get on top of all the case law and really get on top of how transactions that are proposed. Yeah, it's a booming industryh, you're gonna find a lot of work because yeah, many firms, they don't want to touch it like the bigger older firms. They don't want anything to do with it because of the regulation side, as well as the image side. But then the so many new businesses cropping up and they honestly have nowhere to turn, you know, they're willing to take anyone to do their box. Yeah.
Like I was contacted by one dispensary. And I said, like, Hey, I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with this industry. You know, I'm not an expert in this. And you know what they said to me? It's so new. No, one's an expert. We don't really care.
Daniel De Biasi 1:00:44
And Arielle did you know there was like a shortage of like a day's job, when you decided to do was like something that like, Oh, I know, there's a good chance that I can actually can make good money in this industry, it was just the fact that you were passionate about the topic that it make you started?
Jason & Arielle 1:00:59
I didn't realize that there was a shortage, or that was an older industry until I came here. I just I personally really enjoy balancing debits and credits, when they balance, it gives me a sense of like, peace, like hallelujah. You know, I'm sure not many people feel that way. But I was just really happy about it, I really enjoyed it. And then when I came here, that's when I learned that there was a shortage in this industry. But I think Statistics Canada, well, I was looking at it the other day, they have a list of industries, the median age of that industry, the median salary, or how much they earn, but obviously, the salary will be based on, you know, employment. But if you start your own, like bookkeeping, or like accounting firm, I'm going to tell people, it's going to be really good money. It's a stable industry as well, it's not that affected by a lot of, you know, by the pandemic, I mean, you could see some dip in sales, but it's basically a utility. So you can't just tell the CRA, hey, sorry, no money this year to pay a bookkeeper won't file my taxes, you know, that's just not gonna happen.
That that was one of the reasons why I was so attracted to this as an industry and a growing business. Because, I mean, like, we're growing at the rate of like, a very small, high growth company. But we've also got the income is essentially just, it's like a utility. It's basically a subscription. And people need to have it done, you know, irrespective of where they are in the business cycle. And it's just one of the really good things about it, it just continues to be a thing that people need and that they need to pay for. Because it is complicated, and it's time consuming. And when- it deals with the government. Yeah it deals with the government, and when-
Which people don't like to do like, I've honestly have clients that are like, can you just call the CRA, please? I'm just like, Oh, come on. You can call them they're like, I don't like talking to them. You talk to them. I'm just like, Okay, fine, they're actually really nice.
They're actually really nice here. I don't understand why why people are scared to call they're actually very helpful.
Honestly, the don't be scared of the CRA that when they're on the phone, most of them are very, very nice people. And they're very helpful.
Yeah. And like, one thing I don't think most people know is there's if you're confused about anything, like you can't find the answer in the CRA website, there's actually a hotline, you can call and then they can make a ruling for you. They'll say, okay, you don't need to do this. And then once you have that ruling, they'll give you like a ruling number. And if you ever get questioned or audited or whatever, you have a ruling number to give to the CRA to say, Hey, see, you ruled on this before. So like, it's it's a very helpful thing. And I think people should not be scared of the CRA and take advantage of the resources that they give small business owners.
Daniel De Biasi 1:03:55
Okay. And there's any like a resource for like a small business owner that you can recommend, like the CRA is one, but do you have anything else that you will recommend to the owners that to keep in mind?
Jason & Arielle 1:04:06
I would say OWNR, ownr.co. That's how I incorporated my business. That's how Jason incorporated his business. I would say another thing Bank with with RBC, they are focused on small businesses. And I've heard you don't know how many clients I've had switch banks in the last two years. We don't want to name- we don't want to name and shame which bank they switched from. They all switch to RBC because they were like they had clients in the US and then they would get obviously paid by the clients. And then this bank would hold the check for 15 business days. They were like, you can't just hold the check. We have suppliers we have to pay in Canada. So they're waiting for the bank to release the funds. Their suppliers are getting mad because the suppliers aren't getting paid. So they just switched to RBC. Like it's just small things like that, that I've heard So many clients complain about the same thing again and again, especially with funds being held. And that's really difficult for a small business because that strangles your cash flow.
Daniel De Biasi 1:05:10
Mm hmm. And do you have any advice for the listeners that maybe wants to move to Canada and start a business in Canada?
Jason & Arielle 1:05:16
When it comes to moving here, do your due diligence. So make sure your application is 100% correct. Get someone to help you if you need help, do not try to do free advice on the internet, it will fail. We've seen so many bad situations where people have asked a question on the internet and then been given a terrible answer. And they've gone ahead with that. And you know, we followed it later because you know, we were watching all the forums and stuff when we were doing this process. And then post on there we'll look I got rejected because I did this. Do it once do it right. Yeah, do it once do it right and find help if you need help. And when it comes to the NOC code, because this will be a thing for a lot of people, speak to an expert, because with the NOC code stuff, you may think you're getting the right NOC code, because you're picking it but honestly, like I was completely wrong on what my NOC code was when I was thinking about it.
Like most people base it on the name of the NOC code, if it says like advertising manager or something, and then they're like, Oh, I'm an advertising manager, I'll pick that NOC code.
It's by whatever is in the description, and it's by the duties and responsibilities and not the name.
Daniel De Biasi 1:06:27
Can you explain what the NOC code code is?
Jason & Arielle 1:06:30
So it's a code in Canada for every type of possible job really, that there is. I think they've done it for statistics purposes, as well as taxation purposes. But I think it's called the National Occupation Classification. And just-
You need it for the points because based on your skill type in the NOC codes, like the skill level, you get extra points, you have higher skills. So make sure that your NOC code for the skill level is correct, because there are some visas as well that are unavailable for let's say, skill levels, type B and below, you can only get this visa if you're type A and above, right, so they have to know their NOC code, what skill that is and everything when they process their visa. And that is actually one of the trickiest parts.
Yeah. Because when we were doing my initial application, and we were asking all these other sort of immigration consultants, one immigration consultant tried to give us a NOC code, which was not remotely what I was doing, but because it had the same job title. They said, Okay, yeah, this is the same. And then when I met Brandon, Brandon said, No, it is not. So thankfully, we never submitted that application initially. But, you know, that's how wrong some people can get it. So it's always best to double check that because that's like the thing that they have a big issue with.
And also, I think one thing we can tell the listeners is be open to different opportunities. Because when we were planning to go to Canada, we didn't know if we had enough points to just do express entry. So we were looking at the provincial nomination programs, we honestly told Brandon, we said send us to like, Yukon or something we don't care, like we just want to get to Canada. We don't mind, if we don't land in Toronto or something, wherever, just send us whichever, you know, PNP will take us.
But then when it comes to starting a business in Canada, hit the ground running. Like I can't stress that enough. Because when it comes down to your own business, everything comes down to how much effort you're going to put into it, there is no other fallback. Don't rely on the government to solve your problems. Don't rely on the government to pay your money. Don't rely on anyone else to be giving you money. And don't be disheartened, just do the work. Don't be disheartened when you get bad news, roll with the punches, because 90% of the stuff that you do as a small business owner, you won't be thankful. It will be late nights, it's uncomfortable. It's stressful, it's anxious. But if you overcome the initial first year, you know, the sky's the limit. Yeah don't give up.
That's true. Like I'm just thinking, like, if I started with like a minimum wage job here in Canada, like I want to tell people that I started with a minimum wage job. And if you were to see where I started, how much I was earning, and like how good my business is doing now, you would never be able to get that in the year and a half if you were an employee. They would not give you like a raise that much so like don't be scared to just do it. And, you know, obviously, it's also about working hard, but have some caution when you start your business you know, like I understand bootstrapping it but be prepared to take a few hits in the beginning you know, a few bad months you know, a bit of money saved up so that you're not constantly freaking out taking on clients, you know, that are not good clients because you need the money and things like that because I've done that. Let me tell you that just it's a world of heartache, like there were clients that were just like, I'll give the money back, just like leave me alone, please.
Daniel De Biasi 1:10:07
That's a good lesson to learn as well, right?
Jason & Arielle 1:10:09
Yeah. You just have to be resilient. When you start your own business, you can't let the the bad stuff get ahead of you. And when something needs to be done, it's not a nine to five thing. You know, people that want to live a nine to five lifestyle, be an employee, if that's what you want be an employee, if you don't want a headache at 8pm on a Sunday night, be an employee? Yeah, that's what you get paid for. But you have to think of the optionality with that. The optionality is, if you're an employee, this is how much you earn. This is how much your annual raise will be. And that's it. So you're being paid a set amount of money to do this, and nothing else. Yeah. And, you know, that's your limit, right? So you're basically capping yourself, when you own your own business. Yeah, you can lose everything, like an options contract in trading, trading, but the potential gain is unlimited, a lot of the time, and, you know, like an options contract, 99% of them, or 90% of them will expire worthless, but the 10%, that to actually make it, it's going to be very, very rewarding for you.
Yeah. And also, business is not about, you know, sales, it's really not about that, it's about problem solving. Because clients will pay you to solve their problems. That's what you're getting paid for, you're not paid to do a job, you're paid to solve a problem. That's what people need to understand about starting a business. Like they don't care if you're, you know, like, there was a time my dog was like, at the vet, clients was calling me, right, they don't care, like, they just need you to get it done. So you have to understand that there are going to be sacrifices that come along with it. But it's also going to be very, very rewarding. It might be a little lonely, though, because, you know, I mean, when you're, let's say, when you're working at a company, you have colleagues, and you're all kind of at the same boat kind of at the same level. And you you know, like people who understand what you're going through. As a small business owner, there's really no like manager to turn to, like, what do I do in this situation? Or how do I deal with this, there's nothing like that, like, you're on your own. And you haven't figured things out yourself. But that's the great part about it. If you're a problem solver, and you can figure it out. The market will reward you.
Yeah, you just need to be industrious and hardworking, and have a lot of grit, you know, roll with those punches, push through it.
Daniel De Biasi 1:12:31
And now you guys have like a successful business going on in Canada. Do you guys thinking of stay permanently in Canada, or you think to maybe try something different in the future?
Jason & Arielle 1:12:42
Yeah, we'll probably stay here. We like it here. The people are very nice and hospitable. And everyone complains about the weather, but I think it's because we haven't had a bad winter. Yeah.
Everyone's saying that oh, the you've only experienced like mild winter, some like God, if that's mild, what's harsh. Like I was harsh for me, like I couldn't take a harsher winter than that. But I think if we were to move, we would like to move to somewhere like Banff and Alberta, like just be more like with nature. That was kind of what we were thinking about.
Yeah. Because, you know, we lived in cities, all our lives, and much, much more crowded cities than Toronto. So we're kind of those people now that we just want space. We don't want to be around cars and noise. A lot of people in the city don't even know what it's like to hear only 30 decibels of sound.
Daniel De Biasi 1:13:33
Yeah, exactly. Because now you guys can work from anywhere in the world. You can work from anywhere.
Jason & Arielle 1:13:39
Yeah, pretty much as long as there's an internet connection. But you know, I like my three screens. I have three big screens, like the massive screens beside me when I'm working, because it makes all the little numbers easier to read. But yeah, like with our business as well, because we come from a background of being immigrants, we actually specialize in tax filing for immigrants, because we realized that there was a need for this because most people who are not, let's say, you get a bookkeeper or an accountant, they see things from a purely accounting perspective, or a purely bookkeeping perspective. Sometimes, though, that's not what you need. Like, for example, there are certain things people don't realize that when they need to, let's say, they want to bring their parents here, right? There's a certain income level that you need to be at. So if you don't know that, let's say you don't know that, you're like, Oh, um, maybe I just won't declare this number or something like that. And then you don't get the income level that you need. Or maybe you're gonna say, oh, I'll just go on benefits. Right. And you don't know that being on benefits disqualifies you from all these other things related to your visa.
Oh, no, not even that. Yeah. A simple thing. Like when people first arrived here, a lot of people don't bother filing the tax return, especially if They arrived like late in the last three, four months. And yeah, that's, you know, you can do that and file it the next year or the year after whatever, but it's best to just file it then because it really does shorten your time period until you can get your citizenship because you actually need those three years of tax returns. So basically, it would push back your application for citizenship, like another six months, or however long the differences between the tax return and learning,
everyone thinks it's only 1095 days, like it's true 1095 days, but you need three years of tax returns to go with that. So when we arrived here, we arrived in November 2019. You know, I mean, people would think, Oh, it's useless. Why file a tax return for 2019? You know, you didn't even like earn any income that year. It's because we knew, because we came from like this accounting taxes background, that we would need this tax return for our citizenship. So we filed right away. So we now we have one two years of tax returns. We're waiting for third and then we can start our citizenship process. Yeah.
Daniel De Biasi 1:16:05
Okay. Yeah. That's that's a good thing to know.
Jason & Arielle 1:16:08
Yeah. So if anyone's looking to immigrate, yeah, to Canada, make sure that you get your taxes in order. We're always happy to help with that.
Or if you want to bring your parents here. Just make sure you know, like the immigration side is one thing, but make sure that there's nothing like unpaid tax that because that, yeah, that could be an issue. If you owe tax that the government, we actually spoke to Brandon about it. And he's heard of some instances where that caused a major problem.
Yeah, it's case by case. But yeah, overall, as probability, it's bad.
It's better to just have it square with the CRA. So there, there's nothing, no issues that could come up, if you want to bring your parents here, or your loved ones here or something.
Daniel De Biasi 1:16:51
Sweet. So thanks for all sharing all those information they're pretty useful for people that are, like me, don't know much about that. And now the question I usually ask my guests is, do you guys have any regrets about leaving your country?
Jason & Arielle 1:17:05
Honestly, my biggest regret is not being able to see my family a lot like, you don't think it's a big deal thing, because you think, Oh, I can go back any time to see them. But I think now with COVID, that's not really a possibility to just up one day and go there. But just because of like the quarantine restrictions in the Philippines and all these things. So that's one thing I really regretted not being able to see them. But in terms of everything else, I'm very happy I left because the Philippines is not a country that is known for great business or job opportunities, right? So I always knew that. But I think seeing myself like knowing Canada, and seeing how far I've come here, that's when I really realized that it was a good decision to move here. Because I don't think I would be in this position in the Philippines, even if I work just as hard. Because it's a different environment there than it is here with starting your business. Like here in Canada, I truly believe that if you just work hard, do the right thing and provide a great service or product in your business, you can make it. Like you can make it not just like you know enough, but like the Canadian dream with, you know, the big house and things like that you can really get that if you just work hard.
Yeah. And I think with me, it's like, you just miss the little things. So you miss your family, obviously. You miss like the one thing I really miss about Australia is you wake up and especially where I used to live where I'm outside the city, it's it's more rural. So you wake up and you have this big bright blue sky and it's just a deep blue. Like nothing that it's not close to what you see in Canada. It's it's close, but like not perfect. And it's just this perfect weather all the time, right? Yes. Very temperate climate. It's nice and the smell of the bush in the back. And then sometimes when there's a fire going, you can smell the kindling. Yeah, it's just those little things.
I don't miss the kangaroos though. My goodness, they are strong and they will fight you. To anyone thinks about moving to Australia do not go near kangaroos, especially if they have a baby. Oh, yeah, they're aggressive and they're big. They're not like what you see on TV. They're way bigger in real life.
Yeah, I actually don't miss the the worrying about snakes because, you know, we had dogs and they'd always be wandering around the property. And you got to just be real careful that they're not going to get bit by a snake or anything like that. The bugs and stuff spiders as well. I'm not a big fan of that. You know, that. I like the nature just not the angry bits of nature.
Yeah, yeah, I totally I get it. I get it even like talking about the blue sky even I was in New Zealand before moving to Canada, I still remember the blue sky and was just like something that-
You know, right that part of the world. Yes. It's weird. It's just different.
Daniel De Biasi 1:20:10
It's so blue in the clouds. Like it reminds me of the, you know, the intro of the Simpson. You know, the guy in the white cloud? Exactly the same like, it's that blue and white. It like looks exactly like, yeah, the Simpson like the intro.
Jason & Arielle 1:20:25
There's something about it? I don't know. It just makes you feel good. Yeah,
Daniel De Biasi 1:20:28
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I totally agree with you. Sweet. The last question, I almost forgot to ask you the last question. If the listener relate with you with your story and maybe wants to get in touch with you and know more about your business, or maybe they need help through bookkeeping, how people can find you?
Jason & Arielle 1:20:44
Well, you can go to our website, which is fixmybooks.ca you can type into Google Fix My Books Canada, and it will come up or we've got Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube.
The Youtube channel is actually a very great way to connect with us. Because you can watch the videos, they're very specific, I actually have a whole tutorial for new business owners on how to set up their accounting system to make sure that it's set up correctly from the start. And that's all for free. You can watch it on my YouTube channel. And then if there's a specific video that you don't understand, or you have questions about, you can just comment down below I reply to all the comments and really like help people with that.
Daniel De Biasi 1:21:39
Oh really. Oh, you didn't tell me that.
Jason & Arielle 1:21:42
Yeah. So we started a children's book about our dog - Bane. So it's called Berner Bane. So just bernerbane.com where you can type in Google Berner Bane. It's just a book for kids about, you know, positive values, moral values, and being helpful. And it's just a nice little picture.
It's on Amazon. It's on the top 200, 300 for children's books, which is great. Yeah, it's amazing.
Daniel De Biasi 1:22:12
Yeah, congratulation guys. I didn't know that. That's cool.
Jason & Arielle 1:22:14
Yeah. We gave it I was like, I was telling him. I'm like the only people who buy your book are your mother giving it to her friends.
I'm lucky I have such an extended family
Daniel De Biasi 1:22:27
Exactly. Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah, for the listener, everything as usual. All the links, and everything we mentioned will be in the show notes. So go check it out. Oh, thank you very much, guys, for sharing your story and sharing so much knowledge about opening a business and starting in Canada. And all that was like was great. I really, really appreciate it.
Jason & Arielle 1:22:45
No worries. Thanks so much, Daniel.
Yeah, thanks. Um, we're honestly, we're very happy to share our experience, because we understand that not a lot of new immigrants start a business, a lot go into employment. And it's nice to be able to share our journey, which a lot of people don't go through to maybe encourage other people. If you have been thinking of starting a business, do it now. The only regret you'll have is not starting it sooner.
Daniel De Biasi 1:23:09
Yeah, that's true. I mean, to add something to what you just say like for me, and my perspective is like, depending what country you're moving to, probably Canada, it's pretty easy to do it, especially if you're coming in with a permanent residency. Some other country is way more easy. Go to a country and trying to get a PR through a normal job and actually start a business. That's what I learned, like some country like in New Zealand, it's so hard to it's not like Canada, you can just move there with a permanent residency unless things change. So that's probably most of the time people start as an employee, because that's the easiest way to get in.
Jason & Arielle 1:23:42
Daniel De Biasi 1:23:43
But the good thing about Canada like you like, if you're going through Express Entry, you get PR right away, and then you can start your own business from day one, like hit the ground running, right. But in most situation like I couldn't go through the express entry. I didn't have enough points. So I have to go through a different process to get my PR.
Jason & Arielle 1:24:01
Daniel De Biasi 1:24:01
So absolutely. That's a great way, especially right now, those days that everything can be done online. And just like, starting your own business, doing your own business never been easier than now.
Jason & Arielle 1:24:12
And it's a lot more accepted now to have a business from home. Like it's not seen as like, oh, business from home work from home, like who's that that will just take my money and run, you know, like now everyone's like, Okay, you work from home. That's fine.
Now, it's kind of abnormal to be in an office.
Daniel De Biasi 1:24:28
Yeah, exactly. You're absolutely right. You need to have to pay for rent for an office just to prove that you're a real business. Yeah, you guys. are pretyy right.
Jason & Arielle 1:24:35
Daniel De Biasi 1:24:35
Sweet. So listeners if you want to start a business, do it now.
Jason & Arielle 1:24:40
Daniel De Biasi 1:24:42
Awesome. Thank you so much, guys. Really appreciate it.
Jason & Arielle 1:24:44
Thank you. Thank you.
Daniel De Biasi 1:24:45
Jason & Arielle 1:24:46
Daniel De Biasi 1:24:49
Thank you so much for tuning in this week and stick until the end. If you enjoyed this episode A wants to support the show. You can share this episode with your friends, or you can leave us a review on Apple podcasts are thought chaser. As usual, you can find the links of all the resources mentioned in this episode in the show notes by visiting, emigrantslife.com/episode58. If you want to follow us on social media, you can find us on Instagram and Twitter at Emigrant's Life and Facebook at Emigrant's Life Podcast. One more thing before we go, if you want to move to a new country and need help, feel free to reach out to me either via email at email@example.com or through our website, emigrantslife.com. Look forward to meeting you and help you in any way I can. Thanks again for listening. Talk to you. Next one. Ciao.
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