Paying Your Utility Bills in Panama

Once you move to Panama, you have to open your mind to new stuff or to old stuff, depending on your point of view!

Paying Your Utility Bills in Panama is no exception!

 

I am sure you already noticed that there is no mail service in Panama. I mean, there is one but not the one we are used to wether we’re coming from North America or Europe. So, no USPS guy here…

As a result, your utility bills are slid under your door if you live in a condo or just stuck in your main gate if you live in a house with an outdoor gate. Interesting, right! No matter if it rains or not, your electricity bill has been delivered! Sometimes, if you don’t get it the same day, you will have to dry it off hoping you can still read it after… Same thing with water or phone and internet services!

Well, this is how it was when we moved to Panama in January 2014. Now, things are improving. You can subscribe to receive your bills online and sometimes it works! 😀

Once you get your bill, as you assume, there is no return envelope! What did you expect!?! Still in the improvement process, some banks offer you to pay online. Not all of them though.

 

Paying Your Utility Bills in Panama

 

 

If your bank is not offering the service yet, you have to PHYSICALLY go pay your bills.

 

There are several options to do so:

 

Go to each utility office and pay directly Kind of a hassle since they are not usually located one next to the other!
Pay at an “e-pago” kiosk Usually located next to shopping centers, they only accept cash and sometimes don’t work…
Pay at an “e-pago” office There are offices dedicated to collect payments. They usually only take cash as well.
Go to the bank Some banks (Banco General for instance) have deposit slips already filled with the bank account of the company you need to pay.

You just have to add your information and deposit to the bank teller.

Depending on the waiting line, could be a good option.

Western Union Only cash as well but you can pay your bills there.

 

Paying your bills in Panama can appear as a challenge especially if you don’t speak Spanish. This is part of our offering and we also propose this service “a la carte” in case you want to save you some time. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information, remember our only goal is to make you enjoy your time in Panama.

Until next time…

 

 

Are Bars on Windows a Sign of Safety Issue?

When most people come to Panama, they’re surprised to see there are metal bars on windows in almost all houses. Coming from North America or Europe, they may feel it is a sign of bad neighborhood or safety issue.

We often have to answer this question: 

Are Bars on Windows a Sign of Safety Issue?

 

Are Bars on Windows a Sign of Safety Issue?

 

 

“No” may be too short for an answer so I’m going to elaborate!

It is true that when you are in Europe or North America, seeing bars on windows is usually a big No for settling in the area. However, in Panama, things are different.

Bars on windows are, for sure, there to reinforce security. You can also see metal doors, broken glass stuck in concrete on the top of walls, and razor wire all around the property. This is dissuasive for thieves as they may find it easier to break into a property with less protection.

People in the US have sometimes/often signs in their yards or stickers on their windows saying that their property is watched by so and so security company… Here, in Panama, most Panamanians cannot afford to have a security company and I must admit that they are not as available than in the US.

Growing up in the Caribbean, I was not surprised at all when we moved in Panama since it was the same in Martinique. That was just part of the set up. If you have windows, you have bars. Period!

Bars from the past!

 

The origins of the bars are way farer in the past though and this is part of the latin culture. In the past, before everyone can have windows, that was just holes in the walls… So bars were a good option to keep belongings safe. After windows became available for every house, bars were so tied to the culture that nobody saw any reason for removing them.

I often read that if there are bars, it means there are thieves but let’s face it. If you live in an area where every house has bars, would you take the chance of not having some on your own house??? You may know better than me but to me, that would be dumb… As usual, this is part of common sense, the same way you close your doors, you have bars on windows. As a bonus, if you’re not a big A/C fan, you can sleep with your windows open at no risk. How cool is that?

 


 

We work a lot on metal and we would be happy to send you a quote for bars that look nice on the top of keeping you safe.

Do not hesitate to fill this form to get in touch!

 

 

House for rent in Penonome

Beautiful house for rent in Penonome, Panama

Located 5 minutes away from:

 

  • supermarkets

  • restaurants

  • and schools in the area

Waiting for you to just treat yourself!

 

 

Bedrooms 3
Furnished Yes
A/C Yes
Laundry Room Yes
Outside Storage Yes
Parking Yes
Appliances Yes
Contracts 3 months minimum
Monthly Rent $1,000
Contact Michell Arrocha
michellarrocha@icloud.com
+507-6888-3733

 

Here are some more pictures for you to start seeing you living in that amazing house!

 

Do not hesitate to contact Michell for more information and for scheduling a showing. This house can be your new home sweet home in Panama!

10 Ideas for Writing Blogs

You just have taken the loop of being an entrepreneur and you have now a website. Perfect move! Within your website, you have a section for blogging and you know you have to write consistently to attract your clients. However, you don’t always feel like a writer and you often experience the “blank page” inconvenience…

To make sure it doesn’t happen anymore, here are

10 Ideas for Writing Blogs

 

You can use this list at will and never run short of ideas. Amazing, right? Keep reading and get rid of the hassle of finding inspiration!

I must admit that, even if I really love and enjoy writing, sometimes, like everyone else, I feel stuck and don’t know what to talk about…

And even if I know what to talk about, I have to make sure my readers will find a use in my words.

So I made some research and found out that it is not “that” difficult to find ideas that provide value to your clients. Because, remember that VALUE is the key.

 

  • Idea #1 – “How to”

People like to learn new stuff, so you can easily write some blogs about how to do this or that and have great results. Try to keep these “how to” blogs related to your area of expertise or you may lose some readers on the way. Never refrain yourself to make some printable or sharable pictures so people can save and share them with others.

 

  • Idea #2 – “X reasons for”

This is also a good idea for engaging your audience. Plus, you can express here the features of your product or service that would benefit your clients. Once again, keep it as much as possible related to your field. Never hesitate to suggest your readers to share their reasons in the comment section as well!

 

  • Idea #3 – “X things you can’t live without”

Let your audience know you’re also a human! Knowing what you like and dislike may be a way to bond with your clients and vice-versa. Did you ever notice that you easily feel close to someone you share interests with? Of course you did! That’s the point. If I can’t live without, let’s say, a few cups of this delicious Cafe Duran, and that you also like it, we already share something without even knowing each other.

 

  • Idea #4 – Tell a personal story

Once again, show you’re not a robot and tell people about you. You don’t have to go too far, this is not what I am saying, but you can introduce your pet for example, or tell about the last movie you saw and why you liked or

disliked it. You can talk about how you came to where you are now, or anything that is related to you as a person.

By the way, here is Samy, my yellow crowned amazon! Crazy talker and dancer, but also trouble maker! Not easy to work when he is around!

 

  • Idea #5 – Make a product review

The perfect match is to review a product or service that is related to your activity or can be complementary to your own offering.

Avoid at all cost to review your competitors’ products; even if you’re doing it honestly, you may not be objective enough and/or your competitor may feel threatened and the last thing you want is to fight with your competition. (I mean fight more than you’re already!)

 

  • Idea #6 – “Pros and cons for… “

Here, you can list benefits and inconveniences for a specific product, service, or whatever comes into your mind. This can be an app, a kind of light, a make-up product, anything. It is great if you can keep it related to your field, but keep also in mind that your audience learns more about you each time you write something. So, don’t ne shy and get them to know you!

 

  • Idea #7 – Why did you embrace your career?

Once again, it gives your readers some insights about yourself and you can, not only tell them how you get there, but also, why you get there. With this in mind, they may see your brand as a reference and depending on your area of expertise, people will certainly want to know more about you and your products.

 

  • Idea #8 – Your biggest lesson learned

You know the adage “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, right? Well, it is true! And depending on the challenges overcome, some of us are very very strong!

In this case, you can share the lessons that made you who you are and how are it was to overcome them.

 

  • Idea #9 – Interview

Make an interview of one of your peers or, if you’re lucky, one of the influencers in your area of expertise. It is sometimes very beneficial to do an interview for several reasons. For example, a video is always more fun to watch than a blog post to read … Also, when you’re not alone making statements, people will realize that, interestingly ( 😀 ), you know what you are doing and what you are talking about.

 

  • Idea #10 – Event

Host an event! Wether it is a Facebook live or a physical event, having interactions with your audience is one of the best way to describe your product benefits. Doing a live-demo is the best way to get your potential clients to know you and your products.

 


 

Last words… 

As you can see, there are tons of ideas for writing posts! My last advice would be to be consistent. Pick a schedule and stick with it so your people know when to expect to hear from you.

Also, if you’re really not in the mood of writing, remember that we can take care of this for you as part as our Freelancing Services Offering.

Until next time, take care!

 

The Writing Process

 

It’s 3:30 PM in San Carlos, Panama, and instead of dipping in the pool, I would like to share with you some information about

The Writing Process

 

The Writing Process

 

One day or another, we all either take a pen and a notebook or our laptop to share some news or simply write about the day in a journal.

No matter the reason, we all have a writing process. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t need to be a writer to follow some advices that will get the whole thing easier.

From my freelancer point of view, it usually starts with an idea. If I already have a topic, I save a lot of time, because, for me, writing is usually the easiest part!

After the idea popped up in my mind, I have to do some research and find sources to back the idea up. For this, Google is most of the time my best friend if I cannot think of an expert to interview in my network. For instance, I wrote for a dental company a few months ago and that was quite the hardest topic I had to write about: I’m not a dentist and I have no knowledge in that field. Most importantly, that guy with the mask and the white blouse is my bogeyman, no kidding! It didn’t prevent me to write great articles, just because I have a writing process. (I know, you were wondering where I was going with my dentist stuff! There!)

 


 

Idea, research, and then, what?

 

PLAN your writing so you don’t confuse your readers. If you don’t know where you go, how do you expect your readers to know, right?

I use Evernote (affiliate link!) for saving my research and planning the article. What I really like about Evernote, it is that I can use it on my computer and my phone, so if an idea shows up when I’m not home, I can still put it in my ongoing file.

The planning part is almost the most important. There is not much to write at this stage, but it ultimately helps the idea flowing from the first word to the last.

Once you’re done with these steps, you can finally jump to the actual writing part! Soooo, here is the tricky part: just write without worrying about grammar, typos, or mistakes. Let the words OUT! If you stop in the middle to start editing, well, you may loose your “mojo”, and trust me, you don’t want to!

Write, write, and write more. Once you have said everything you wanted to, the last part comes in: Editing.

Editing is the most important part in the writing process. Even if your story is a masterpiece, if it is filled with typos and grammar mistakes, nobody will read it. Too bad!

Now, here is a super advice I got from my English teacher in college: when you’re in the editing phase, you have read your story so many times that you won’t see any last mistakes to fix. To have a fresh new view, read it once again starting by the end! Each sentence will not be related to the one you read before (well I hope so!) so this is like reading a totally new story for the first time.

 


 

In sum, there are 5 big steps in the writing process:

  • Idea
  • Research
  • Plan
  • Write
  • Edit

And of course, the last but not least: PUBLISH!

 

 


 

Just in case you didn’t know yet, I am teaching and tutoring to help you be a better writer. Just contact me and let’s get started!

 

 

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