We often start our own businesses because we want to make a change in our own lives and in the lives of others. There is this strong desire to create something that you’re passionate about and to dedicate your time, energy and money into something that fuels you. While being an entrepreneur is a life-changing experience, it’s time to take it a step further.
Imagine what life would look like if you were running your own business while also being able to live in a different country and travel often. Waking up to work on the Mediterranean, taking midday breaks and being able to truly have weekends (and using them to see new cities all over the world). You see, when you start a business abroad, it opens up an array of new opportunities, not just professionally but personally as well.
My professional career started right after college in the heart of New York City and it seemed as if I was living the dream but reality was…I was working for someone else and I was living in a city that wasn’t bringing me joy anymore. I chose to leave the US and move to Spain. Little did I know that my move abroad would bring me back to life and also lead me towards success.
I wanted to create a business and a lifestyle that was aligned with my beliefs; devoting my time to something that I love and was truly passionate about. While I was preparing to take the leap, I started Las Morenas de Espana in hopes to shine a light on women of color who were living in a different country and thriving along the way. Over time, it wasn’t just about sharing stories but instead, empowering others to do the same.
Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of women take the leap and dive into work that they truly love abroad and now it’s time to share a few of the personal and professional benefits that will come if you choose to do the same!
Next Level Networking
Networking might be a word that makes some people cringe but it’s one of your biggest assets. The people that know who you are and what you do will help bring what you do to new heights. Living abroad allows for your network to expand tenfold.
When you’re traveling or living in a new country, the people you meet are much different than those who you might cross paths with during the local events in your town. When you’re able to connect with creatives from different countries and with different skill sets, that allows for business opportunities to show up that you might not have even known existed before.
You’re able to be seen and connect with people across the world vs. only across the street.
Not only does it grow the size of your network, but because you’re doing something a little bit different by starting your business in a new country, it allows for you to stand out more.
When I first began Las Morenas de Espana, we had a really niche market, women of color interested in traveling to or living in Spain. While it might seem as if there wasn’t much growth potential, in less than three years time, it grew readership to every country in the world, gained press by TEDx, NowThis News, Huffington Post, Essence Magazine and many more.
Why? Because we were doing something innovative and the connections we had believed in the vision we shared.
Being able to start a movement like this on an international scale allowed for us to be pioneers and lead the conversation vs. if we were focusing only on the U.S.
Mentality Is Everything: Live Well > Hustle Hard
The combination of being an entrepreneur, a woman of color and coming from the U.S. it might seem like all of the odds are against you, pushing you to work twice as hard just to get in the room. This leads us to believe that “hustle” is a badge of honor and skipping on sleep is what gets you ahead. While it’s true that hard work will get you to where you need to be, it’s also true that our mental, physical and emotional health is just as important.
When you live abroad, you adopt a different type of mentality than what we’re used to at home. We’re able to open our eyes and realize that work/life balance is more than just some mythical concept but that it’s actually attainable.
Mental health is vital to our survival and it’s shown that 64% of people said that they had better mental health after moving overseas. This is one of the most impactful benefits of growing a business abroad because you’re able to grow and scale at a sustainable pace while still taking care of your wellbeing.
Living in Spain has taught me endless amounts of self-care over the years while they might be looked down upon for having meals that last for hours and a siesta mentality, it has a lot to teach us when it comes to enjoying life on a daily basis and not waiting on retirement to understand what it means to relax.
Thinking Outside The Box
When you live abroad, you’re put into various situations on the regular that force you to get creative and think outside of the box. This allows for you to grow, not just personally but professionally as well. It’s linked that living abroad is correlated to higher levels of creativity and a lot of it has to do with being able to adapt and be integrated into new situations.
Whether it’s learning how to navigate small streets in Portugal, apartment searching in a new language or even just trying to figure out cultural norms… you have to think on your feet. Living in a new country helps you realize that if you can’t figure out something one way, you’ll be sure to find an alternative.
In the same vein, these skills and mentality are applicable to entrepreneurship. When you’re running a business in a different country, of course, there are some difficulties like paperwork or figuring out how to reach out to new markets, but you’re able to apply your new skills to be able to figure it out and realize that it’s possible.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of starting and running a business while living in a different country. Our team has been living abroad for over 12 years and we’ve seen endless ways to make expat life as an entrepreneur work for you.