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Thread: It's easy to become an expat entrepreneur - from Flippa

  1. #1
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    It's easy to become an expat entrepreneur - from Flippa

    I received the latest Flippa email newsletter, which I usually read out of interest. What caught my attention was a link to their blog posting about being an expat entrepreneur. This is exactly what many of us, including me, are interested in doing. And it is possible. Let's make no mistake about that. But easy? I don't think so. Compare and contrast these two quite different takes on the matter.

    Here's Justin Cooke blogging for Flippa about setting up in business in the Philippines.

    It really is that easy.
    http://flippa.com/blog/baselining-yo...e-philippines/

    And here's me blogging about the same subject for EP a couple of years ago.

    http://experienced-people.net/forums...-Plan-B-person


    I love being an expat. That's why I've spent most of my time abroad since the late 1980s, and the Internet has certainly made things easier. But. Without some savings behind you and some kind of support-system you won't get far. Even Justin Cooke says in his article that you need enough money behind you, a viable business plan, a good team of people, good contacts, and the ability to spot opportunities. And that's easy? I beg to differ.

    BTW, Mr Cooke's article starts with this sentence:

    A laptop and a GoDaddy account – That’s all you really need to get started on your entrepreneurial journey today.
    Hmm, no passport? No visa? It all sounds so simple that one might almost think it was all about selling a dream.

    Why not have a look at the two different points of view and see what you think about it? Would you like to pack your bag and fly off into the sun?
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

    The joy of Internet delivery - the cartoon illustrating this will make you laugh!



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    Top Contributor Dave McM is a Premium Member
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    Starting an article with a line like that is a no-no in my book if it's not supported by the rest of the article. This particular opening line sounded like complete nonsense to me, and qualifying it so rapidly (just three paragraphs later) blew the whole article out of the water for me. As an expat who's just landed in an unfamiliar country, economy, legal system, culture, and all the rest of it, how are you supposed to be able to spot the genuine opportunities and the good contacts among the chancers and the crooks?

    There are enough naive would-be expats being fleeced of their savings as it is. Irresponsible articles like Justin Cooke's are simply adding to their numbers.

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    Brodie (20 August 2015), Chabrenas (17 May 2013), Clinton (16 May 2013)

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    Top Contributor grynge is a Premium Member
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    As someone looking to become an expat, I see how difficult it really can be, every country has different visa rules, countries change those visa rules whenever they feel like it, countries also change government sometimes at a drop of a hat and the new government may or may not welcome stray dogs. Then I look at the monetary side of it, not only do you need enough to live on but for some countries you need money in the bank to get a visa. Then you also need money for emergencies, as someone who tore shoulder ligaments overseas, just by sliding down a water slide with my kids, I know how expensive medical help can be, and accidents happen all the time, your country of origin may or may not help in times of medical emergencies. Not only all that you need to be on the look out for scams from your new home, most countries (including australia) have wonderful ways of stealing money from newbies to the land.

    I wonder how many foreigners have ended up buying worthless land or been the new 50/50 owner of a bar for the 4000th time.

    I heard a saying in Thailand that I think would probably be adaptable for any country "How does a foreigner make a small fortune in Thailand, he starts with a Large Fortune".
    And they thought me broken, that my tongue was coated lead, but I just couldn't make my words make sense to them, if you only listen with your ears ... I can't get in
    Non ducor, duco

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    Chabrenas (17 May 2013), Dave McM (17 May 2013), Kay (17 May 2013)

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    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    But, grynge, I'm surprised. I would have thought a person like you would have a laptop and a GoDaddy account.

    Seriously, over the few years I've been on EP several people have asked me privately about living in SE Asia and I've done my best to reply to them as extensively as I can. I think they've been quite shocked by my replies. It's not a case of just upping sticks and moving. I agree with Dave, it really was irresponsible to publish an article saying how easy it all is, and the words "selling a dream" keep coming to mind. I'm not the type of person to believe all I read but the content of that blog post had me absolutely shaking my head in disbelief. I hope no one is taken in by such misinformation.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

    The joy of Internet delivery - the cartoon illustrating this will make you laugh!



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    Chabrenas (17 May 2013), grynge (17 May 2013), Thomas (17 May 2013)

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    It truly is the Wild West out here.
    Just like the more advanced African countries. Full of cowboys. And just a small number of really competent, interesting people who give back a lot to the country they have adopted. The rest muddle along, like everywhere else. If you take all Justin's bullet points, each of them highlights a need for capital and for skills that aren't that common. The post is like something from International Living, but aimed at people who are still having to run a business to feed themselves.

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    In my opinion everyone is being a bit to harsh regarding the article. At least when I read it, I took it as quick and whimsical look into their lifestyle in the Philippines. To their credit, in some of their other content (podcast and blog) they have went into more detail on some of the more technical aspects of moving to and setting up a business in the Philippines. For me, if I was contemplating a move this sure wouldn't be my "authority" on the subject and anyone that takes it as such should consider improving their research skills.

    Take what you want from the content and leave the rest behind. (Although I have been trying to make it a point of being less critical, less argumentative and overall a more easy going guy, so maybe this is my new outlook talking)

    Just my two cents...

  11. #7
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    And now UK Business Zone (owned by Sift Media - also the owners of the UKBF forum) have also jumped onto the expat bandwagon. Live the dream!
    http://www.businesszone.co.uk/topic/...s-abroad/53049

    It's good news for me if more people want to flee from Blighty - maybe I should order some more bandwidth and capacity for our servers. LOL

    I like the way it concludes:
    One of the shrewdest ways to ensure a smooth business startup is to get in touch with an advisor in the local area who can help you with all of this information. Major UK banks will be able to offer you contact details for overseas advisors.
    Hilarious! I wonder if the writer has ever been abroad before. Oh heck, I'm gonna have to blog a long piece about this, there's just too much to say for a forum posting.

    Note also that they use a deckchair on a tropical beach to illustrate the post. Why is the laptop on a beach the stereotypical image of an expat?

    That's the best laugh I've had all day. Yeah, I know I'm a sad case and my sense of humour is often not the same as everyone else's.

    Would you like to start a business overseas? How would you go about it?
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

    The joy of Internet delivery - the cartoon illustrating this will make you laugh!



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    Top Contributor crabfoot is a Premium Member
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    The laptop on the beach is a bad joke. LCDs are very hard to see in bright sunshine. You can't work under those conditions. The only reason for carrying the laptop everywhere is paranoia - one might lose one's connection to reality.

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    Top Contributor grynge is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay View Post
    Would you like to start a business overseas? How would you go about it?
    This is something I have sat and thought and talked about for a few years now, the problem is, and it is quite a big problem. When you come from a first world country, and go to a third world country you feel like a king, everything can be done and for only a few dollars. For example, here in Australia to get my daughters ipod/iphone fixed from a broken screen minimum cost $100 to get it done in Thailand $30, to get data off a dead hdd here in Australia $2000 but what I did was buy a working same model hdd took it to thailand and got them to swap the platters total cost $50. So you start to think wow I could make a fortune, the problem is in Thailand where you have the business you can't charge Australian prices and getting a reliable cheap transport from Thailand to Australia has not been easy.

    So whilst it may seem a great idea the logistics seem to be a problem, in the perfect world I would be able to get items cheaply in asia and sell them for Australian prices, but its not a perfect world. If anyone has the answer I would be willing to listen lol
    And they thought me broken, that my tongue was coated lead, but I just couldn't make my words make sense to them, if you only listen with your ears ... I can't get in
    Non ducor, duco

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    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    It's true that the cost of living in Thailand can be very low in terms of food and accommodation. However, there are plenty of hidden costs which people often don't think about, such as private medical insurance (c £2,000 p/a). With Thailand specifically, you have to leave the country every 90 days (tourist visa), so for extended stays you have to budget for all the trips away (unless you can get a different type of visa - difficult and often expensive).

    Malaysia is easier - they actively welcome foreigners via their MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home) programme. However, it's much more expensive to live there.

    Cambodia is cheap and visas are relatively easy, but it's like Thailand was 30 years ago. It lacks the infrastructure of the other countries in the region, plus there's a lack of good supermarkets and not so much choice of great restaurants.

    I think the idea behind the articles I mentioned is that if you have a computer and an Internet connection, you can work from anywhere. To some extent this is true - but only if you're not dealing with the logistics of physical products. You can run websites from anywhere in the world. When you physically have to ship stuff, it all becomes a bit more problematic - and even assuming you can suss out the transportation side of it, you've still got customs and other laws to worry about.

    This idea of sitting on a beach with a laptop has almost become yet another Internet myth and it's constantly being perpetuated by people who either aren't telling you the whole truth or sometimes because they don't know any better. A lot of MMO vendors also sell their products with the idea that you have total freedom to make money online anywhere in the world. And then there are a lot of disappointed people when they discover it's not that simple. Some wannabe-expats have no idea what's involved in living abroad. It's dangerous and cruel to sell them this dream of travel and freedom.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

    The joy of Internet delivery - the cartoon illustrating this will make you laugh!



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