A reader writes in:
“I think the constant, practical tension I see it – like many nomad biz ideas – is you somehow have to keep up your marketing presence/credibility in a part of the world where you’re not living.
People like you manage by blowing up online, on email lists, on social media. I’ve met people on the road who say they run 100k+ businesses purely based on getting referrals from and cold calling in the same field as their old job back home, but I’m always a little skeptical when I hear their stories – and none seem that settled.
You seem to have a lot more permanence, because you’re dominating some/creating your own consumer marketing channels back to the West…and I’m not sure there’s really another way.”
I’ve always said…
Live in the East.
Business in the West.
I don’t think there’s any other way, really. I don’t see any appeal whatsoever in trying to start a business overseas, unless you’ve got a real, passionate desire to open and run a restaurant, or something else of the sort.
In fact, the general visa/bureaucracy/hassle of trying to open a business is probably enough to dissuade most people (if they’re not already dissuaded by citizenship/residence) kind of things.
But, it’s actually very, very easy to build a “brand” online when you live abroad. Namely, because you have an actual interesting life. The stuff I do here on a day-to-day basis just doesn’t register in the mind of most people. They look up to it.
Personally, though, I’ve got no desire to do the whole cold-calling route.
Rather, my new marketing agency is mostly just taking clients by word of mouth, as they come, as we don’t really “need” the clients because of the other businesses. We’re taking the projects we want and not actively working on bringing in new, for now.
Besides, if you put in all the effort to MOVE ABROAD to a FOREIGN COUNTRY…
Do you REALLY want to be having to cold-call to the Western world when you are 7, 8, 9, 10 hours ahead of them?
Working all night?
I’ve had a few friends who live abroad but are still tied to the American working hours for their remote gig, and trust me when I say, it really does tend to suck a little bit of the appeal out of the whole living in a foreign country and traveling thing…
The simplest model to make “passive” income while abroad is to sell someone else’s product and take a hefty commission on it. I don’t know of a business model that takes less time, requires no skills besides penning a few articles, and generally just simple to run while you sleep.