Archive for February, 2010

Fear And (Self-)Loathing in Expat Entrepreneur Land

Posted on 24. Feb, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs

Scared. Overwhelmed. Freaking out. Guilty. Lost.

Sounds familiar? Welcome to the club! Being an expat is a full-time job, and being a business owner often feels like two or three full-time jobs – combine the two, and something’s got to give.

Fear and stress aren’t glamourous topics. Yet they’re very real, and they can have a disastrous impact on your business. How many talented entrepreneurs have prematurely thrown in the towel and gone back to the perceived “safety” of a day job, just because they couldn’t take the pressure anymore?

Self-employment gurus and glossy business magazines carefully avoid this subject, simply because they don’t have a clue how to deal with the emotional impact of having your own business. Thankfully, there are some quick, easy techniques that can help you manage your stress levels, just like you would manage any other aspect of your business.

Want to know what these techniques are? Stay tuned for our next series of posts (better yet, subscribe by email or RSS in the right sidebar), where we take you from this:

Wide-eyed lemur

… to this:

Worry-free otter

(aren’t otters the damn cutest – and most relaxed – critters on earth?)

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Images by Flipped Out (top) and mikebaird (bottom), both via Flickr Creative Commons

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From Mexico to Vancouver: Expat Interview With Christine Delano

Posted on 22. Feb, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs, Interview
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Christine Delano is originally from Mexico City, and her mother is Canadian. She has agreed to answer a few questions about her experience as a graphic designer and expat entrepreneur in Vancouver, BC. Through vivid images and evocative words, Christine talks openly about the fear, the loneliness, and the growth we all go through.

A very rich interview, full of inspiring lessons for expats not only in Vancouver, but all over the world.

View from Stanley Park

- Can you tell us what brought you to Canada, and how that move has shaped your career? (more…)

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3 Keys To A Smooth Relocation

Posted on 19. Feb, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Life, Relocation

There’s a interesting discussion going on in one of the LinkedIn expat groups I belong to – Rishi Ghai put out the following question to the expat community:

When you first moved to a new country, what were the top 3 things that helped you the most to settle down and adapt to your new life?

Most of the answers given by LinkedIn users revolved around 3 themes:

- The practical stuff: utilities, paperwork, finding a permanent place to live
- Doing your homework: getting the lay of the land and learning about your new country
- Making new friends, and finding people you can learn from

    My Top 3 would be:

    1. Getting my bearings as soon as possible
    2. Exploring the city on foot
    3. Learning where / how the locals socialize… and joining them!

    What about you?
    If you had to move on to a new country tomorrow, what would be most useful for you to do or know about?

    Please share your own Top 3 in the comments!

    The Seine river

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    Images by NickPiggott (top) and johnbullas (bottom), via Flickr Creative Commons

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    Starting A Business Abroad: Location, Location, Location

    Posted on 17. Feb, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs

    Are you starting a brick-and-mortar business? Have you found what looks like a good location? Don’t sign that lease just yet – you have some legwork to do first. (more…)

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    Quote Of The Month: On Success

    Posted on 15. Feb, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs, Musings & Inspiration

    As we move on to a new series of posts about the mindset and attitude of successful expat entrepreneurs, here is a quote about success that I wanted to share with you:

    “Success is liking yourself,

    liking what you do,

    and liking how you do it.”

    - Maria Angelou

    Such lovely words: simple, comforting and oh so true… how are you faring on your own path to success?

    Work is love made visible - K. Gibran

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    Image by beautifulcataya, via Flickr Creative Commons

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    Guest Post: The Secret To Becoming An Expat

    Posted on 12. Feb, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs
    1 comment

    Today’s guest post was written by Jeff of Expat Yourself, who kindly offered to let me re-post it here. Jeff blogs about the expat life for those who want to live abroad but haven’t taken the leap yet. When you’re done reading, be sure to visit Expat Yourself and leave him a comment!

    The secret to becoming an expat

    Before you read any farther, let me reveal the number one secret to becoming a successful expat (a fulfilled, content, wealthy expat – however you want to describe “successful” – the secret applies 100%).

    One word: Attitude

    Yes, it’s just about attitude. It’s not about paying off your debts, not how many friends will throw you a farewell party, or even how much planning you do before leaving. It’s about having the expat attitude.

    The Expat Attitude is the mindset that says “I have wanted to live overseas and, dammit I’m going to go.”

    Do You Have It? YES, You Do. You have what it takes. Let me help you find it.

    Suitcase in hand

    Tips to Find and Develop Your Expat Attitude

    1. Seek motivation and energy from within yourself.

    Normally, we get motivated only after others recognize what we’re doing. In short, you do something good, others applaud you. Unfortunately, that’s not enough when deciding to be an expat. Why? Because a lot of people will not “clap” for you. Instead you’ll hear “What are you thinking?” or “Are you crazy?” So, you may need to find more motivation from within yourself first. Only after you’ve done it and can share how great it is, then you’ll hear more “I’m crazy for staying here.”

    2. Goals – set them to be SMART

    If you haven’t heard yet what a “SMART” goal is, here you go: a goal has to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. A bad example of a smart goal is “I will exercise more next month.” A good example of a SMART goal is: “I commit to doing 10 push-ups each night for a month.” After one month, which goal do you think actually amounted to some action?
    For optional definitions, check out Wikipedia’s SMART criteria article.

    3. Understand the power of progress

    Having a SMART goal is one thing, but some goals take so long to complete, we get bored or demotivated before we finish them. If you goal takes several tasks, make yourself a list of those tasks and enjoy how you ‘tick’ off each task. If still too daunting, maybe each task should be a SMART goal on their own.

    4. Lean on your network

    No one says you have to go at it alone. Have a friend, relative who can encourage you, ask you/pester you about tips 1 through 3 above? Oh, and if that person is very affected by your living overseas, it’s a very good idea to clue them in early. Like, don’t wait to tell your wife “Honey, we’re moving to Portugal next week – isn’t that great?!”

    Jeff loves to travel, taste different foods and is generally a big fan of Canadians (his favorite is his wife). Jeff really admires the Winning Away blog, so he wrote a “winning attitude” article for Emmanuelle and her readers. Through fun and sharing, Jeff motivates others to become expats, too on his blog Enjoy!

    Image by Dr John2005, via Flickr Creative Commons

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    DIY Client Surveys For Expat Entrepreneurs

    Posted on 10. Feb, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs

    Are you considering doing a survey to help you make better business decisions? For example, are you wondering if your clients would rather pay for an eBook or a teleconference?

    If you just need a few straightforward questions answered, don’t go to the trouble of hiring a market research firm. You’ll save tonnes of money by conducting your own survey.

    Surveying people from a different cultural background is a bit of an art, as I learned while working as a market research specialist for a multinational corporation. Here are a few guidelines to help you design and conduct a successful survey anywhere in the world.

    British questionnaire

    3 tips for DIY surveys (more…)

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    Market Research 101 For Expat Entrepreneurs

    Posted on 08. Feb, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs

    - You’re looking for local retailers for your new product – the cutest felt hats ever – but what colours should you show them? Will their Danish customers prefer forest green, or hot pink with orange polka dots?


    – You need a small business loan, but you don’t have much credit history in Canada yet. How do you build a rock-solid business plan that wins over your bank manager?


    – You just know that your holiday resort project in Vietnam will be a success … if only you can convince that venture capitalist to lend you the funds. How do you show him that the demand is there, and that his investment will be worth his while?

    The answer to these pressing questions and many, many more? Market research, my dear Watson!

    Quantitative survey results


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    Starting A Business Abroad: One Last Thing About Your Target Market

    Posted on 05. Feb, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs

    Are you still reluctant to narrow down your target market for fear of leaving money on the table? If so, let me clarify something:

    Throwing dart

    Your target market represents the people you are actively marketing to. But your target market doesn’t limit who you are selling to.

    For example, my target market, narrowly defined, is people who are currently living abroad, and who are entrepreneurial- or career-minded professionals. These are the people I market to.

    However, my client list also includes young travellers on a work/holiday visa, stay-at-home accompanying spouses, and potential expats who are in the process of deciding if life abroad is the right choice for them. Sometimes, Vancouverites who know that I work with expat entrepreneurs will hire me for business coaching or marketing consulting, even if they themselves have no intention to move overseas.

    So I work with all kinds of people – but because I can’t be everywhere at once, I only market my services to a clearly defined group that has a specific set of challenges and needs. Makes sense?

    Choosing a target market means that you focus your marketing efforts in order to achieve greater overall impact.

    Once you make your mark on your well-defined market, even those who are not part of your initial target will give you their business, if your products and services meet a need of theirs.

    Far from driving clients away, narrowing down your market will actually boost your business by making you more attractive to buyers, whether you’re actively targeting them or not. I know it seems counterintuitive, but it definitely works.

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    Image by gordon2208, via Flickr Creative Commons

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    4 Reasons Why You Need To Clearly Define Your Target Market

    Posted on 03. Feb, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs

    For all the discussion about choosing your target market, you may still be wondering if it’s such a good idea. Do you really have to narrow it down?

    After all, if you can get business from all sorts of folks, why would you want to limit your potential market? Isn’t that kind of shooting yourself in the foot?

    These questions are perfectly valid, and you’re not the first entrepreneur to struggle with them. In order to help you make an informed decision, here are the top 4 reasons why I recommend that you define very clearly who your potential clients are.

     Target neon sign

    4 benefits of narrowing down your target market (more…)

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