*The UK is no longer part of the EU and therefore while the information in the following Blog was correct at the time of writing, it would be best to gain more current information.
Self-employed and Working Abroad
Technological advancements have brought the age of the digital nomad; mobile phones and the internet being at the forefront of almost everything we do. Want to know what the weather will be like tomorrow? Rather than waiting for the weather news to come on the TV, the answer is now at the press of a button. Digital nomads make an income from travelling and working; whether you want to work for yourself and travel or set up shop in Spain, it has never been easier than now. Sitting in a beach hut with the ocean as your view doesn’t sound like a bad office space to anyone. However, there are pros and cons of being self-employed overseas, you need to take into consideration every aspect of free-lancing in your trade, as well as the benefits and limitations that may be presented whilst working abroad.
Can I Be Self-Employed and Live Abroad?
Yes! Living abroad and being self-employed is becoming more common. In 2017, 66% of British citizens living in *EU were of working age. The most common freelance work abroad is that within content creation and digital work:
- Graphic Designers
- Digital Marketers
- Web and Software Developers
- Sounds and Video Editors
- 3D Modeling and CAD designers
- Interpreters and Translators
Depending on what your skill set is, you will be able to determine whether being self-employed abroad would work for you. If you can do your work remotely quite easily, for example a copywriter or photographer, then working abroad will be just like being self-employed within the UK. However, you might find it harder to become successful in the plumbing industry due to local competition and whether there is a good market for it.
The Legal Side of Being Self-Employed Overseas
You will need to do your research about the country where you will be setting up home (whether that is a temporary or permanent location). Visas and licensing requirements can be different depending on what country you go to, be sure to start your application early as if you provide all the correct paperwork you should be able to get a visa in around 3-4 months. Make sure everything has been approved before you jump ship to your new home.
Another thing you must think about is taxation regulations. Consult an accountant to get the right advice on how to stay compliant within your home country and the new country you are moving to. If you’re living abroad but still freelancing or are self-employed to a company in the UK there is advice for this on the GOV.UK website.
Moving abroad and working for yourself has many benefits and it isn’t just getting a good tan!
- Work anywhere in the world
Whether your ideal destination is somewhere on a beach in the Caribbean or within the cultural Florence in Italy; there is somewhere that you will love and want to call your home. If you have the correct skillset, you can work anywhere within your means. The world really is your oyster!
- Travel and work
If you would rather not settle down in one place just yet then travel and work, pick up work along the way by freelancing and keep up relationships with your existing clients, and work as a nomad. Nomads usually travel between countries and stay in one place for 3 months at the most. Being self-employed and travelling is not an uncommon thing and a trend that will keep growing this decade.
- Start a new chapter
If you feel like you need to start a new chapter in your life; whether life is just getting a bit boring or you want a new adventure, think about moving and setting up somewhere new. It’s a liberating experience, never mind working in a new country too!
- Learn and Live
Learn and live in your new home. You can work in your trade whilst learning a new language, culture and way of life. It will be different from home, but it is now a new home-away-from-home.
- Specialise your skillset
Having clients all over the world or experience in two different countries is very impressive. Working with people from other companies and countries will make you refine and specialise in your trade and skill set.
- Office Space
The amazing thing about self-employment and freelancing abroad is that there are spaces for people to co-work. These co-working offices are getting more popular around the world and usually offer a spacious workspace, Wi-Fi and a calm area to work.
- Gaining a reputation
You need to already have a bit of a reputation or a clientele who will stick with your services when you decide to move abroad. By keeping an income coming in from your homeland clients you will put back the risks of business not going smoothly abroad.
If you are moving abroad for the first time, or travelling for a long period, you will most likely experience homesickness. However, this con shouldn’t be taken too seriously, as there is such good technology that you won’t be short of conversations with people from home!
- Running Away
The biggest con to this is running away from your life. No matter what your life will follow you, so don’t go and set up somewhere new to get away from situations existing in your life. Face them head on and push back this idea for the time being; once you’re ready to take this step, you will know.
The Top 5 Destinations for Self-Employment
Canggu, Bali – Indonesia
Find out more about Indonesia.
Budapest – Hungary
Find out about Hungary.
Lisbon – Portugal
Find out more about Portugal.
Chang Mai – Thailand
Find out more about Thailand.
Tenerife – Spain
Find out more about Spain.