We're the couple who quit our cushy university teaching jobs to move to Mexico and build a boutique adult-only beach resort from scratch. We've hosted dozens of Redditors over the past few years. AMA!
The title covers the gist of it.
After 7 years of teaching ESL we decided that we'd had enough - despite having a pretty cruisy gig in South Korea with 4.5 months paid vacation.
Not wanting to return to the rat race we packed up our 2 cats and moved to Mexico with a crazy plan to just buy a piece of land and build our own place from the ground up.
And that's what we did.
We just rocked up and figured it out as we went.
Our youngest dog has sorted out the proof. Although Mike Jr. wasn't around during construction.
Prime Time was...we found him at the dump when taking a truckload of garbage.
And ever since posting this album to /r/DIY we've had quite a few Redditors come to stay with us. Which has been an interesting experience to say the least!
Ask me anything about raising a dump dog or trying to set up your life as a Permanent Vacation!
Plot twist: Owning your own business is more like a non-stop job than a permanent vacation :)
Oh...and before I get asked...no, it's not that kind of adult-only property. Adult-only is just the industry term for places where the minimum guest age is 18. About twice a year we get an email from nudists/swingers and that's not what we do here...to each their own, of course, but this sort of business is called a hedonist resort.
EDIT: Thanks so much for the Reddit hug :) To lessen the strain a bit, here's a link to our TripAdvisor page where you can find more information about what we do.
EDIT 2: I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for participating in knocking down our website in this self-promotional maelstrom. This has gone viral beyond our wildest dreams. My guess is that we've had more hits today than every day combined since we've opened. No shit.
It's honestly nearly bringing me to tears just thinking about it.
The blood, sweat and tears we put into building this place nearly broke us. Physically. Spiritually. Emotionally.
And to finish and watch the business inbox sit empty week after week after week was more than just scary, it was crushing. Particularly as we were throwing more and more money at advertising and getting nothing in return.
Then we discovered this place and it completely changed the game for us. As many of you know, we've been slinging links here on Reddit for a few years now and as much as I TOTALLY understand some of the "Buy an ad, asshole!" point of view, I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that the support we've received from Reddit has absolutely made a difference in our lives.
This has worked when nothing else did...and I don't give a shit if it's the "right" way to market a hotel. The right way to build a hotel isn't to rent a cement mixer and just figure it out by the seat of your pants, either :)
At the risk of spewing pep talk business jargon, it really is our vision to build not a customer base but a family when it comes to Gecko Rock. Thanks so much for being a part of it...it means the world to us how many of you have hopped on a plane and flown across the world to share in our dream.
"Enough" when it relates to money is always going to be a relative term.
We're now going into our 4th full year of being open and so far this is how it's gone:
- Year One: Holy shit, what the fuck have we done? (I actually started doing freelance writing on the side to make ends meet since we didn't make enough to live off of in the first year.)
- Year Two: Much better but still abysmal compared to a median first world job. We were able to pay off the $5,000 loan we'd taken from a buddy to close the gap in year one but still earned much less than we did as teachers.
- Year Three: About double Year Two's earnings. We were both able to take 1-month vacations, bought a decent used car in cash and live well given the cost of living here....but if you saw the actual number you wouldn't be impressed, haha :)
- Year Four: Too early to tell but should be about the same as last year - but I am earning a lot more than I did before with my writing so that skews the reality of how much the hotel earns.
There's a LOT more to this conversation that I can't get into right now as it's 2am and I need to hit the hay...but the short answer is both yes and no...we live great for the local economy but still need to grow significantly to earn what we'd like to earn given how much we've put into this.
how did you get into writing freelance? was it something you did before moving to Mexico or did you start after?
I got into it just randomly one night at 3am after Googling "How to make money online" in a fit of frustration, haha. So it was in Mexico.
I started with Fiverr, then discovered Elance (now merged with Odesk to be Upwork) and slowly built a client base to get off of the freelancing websites.
I've been at it around 3 years now.
My first ever gigs paid around $5/hour and now I average closer to $40/hour (it's paid by the piece and not by the hour) so it's not a bad gig if you have the patience to work your way up.
I'd say it was about 6 months before I hit $20/hour and then I was at $25/hour for well over a year before making the next jump.
As a fellow upwork freelancer, you gotta love it. At least its paid in USD so I am sure you are loving the exchange eh?
Yeah, earning dollars and spending pesos definitely helps out a lot. I wouldn't want to freelance full time, though. It can be awfully inconsistent.
Sometimes you're sitting around with dead time, wishing you had something "paid" to do...and other times you're already busy and several clients dump a ton of work on you.
One thing I love, though, is that I can do it on the road...which means that I can offset travel costs along the way.
I am looking into spending a month next year in Guatemala while we're closed and I'll pretty much be able to pay for the entire trip and stay at decent places and have plenty of spending money by averaging just one hour of work per day.
Did you have any writing/journalist background or just saw it online and said what the hell? I have toyed with the idea but lack actual qualifications.
What the hell :)
You don't need qualifications...you need 2 things:
- Natural talent.
- The ability to recognize that you're not talented enough to not need to work at improving.
If you're a good writer you'll find work.
Most people are shitty writers. Even educated people who think they can write.
The financial and realistic part of me reads this response as you are just barely treading water. You compare first world wages and than compare the local economy wages as justification.
I'd say that we're doing better than treading water...we're just still a long ways off from making "real" money. By real money I mean $100k or more between the two of us.
What would you do with real money anyways. buy a resort in Mexico ? Life is an adventure. Money is just a necessary evil. We are probably gonna book with you this winter based on your website and the description of your place. Thanks for the AMA
The first thing we'd do with real money is set up some sort of traditional retirement account, haha...but yes, our philosophy is more or less the same as yours...nobody gets out alive so you might as well have an adventure while you're here.
Tell us the details about your resort:
- How much does a room usually run?
- Do you have any pics of the rooms?
- How many rooms do you have?
- Do you have a website?
- What is there to do in/around the place?
How much does a room usually run?
For the time being we don't have seasonal rates and so the price is the same all season long. Our rates are US$225/night for a couple and this includes 3 meals per day, non-alcoholic drinks and snacks (basically we have a guest fridge with snacks/fruit/etc. and guests just help themselves). The rate is US$170/night for single occupancy but we very rarely sell single rooms...mostly just when a group comes and so sometimes we'll have 3 couples and then 1 single room. (Not that singles aren't welcome - we just haven't had many solo traveling guests so far.)
Do you have any pics of the rooms?
We're actually in the process of redoing our rooms. New color, headboards, curtains, more art, etc.
But room photos have been a major sticking point for us. It's hard to explain but our room photos always suck, haha. I mean, they're not "bad" but they're not representative of what our rooms really look/feel like.
One of these days we need to get a professional photographer in here to get photos that better show how nice they are...it's on our ever growing to-do list :)
Here's a link to our rooms page so you can see what I mean: http://geckorockresort.com/see-the-rooms/
How many rooms do you have?
Do you have a website?
What is there to do in/around the place?
Most of our customers are looking for a quiet, off-the-beaten-path getaway and we're more of a place where you go to truly relax more than pack a week full of activities.
Around the resort people hang out on their rooftop, read a book in their hammock, chill out at/in the pool, play board games, have drinks and socialize in the evening, go to the beach or walk down the beach to a small nearby village called Agua Blanca for a coconut/beer/lunch. The beach here is 100% empty so it's better suited for people who want to mosey about and explore a private (it's not really private, just empty) beach than those who want to sit in a lounge chair and raise their drink flag for another daiquiri.
But there are plenty of day trip activities available in Puerto Escondido. Sports fishing, surf lessons, dolphin/turtle watching, massage, shopping, snorkeling, diving.
If guests are lucky there could be a mass sea turtle landing or hatching about 5km from here in Escobilla...and there is also ecotourism in Mazunte with a really cool lagoon where you can see crocodiles, iguanas and lots of birds.
But yeah, all up we're very honest with prospective guests that what we sell here is geared towards those who HATE big tourist towns and mostly want to relax and eat amazing food. Travelers who like to go, go, go will be happier at a different property closer to the action.
Is $225 alot for a resort? I've never been to one, but it's alot more than I've ever paid per day anywhere. It would make sense if it was all inclusive with drinks and all, but I'm really struggling to understand what you get for that.
Thats not a comment against you personally I'm just genuinely interested to know if it's average, cheap or expensive and what justifies it to guests and hosts alike.
Our product is very cheap for what we do. Our end goal is to charge closer to $300/night for a couple once we are fully established and for example, the only other property around here at all similar to what we do charges $400/night and that's with breakfast only.
You can't really compare a boutique experience with essentially a private chef (we create a customized meal plan for every guest) to a giant low-cost all-inclusive hotel where you get mediocre food from a buffet line.
One of our goals here was to create a legitimate, affordable option for the big name adult-only places like Sandals...and at most Sandals properties you're looking at $600-$800/night for a couple. That includes alcohol but it still shows that we're at low end of the market we're looking to hit.
It's the same reason why people pay $200 for dinner at a nice steakhouse when you can get a steak at the pub for $12.99.
To an extent the difference can be hard to explain.
So yeah, we're not the cheapest vacation option on the market by a long shot...but you'd be hard to find another property like ours that didn't cost a lot more.
Bear in mind that we also sell a very niche product that's not for everyone.
Experience tells me that people will absolutely judge what you're selling based on how much you charge for it. I wouldn't be afraid to raise your prices honestly - you'll likely find that by doing so you'll attract a higher class of customer and also that it'll almost make you appear more attractive against places that charge more.
As crazy as it sounds, if I see you for half the price of similar offerings (or indeed even inferior ones), my first question is going to be "so what's wrong with it?". Perhaps not what you want potential customers to be thinking.
Yeah, we know all of this.
We've had guests tell us that we need to double our prices.
But to be honest, we like our class of customer now. While we plan to creep rates up closer to $300 over time, we don't want to cater to the proper high-end crowd.
People in that market are also going to be less chill when the power goes out for 5 hours and all I can say is, "It's rural Mexico. Sorry. Would you like some free drinks?"
We love that people leave here feeling like they got an amazing deal...for one thing these people come back...with friends.
But yeah, we make a LOT of business decisions that aren't optimized for profit.
Realistically we should raise our rates to $300/night and then join Expedia, Hotels.com, Booking.com and so on so that we can happily afford their 15-20% commissions.
We'd make more money this way...no question...but we'd lose out on part of our lifestyle and being able to run our place our own way.
But I agree 100%...in some ways it's easier to sell a $400 room than a $200 one...because people in that market expect to pay that price for a sweet place, whereas $200 is more on the cusp....a little high for average earners and low enough to look "fishy" to higher-end travelers.
TIL: online sites like Expeida, Hotels.com, Booking.com charge 10-15% commission.
Is your best best to get great reviews on TripAdvisor with your site URL included so people book direct ?
If I was writing the marketing plan for this I’d be doing everything I can to get featured in blog content on the “best affordable vacation destination” lists.
This kind of place is the perfect price for me and similar middle class individuals and families. I make 75k as a household and have enough to do some things, but not REALLY enough to make it to a sandals or other type of resort. This is a very affordable middle option. I’d be capitalizing on that in marketing by getting involved in any kind of blog that reviews resorts or travel.
I don’t believe their price point is a weakness. It might just be that they need to really ratchet up SEO efforts.
Source: am outsourced marketing director with an ad agency.
I was literally just telling my SO about this place & the prices are really great for what our household is. We make about $100,000/yr but beyond regular life expenses, we put some money into our cars & take the kids on vacation three times a year.
This place would be perfect for the one or two kid-free vacations a year we take. This place is definitely on our to-do list now. I like that they don't want to cater to the extremely wealthy but people who are just looking to relax in Mexico for a week in a quiet area on the beach. Three meals designed specifically for us are included? That's amazing.
/u/Oax_Mike, we will be heading your way one of these years, probably in the winter because I just don't need NY winters in my life anymore. Ha, we may end up never leaving! We'd have to build our own resort somewhere.
Winter is definitely the best time of year to visit. Daytime temps are about 85F and then it cools down to the low 70s in the evening. 0% chance of rain.
Believe it or not, we actually enjoy wearing pants and shoes when on vacation :) Although our new idea of "brisk" is more like 60 degrees than below freezing.
Find me one that only charges 10% and we'll sign right up. 15% is the minimum and there's more to it than that...sign up for Expedia and they can undercut you.
So say we list at our regular price on Expedia at $225/night...we basically agree that for every night they book we get, say $180...they can now sell the room for $215 and eat $10 of their profit if they wish...meaning that it's better for guests to book with Expedia than with us...so the customer saves a measly ten bucks a night and it costs us $45. I understand that what you're getting is Expedia's massive network and connections but OTAs basically pit your own property against itself and it's out of your control if they lower your price because you get the same amount either way.
This is a massive simplification but in short, online booking engines have small businesses by the balls and we're doing our best to stay out of that game.
Hotel gm. Our expedia commish is 18%.
Since you have no branding and no external marketing support, look at part of your commission as advertising costs.
For sure. I am not saying the commission is unreasonable...just that we prefer to keep the price low and do our best to do all bookings direct if we can :)
A lot of our business practices are more for our lifestyle than profit.
You are kinda comparing apples and oranges. Sandals are in the Bahamas. Oaxaca is famous as the cheap, off the beaten path, beaches in Mexico. $225 a night is very expensive for Oaxaca (especially since Trump was elected and the peso has dropped.) And from what I can tell you are not even directly on the beach.
That said, you have a unique product. A very small resort, a long ways away from any other hotels. Because your so small you might be able to find enough business to stay full. But I'd be very nervous if your business model requires you raise your rates to $300 a night.
While there are plenty of backpacker options along the coast here, there are plenty of properties in the higher price bracket.
I don't question that we don't cater to everyone. We're a niche product. But our prices are low, not high.
Bear in mind that we ciphon very little business off the local market...most of our guests have never heard of Puerto Escondido before booking with us.
They aren't planning a trip to Oaxaca and then choose us...they choose us and then ask "Where is this? How do I get there?"
This sounds awesome. And your rooms look great. They seem simple and inviting.
I hate tourist-y vacations, so this sounds perfect for me!
At risk of sounding like a sales pitch, I think that a big part of what makes our place special (aside from the food) is a unique blend between "vacation amenities" and an adventure.
For people who don't haul off to do crazy shit like we do (for example, the highlight of my wife's last trip was visiting the nuclear wasteland at Chernobyl and this was my 40th birthday party), they get a proper "relax & recharge" vacation while also getting a far more authentic Mexican experience.
Ironically...we would likely never stay at our own resort, haha. It's actually not the kind of travel we do. We're more of the 'take a month and explore' type travelers and so it actually took us a year or so to be able to truly get into the minds of our customers to better understand what they are hoping to get out of their trip.
Just to clarify...I am not saying we wouldn't enjoy what we sell...just that it isn't the experience we'd be shopping for in the first place.
At risk of sounding like a sales pitch
Please the whole reason you're doing the AMA is to get some business.
We're not stupid.
It's not the whole reason.
I was also procrastinating some other work I had to do.
And you have this unique experience in chucking it all and following your dream. This is a good promotional tool, but this thread feels nothing like a promotional AMA.
The secret to marketing on Reddit is not making it obvious that you're marketing on Reddit.
This place has totally saved our asses. Big time.
About half our customers come from here.
But I think that I do provide interesting content along the way and the folks who do find us here have a killer time, so I don't feel guilty about it at all :)
I went to Chernobyl last year in oktober, just before the dome was moved over the reactor, what an eerie yet very cool place!
She loved it and really enjoyed Kiev in general.
I highly recommend Lviv and Odessa as well. They were highlights of my time there
After seeing her photos I definitely want to put a trip to that region on my radar for the coming few years.
We've considered that idea as well, or even just a short video.
Honestly, although our website/photos could definitely use an upgrade, it just hasn't made it to the top priority on the list.
You probably know but your website is down
Yeah, it will likely come and go.
We aren't set up for this kind of traffic.
We'd gladly pay whatever it took to be set up for this kind of traffic if only it wasn't a once a year for 12 hours crapshoot :) haha
How's Prime Time doing? Does he get along with the younger dog?
My husband and I stayed at Gecko Rock a few years ago,and had a marvelous time. Those of you thinking about it, it's worth going. Very relaxing and enjoyable.
Prime Time is doing great and yes, he loves having a brother. They're pretty much inseparable.
Prime Time is still a little cuckoo at times, as would be expected of any dog who has been through what he has but he's slowly gotten better about meeting new people over the years.
We built a "dog park" for them last spring (just a fenced in yard off our house) and so it's nice for them to be able to go outside more when we've got customers and we're busy.
Last April a little kitten just moved in on her own so now our mini-zoo is up to 5 cats to go with 2 dogs...so there's not a lot of sleeping in for us anymore :)
You probably covered this elsewhere...but, do you allow guests to bring their pups?
Unfortunately, no. We have 2 dogs that would go berzerk if there were other dogs here and that wouldn't work for the non-animal loving guests coming to relax.
Our dogs aren't free to roam around, they have a fenced in yard or are in the house (we bring them down to visit when we have dog people here) but they'd just stand on the balcony and bark if we had other animals here.
Did you get a '99 year lease' since foreigners can't own land in Mexico?
Size/cost of the land? And do you think it was a reasonable price?
Cost/time for the construction? How much do you think you saved by helping out?
This 99 year lease thing is a myth and not really how a fideicomiso works...but no, we didn't purchase our land in that fashion.
As foreigners you can buy land by starting a corporation. You form a corporation and so then you own the corporation and the corporation owns the land. This option isn't as well-known since it's really only legal when you are starting a business. Plenty of people start phony corporations to buy land in this way but officially that's not allowed. The rule change was put in place in the 90s to spur international investment. Basically, it used to be that you needed at least 1 Mexican shareholder to form a corporation and then they dropped this requirement for certain types of businesses. Now all you need is a minimum of 2 people.
Our land is 1.25 acres and cost $34,800 about 8 years ago (we bought the land while still living in Korea and then returned to really bust ass to work/save for 1.5 years before moving here to start the business)....bear in mind that this price is for rural land. This much property in Puerto Escondido, for example, would be more like $500,000.
Our entire business/feasibility plan hinged on developing a product that was meant to be off-the-beaten path.
We prefer not to share exact startup figures in a public forum but all up it was approximately what you pay for a nice 3-bedroom house in the suburbs of a decent city in the US. It took us 2.5 years to build and we figure that we saved about $100,000 with the work we did....bear in mind that this goes beyond the physical labor and includes savings from being our own general contractors and being creative with design/utilizing free materials. We knocked 15% off the top simply by not hiring a builder. We only had a crew for about 10 months and then the other 18 months was pretty much just us two...so we definitely did almost all of the finish work ourselves. That figure also includes things like building our own website instead of hiring a professional and other similar business-related tasks. It's just an approximation off the top of my head, though.
Is your hotel pet friendly? If so, what is your hotel's pet policy?
Unfortunately we're not.
And the main reason is that we have 2 dogs (and 5 cats) who would go apeshit bananas if we had other dogs here. Our dogs are not free to roam around the resort area of the property alone but if there were another dog here they'd bark from the balcony nonstop.
damn. Im looking for a honeymoon destination but we want to bring our dog. I hope you guys can expand and allow dogs one day! I'll save the website and spread the word, it looks like a lovely resort :)
I'll have to talk to Prime Time and Mike Jr. to see if they can be chill with other dogs around...but I'm not holding out any hopes!
Truly, this place sounds amazing.. I have just read and researched as much as I possibly can about your place online. I really would like to plan a trip there.
A couple questions.
-How close are you to a hospital, or medical clinic? -Is law enforcement and other public safety officials readily available? -How good is your WiFi? Lol have to maintain some sort of contact with the outside world (as well as post those pics)! -Have you guys ever had any issues as far as safety goes from the outside?
It is 28km from Puerto Escondido, where there are hospitals and medical clinics. Bear in mind...they are just OK. Fine for anything basic but you wouldn't want to have a heart attack here and if you have a condition where you need to stay within X miles of a top-notch hospital then I'd rather be honest and say that we're too rural for that. If we ever need a major surgery we'd be going to Oaxaca City or Mexico City and not having it done here.
About the police...yes and no. Again, I prefer to be honest. Calling the police can be a crap shoot here. Maybe they will help, maybe they won't...but out here in rural Oaxaca most police aren't actually trained police who went to training or an academy so much of their ineptitude isn't corruption and simply because they aren't trained. All up I'd say that no, law enforcement is not readily available.
As I mention in another comment...travel to the developing world isn't for everyone. While the touristed parts of Mexico are perfectly safe, I am not going to lie and say there isn't still an edge to visiting this country...and it's the same in all of Latin America.
Our WiFi is fine but not impressive. I mean, we run our business with it and watch Netflix, stream NFL GamePass, use VoIP, etc. just fine...as long as the internet is up it's all you need as long as you're not trying to download a new XBox game (we have to put these downloads on overnight to not bog down the system). Just to approximate...I'd say that the internet is down maybe 3% of the year....so not too bad but frustrating when it does happen. You can rely on the WiFi for most things but wouldn't want to be here negotiating a time-sensitive million-dollar deal.
And no, we haven't ever had any safety issues.
Follow up to this.
I've heard that many business owners end up paying criminal organizations for "protection" (mainly from them). Have you had to do so? Feel free to pm me if you're not comfortable answering here.
No. None of that.
I have noticed your posts on reddit over the years. How did you make out with the earthquake?
I was in the US during the first earthquake that affected Oaxaca and Chiapas but my wife said it was absolutely terrifying, like nothing she'd ever experienced before. Fortunately we didn't have any damage...just a big fright.
We felt the Mexico City earthquake here but it wasn't severe. Enough to know we were having an earthquake but not bad.
It was the Oaxaca quake I was referencing. When I saw it occur I immediately thought about your resort. Your resort is the only thing bouncing around in my head related to Oaxaca.
Thanks for thinking of us :)
Completely unrelated...I golfed drunk on multiple occasions during my last trip home.
Do you ever get to travel together now that you have the hotel or do you have to take trips alone?
For now we travel separately...but more because of 5 cats and 2 dogs than the hotel. We close for 3 months every summer and could leave the "business" but we're pretty anal about who cares for our animals and since they are all rescues, they are pretty needy and Prime Time would suffer dearly if left with a stranger.
On one hand it's disappointing but on the other hand we are together all year 24/7 and running a business can be a stressful thing to do with your partner, so time apart can be healthy, too.
Plus, we were both solo travelers before we met so we both enjoy heading out on our own and doing out own thing.
I watch a stupid amount of House Hunters, where people are constantly buying a place to turn into a b&b, and I call them crazy--but maybe it's not so crazy after all! What advice would you give to these people? What are some mistakes you made during the process? Aside from the proprietary aspect, what's your favorite part of running this type of business? obv you don't need to answer everything :)
Your place looks amazing! I'd love to visit some day, and wish you massive luck in continuing to find success.
and I call them crazy--but maybe it's not so crazy after all!
No. It's crazy.
It's just that sometimes the best ideas in life are the crazy ones.
What advice would you give to these people?
It would really depend on the situation as to what advice I would give but number one would be: Make sure you plan on earning $0 for the first year or two. Anything above that will be a nice bonus but it takes longer to build a consistent client base than you think and you need to give your project enough time to get traction.
What are some mistakes you made during the process?
Man. We made so many mistakes. Haha. I mean, we did more things right, so it works out in the end but making mistakes is just part of the process.
The biggest mistake we made relates to my above advice...being naive with regards to how long it takes to start making decent money. We were able to find a workaround but our financial projections were WAY off...but as an accountant/financial adviser friend of mine told me: "You want to know how many small business owners overestimate how much they'll earn in years one and two? 100%"
I think that without the naivety you wouldn't go into it...so to an extent you have to believe in order to take the leap.
But most of our mistakes were/are small...small design errors that needed to be reworked/redone (we just replaced our wood stairs with concrete stairs this summer, for example)...marketing investments that turned out to be a waste of money...buying shitty toilets that had to later be replaced, stuff like that.
what's your favorite part of running this type of business?
Having control over our destiny.
It's stressful but if a customer asks to book Dates X through Y and we don't want to take the booking, we don't have to. We can choose to forego the money and take the dogs up to the mountains that weekend instead. I mean, clearly these sorts of decisions need to be made in advance but for example, my cousin is coming on his honeymoon with another couple in 2 weeks and we just blocked off the other 2 rooms because we can.
I like the freedom of having more choice over when & where and how we work.
That freedom comes at the price of many 100 hour work weeks, though :)
Lots of stress comes from running your own company. So much more than working for somebody else. Some days I wish I was still working for somebody else and can just go home and not think about stuff. Most days it's always better in the end not to be working for somebody else. Like you said, if you don't like something you can change it (within reason). You see a mistake, you can fix it, not keep working for an idiot company that won't fix stuff.
Word of advice, you guys are 4 years in? I'm 24 years in now. You will have good years and some bad years. When you have a good year or two (money wise) make sure you realize there might be some downturns now and then. Save money from the good years to make the lean years not so bad. 3 great years in a row doesn't mean the 4th and 5th will be the same.
We take the average. Look at 10 years and see the highs and lows and see where our base is. Then when we see we made xxx over that base, we know just as easily another year might be xxx below that.
Also too many lean years in a row might also mean you are on the way out. There has to be some good years to offset that otherwise you have to change how you are doing things, or close up shop.
Just some thoughts
Much of the beauty of living in Mexico is that what we need to live well is pretty low by first world earnings standards...so once our take home exceeds, say, $25,000, everything above that is gravy.
Now...we liquidated everything we had to do this and have no retirement savings, etc....so we need to start backfilling but with no mortgage and a low cost of living, weathering slow years will be more about shorter vacations than truly changing our lifestyle...we're naturally pretty frugal people without expensive tastes. I mean, we like travel and good food but not jewelry, name brand clothes, luxury cars, etc. The stuff that really eats into your income if you're not careful.
Any chance of an "all drinks included" option for us boozers?
The decision to include or not include booze was not taken lightly, particularly given that the term all-inclusive usually refers to alcohol, too.
Along with not wanting to attract the sort of clientele who get shitfaced and puke in the garden, there are a few other reasons we charge separately for booze:
- It's easier to cut someone off if need be. You can't really tell someone they've had enough if they're already paid. (Fortunately, this hasn't been the issue we'd feared it could be. We've only had a couple instances where a guest was drunk to the point of it being an issue.)
- We hate alcohol wastage. Include booze and you'll find half-drunk beers all over the place and people will simply order a new drink when they can't find their current one.
- It's generally bad for the consumer. Unless you're at a luxury-level (and therefore paying for it) all-inclusive, you're usually getting pretty shit liquor in your drinks (and weak, too). Given that most people won't hit it hard the day they arrive and the day before they leave, paying for all-you-can-drink all week often works out to more money than buying a la carte.
- Including booze cuts out a large segment of the market we hope to attract.
All that said...we keep our drink prices reasonable so that those who wish to drink more can do so without really worrying about the cost.
I actually love to drink & party despite my "somewhat" advanced age...but our place isn't really the environment for this. We sometimes get groups that rent all 4 rooms and drink a fair bit but as a general rule our place has more of a romantic getaway vibe and we need to protect that peaceful ambiance for the guests who are booking for that reason.
understood.. if youre not overwhelmed with questions - what are some ball park prices and brands of drinks?
Drink prices are in dollars:
Beer is $2.50.
Cocktails are generally $4 or $6 for a grande.
Wine is either $15, $20 or $25 and sold by the bottle. Most of what we sell is in the $20 range. We're actually planning on implementing a "house red" that can be ordered by the glass but to date we've only sold wine by the bottle.
And there are a few other things we sell...for example a mezcal sampler (I think it's $8 for 6 small shots...I'd have to go check the board).
Plus you can order tequila or mezcal by the shot..usually $3 for most brands.
We usually have a couple brands of Scotch. A blend for $4 and then something like Johnny Walker for $6.
To be honest, our bar selection is fairly limited compared to a proper bar...we find that people like to drink fruity drinks on vacation even if they never do at home. People have said over and over again, "I drink X" and then they get here and order margaritas and daiquiris....so what we do is offer quite a few flavors of margaritas and daiquiris (made with Jose Cuervo Gold or Bacardi).
We used to do special requests and 9 times out of 10 we'd be stuck with a bottle we never wanted because people ordered strawberry-lime margaritas instead of the Jack Daniels they asked for :) So we stopped doing that.
We also tend to give a fair number of free drinks to heavier drinkers. In particular we use these scenarios for research and have guests try out new or experimental margarita flavors.
those prices are actually pretty darn good - i love an all inclusive, but i will admit... unless youre at a 5 star OR really hitting it hard... its tough to get sauced up
Don't tell /u/MrGoodEmployee that. He'll shit his pants.
Our drink prices are certainly higher than what you'd pay at a local style bar/restaurant but they're very reasonable within the context of a private boutique property.
Booze is a funny one, though. The term All-You-Can-Drink is a brilliant marketing tactic that prevents you from thinking it through.
A buddy of mine and his wife were planning a trip 6 months before we were ready to open and he sent me a couple links to places he was considering...both low-end all-inclusive places in Vallarta...and I was like, "Dude, you guys make over 200 grand a year. Do you really need all-you-can-drink no-name tequila and the same horrible rum we used to choke down in high school? Get a nicer hotel and just buy your drinks at bars in town." Nope...he later posted photos drinking out of a liquor dispenser in the room...not even in a bottle, but like a refillable shampoo dispenser with stickers labelled "Rum, Vodka, Tequila."
People go bonkers over All-you-can-drink when clearly there's going to be a catch...unless you're paying $400-500+/night.
Do you serve coco locos? That's what I like to order at beach bars. I totally do the thing you said re: drinking sweeter/different drinks when I'm on vacation, to a beach destination in particular.
No, we don't...but for you, my man...we'll make it happen.
A blend for $4 and then something like Johnny Walker for $6.
JW is also a blend
I guess I meant that we try to have a cheaper (but not bottom shelf) Scotch on hand and then something a little nicer.
Do you make an effort to only stock non-narco mezcal and tequila, by any chance? Last I heard many of the major brands are tied in with drugs, though luckily Ilegal Mezcal is not.
A lot of our mezcal is made locally here by a boutique mom & pop shop but to be honest, no, we haven't thought about narco ties to any brands that we carry.
How much did the land cost?
$34,800 8 years ago. Bear in mind that this is the price for rural land.
Congrats on living the dream!!!
How long have you been up and running and have you broken even yet?
We're just opening now for our 4th full season (we shut down for the rainy season from July-Sept) so it's basically been 3.5 years that we've been open now.
And no, we're not even remotely close to having broken even...but it's not necessarily our goal to do so. I mean, yes, we'd like to make a decent living. Who doesn't?
But given that the property is also our home and that we had to save up the capital in cash to do this, we aren't really looking at the project in terms of ROI on our initial investment.
For now, as long as we're earning enough to live well here, travel some and save some, we're happy.
But it's mostly irrelevant in our situation to do a break even analysis. (Although perhaps we'd do one if revenue was high enough to be able to say, "Hell yeah we've broken even!" haha.)
All the best and as they say in Mexico, "May you always have plenty of glasses for plenty of Tequila"!
Disclaimer: I have no idea if this is a Mexican saying.
Well, in Oaxaca you probably should be drinking mezcal :)
What's for dinner?
As in what we personally ate tonight?
Or what sorts of dinners we serve to paying guests?
We're actually empty at the moment. Hence the AMA on a Saturday night.
The former won't be as exciting at the latter :)
We had mashed potatoes & peas with a salad.
Our most popular dinner menus (presuming a carnivorous diet) are:
- Slow roasted sweet chipotle pork
- Thai green chicken curry
- Fusion 닭도리탕, which is my wife's version of a spicy Korean stew combined with sopa Azteca
- Barbecued tuna or Mahi Mahi steaks
- Rice paper spicy chicken wraps
And for lunch our Baja style fish tacos or 불고기 (bul gogi) tacos (another Korean/Mexican fusion) are both amazing.
Sounds awesome! Do you and your wife do all of the cooking?
Yes. For the most part I run the front end and then she runs the kitchen.
I make the drinks (both cocktails and regular drinks to be served with meals) and prepare fruit platters for breakfast and stuff like that but she is the chef and does 95% of the serious cooking.
There are a handful of things that I do, especially on days when she needs to run into town to do shopping, but mostly just breakfasts. Buttermilk biscuits, pancakes, waffles, etc.
How do you manage to run the place and cook meals/be food service staff/do everything else at once? Do you have any additional staff?
We have a full time gardener/helper and a part-time cleaner.
Pretty much I run the front end and my wife is the chef and runs the kitchen.
When we're busy, we're busy and it's damn near a 24-hour a day job....the trade-off is that when we're empty, we're empty.
Part of the plan here was to set up a life where we would work VERY hard for part of the year and then be able to take part of the year off.
How do you handle security in such a potentially violent country?
This part of the country really is very chill.
You're far more likely to die in a car crash (really...people drive like idiots here) or drown in the ocean after a couple drinks than you are to have a run-in with Narcos.
There are problems now and again in this general area, as with anywhere else, but 9 times out of 10 the people who find themselves in dangerous situations were looking for one.
Looking for drugs at 3am, for example.
That's not to say there's not some level of increased risk when choosing to vacation in Mexico versus driving to the Grand Canyon. Of course there is.
But the risk is statistically pretty irrelevant. Something ridiculous like 30 million visitors come to Mexico every year. So yeah, out of 30 million tourists some will be victims of crime.
Just as they will in the US, France or anywhere else.
All that said...people who don't feel comfortable coming here, shouldn't.
There's no point in going on vacation somewhere that you're going to be on edge the whole time. The purpose of vacation is to relax :)
Same goes for people who avoid Zika countries when the odds of dying on the way to the airport dwarf the odds of contracting Zika.
Travel to the developing world isn't for everyone and we NEVER try to sell someone on coming to Mexico who doesn't already want to come.
But most of the increased danger really is perception.
If a German said they were cancelling their trip to the US because of mass shootings, most Americans would say, "Oh come on, get outta here. Yeah, we know it's a problem but being a victim is still going to be a statistically anomaly."
Yeah, Mexico's not as safe as Korea or Japan...but it's not even remotely as dangerous as the media portrays it to be...and even less so for tourists visiting tourist places.
We have an electronic safe in every room but no, we don't have a security guard or anything...out here most of our neighbors are peanut farmers.
How scary was it to exit the ratrace? How much money did you move to mexico with? What the hardest thing you had to give up to make the move? Only reason I ask these things is that I dream about moving near lake chapala.
We'd both exited the rat race in a way quite a bit earlier.
We met teaching English in South Korea and then worked in Vietnam & Chile (and then back to Korea) for about 7 years. Prior to that my wife was a tour guide in Europe for 7 more years.
So the whole "move to a foreign country" part of the move wasn't really a big factor for us. In many ways coming to Mexico from Asia meant that it felt like going home, particularly since I speak Spanish.
I'd rather not answer the exact financial number online but if you send me an email (just use the address on our website) I'd be glad to help you out with cost expectations for relocating to Lake Chapala.
But regarding things I miss from home...
Good beer and football season, mostly. I mean, there is more than that but I've been out of the US for nearly 14 years now so the term "give up" is no longer really relevant. There no longer is a hardest part, really, it's just a different style of life altogether.
Any tips for someone with a CELTA who has been teaching in SE Asia for a few years and wants to work her way up the ladder to a job that let's you save up quickly?
The university jobs in Korea really are pretty sweet...and the money there is quite a bit better than SEA with a relatively low COL given that most jobs include a place to live.
But it's harder to get in now than it used to be...we were able to land uni jobs with just CELTAs and a few years teaching experience...the market is sufficiently flooded at this point that you really need a Masters to get into the uni track now.
But we found our job at eslcafe.com - bear in mind that you have to be physically in Korea to apply an interview. We basically took a standard institute job when we returned to Korea from Chile with the plan to tough it out for a year while we interviewed for a better gig.
Almost always the best jobs need to be found on the ground and can't be interviewed for online.
Absolutely. It depends on the time of year, number of rooms and number of days as to how big of a discount we can offer but we'll always give Redditors a discount if they ask for one unless it's during a peak holiday week.
Reddit has been instrumental in supporting our project and we've met a lot of really cool people who came to stay with us as customers.
I've even met up with former customers when back in the US.
So you only have 4 rooms total, and you're still willing give discounts to any of the quarter billion people who use Reddit? Good on you, my friend. If I were a business owner I feel like I'd have a hard time offering discounts.
That said, being such a relatively small destination, how far in advance are you booked up? How hard would it be for a group of 8 people to claim the entire place for a week if they wanted?
It really depends on the time of year. Finding all 4 rooms available for a given week from Dec-Feb would usually require 4-5 months advance booking as these are the most popular months...but there are still some weeks still 100% empty now.
Outside of the winter, 2-3 months with some flexibility on dates would still likely be early enough.
Granted...we are hoping that this won't be the case 3-4 years from now, haha...but if I am being straight-up honest, we're still empty far more often than we're full.
Our business trajectory has been strange...one on hand, if you read our reviews it's clear to see that we're absolutely killing it and people are loving what we do. And we do get a lot of repeat business and people coming one year as a couple and then back the next year with 3 more couples to take the whole place...on the other hand we've still had a hard time getting our name out there as the niche nature of our product makes advertising expensive. Most of the market still wants the Corporate Generico experience...5 pools, 1000+ rooms, swim up bar, etc. And that's fine. But it just means that without amazing targeting it gets costly fast to advertise to the broad market.
Every year we have grown and we're now doing OK money-wise...but in terms of industry standards our occupancy rate is awful :)
But in a way that's good...we're doing OK now booking less than 20% of the season's total rooms so even getting to 50-60% will mean that we'd really start to see a big return on our investment.
We're not in a huge hurry...we'll keep making sure customers go home wowed and plug along.
How's your plumbing- can you flush TP?
Yes. We specifically set up our septic system to be able to flush TP.
What was the most difficult part of building the resort?
The answer is hidden in your question.
The most difficult part was actually physically building the resort.
All the administrative stuff like setting up your corporation, finding an accountant, getting permits, dealing with immigration and so on are fairly straight-forward...but construction is just plain hard. And stressful.
We didn't do every single thing ourselves, of course, and we hired 3 masons for the majority brick/concrete/steel work, but building something of this magnitude is hard - no matter where your location.
Do you have any good recommendations for Hedonist resorts besides the major ones?
That's 100% not our scene.
I mean, we don't judge or care what others want to do with their relationship/sex life but unfortunately I can't help you out here.
What kind of visa did you get and how did you go about doing that?
We are permanent residents now but we had a non-immigrant working visa for the first four years and we'd have to write a silly job offer letter from me to each of us, offering ourselves a job at our own company!
It's really quite easy to do. If you have money to invest here it's a straight-forward process with Immigration. Lots of paperwork and silly bureaucracy but they walk you through it and are very helpful.
As long as you can prove your ability to pay for yourself financially you'll get the visa.
한국을 다시 보고싶어요?
Probably at some point.
My wife had a 21-hour layover in Seoul en route to Hong Kong in 2016 and she LOVED it...but also felt like 3-4 days would have been enough.
Our thoughts on Korea are jumbled...on one hand many of the best days of my life were there...on the other hand we were chomping at the bit to get the hell out of there at the end.
I once read that living/working in Korea is like having a dysfunctional relationship and we found that to be pretty accurate. It's simultaneously a ton of fun and maddening.
I'd certainly be happy to go back for nostalgia but I can't see myself dropping $1300 on a flight for this express purpose. I'd rather go somewhere new.
But someday I'll go back when I am visiting China or Japan or something.
Awesome story! What part of Mexico did you move to? Any other parts of Mexico you'd recommend for someone wanting to start over?
We're on the southern coast of Oaxaca, between Puerto Escondido and Huatulco.
Mexico is an enormous country, I'd need more information to make an accurate recommendation. Are you looking to retire? Work online? Start a business here? Find a job? Looking for a big city? Mountains? Beach? Are you a high/medium/low earner? And so on.
how did you go about finding your property?
A real estate agent.
I had backpacked through this area in 2004 so that's kind of how we decided to target this particular location but we pretty much emailed a few agents from Korea and then flew out to look at land when school was out and we weren't working.
It was supposed to just be research but we wound up pulling the trigger.
How do people get to and from your rural location to places like the airport and city?
With a taxi.
Our place isn't ideal for guests who want to do an activity every day. Most customers spend 1 or 2 days chilling out here or on the beach for every day trip...so it's not a big deal to just take a taxi or even rent a taxi for 1/2 or the full day.
Can you please repeat that plot twist bit for /u/blackpony? He keeps getting these crazy ideas. :)
Miss you guys!
Edit: I should also note for other people, my husband and I honeymooned at Gecko Rock over 2.5 years ago after seeing the DIY post, and it was easily the best vacation we've ever taken. We're dying to go back. The food is hands down the best food ever, and we're fat so we've had plenty for comparison. ;) One of the best parts was coming away from it with two awesome friends! We will be back, soon I hope - as soon as our new house stops falling apart. Hah...
Thanks! Prime Time and Mike Jr. agree that the food is pretty damn good, haha.
Have you read "Don't Stop the Carnival" ?
Not yet but I have been recommended that I do so now that you're number two to mention it I should likely make it happen.
adults only resort
$225/day including food
Holy crap, where have you been all my life??
Are you open all holidays? What about teens/fraternity/spring break type guests? Technically adults, but a very different group. Do they stay at your resort and if so, how can the more boring of us avoid them?
We've never had the sort of guests you describe. Our setup really isn't what that crowd is looking for. We're 20 miles from the nearest bar.
So far we haven't had to do anything to keep the place chill...rarely do we have guests under 25 and really most are 30s or 40s.
This is excellent news, I need to see about a passport. Have you mentioned your place on r/childfree at all? There is a distinct lack of adult only resorts.
Congratulations on living your dream, and your dogs are adorable.
Yes, I've posted in /r/childfree sometimes but to be honest, that sub is a bit too "bitey" for me.
We are 100% childfree and really prefer the company of adults and totally get all the stresses involved with Bingos and all that...but calling children crotch fruit is a bit heavy for me, haha....so I'll hang out there a bit, drop a link to my favorite vasectomy doc http://drsnip.com/ and then get overwhelmed by the anger and not visit for a while.
Are you making decent money? When do you project you'll pay off the initial investment?
By local standards, yes. By first world standards, no.
We aren't really concerned about "paying off" the initial investment as this is also our permanent home...but if we were...let's just say, "a while" haha :)
I mean, the thing is, two people can live very well here on say US$1500/month (less, really but this is probably about what we spend on a monthly basis all up) so the concept of decent money is relative.
We're earning less than we'd like and less than we will in 2-3 years' time...but enough to be fine and to be able to travel and do whatever we want (within reason).
How many people other than you and your wife work at the hotel?
We have a full-time gardener/helper and then part-time cleaning help when we have guests.
Interested in transportation. As Acapulco is quite far do people tend to fly right into Puerto Escondido? Then rent a car to get to the resort or are there transportation companies?
On a separate point I'm a fan of hard ciders. Any chance of stocking a couple cases? I'm sure any Brits would drink up the rest.
90% of our guests fly into Huatulco, which is 1hr20min by taxi. The rest fly into Puerto Escondido...usually these folks are people doing a city/beach trip with a few days in either Oaxaca or Mexico City.
I'd have to check on hard cider availability but I am pretty sure it's very limited and expensive.
What we usually do for alcohol requests is check the price and give guests a quote per bottle...and then they can choose to pre-order X number of bottles...but they need to buy all that they order. We were just burned too many times with people asking for stuff and then never ordering it during their stay so that we get stuck with a wine/liquor we don't want and can't sell.
You might not be willing to answer this and I understand, but I’m curious: as US citizens living abroad, how do you handle your legal obligation to file a federal tax return with the IRS? In case your current income falls under the taxable threshold, what will you do as your business grows and your income exceeds that threshold?
Shit...when our income exceeds the threshhold we'll close down more months of the year.
My wife is not American and never lived in the US and the company is split between our names...so if my half is ever over the 100 grand you can write-off with the bona fide overseas resident rule we'll be far too wealthy to worry about paying taxes on the surplus.
This problem is a long, long....long ways away. I doubt we'll ever earn that much...like I said, if we even reach 6-figures we'll close down more and chill out. We're more in this for the lifestyle than maxing out earnings.
If I rented all 4 rooms could I bring my under 18 kids?
Potentially...send me an email at [email protected] and we can talk in further detail.
We are open to this arrangement but it depends on a few factors.
For example, if the kids are 15 and 16 and love eating adventurous foods this is different than kids that are 3 and 8 and will require special "kid-friendly" food that is quite different than the more gourmet style stuff that we prepare in the kitchen.
All up food & safety are our biggest concerns. There is no fence around the pool, a toddler could easily just walk off the rooftop, the beach is just a short walk away, etc. The place is set up for adults and we don't want to put ourselves in a situation where guests bring kids and then start drinking and don't look after them.
We've had a lot of people ask this same question but nobody has done it yet...so the answer is somewhere between a soft yes and "it depends."
I think I'm too late, but what would the process be for a US customer to come stay three days? Where do people typically fly into/ get from the airport to your resort?
Honestly, 3 days is a bit short to get here from the US unless you happen to be in Houston. Houston is the only airport with direct flights into Huatulco.
I mean, we'd be happy to help you look into it but given that Huatulco is a smaller hub, there is going to be a stopover and it's a bit of a long trip for just 3 days. Not TOO long, just a bit long for such a short trip.
Atlanta and New York also connect fairly easily.
Where is your home airport and what date range (approx) are you thinking?
Send me an email at [email protected] as messages are going to get lost in the shuffle here as this AMA has gone viral.
Had you done work prior to Geck Rock that prepared you for building/running it?
I grew up in a blue collar family so I'd certainly used power tools before...and I had done some renovation work on my house in the US...but for all intents and purposes we just jumped in and figured it out as we went.
Wanna build one in Thailand?
We'll never go through that hell ever again :)
Glad we did it...but it's a one-off experience.
So you have said this is for people who want to get away and relax. Are there things to go do nearby at all?
Asking because the hang out and relax is fine for me but for my partner they are more interested in exploring new places and doing things, even if it’s just exploring a new town or going hiking in a cool new area or something simple.
Yes, there are plenty of day trip options to add adventure to your trip.
Snorkeling, diving, sports fishing, turtle/dolphin watching, mezcal tasting, laguna tours to see crocodiles and iguanas and birds, shopping, markets, surfing...there's plenty to do but you just need to schedule "adventure days" as the only off-site activities within walking distance are miles of empty beach and a small village with thatch restaurants for a beer/coconut or lunch out.
Resort? This is a B & B.
It's honestly somewhere in the middle. By design.
Do you have long term plans to expand or do you just want to maintain and improve the 4 rooms you have now?
We need to fill the rooms we've got first...this is a really long story, but basically under our current model, no, we wouldn't expand...but if this immediate area grows then we might shift gears down the line away from meals-included model and have more rooms that we sell for less with a less inclusive service.
But all up, it's still too early to tell...no expansion for at least 5 years, that's for sure.
I love Mexico, but I tend to go squirrelly if I'm at a resort with nothing to do beyond eating, drinking and lying in the sun. Are there any interesting historical sites around area? How's the snorkeling off your beach?
Historical, no. This area is more a place for ecotourism rather than ruins/architecture.
You can't really snorkel off the beach right here...there is good snorkeling in the area but it's something you do on a day trip.
Agua Blanca (15 minute walk down the beach) has rock pools that are fine for puttering around (we have snorkel gear that guests can borrow) but it's not a reef.
Most of our guests do tend to spend most of their vacation relaxing or playing board games, etc. with 2 or 3 day trips to add in adventure. There is plenty of cool stuff to do in the general area but town is far enough that it's more of a "pack and and have an adventure today" sort of thing rather than popping in/out of the property.
This is probably not an issue in your area of the country, but what would you say to tourists worried about traveling to Mexico after the recent reports of tourists being targeted with tainted alcohol then being robbed, abused, and some being extorted by emergency workers?
I just asked a couple Mexican friends in Mexico City at dinner last month about this tainted alcohol problem and they pretty much said, "Oh yeah, everyone knows about that." They didn't even question that it was real. Not that tourists are targeted with tainted booze to harm them but just that properties offering all-you-can-drink will often buy fake alcohol or water it down, etc.
They pretty much said, if you're going to stay at a low-end all-inclusive stick to bottled beer.
About the targeting/extortion...these are going to be anomalies. 30 million tourists come to Mexico every year and so yeah, some will be victims of crimes. Just like anywhere else.
We don't actively try to convince anyone to come to Mexico who is "worried"...it's a personal decision whether or not you feel comfortable visiting the developing world.
All of life is more dangerous than sitting on the sofa.
Not to make light of a truly awful situation...but to an extent this question is kind of like asking, "What advice would you have for avoiding getting shot at while at a country music concert in Las Vegas?"
The answer is pretty much...well, fortunately most people in the world are good people, so just live your life and hope for the best.
Most Mexicans are amazing people and very kind and helpful...so if you're extorted by emergency workers these are bad seeds and not a typical "Mexico" experience. Just like anywhere else.
How much did everything cost?
Why Mexico (as opposed to USA)?
Man...you'd need a million dollars to do something like this in the USA...probably a lot more if you want to be in a hot "beach" location.
We enjoy living overseas. This lifestyle is more for the adventure of it all rather than being a financial decision.
Are the rumors true?
Not to sound crude, are you worried about any cartels?
No. This region is pretty far away from any of the "hot" areas.
I mean. Sure, it's crossed our mind that the situation can change...but that's the nature of risk...it's risky!
Do you actually make money? Ignore the perks (which would be awesome) do you make enough money? I love the idea but I keep thinking it would be financially rough for the first few years
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