Moving Abroad to Maximize Self-Employed Profits

You might have had this happen:  You decide on a great business idea and launch your business.  You nurture it from the beginning, investing your time and energy into it.  You know you have a good idea, and business is growing.  But it’s not growing enough to support you–yet.

If your savings is dwindling, what choice do you have?

Sure, you could throw in the towel and close up shop, but you know this business has potential, and every month business is steadily increasing.  You don’t want to walk away.

Another more radical idea may be to move to an area with a cheaper cost of living

My husband and I have thought about doing this.  If we move away from the suburbs of the major city we’re living outside of and move to a quieter area, my freelance money would go much further.

But what if you want to be even more radical?  What about moving out of the country? 

You could move to a country with a much lower cost of living than anywhere in the United States.  Not only would you be able to live off your business income, you’d be able to save, too.  When you move back to the United States, you’d have a nice cushion.

Sound tempting?

Making Your Profits Grow By Moving Abroad

Maximizing self-employed profits by moving abroad.

Benefits of Living Abroad

Before you make the leap to move abroad, consider all of the ramifications.  There are definitely positives to the situation.

1.  Your money would stretch much further, giving you time to nurture your business. 

I visited a friend in China in the late 90s, and I was shocked at how far the American dollar stretched.  I was able to buy dinner for 9 adults and a child at a nice restaurant for less than $15.

My friend that I visited lived there for two years and paid rock bottom prices for housing and food.  She came back to the States with a large bank account.

2.  You’ll have time to devote to your business. 

Because you don’t have to work a day job to survive, you’ll have time to devote to your business.

Genevieve Davis, owner of Easy Name Change, moved abroad with her family to stretch their business dollars.  She states, “Developing countries have large expat communities of teachers, hairdressers, architects, graphic designers, bloggers, writers and so many other professions.  These people can make decent money abroad.  In some cases you only need to work 20 hours a week as you’re making the same hourly wage as you would in the states” (Money Saving Mom).

3.  You’ll be able to perhaps learn another language.

If you immerse yourself in the culture, you’ll be able to possibly learn another language, at least at a rudimentary level.  This is an even bigger benefit if you have young children.

Other Things to Consider

Living abroad is not for the faint of heart.

Depending on where you choose to move, there may be more crime.  You may not have reliable access to quality medical care.  If there is a personal emergency back in the states, you won’t be able to return home as quickly as you would like.

As you’re considering moving abroad, keep these things in mind:

1.  Have money saved. 

Flights that are made last minute are very expensive.  If one of your friends or family was injured, or sick, you’d want to return home.  You’ll need the money to pay for the ticket, which could run $1,000, but likely much more than that.

2.  Determine how to stay connected with loved ones.

If you’re a young family, how will your kids be able to see their grandparents?  You could use Skype, but also have a plan for visits.

3.  Arrange your finances.

How will you accept payment for your work when you’re living abroad?  How will you put money in your state-side savings and retirement accounts?  All of this must be worked out, ideally before you move so that you’ll be able to have the money you’re earning through your business.

4.  Purchase insurance, if necessary.

Americans living abroad often are not qualified for health insurance in their new country.  You’ll likely need to secure health insurance, which isn’t always easy when living abroad.

5.  Meet with an accountant. 

You’ll still be responsible for paying taxes in the U.S. every year, so you’ll want to meet with an accountant to determine your responsibilities.

6.  Have a return plan.

You likely won’t live abroad indefinitely.  Determine when you plan to move back to the U.S.  What financial goals do you want to achieve before that time?  From the moment you move abroad, you’ll likely want to have a plan that you will follow to achieve your financial goals.

Final Word on Maximizing Self-Employed Profits By Moving Abroad

Deciding to live abroad is not an easy decision, but for the adventurous among us, it may be just what’s needed to nurture a growing business while still being able to remain financially solvent.

Have you ever worked abroad? What was your experience like?

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Published or updated August 3, 2014.


  1. I would love to live abroad and stretch my business dollars. It’s something I am considering, but it needs to be the right time. I’d also want to do more research on the tax situation.

  2. So many people overlook the financial side when deciding to travel the world! May be it’s because of the constant romanticizing of moving overseas, they put these ideas in people’s heads that it’s easy and effortless and of course you’ll meet your big love there 😀 This is such a useful post, because bringing the practical side of things in traveling is absolutely lacking at the moment.

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