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

  1. #21
    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by crabfoot View Post
    ...Because the tactics that work are hard-sell...
    The sell, whether hard or not, relies on highlighting the good bits and hiding the bad bits or, even more craftily, finding a way to paint the bad bits in a good light to make the picture even more attractive.

    That tactic is common among the MMO creed and is a technique that older-timers like us immediately recognise because it's so cringe worthy.

    Quote Originally Posted by TryBPO View Post
    My estimation was that most of the Flippa readers (that would be interested in the article, anyway) are set by DEFAULT to be worried/nervous/cautious. Sure there are plenty of things to be concerned about, traps to avoid, etc. but that isn't the approach that's likely to get them started down the path towards achieving their goal (If, indeed, this is a goal of theirs)
    A salesman's job is to paint the dream and get the punter past his worries and caution. Addressing those worries and caution are done only with a view to dispelling them i.e. the salesman approaches each with the mindset of how he can convince the punter that it isn't a valid concern or that it can be easily overcome. The focus should be on the benefits. With respect "getting them started on the path towards achieving their goal" - give me a break! The salesman describes the goal - plenty of money, fast car, hot babes, laptop on the beach - and plants it in the punter's head. The dumber the punter the more easily he buys the picture and he's then ripe for wallet plucking (or signing up to a newsletter or clicking the link).

    I'm not speculating on what your own objective was in writing the article - apart from driving traffic, building fans/subscribers - but some people have seen the formula so often before they don't easily give the benefit of the doubt. You might genuinely believe that achieving the expat lifestyle is within the reach of many. But the image you create, and this is despite the caveats you so obviously cover, is not that far off MMO ebook sales letters headlined with the clichéd photo of a Ferrari and mini-skirt blonde in front of a mansion. That's what is so unsettling.
    Find the right business brokers to maximise the value you extract from your business and improve the chances of selling your business.

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  3. #22
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish
    ...living overseas is 100 times easier than it was 20 years ago.
    In many ways it is easier.

    The Internet has made a huge difference. You can do loads of things online - join relevant forums, find information on expat and travel websites, book flights, accommodation, car rental, etc, get your medical insurance. Keep in touch with people back home. Some countries allow you to deal with a lot of the necessary immigration and visa paperwork and applications online. And even places like Cambodia offer an eVisa service these days.

    Regional travel became much cheaper in SE Asia about 10 years ago because of budget airlines such as EasyJet, AirAsia, et al. Cheaper visa runs!

    However, some things also became more difficult. You win some and lose some.

    Let's look at Thailand as an example because we have several members who are interested in staying there for longer terms, ie more than 6 months. (Tourists of some nationalities can stay for 30 days without a visa, others can get a VOA...) To stay longer, it starts getting a bit more complicated and strict about what you can and can't do. I don't plan to go into all the details here, it's complex and the rules change fairly frequently. Beware - you can get plenty of "advice" from various places, but a lot of it is "man in the pub" advice from people who don't know what they're talking about.

    The following is a very simplified outline of using tourist and non-immigrant O visas for longer-terms stays, and shouldn't be taken as advice. It may also be inaccurate and out of date. Even so, it serves as an example of how it's not so easy these days to head off to Thailand and stay for more than a few months unless you can get your paperwork sorted.

    It used to be the case that if you got a 1 year non-immigrant O visa (some hoops to jump through to get one), you could stay for a year as long as you left the country every 90 days. Hence "visa runs". The cheapest way was/is to make a road trip over the border to Cambodia or Laos, etc. Go over the border for half an hour and come back in. Just a stamp out and stamp in process and pretty easy to do because there's a whole little industry there to facilitate all this for you. Alternatively some people used to use visa runs as a chance for a holiday. More fun in the sun.

    And, it used to be the case that if you got a non-immigrant O, you could renew it year after year (for the appropriate fee and if you still met the criteria to hold one), and stay in Thailand for years on end as long as you continued to do the visa runs every 90 days. If you couldn't get the non-immigrant O, then you could do similar without that visa but you had to cross the border more frequently eg every 30 days for some people. Again, you could keep doing this for several years. They were also more generous about what qualified you to apply for the non-immigrant O, eg if you or your spouse had a parent who married a Thai, then your spouse or you could get one too. (Say you're American, and your dad married a Thai woman, then you could get your visa because of your dad, and your American wife could get the visa because of you.)

    Another way to stay longer was to get an Education visa. If you enrolled on a course with a government-recognised school, you could get a visa for a year or more. Thai language classes were a common way to do this. As long as you paid for the classes you were OK. You didn't have to attend any.

    There were/are also visas for people who had Thai close relatives, eg parent or spouse. Also, I think the purpose for which you were granted the non-immigrant O had a part to play, eg if you got the visa because you were married to a Thai a lot of what's below didn't/doesn't apply. Plus there are retirement visas, and work visas, eg for teachers. These are a completely different matter. There were/are other ways, but I've mentioned the most common.

    But that was how it worked a few years ago, and it's not so easy now. In some cases the law has changed and in others it's their "new" interpretation of the law which has tightened up the process.

    Now, if you're on a tourist or non-immigrant O visa the number of back to back stays you can do is limited. Then they insist you spend an extended period back in your home country (or another Western country) before they will grant you another visa. Therefore, unless you can find some way to get around these rules legally, you can no longer stay for years on end like you used to be able to.

    You can still get an Ed visa, but now you must be able to prove attendance and show proof of some learning progress. So it's no longer a case of paying for a Thai language class and forgetting about it until the next time you want a visa. There have been cases where visa renewals have been refused when the "student" was unable to answer a simple question in Thai which the immigration officer had asked them.

    The whole visa thing is a confusing maze of information which changes frequently. It used to be easy(ish) to up sticks and go for a few years. It ain't so easy now. If you're determined to do something, you can usually find a way but you need to be prepared for it, and it's sensible to plan ahead and get your paperwork in order.

    Thailand is a very popular destination, but those planning to stay for more than a few months will probably benefit from knowing what's involved. It's possible. Of course it is. Good luck to anyone who goes for it.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

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  5. #23
    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    If you want to live a decent life in SE Asia with a family I would suggest a passive income of minimum 50K a year in USD. That's $1000 a week. 75K would be better. 50K, with one child, is a lower middle-class income in the US to have a semi-decent life. In SE Asia you'll be living a high middle-class lifestyle as a foreigner. But you'll be paying a lot more for things you don't pay for in the US. (Visas, for example) You can, of course, live there much cheaper. Back in 95 I was able to live a decent life in Thailand for $1,500 a month. But you're going to feel the difference, I guarantee it. If you're young, and deprivation and living like a local is still "fun" you probably still could, or for half the above amount. But it'll get old real quick. In terms of comparison, on 50K in Thailand you could live a 100K-150K lifestyle in the US. People are much politer and friendlier than in the US. You won't have to worry about the (Violent) crime or drugs either. You'll actually be able to afford first class health care, too. But after that, it goes downhill.

    Living in Thailand is also/can be hell on a spouse. She isn't going to think (by and large) it's half as much fun as it is for you. One the other hand, at that income level you can afford a maid or someone to look after the kids full time, which you couldn't do in the US. You'll live in a US style house with modern conveniences in a safe environment. You WON'T be able to send your children to a private school at that income level. Which means they'll need to go to a Thai public school, or be home schooled. Then, get ready for some culture shock. The first time you walk in there in the morning and seeing all the kids chanting/singing/preying to the King is going to be an eye opener. Imagine if you went to a US public school and they had all the children singing and preying to Obama first thing in the morning, and you'll get the picture. Of course, we used to do the "Pledge of Allegiance" every morning, so I'm not sure if it is any different. But watching your kid brainwashed into a another culture, and having no say in the matter, will curl your pubics, I guarantee it.

    Visas are going to be a MASSIVE hassle. You'll never really be sure every 90 days if you won't be kicked out on your can and lose everything. Not a big deal if you're single, and HUGE deal if you have kids. That kind of instant uprooting can weird a kid out and make them very insecure. Expect to pay different prices (more) than the locals for everything. It's just the way it is. Get used to it and plan on it. You won't change the system. Depending on your situation and if you live in BKK, or another city, forget about having a car. Equally, get used to getting screwed by taxi drivers. Forget about owning any real property. Forget about being treated "equally." Forget about getting, or finding, a decent job. If you do find a job, (Teaching English is about the only thing open on short notice) forget about any notions of job based "equality." Forget about having any "rights" under the law. You'll be treated as a guest, and as a living wallet or ATM, and not a very welcome one. For the most part, in SE Asia, foreigners are to be financially plundered and exploited. Get used to it. In their defense, they feel they were exploited and financially plundered by the West for centuries. It's simply their turn. It varies from place to place, and to degree. No matter how long you live there. The worst I've seen is Vietnam. But Thailand can be no picnic either. It's much better outside the major cities and tourist traps.

    If you get caught in any situation involving the law, even if you aren't at fault, God help you. In SE Asia, if you are a foreigner, you ARE at fault. Period. I was once in a taxi as a passenger that got in an accident. They tried to blame it on me. Go figure. At the very least, keep $100 on you all times hidden, just in case you need to get out of a situation fast. Pull the first officer on the scene aside, shake his hand, apologizing and groveling the whole time, and palm it to him. Speak English (Even if you know the language) act clueless, and get out of there fast. Do not make a scene. Never, ever, raise your voice, or get angry in any situation involving a local or police. You'll lose...every time.

    So the short version is, if you're single, male, have a passive income, a trust fund, or a pension, in your home currency of at least 50K annual, you can have an absolute blast. In other words if you're in a position of being on permanent vacation. If not, reconsider somewhere other than SE Asia, or Thailand. Or go there just for 90 days. Other countries in mainland SE Asia will be the same, or worse. I hear the Philippines offers a good alternative though.

    This is my experience only. Yours might be different. Mileage, as they say, will vary. So take it with a grain of salt.
    Last edited by dsieg58; 15 January 2014 at 12:09 pm.

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