With its warm weather, low-cost living, and welcoming locals, Thailand is easily one of Southeast Asia’s most popular spots for entrepreneurs looking to launch a new business. Startup costs are affordable, there are fewer regulatory hurdles, and paying for necessities such as construction and manual labor won’t break the bank.
On our recent trip to France, my family and I rented a charming house in the countryside near St. Rémy. When we moved on to Paris, we settled into an apartment owned by an American expat currently working on a project in Seattle.
In 2007, a rough dirt road in the Cambodian beach town of Sihanoukville led to an abandoned and neglected 15-room hotel. The traffic on Serendipity Road was mainly pedestrian because the local tuk-tuk drivers often refused to travel on it. As unappealing as it looked back then, the Sea View Villa seemed like a business opportunity to a 27-year-old British backpacker, Stacy Carney.
When a prospective expat is looking seriously at moving to a foreign country, a lot of research is done from home. But then comes the scouting trip to see the places they’ve read about. And many choose to hire professionals to guide them. And if you’re living in an up-and-coming area for expats—that doesn’t have such a service—you could be the one to provide the tour.
These days, Shawn McCool and his wife Danielle couldn’t be happier. They live with their two children on a quiet street next to a park, in the exquisite university city of Utrecht in Holland. It’s a far cry from the life they left behind in Nashville, Tennessee. As a professional software engineer, Shawn can develop web applications from anywhere in the world.
When my husband David and I decided to move to Ecuador, we had a very long list of reasons why we felt the move would be the right choice for our family. Moderate weather, low living expenses, and exposure to a different culture were right up at the top. But one of the things we most looked forward to was the chance to run our own business. The economic conditions and miles of red tape back home convinced us that being self-employed in the U.S. was not the wisest choice.
Bucaramanga is one of Colombia’s most beautiful cities. Colombians refer to it as the “City of Parks” because of its many green spaces. But when tourists come to the Santander department—of which Bucamaranga is the capital—they typically have one thing in mind: adventure. The landscape of Santander is a treasure trove of mountains, rivers, lakes, caves, and forests.
Arlene Gibbs was on-set in Toronto, working on a movie in production, when she realized she needed a life change. The two months she spent on location was the longest period she had been away from Los Angeles since she began working there 10 years previously. “Everything in L.A. was about ‘The Business’,” she says. “Everyone I interacted with at work…at the cafes…even at the gym was involved in the movie industry.”
I ’m putting my three-day weekends in Europe to good use. I’ve visited Germany, Britain, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden, Portugal, and the Netherlands…all from my Spanish base in the beautiful city of Salamanca in the region of Castile and Leon. Everywhere I go, I seek out cheap places to stay, eat, and play. I love traveling and my job gives me the opportunity to do so while still making some money.
If you’re ready to move overseas…with all the promise it holds of warm weather, being your own boss, and working just a few hours a day…but the prospect of actually packing up your worldly goods and getting on that plane sounds intimidating, let me tell you something. You have a sister. Right now, I’m packing up for an extended trip to Europe. At the end of it, I’m going to give seminars in London on the benefits of self-employment. I love this part of my work…meeting new people, visiting new cities, and spreading a message that I truly believe in. Best of all, I’ve discovered that the entrepreneurial spirit has no geographic boundaries. Every day enterprising folks all over the world are putting their ideas into action.