by Elizabeth Kruempelmann
Is this you?
You are looking for a job in a foreign country. You’re facing at least one of the following obstacles, and it is starting to get tough:
You don’t have a work permit
Job prospects are sparse
You want a flexible work schedule
You are running out of money
You don’t know where to look next
What do you do?
If you live overseas looking for a job and have not been able to get hired by a company, it may be time for a different approach.
Here is a quick and easy answer that can open up many kinds of exciting and profitable opportunities for you:
Start thinking like a business owner rather than a job hunter.
Set up your own consulting or freelance business, and start to scout for clients, not a job. Send out brilliant business proposals instead of résumés. Have business meetings with potential clients instead of interviews with potential employers.
Propose clever ideas for improving your client’s business. And when the time is right and your client is ready, name your price. They can accept it or reject it, but eventually you will probably end up negotiating the terms, just like you would when accepting a job offer.
Setting up your own business is not as hard as it sounds. And, it is a little-known trick to potentially getting around the work-permit issue - at least for a one-person business in the short run. (If you want to set yourself up as a corporation with more employees than just yourself, the process becomes more complicated but can be done with the help of lawyer.) Plus, having your own business can open up worldwide opportunities, as well as multiple streams of income, which can lead to quick income as well as a flexible lifestyle.
Setting up your own business is a perfect solution for expat professionals looking for ways to use their professional skills locally, on a full or part-time basis, and can be a particularly fitting solution for expat mothers who want flexibility to care for the family while still enjoying professional fulfillment.
Thinking like a business owner can help you create your own exciting and profitable opportunity abroad in at least three ways:
1. Get Your Foot in the Door to a Company
By setting yourself up as a consultant or freelancer, you may also be able to sell yourself to a company. Instead of hiring you as a full-time employee, a company can hire you on a contract basis, which may be an advantage for both of you. In the future, you could be considered for a long-term position if one becomes available.
Additionally, in many countries the company might be able to avoid paying expensive social security and other taxes by hiring you as a consultant. This is a good negotiating point when you are trying to convince a company to hire you as a consultant.
2. Create a Portable Career
If you move from country to country every few months to every few years, you may desire a portable job and career that you can take with you wherever you go. You can do lots of interesting work from a laptop, including writing, website development, graphic design, software design, content development, research, translation work, business consulting and many other Internet-related jobs.
3. Be Inspired by other Expat Entrepreneurs
Find out how other people are living and working overseas. If you hear ideas that strike your fancy, make contact with the folks and ask them for advice. One middle-aged American couple buys and restores old farmhouses and rents them out to tourists. Another American living abroad gives seminars and workshops in photography and art. And one woman who lives abroad permanently uses her graphic skills to design newsletters for clients in the United States. These people are living where they want and the way they want. And with a little ingenuity, you can too
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