The Perks of Working Remotely From an Affordable Beach Resort City
A couple on vacation, anywhere from Disney World to Bali, is approached by a friendly stranger at their resort. Would the couple be interested in a free breakfast, theme park tickets, or a gift certificate?
In return, they need only attend a short sales presentation and tour. Of course, it’s a pitch for a timeshare, and many people end up writing a check before the day is done. While some folks are perfectly happy with their purchase, many are decidedly not. And they soon find out that they are locked into contracts they can’t cancel on their own and are on the hook for a lifetime of payments.
That’s where Cristina Mitchell comes in. From her two-bedroom condo in the resort destination of Playa del Carmen, Mexico, she calls unhappy timeshare owners who are seeking legal help in getting rid of their part-time property.
Previous to this position as a sales rep, Cristina was on the freelancer site Upwork doing odd jobs and consulting with people on nutrition—she and her husband are fitness buffs. But then she heard about this opportunity from a friend who had partnered with a Florida-based law firm that negotiates with timeshare companies in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico on behalf of clients.
“The company I work for buys leads. Then, I and the other sales reps follow up with them and learn more about their situation and try to enroll them with the law office to get them out of their timeshare,” says Cristina. “It’s crazy the amount of people with timeshares who are unhappy and paying all this money. A lot of them were misled or promised something verbally that wasn’t in the contract. It feels good to help them get out of it.”
Cristina works from home, making about 150 calls per day (not everybody picks up). She starts at about 10 a.m. and stops around 6 p.m., sometimes working a few hours on Saturdays if she has appointments. It’s a flexible schedule that allows her to indulge in her passion for beach volleyball—she teaches a class in town (temporarily halted due to the pandemic) three days per week. And if she wants to take a day off, there’s no problem. She says being able to work from home has been a blessing during the current situation.
The pay is commission based; she earns a percentage on every account she signs up for the attorney. There are bonuses if she and/or her team hit certain benchmarks.
She’s done well so far. And with monthly rent of just $450 to $500 (it fluctuates based on the exchange rate with the peso) for their condo close to the beach and the heart of the dining and entertainment district in Playa, Cristina and her husband, Damon, are really enjoying their life—and low cost of living—on the Riviera Maya.
They frequently head over to local cenotes—freshwater “swimming holes” in the jungle carved out of limestone bedrock—and often take the ferry to Cozumel just offshore for day trips, riding their bikes all over the island, two dogs in tow. They also indulge in vacations to Isla Mujeres further north up the coast. They plan to settle down here and are saving money to buy land in the area.
Playa del Carmen wasn’t their first overseas stop.
After stints in the fitness and financial services industries in Los Angeles, Cristina, originally from Michigan, moved with Damon to Costa Rica in 2012. They were there for four and a half years, owning and operating a pizzeria in the funky Pacific coast beach village of Tamarindo to fund their life. But while they enjoyed Costa Rica, especially the natural beauty, they knew it wasn’t a good long-term fit.
“Damon was talking to a friend at the gym. He said you have to go to Playa del Carmen. We always shut the pizzeria down for a month in slow season. In 2017, we went to Playa for that month. Within two weeks we knew it was what we were looking for,” explains Cristina. “It was the Caribbean…white sand. But it’s also more of a city. It’s a great compromise between Los Angeles and Tamarindo. We have more of a city life here, but we can still ride our bikes everywhere.”
Written by Jason Holland