Many people have a desire to work and live overseas, but put their aspirations on hold because they assume that working abroad is an impossible dream that is reserved for a lucky few who have special skills, education, or specific connections.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, earning a living abroad is often fairly easy, and with the right research and planning, anyone can do it if they want to.
Finding a Job Overseas
Finding a way to support yourself or your family is often the most stressful part of moving abroad, but it does not have to be any more stressful to find a job overseas than it is to find work in the United States. There are a multitude of possibilities:
- Find work in a new occupation
- Transfer overseas to work within the same company you’re currently employed with in the States
- Start your own business in the new country of choice
- Seek job opportunities for remote workers
- Become a freelancer
Secure Employment in a New or Existing Career
Often it is possible to secure work in advance. When you know ahead of time that you have a productive job waiting for you before making your move, much else in the major life transition of expatriation will become easier. Neighborhood, community, social life, transportation, and similar concerns all become non-issues when you already have a position, as your job and its location will often affect much of the rest your lifestyle and circumstances.
If the possibility of transfer within your current company is an option, you’re golden; a great place to start is by seeking information from your company’s HR department about the possibilities.
Working within your career path, but for a different company, may present more of a challenge, but depending on what you do, it is not impossible. A good old-fashioned Internet search for “jobs overseas” is where you should begin.
Start Your Own Business
Starting your own business is a terrific way to earn a living, regardless of where you are in the world, but starting your own business overseas may require a little extra legwork, depending on your venture. If your company is an online startup, you may not need to think about too much other than your target market, but if it is a brick and mortar office or store, you’ll need to find out regulations in your target country, as well as licensing, business practices, accounting, employment laws and more.
Depending on your financial resources, starting your own business may even help you with qualifications for residency as some countries have a residency clause that give allowance for people who invest a certain amount of money in the economy.
Remote Work and Freelancing
A recent study showed that by 2020, 40% of the US population will be working remotely. Many companies are beginning to realize the value and savings of working with remote employees, so there are plenty of job opportunities to be found on Craig’s List , Monster.com, and other employment listing websites. If you like the idea of a steady paycheck, but want to be able to earn it from anywhere, remote work as an employee is a great way to go.
Freelancing, on the other hand, gives a much broader level of freedom; while it does not have the security of that steady income, it does allow you to do what you love, work from where you want, work when you want, and work how you want (in your PJs, at your desk, or next to your pool for example), and freelancing gigs are plentiful as well as easy to find. There are a number of freelance jobs available out there for writers, designers, programmers, developers, SEOs, digital marketers, social media practitioners, virtual assistants, and more. Websites like Freelancer.com or Odesk are perfect places to start and some countries, like Germany, even have special artist freelance work visas or residency qualifiers for freelancers.
Living and working abroad does not have to be an impossible dream. There are an abundance of opportunities for the individual who does his homework. With the right attitude and sufficient perseverance, you too can be packing up your life and shipping it overseas before your friends and family can say, “bon voyage”.