Breaking Free And Starting A Business Overseas

“Kathleen, I enjoy reading your many e-letters, as I find them all interesting and extraordinarily motivating. Overseas living and property investing has been a dream of mine for many years, but it takes a big leap of faith or some cash on hand to make the move.

“I am 30-years-old, with a wife and a beautiful 3-month-old girl, and I work extremely hard, putting in unforgiving hours the past four years as Operations Manager running the Housekeeping Department for a vacation rental management company on the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

“I have 90 employees reporting to me, and the company manages 200-plus vacation rental properties over 40 miles of beach. This leaves me responsible to the owner of the company, in addition to the 175 individual property owners and thousands of weekly vacationing guests.

“I am at a point now where I see something bigger and brighter out there, but I am missing that entry point.

“I am asking you for any off-the-cuff direction. I have tremendous faith in the vacation rental industry but am getting tired of doing everyone else’s dirty work while I can barely save money for my family.

“Would you have any recommendations for how I could pursue a career in vacation property management working overseas so I could make the leap into living and investing internationally?”

— Laik L., United States

Property and rental managers who know what they’re doing are hard to find in many countries, so your experience and skill set would be big assets to any property or rental management company almost anywhere in the world.

In other words, you have the advantage of being in an industry that has a big presence around the world and that is always hungry for competent help.

That said, getting a job as a foreign national is difficult to impossible in most countries. With your impressive history, you might be able to work something out. However, I have another suggestion…

You sound like the kind of guy who would do well with his own business. Think about launching a rental/property management company in the country where you want to live. I’ve known several who have done this with success, and none had anything like the experience you have.

Start by thinking about where you and your family would like to base yourselves. Make a short list of locations that appeal to you and then research the rental management industries in each place. Contact others already working in the field locally. Plan visits to spend time looking at how other operations are operating.

Then make a choice. As you say, it’ll take a leap of faith. And, yes, with a family, you’ll want some capital set by to cover expenses while you get your business up and running–I’d say at least one year’s worth of living costs (which could amount to, say, US$18,000). Plus, you’ll need some capital to invest in your business–but, again, not a huge amount.

If your wife is game, I say go for it. You’re young and hard-working. You seem smart and focused. Your First World experience gives you a serious leg up in a developing market.

The worst thing that could happen is that you and your family could have a year-long adventure overseas. Maybe your business doesn’t take hold…maybe you lose whatever you invest.

I speak from experience when I say that it won’t be easy. But you seem like the kind of guy who could make a go of this.

I wish you the very best of luck.