When I first created Degtev it was frankly all about me… not the content, I did manage to keep to the plan of providing as much information as I could about living abroad, reducing tax bills, the cost of living and above all having a far better quality of life. But I must admit it was my quality of life that was top of the agenda, I’d just started my new life abroad in a beautiful location with sunshine, sea, mountains and no jobs or reasonable forms of employment as far as the eye could see.
Reality bites! If I was going to make my own personal dream of living in my perfect location something greater than an extended vacation followed by financial ruin I had to pull out all the stops to make ‘the dream’ happen from a solid income perspective in order to have any chance of making any dreams into reality. I know I’m not alone with this, by far the biggest problem most of us face when we consider moving to better places, is how do we fund our new life? The reality is most of us normally choose where we live because of employment and opportunity not because we’re in love with the vista. If you really do want to escape to somewhere the heart yearns for and to drop the income generating practicalities of the commute, tiresome meetings and impossible to maintain deadlines there are ways but you need real determination and some lateral thinking. I personally have to confess that I made a heap of mistakes along the way but I came out of it relatively unscathed and a lot wiser. I thought I’d share some of my tips and experience on making a life anywhere you want in the world.
Before you do make the move try to get the longest vacation possible and spend as much time as possible in your new country before you make the move. While you’re there force yourself away from that beautiful beach or poolside lounger and engage with the local expatriate community. Find out how they manage financially what jobs are available, are there restrictions on foreigners gaining employment, can you open a business etc. Don’t be alarmed if you meet some extremely negative expats who will do their best to convince you that you’re making the biggest mistake of your life, it’s almost certainly them reflecting the fact that they didn’t do their homework and now find themselves in dire straits and blame anyone else other than themselves for bad preparation. The fact is if you have severe financial problems living abroad it doesn’t matter how nice the view is you won’t enjoy it!
If there aren’t any jobs and the only businesses already seem to be heavily over subscribed you’re going to need an alternative way to produce an income.
Building an Alternative Income
This was the problem I was faced with the only expatriate job was in sales as an estate agent and I’m most certainly not the right person for a life in sales, and my plan included flip flops and shorts not shirt and tie in 42C. The internet makes a whole host of businesses possible from remote locations. I know a lot of us initially think that you need to be running a website publication of some type to make an income online, of course that is a way, it’s my way… plus there’s also the thought that you need to be a technical genius, you don’t, I’m living proof.. there are many other business professionals that can use the internet to give them the freedom and mobility that they want. You may already be in a suitable profession or it may not involve too much of a struggle to make the change into a portable business friendly occupation.
Some Ideas For Income Streams Using The Internet
This isn’t an extensive list, it’s designed more to get you thinking about the huge amount of possibilities that are open to you.
Firstly you can do any job that doesn’t need continuous direct contact with your customer or client and where the information can be digitized i.e. saved as a file. There’s a whole rafter of jobs here from book keeping and accountancy, to graphic design, web design, travel writing, specialist journalism, consultancy, teaching, business advice and so the list goes on. You may have a very good advantage in that by living in a tax-free low cost country you can actually offer far more competitive prices than your tax paying high cost of living peers.
Are you a qualified professional who could teach online, with services like Skype and advanced but easy to use web conferencing software that enables you to share your PC screen with anyone anywhere in the world you may be able to teach your trade online, or possibly study to become a teacher in a field that can be done online.
One thing to remember is that you shouldn’t rule out a business idea because you have to make occasional contact with your clients or business partners, it may be a perfectly reasonable compromise to spend a few days a month back in your home country, with some good planning you can see quite a large list of people in 48 hrs. Explain to people what your doing, they may look a little worried at first that you plan to complete projects from your beach house rather than a city office. One personal tip from me, during the initial phase when clients will be at their most sceptical over deliver, bring things in ahead of schedule, give a bigger discount, it won’t be long before they not only sing your praises but start to ask a rafter of searching questions about remote working.
How Much Will Your Dream Cost?
Work out how much money you really need to live your dream, it may be a lot less than you think! It’s 5 years since I walked away from the commute, office meetings and bad weather, still today I can’t quite believe how much money used to get swallowed up with ‘the job’, let alone the fact that a large chunk of my income vanished before I received it courtesy of the inland revenue, what was left soon got eaten away by petrol, parking, train tickets, over priced over cooked restaurant lunches, paying too much for a house in a commuter belt and a host of other directly or indirectly job related expenses. With all of those bills quashed the actual day to day costs for a comfortable life are often not that high, sit down with a pen and paper and you may be pleasantly surprised to see that you don’t actually have to have a mega bucks business in order to achieve your dreams.
Stay With The Plan!
Don’t keep putting it off, it’ll never happen, I managed to delay my own move to better climbs by 5 years with elaborate forms of procrastination. Set yourself a time table, if you need to re-skill start as soon as you possibly can, start from today making active changes and plans . Fix a date in the future when you will move and don’t deviate. Talk about it as if it is a done deal, no wooly thinking with maybes or possibly or wouldn’t it be nice. Say to yourself on this exact date I’m moving to my dream destination and wild horses won’t stop me.