Setting Up an Online Business Abroad: 10 Tips for Success
Traveling abroad and setting up an online business may seem like the stuff of dreams for many people””but the truth is it has never been more achievable. Writers, designers, teachers, entrepreneurs, marketers, PAs””they are all out there already, based in apartments in Beijing and beach huts in Mozambique, earning a living in the most liberating way possible. Fancy doing something similar yourself? As someone who has been making a living overseas for over half a decade, here are a few tips to get you started.
Traveling abroad and setting up an online business may seem like the stuff of dreams for many people””but the truth is it has never been more achievable.
Writers, designers, teachers, entrepreneurs, marketers, PAs””they are all out there already, based in apartments in Beijing and beach huts in Mozambique, earning a living in the most liberating way possible.
Fancy doing something similar yourself? As someone who has been making a living overseas for over half a decade, here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Make Yourself Mobile
If you are going to be living a nomadic existence then you need to travel light. Luckily, you can do just that and still stay connected to the internet with no more than a laptop, which in most cases is a necessity (unless a tablet will do).
You may even be able to survive with a smartphone if your only reason for connecting to the internet is to email your clients. Some smartphones allow you to convert them into a personal Wi-Fi hub, meaning as long as you can get a cellphone signal you can go wherever your heart takes you.
2. Work Out Your Living Costs
People move abroad to experience a new culture, have an adventure, surround themselves with new scenery””not to stay inside an office all day tapping away on a computer.
Although work is a necessity, it should not take up all of your time. So choose a destination which is affordable enough to allow you to live the life you want to without having to work every hour of the day, otherwise you might as well stay at home.
3. Be Prepared
If at all possible, don’t wait until you arrive in your new destination before you start to try earning some money. The chances are it might take you longer than you thought it would, by which time your savings may well have dried up.
Instead, start working remotely a few months beforehand. Not only will you discover how much you are capable of earning from abroad and so budget your trip more effectively, but you can also iron out any teething problems before you leave home.
4. Contact Other Expats
By contacting other expats (you’re already on one of the best websites to do that!) you can find out about all of that in-country info that you might not discover until you get there. Find bloggers and forums run by expats in your chosen destination and you’ll find that many people will be more than happy to answer your questions.
You never know, you might even make some new friends at the same time.
5. Do a Job You Really Enjoy
There are lots of options for working abroad these days, so make sure you pick something that you know you will enjoy. It does not have to be your favorite thing in the world because the chances are it won’t become your permanent career (although it might!), but at least target something that won’t make you miserable.
6. Invest in Some Quality Kit
You don’t need to spend a fortune on your gear, but you want to be comfortable. Some people make the mistake of buying a cheap-as-chips netbook because they are worried something will happen to it on the road, but they live to regret it when they are forced to tap away at the tiny keys for hours every day.
Get yourself something that will do the job for you, and if possible get yourself a new one that will last””buying another one abroad can be a lot more expensive.
7. Tell Your Clients
If you already have some clients who you are working for, make sure you tell them that you are going to be working from abroad. There is nothing to hide, and most of them will simply be curious (and maybe a bit jealous).
The reason you should tell them is because there may be issues with time differences, meetings, delivering packages, etc, that you will want to prepare them for before they discover that you are working from the other side of the Atlantic.
8. Establish a Good Base
You can work from a hostel or a hotel when you set up abroad””but it won’t be as comfortable as finding your own place.
If you have budgeted correctly and done your research, you should be able to move to a destination where you can stay in your own or a shared apartment where you can enjoy an office, peace and quiet, and an internet connection, which will help you to be more productive.
9. Find a Good Accountant
If you are only going to be living abroad for a few weeks or months you may not have to worry about this. But if you are staying for an extended period of time on a work visa then a knowledgeable local accountant will be worth their weight in gold.
This made my life a lot easier when I became a resident in Argentina, and my accountant helped me to save far more money than I spent on his services.
10. Always Back Everything Up
Fail to back up your work, and you could find yourself in a real pickle if something goes wrong. It is so easy to back up all your work now that it really is inexcusable to fail to do so.
Dropbox is ideal for this, but other tools are available which do the same job. Get everything backed up and remember to do so regularly, then if disaster does strike at least you are limited to having to buy a new laptop in the worst case scenario.
Anyone who wants to work abroad is no longer limited to picking fruit or working behind a bar. Online work allows you to enjoy a reliable and profitable job, with the benefit that you can do it from anywhere in the world.
Hopefully the above tips will help you to prepare yourself for working overseas so that you can now start to plan your own adventure abroad.About the Author: Connor Davies lives in South America where he enjoys a location-independent existence working as a freelance writer, marketer, and English teacher amongst other things. For more information on making a living from anywhere in the world, you’ll find all you need to know””and a free ebook to get you started””at Aspirations Abroad.