Working abroad as an expat in your own business is appealing to many, yet for most, it remains a distant dream. It was that way for me for many years. Now that I am free from the corporate world—and an expat working abroad—it is now impossible to imagine a life where I would not be an entrepreneur.
In fact, I currently have several businesses and I believe that you, too, can gain more independence over your income and expenses. In the process, you might even find a newly stimulating environment in which to live and enjoy life more fully.
Expat Working Abroad: How to Make It Happen?
It begins by increasing your DESIRE to investigate the possibilities. Learning from those that have or are making the journey is a good starting point. Here in Cuenca alone, there are over 5,000 expats from North America and thousands more from other South and Central American origins.
How was I finally able to “crossover” after some 30 years of travel and exploration? How might you accomplish some similar evolution in a much shorter time frame? These and other questions are the subjects of this month’s column. It is my hope that the discussion will assist you to move forward into the experience of business ownership and the “expat life”.
My daughter is probably a better reference point since she has been an expat for longer than me! She grew her organizing and life coaching business while traveling the world. Over the past 9-10 years, she has visited some 20 countries while helping “hoarders” (those who could not throw anything away) overcome their phobias and personal barriers. She did this consulting online, and she is still years away from reaching her 40th birthday!
Expat Working Abroad: Three Questions
It all began for her when she realized she had a marketable skill that she enjoyed and brought her a sense of fulfillment. She also realized that the growth of the internet could enable her to expand her life experience beyond the borders of the United States and still carry on her work.
Let me ask you a few questions.
- Do you have a marketable skill?
- Do you have a yearning to experience more of the world?
- Have you dreamed of developing a hobby or interest into a viable business endeavor?
If so, please know that every day, people are choosing to follow such opportunities and change their lives. As I reported last month, there are approximately 230 million expats worldwide, and an expat moves to a new country every 44 seconds (per Ute Int’l 2019)!
Some of this movement is spontaneous, but most decisions to adopt an alternative lifestyle in a new country take time and preparation to bring to fruition. There are over 200 countries that differ in many important ways. I don’t recommend that you simply throw a dart at a globe one day.
Expat Working Abroad – Other Considerations
Here are some considerations that were involved in my decision to migrate. I grew up in a “land-locked” state in the middle of the U.S. and I didn’t want to live in that situation again. Island countries were not in the running. Countries with difficult-to-learn languages (China, Serbia, Indonesia, etc.) did not make my list, and cold-climate countries held little interest for me.
Spanish-speaking countries were appealing to me because I’ve wanted to be bilingual for many years, and I did have some knowledge of this language from previous studies. A nation where my money could go farther and provide a higher standard of living than was possible in the U.S. was another aim. Cultural attractions and ease of travel within a country were added priority items. Last, I sought a place where I could enjoy better health care and overall healthier life.
Would some of these factors be on your list of desirable countries? How might your list differ from mine? I suggest that you give this some thought.
Spending time to clarify what you can live with and what you can’t do without may save years of unwanted experiences because of a hasty decision.
Many expat blogs, Facebook pages, and travel websites carry discussions about these topics. Explore them to narrow your destinations to a shortlist. Once you’ve reached this stage, it is then possible to plan some exploratory visits and to think about a timetable leading to an actual move. If it were impossible, there wouldn’t be an expat moving every minute of every day!
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by: Gary Kissell