The expat life. A lot of men out there are considering location-independent entrepreneurship, and a transition to making their living all online.
You may have heard the term ”digital nomad” before, but that’s not really what I’m talking about here. (although following my advice in this article could preclude that too)
More specifically, I’m talking about expatriating.
What is expatriation? What does it mean? For the new guys: expatriation is the act of picking up your life and belongings, and moving to a different country to live and work.
Most of you know this term already though.
If you’re one of the men considering this lifestyle move, then today is your lucky day.
In this article, I’m going to give you THE top 8 iron-clad rules to follow and consider before you start to seriously contemplate expatriation.
This is a major life decision and is not one that should be taken lightly. Its also not something you should rush into, without thinking it through first.
I do commend you however, for having thoughts of doing this. This is not something the average person would ever even begin to consider for their lives.
Most people are sheep, most people live their lives in fear, never taking chances. They never venture past what is considered the ”safe” thing to do.
I could write a whole other article on this, but I think you know where I’m going with that.
Most people simply have no balls, are scared to death of taking risks. They’ll live out the remainder of their days, living lives of ”quiet desperation”. They’ll never reach their full potential, and never see all the sights and experiences the rest of the world has to offer.
Yes there is a BIG world out there.
And with the advent of the internet and technology,
It has never in history, been as easy to do something like expatriate to another country as it today.
Its never been as easy to live an expat lifestyle.
Of course, it isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. Neither is this blog however (or my YouTube channel)
The Expat lifestyle, was largely made famous by the book ”The 4 Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferris back in 2007.
Don’t be fooled by the title: you cannot run a successful business working only 4 hours a week.
Hopefully, you know that already.
In the beginning actually: you’d better be prepared to work when you arrive there (15-16 hours a day ideally).
Despite the title, the book is incredible however. I’m sure if becoming an expat is something you’re considering, then chances are you’ve probably already read this book.
Expatriation is something I’ve been considering for myself, for the last 4 years now.
I’m 6 months away from this finally becoming a reality. The only reason however that it’s actually about to happen for me, was because I adhered to the items you are about to read on my list below.
When I first came up with the idea to do this, I was ecstatic, I couldn’t sleep at night.
However, I was very misinformed about the actual reality of what I was considering. There was a lot I was not yet taking into account, and a lot I was neglecting to consider. I soon realized that if I wanted to actually make this happen, I was going to have to get serious about certain things.
Important matters I needed to check off my to-do list.
Those items I came to realize, were as follows.
What To Do Before You Pack Up & Expatriate To Another Country:
1.) Pay off ALL your credit cards and personal loans.
This realization hit me hard and it hit me heavy. When I started my business (the one I’m about to sell) several years ago, I got into trouble with money. I borrowed and borrowed and borrowed. One reason for this, was because I was sort of ”thrust into” this business (because I didn’t know how to do anything else).
Before I had my own company, I worked as a 1099 for another one. When things went south with that (and because what I’d been doing for them was all I knew how to do), I felt I had no choice but to do the same thing. The only difference now was I’d be going into business for myself.
I wasn’t prepared for the upfront financial costs that were associated with starting my own business with it.
Some of the debt I borrowed I was able to pay back, but a lot it I didn’t pay back. My credit cards got closed out and my debts were sold over to collection agencies.
I ended up hiring a Dave Ramsey financial coach at the time, to help me get me back on track. He helped me settle with these collection agencies. It was a nightmare to go through, as you can imagine. Hopefully this is not the situation that you’re currently faced with.
If it IS however, or if there is any money at all that you owe to someone, then as a man it is your duty and responsibility to settle this debt!
DO NOT move abroad, still owing on a credit card or a private loan. You can try to ignore the fact you haven’t given them their money, but sooner or later: it WILL matter. It won’t be something you can ignore FOREVER.
2.) Get $15,000 Saved Up As An Emergency Fund.
If there was ever a time to have an emergency fund saved up, this is it. You need to be prepared in case the shit hits the fan once you arrive (or shortly after arriving). You don’t ever want to put yourself in a compromising position, especially when in a foreign country.
Having 15K saved up will also lift a tremendous weight off your shoulders. 15K saved will allow you to work in peace once you get there. It will allow you to think rationally, critically, and will allow you more creative day to day thoughts and energy. When people are stressed about money, they make very poor, impulsive and desperate decisions.
Financial struggle is the last thing you want to experience, right after you’ve just packed up your whole life and moved. Especially to a foreign country. On the contrary: you want to be in the opposite situation. You want to make wise, non-impulsive, well-thought-out, and carefully considered decisions.
Your online business deserves this from you.
And even if your business is not brand new (and it shouldn’t be by the way, more on this in a minute), it will be new in the sense that now you’re essentially going ”all-in” on it. Whereas before it was simply just your side project.
If you won’t save up an emergency fund for something like expatriation to a foreign country, then you won’t save one up for anything. Let’s just be honest here.
3.) Make damn sure you are already earning money every day, off whatever business it is you are going over there to build. You need to ALREADY have money coming in.
This one is important, maybe the most important one on this whole list actually. Here’s what I mean by this: DON’T move somewhere abroad, and THEN start working on a new internet business.
You should have already started it by that point.
Not doing this, could turn into a recipe for disaster real quick.
You have to know whether your idea for your internet business, is even going to earn you money. If its something people will want to buy. This should be common sense, but I do have to mention this. Because although this is common sense to me, for younger more inexperienced entrepreneurs, it might not be as obvious.
Starting a business (any business) is HARD. It requires basically ALL of your mental faculties, energy, focus, and dedication. And even when you give it all of those things, sometimes it STILL doesn’t pan out. Businesses fail when a person incorrectly judges its ability to make money. When someone misjudges its ability to appeal to people’s needs and desires.
One of the smallest-earning internet businesses you could start is a blog, YouTube channel, and/or a podcast. A business as a ”content creator” essentially.
Despite this, many folks still choose to go this route.
Oftentimes these end up being online ”life-coaches”, although many will despise that title. For a business like this, then you want to be earning at least $65 a day (as of 2020) from your brand. Which should be a combination of a blog, YouTube channel, and a podcast. This amounts to about $1,900 a month.
If you live somewhere where you can stretch the value of your currency, or dollar, then this is very doable.
You should aim to live in a country, where the value of your currency can stretch 2-3X as far.
If you manage to find a country where you can stretch the value of your currency 3X as far, then only earning $1,900 a month is the equivalent of earning $5,700 a month back home. Over the year, that could FEEL like you’re making $68,400.
In the United States for example, this is a decent living for most people (if you stick to a budget).
Remember I’m using an online ”content-creation” business as an example here, but there are many other ways to make money online (most of which will be a lot faster to put money in your pocket than a blog, YouTube channel and podcast will).
I’m using the word ”and” for a reason right there (instead of ”or”), because it’s also very likely if you DO go the content creation route, that you’ll have to have all 3 of these going on at once before you get to that $65 a day. The reason for this is because you’ll probably need to have a somewhat loyal following first, before earning $65 a day will be possible.
Oh and social media as well: you’ll basically need to have that going at the same time as well. Namely: Twitter and Instagram.
The biggest problem you’ll encounter (using content creation as an example), is most likely going to be the inability to be consistent every day, with these 4 (blog articles, recording and uploading YouTube videos, podcasts, and making social media posts).
This inconsistency issue could be the top reason you’re wanting to move abroad actually. The reason you’re wanting to do this whole ”expatriation” thing in the 1st place (it was for me)
So you can go ”all-in” and work 15-16 hours a day to get consistency going with these 4 things.
This is why I’m saying just get to a point where you can earn $65 a day (instead of $200 a day).
If you start a content-creation business and work on it say 3 hours a day, as consistently as possible for 3-4 years, then you could probably be making $65 a day, by the end of your 3rd year (or 4th year on the longer end).
And as far as $200 a day is concerned, well it will take you longer (as a content creator) to get to that point unless you’re doing this full time. At only 3 hours a day, it’s simply going to take you longer, period.
There will always be exceptions, but speaking for most people, everything I’m saying here will hold true.
This is all ”expectation-management” by the way guys, if you haven’t figured that out by now.
Also, understand this: your 1st 1-2 blogs or channels, probably will not work out. This is especially true if you’re still in your 20’s. I was no exception to this: my 1st blog didn’t work out, and I had to pull the plug on it and take a different approach. In your 20’s, generally speaking, you just simply don’t have enough life experience, wisdom, trial and error, and knowledge.
That’s probably very frustrating to you guys reading this that are still in your 20’s, and are on your 1st or 2nd blogs, but I’m just being honest with you about how these things usually go.
Lastly: there are other ways to earn a living online, as an entrepreneur. Content creation is only one of them. Others include (but are not limited to): dropshipping, an e-commerce store, Fiverr or Upwork service jobs, or Amazon FBA.
Do your research before investing too much of yourself into these!
They may be what is best for you, but you want to be as sure as possible beforehand.
4.) Being able to sell an asset, prior to leaving, that will give you additional money to live on would be ideal & could mean the difference between you expatriating, or not expatriating.
This is the one that saved my ass as far as my ability to actually do this. That means it could be the one that ends up saving your ass as well. If didn’t have a business (an asset) that I could eventually sell, then there is no way expatriating would have been doable for me.
Let me give you some cold hard #’s so you know what it is I’m talking about here:
Using myself as an example, with the sale of my business I’ll be getting a $10,000 down payment (before taxes), and a payoff monthly income of roughly $2,000 a month (over 3 years).
So can you see now see how having this income coming to me every month, is going to help me be able to actually expatriate?
This is especially ass-saving in my case. In my case, the income I’m currently getting every month from this blog, and my YouTube channel, is still not consistent. So until it gets consistent, I can at least rely on this 2K a month of income.
The reason this is the case for me, is because I’ve only been able to devote about 2 hours a day to my blog & channel (since starting them). Anymore than that, with the crazy, time-consuming business that I run, just wouldn’t have been possible.
So this whole 4th step here, unfortunately, is the one that won’t be possible for some of you.
Even with this $ coming to me each month, I’m still going to have to get a job teaching English overseas. The only difference is I probably won’t have to teach more than a couple days a week, whereas you may have to teach 4 or 5 (if you don’t also have an asset you’re able to sell).
This is why it is so important if you’re reading this right now, that you start thinking of a way to build up an asset, over the next few years, that you can eventually sell right before you move abroad.
This could be anything from a business like mine, to a house, or some type of interest-earning account for example.
(any asset at all that you have the ability to commit to, and build up over the next 3-4 years)
This might be the one step in this article, that makes you realize the reality of this happening for you, is still a few years away.
You want to know something though?
That is fine.
There’s nothing wrong with this. Especially if you’re still in your mid or even your late 20’s, because of how much life runway you still have. Sure this realization might suck a little at first, but you want to do this right don’t you?
You don’t want to go over there, burn through the little money you do have, and have to come back after a few months with your tail tucked between your legs.
Trust me that is the LAST scenario that you want out of this experience, and yes this does happen to people who attempt this, every day. It’s happening somewhere right now, there’s a ”want to be digital expat” who’s having to pack all his shit back up and come home to his parents. Come back home to his family and friends, who will be waiting there to tell him ”I told you so”.
My God that must suck.
His confidence and self-esteem will be shattered to a million pieces, which God knows what will do his self-image. So yes guys: you may have to wait a few more years before this whole thing can realistically happen for you my friend.
My job is to tell you the truth, so that’s what I’m going to do, even if that truth hurts.
They say patience is a virtue, and this is a glaring example of why. This is why visualization of your future is so goddamn important because IF this ends up being the case for you, you’ll have to burn the image of this future (living abroad) into your head, for years, before you’ll actually be able to experience it.
5.) Consider teaching English 2-3 days a week while you’re there, as an additional way to make money.
This one is kind of a no brainier. Its also probably one of the 1st things you thought of when first considering a move abroad. You’ll likely have to teach English anyway, simply because you’ll need the income from it.
English is the most sought-after language in the world. That translates to a big demand for people willing to teach it overseas.
People hold the English language in a very high regard, and there will always be plenty of people that will take a class in an effort to learn it. Even if only to just significantly improve their ability to speak it.
6.) Pick somewhere where the value of your currency or dollar, stretches 2-3X as far.
This one, is probably going to be extremely important for you, unless you’re just in a situation where money is not an issue. Most of you reading and considering this lifestyle move however, will not fall into that boat. Most of you will need to be able to stretch your dollar, as far as it will go.
That being said, without a doubt this one is actually the most important point on this whole list.
One of the main reasons for this will be because your income is probably going to take a temporary hit upon leaving your corporate job in the States (or wherever your home country is).
If you’re at the point where you’re turning your side gig, into your main gig, then chances are you’re not quite yet at the point where the income you’re generating, equally replaces what your corporate job was giving you.
Here is a list of some countries and places where the cost of living is pretty low:
1.) Ukraine (Odessa, Kiev, Kharkiv, or Kyiv)
Kiev will be slightly more pricey than the other 3.
2.) Belgrade, Serbia
3.) Tallinn, Estonia
4.) Prague, Czech Republic
5.) Chaing Mai, Thailand
6.) Medellin, Columbia
Some of these places are less expensive than other ones. What you really should do however is study the reference I outline below.
I encourage you to do your due diligence and research all these places on the internet. There is a wealth of information available online nowadays that wasn’t there 15 years ago. It’s all just a few clicks away on your phone.
This is a crucial step, and you should not skimp on any part of this one when trying to arrive at your final decision.
Google has a very handy, easy to use currency translation calculator. I also recommend you study these website’s and guide’s thoroughly:
And (if you can afford it) enlist the help of these people:
7.) Be willing to study and learn the local language, for several months prior to moving there.
Some consideration should also be given, to how many people in the city you’re moving to, actually speak your language (or not). Get a good feel for what range the locals fall on (fluency of a scale of 1-10), as far as their ability to speak English is concerned.
If most of them don’t speak good English, then great, just so long as you are aware of this before you get there. And if this IS the case, hopefully, you’ve devoted 45 a minutes a day, towards learning their language in the 4-6 months prior to arriving.
These are rookie mistakes guy. Hopefully you realize that already and this isn’t big news I dropped on you right here.
You should also give some thought as to how difficult the language is to learn in the 1st place (on a scale of 1-10).
Some languages are much harder to learn than others are. It’s worth your time to look into this first before you invest a lot of your time and money into learning a particular one.
Here are 4 examples of the harder languages to learn: Japanese, Mandarin, Arabic, and Finnish.
Take this into account, when arriving at a final decision. You should definitely learn a language by the way, it will make you more interesting and you’ll get more out of the experience that way.
8.) If women are (one) of the reasons you’re expatriating, then make sure you familiarize yourself with the culture & their women. Do diligent research, don’t assume you know anything without thorough research it 1st.
To fully illustrate this, let me use myself as an example for this one.
I personally had thought I settled on the final decision to move to Ukraine as my expatriation location. However, after doing some research into what the women were like there, I had 2nd thoughts. Not because there is anything wrong with Ukrainian women, but because I realized they weren’t quite what I was looking for. At least not this particular point in my life.
The unique qualities the women of a particular culture have, ideally should be in line with what you’re wanting in your life. Those two may not always line up.
Ukrainian women almost were what I was ready for, but not quite. Basically what I found out through my research, was that Ukrainian women would be better for me to pursue once I’m finally at that point in my life, where I’m ready to commit to just one woman.
In Ukraine for example, there is no ”dating” culture. It’s not like America where girls and guys will date multiple people at once, and may not always necessarily jump head-first into a relationship, just because they sleep with someone.
From what I’ve heard, this is not the case with Ukrainian women. If they sleep with you, then its a very big deal to them (for the most part). If they do, I heard that most of them are under the impression they are now your new girlfriend. And I heard this from more than one source by the way (more than two actually).
I didn’t like this idea, although I would be all for this if (once again) I was at the point in my life where I was ready to commit myself fully to one of them.
When I am, it will come at a point in my life when I’m older (between the ages of 38-43).
It just so happens by the way, that many Ukrainian women actually like older men anyway. They don’t pay consideration to older age in a man, in the same way, most American girls would.
In the Ukrainian culture for example, its more acceptable for the women to date older men.
I also heard that for day game (specifically the London Day Game model), Ukraine is not really the best place to do it. I’m a bigger fan of day game at this point in my life, as opposed to bars and clubs (night game).
The reason Ukraine is not the ideal for day game, is simply because women there have to be very careful around men they don’t know yet. They essentially have to be very mistrusting as a way to keep themselves safe, from the possibility of getting physically assaulted.
This is a real threat over there, unlike America where the media just wants you to think it’s very common.
The police over there don’t give much care or concern to women who get assaulted or raped by men. In their eyes: these women shouldn’t have been so stupid as to go over to the man’s apartment in the 1st place.
Women in Ukraine then, naturally, are therefore much more distrusting of men they don’t know already. Of men they haven’t yet been introduced to. Most women over there meet men, through a formal introduction from someone they know. This is part of their culture. So as you can probably see, this doesn’t lend itself very well to something like ”day game.”
So if you’re a single man, looking to improve your game or dating skills with women (which most of you should be), then just know there are certain countries/cities that are better for day game than others.
For me (and other guys like me who’re burned out on night game or going online), day game therefore is very important. While we’re on this subject by the way, here’s a quick list of cities that are excellent for the London day game model:
1.) London, England
2.) New York City, New York
3.) Chicago, IL
4.) San Diego, CA
5.) Medellin, Columbia
6.) Rio De Janirio, Brazil
7.) Belgrade, Serbia
A quick point: this should go without saying: but make sure you do your due diligence on what the process is for obtaining a VISA to the country you’re considering. Some countries are harder to get VISA’s for than others are. Make sure you start looking into this at least 5 months before you’re planning on moving there (sooner if possible).
So as you can see folks, this is not something you should just rush into, without thinking it all through first. I wish more people had the balls to consider things like this. It would be less frustrating.
I feel for those guys however, who didn’t have articles like this one, and who attempted this and had come back home. Came back home with their tails between their legs because they didn’t map it all out properly.
Guys timing is everything. You always need to live your life like a chess player and think 2-3 steps ahead. Failing to plan, is planning to fail.
Good luck to you in your expatriation journey. The road paved out before you will not be a smooth one, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster either. Make things easier on yourself, and heed the advice I’ve given you here in this article.