ENTREPRENEUR IN ANOTHER COUNTRY by Laura Casares.
Starting your own business in another country may be seen as risky and full of fears. And yes, at the beginning it is just like that! But it’s also many other good things!
When you emigrate or live in another country, you are out of your #comfortzone and this situation may give you the impulse to reinvent yourself. In another country you are not any more your job, your family, your status or whatever your identifications were. It’s well known that we learn more from challenges than from comfort and that living in another country raises your creativity.
It´s time to look inside and rediscover yourself. In my personal situation, this has been the case. After four years living in the Netherlands, I decided to quit my job in corporate business and start on my own, as Purpose coach.
For me, the first step was reconnecting with myself and discover my #purpose in life. Which are my skills, what can I do, what have I learnt in my life, what can I offer to the society, which are my motivations, what I like to do......these were constant questions in my head. My recommendation is to offer something that for you is very natural, it is in your essence. Sometimes you will not recognize it, because it is very easy for you, that’s the point, this is your strength.
Then, of course, it is really important to understand the #culture where you are living and think if you can offer your creation to that new society. In my own experience, when you live abroad it takes almost four to five years to really adapt, going through the following phases: wonder, rejection, acceptance and integration. You can start your own business in one of these phases, however, I recommend you to do that at least in the phase of acceptance. Your own business will be very related to your own growth and emotional state.
Before I decided to start, I searched for advice to understand the legal and financial aspects. In the Netherlands starting your own business is a quite simple procedure and there are not many costs involved, so the financial risk in my case was low. I know it is not the same in other countries, so get good advice.
Your business plan is a key factor as it is for all #entrepreneurs. In the past, you had to do a whole book of business plan, nowadays you can just write your ideas in one page. The most important aspects are: Which is your value proposition, Who is your customer, key activities or products that you are offering, how are you going to interact with your customers, your key resources and partners, and your cost structure and revenue stream. The basic point is that you can explain your project showing enthusiasm and that people can feel it comes from your heart.
One of the key difference when you are an entrepreneur abroad is the language and the culture. You need to decide which will be your niche market, who will be your client. If your client is a national, then you need to speak the language, but if you can work online or do business with clients in your own language, then it´s not a big factor.
Often, you can think that if you don´t speak the language perfect it’s a disadvantage. When I decided to start coaching, my first approach was coaching people in my own language, Spanish, as I thought that Dutch people had plenty options in their own language. Funny enough I have now more Dutch customers than Spanish! So, my weakness is also my strength!. I have learnt that if you do your business with purpose and passion, you will engage the right customers for you, so in my case, my language is good enough for them.
Language is one of the first limiting beliefs and of course other limiting beliefs will appear like I am not good enough, I don’t have all the knowledge, who would like to have my product or service, I am from another country etc. But the fact that you have emigrated shows also a lot of courage, openness and will to learn, so look for support to dissolve the limiting beliefs and just do what it’s natural in you. The fact that you are a foreigner is also your personal touch and there is a lot of people who appreciate that, cultural diversity is richness!
Be open and flexible to the unknown and enjoy the ride. As an entrepreneur and foreigner you will face many challenges, some of them will be business related other culture shocks and other personal blockages, so embrace everything. All the experiences will make you grow and learn, all the situations are necessary for your next stage. Enjoy the process and accept that there will be difficult moments.
Focus on the things you are good at. Many entrepreneurs are stopping their business because they need to focus on things they don’t like. My advice is to focus your energy on your skills and if possible try to delegate or ask
for help with the other things you are not good at.
The last points I would like to mention is that make time to evaluate and celebrate progress. Reserve time to evaluate how the business is going and if you are meeting your expectation or you need to readdress. Every time yo
u do so, evaluate again your purpose and your mission and be honest to yourself: are you happy with the results? It’s still what you want to do? What can you improve? Do you need to change some strategy? Or it’s not what you expected and you want to stop, be honest with you. If it is not working, at least you have tried!
And very important, celebrate what you have accomplished. A lot of people forgets to celebrate and are just focused on the things that are not going well. If you do so, you will feel a constant frustration. You are starting a business in a foreign country! It is a real challenge, so celebrate every step so you get good energy to face the next step and keep your #motivation.
Written by Laura Casares
About the author.
My name is Laura, I am 44 years old and I have one daughter and now I am living in the Netherlands. I was born and raised in Spain. My parents emigrated from Uruguay to Spain and my father died when I just became 8 years old. So my mother raised my little sister and I alone, having her family in another continent. Growing in such a situation already teaches you how #strong can be a woman and the #effort that it means to be alone. So, from a very young age my goal was to study to achieve a good job and be #independent. I achieved my first #goal, I studied, I achieved very good jobs, I became mother and when my daughter was 2 years old I got apart from her father. Again, I proved myself that I was also a strong women rising a child alone and having a good job. However, I still didn´t had the feeling that I was real independent, so, that´s why I started my own business. I also learned that we are not the things we have or the things we have achieved. As I grew up with #limitedresources, I thought that having material things would make things easier, and at some point it does, but just the minimum things, the rest are not making you happier. Actually, we think everything is outside, but instead, happiness, richness and everything is inside yourself.
Pic © Laura Casares from @kasares
Pic by © Still Classics
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