Archive for 'Expat Entrepreneurs'

Expat Entrepreneurs: A Little Fear Is A Good Thing

Posted on 10. Mar, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs
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While you don’t want to be worried all the time (what a life that would be!), a little fear isn’t a bad thing.

Why? Because it tells you that you’re serious about your business. Especially in the beginning, you’ll notice that fear rears its head when things are about to become very real – launching your first website, making that important phone call, or signing a contract with your first big client.

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Expat Entrepreneurs: Kiss Panic Attacks Goodbye

Posted on 08. Mar, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs, Tools & Resources

[Disclaimer: It goes without saying that this post is about your garden-variety work-related worries, not mental health issues. It is not meant as medical advice. If you believe you suffer from actual panic attacks or depression, please seek professional help immediately.]

If you want to get ahead with your business, you can’t afford to let negative feelings affect your productivity and concentration. It’s all too easy to lose hours, if not entire days, to worry, guilt, and sometimes even sheer panic. So what do you do when your stress levels get out of control?

Here’s the method I use to nip negative emotions in the bud – give it a try next time you’re having a bad day.

Panic mode

    Play out the worst-case scenario (more…)

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    Expat Entrepreneurs: What Are Your Emotional Triggers?

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

    The least you can say is that being an expat entrepreneur gives rise to some strong emotions, especially when it’s your first time running a business or living abroad. You go from stressed out to panicky to strangely euphoric within the same minute. And you desperately yearn for some peace of mind.

    Feeling moody?

    The problem is, you cannot productively deal with your feelings unless you define them clearly. It’s like the old management axiom: “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.”

      Identify your feelings

      So your first course of action should be to put your finger on what it is exactly that you’re feeling.

      “Stressed out” is too vague. “Overwhelmed by the number of tasks I have to complete before tonight” and “Afraid to make that important phone call” are much better, because they point to two concrete issues: time management and procrastination. That’s useful information.

        Recognise your triggers

        The next step is to identify your triggers. When exactly do you switch from your normal mood to Overwhelmed and Afraid? What are the circumstances and the associated feelings? What’s the pattern here?

        Be as specific as possible. You may want to take notes, even if some of your triggers may look silly once you write them down – I know mine certainly do! Keep a record of the information you’re uncovering, because it will come in handy further down the line.

        In case you’re wondering, you’re not just playing detective for the fun of it, or for the sake of self-knowledge.
        Recognising your triggers is important, because with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to take a deep breath, pause, and calm yourself down before your emotions become too distracting. In a matter of minutes, you’ll be back to working efficiently and building a successful business, instead of wallowing in negative feelings and self-pity for hours, if not days.

        In the next post, we’ll look at a technique you can use when things get really bad – when you’re not just scared, but downright panicked and unable to focus on your work.

        Panic button
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        Images by n0r (top) and Phil Romans (bottom), both via Flickr Creative Commons

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        Expat Entrepreneurs: How Are You Feeling?

        Posted on 03. Mar, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs
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        Do you ever get that unnerving feeling that you’re the only business owner in the world who occasionally gets tired, discouraged or overwhelmed? I know that I do, especially after reading too many high-profile business blogs or Twitter feeds. In those circles, it seems like everyone is cheerfully working 80-hour weeks, and launching new product after new product without the slightest trepidation.

        We all know that’s not how it works. Running your own business is often hard, and it can be downright scary. So, enough with these displays of entrepreneurial bravado – it’s time to accept the fact that we’re human beings, not robots.

        Changing moods

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        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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        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
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        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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