Live & Work Abroad as a Female Entrepreneur Pt. 1

The fierce woman has arrived and she’s taking on the world!

She’s looking for more out of life than what’s expected of her. She doesn’t want to take orders from others and she isn’t playing into typical stereotypes. She’s kind, intelligent, bold, fierce, AND filled with adventure.

Her goal? Work she loves that allows her to travel the world and live abroad.

Well, it just so happened that I decided to do all of that.

READ: My Brand Relaunch: Introducing The Quirky Pineapple Studio

To be honest, I don’t think I knew I wanted this to be my lifestyle until I had a little taste of what it was like to live abroad.

For two years, I lived and worked in Spain. Afterward, I moved back home to Corporate America and did all the things my friends were doing. I went out, I worked a 9-5 job, and I even thought about buying a car!

I think realized this wasn’t the lifestyle that I wanted, so I quit my full-time job and started my own business. To add to the excitement after I quit my job, two weeks later, I hopped on a one-way flight and moved permanently to Madrid, Spain.

How’d I do it? I’m sharing everything I needed to figure out beforehand, during the moving process, and what it’s like living abroad in a new country, culture, and whole other language!


Can you take your business abroad?

If you’re like me – working for someone else just isn’t your cup of tea. And if we’re basically soul-sisters – travel always calls at you. It calls you to jump on the next plane, grab a train ticket, or hop in your car for an impromptu road trip!

When I started my business, I knew I wanted something that allowed me to travel and work. A job that only required my laptop, reliable WiFi, and an external hard drive (those are important, by the way – you should really have two). So, I turned my lifestyle and travel blog into a copywriting and content strategy virtual studio for businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry. Now, I work with clients from all over the world in both English and Spanish!


You’ve already started your business, now it’s time to figure out if you can take it on the road with you! The first question to ask is, where do most of your clients come from? Can they be found online or are they specifically based in one area? Here are some resources I’ve used to find clients online:

  • Upwork
  • Facebook
  • Facebook Groups
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Word of mouth (referrals or recommendations)
  • Mastermind groups (paid or free)
  • Membership sites (paid)

If you’re unsure if your business can be taken abroad, these are examples of jobs that can be taken on the road:

  • Writer
  • Photographer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Digital Marketer
  • Website Developer
  • Editor
  • Strategist
  • Coach
  • And more!

Most of these professions allow you to work from anywhere, with anyone.

Picking a new place to live

Probably one of the hardest decisions I had to make was picking a new place to live (and the visa paperwork). If you are from North America, we have so many options to live and work abroad – either through agencies, companies, or the government!

Although most of these positions will require that you work another job, it’s still an opportunity to live abroad, explore a new culture, and have time to work on your business.

Some options for North Americans are:

  • Working Holiday Visa (to Australia, New Zealand, or Ireland; available up to ages 30-25)
  • Auxiliares de Conversación (program to teach English in Spain
  • Teaching English abroad (in Europe, Southeast Asia, Latin America)
  • Travel companies for Digital Nomads
  • Coworking/co-living spaces
  • Etc.

* PRO TIP: Something to keep in mind is how much money you will be making (or plan to make) with your business and the cost of living in the new country.

Historic building in Malaga, Spain
Málaga, España

The Visa paperwork

As a North American, we have it a bit easier with a strong passport. United States citizens are able to visit countries in the Schengen Zone for up to 3 months. Afterward, you will need to leave the Schengen Zone to “reset” your time. The Schengen Zone includes MANY countries in Europe, allowing US citizens to travel around without needing to leave or go back home.

Something important to consider is how long you want to stay abroad and if you plan on permanently moving or becoming a “digital nomad.”

For me, my fairytale love story brought me back to Spain. I knew that if I were to move, it would be permanently and I needed to bring my business with me. My visa is a bit more complicated because the boyfriend is from Spain. We needed to figure out the logistics to have me stay permanently in Europe – so we opted with a visa called: pareja de hecho, which allows me to stay in Spain with a residency card for up to 5 years.

* PRO TIP: Please consult an immigration lawyer in reagrds to the type of visa paperwork that you will need to take your business abroad or travel as a business owner in different countries.


Brand yourself

Is travel or “new adventures” part of your brand? Is it something that your clients or audience know about you? Will your community be confused if you live and work abroad – or are they just as excited about travel as you are?

Some might say this part of living and working abroad isn’t as important, but I disagree. If your brand doesn’t already include “adventure” as one of its values or inspirations, your audience might be confused about what you do or why you do it.

If your audience is confused, your future clients will be confused. If they’re confused – it means your brand is not clearly expressed. Many clients may take your move and be unsure if you’ll be able to carry out your responsibilities abroad or if you’re “just on vacation” for a long period of time.

Some tips for adding travel to your brand (from a copywriter & content strategist’s point of view):

  • Talk about mini trips you’ve taken in your home country (in social media captions or photos)
  • Introduce the excitement you feel from travel, adventures, exploration
  • Share how new cities, countries, or cultures influence your work
  • Use social media to take your audience around your hometown – like a small tour

Even if you aren’t “traveling”, you’re still showing that changing your point of view is part of your creative process and great for finding inspiration for creativity!

Make sure processes are in place

When you travel and live abroad, you’re adding time zones to your schedule and your work. What does that mean? You could be in a different time zone than some of your clients.

Just because you’re sleeping doesn’t mean that you can’t be marketing yourself, your business, and your brand! And just because your clients are sleeping, doesn’t mean that you can’t create processes to capture leads, grow your business, and more.

Certain processes need to be in place to make life easier: services, work, content creation, lead generation, etc – so that we’re not behind the computer ALL DAY and actually enjoying our new home city!

The Quirky Pineapple Studio working in Spain
Photography by Laura Quintero Photography

The idea of living and working abroad has recently taken a HUGE interest in recent years. The options have grown tremendously – from creatives taking their jobs into their own hands and becoming freelancers, online business owners, and digital nomads! People want jobs that are remote and give them the flexibility to travel, enjoy their life, and do something that they love.

While this seems like a dream – it also comes with its own challenges, that many people don’t talk about. While I LOVE the idea of helping people travel and work abroad and will always tell someone to DO IT if they have the opportunity, it’s not for everyone. There are days where I cry (a lot), days where I feel lonely, and being an entrepreneur is no easy feat. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions – but if this is something that you absolutely want to experience – I say DO IT!

But first, ask yourself this question:

“Do you want to be a digital nomad OR do you want to be location independent?”

The difference is subtle – but understanding what they both are is equally as important. A digital nomad is someone who is just that – a nomad, that works digitally, and moves every so often. Their home base is wherever their suitcase is, calling new places home!

Being location independent, however, can mean that you have your own home, a hub, but aren’t confined or restricted to staying in one place ALL the time. You have the flexibility to come and go as you please, but not living in new areas all the time like a digital nomad does.

What’s your choice? Let me know in the comments below and if you’d like to live and work abroad!

Stay tuned for part two – which breaks down more steps in the process and how to find and build a community abroad. Read part two, here: Live & Work Abroad as a Female Entrepreneur pt. 2!

Enjoyed this post? You might like these, too:
How Much Money to Save Before Moving Abroad: Auxiliares de Conversación
5 Ways to Define Your Brand Personality
The Big “Why” And My Big Dream
Letting Travel Guide My Creative Processes
First Month in Spain & Home Tour!

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Want to live and work abroad as a female entrepreneur? I'm breaking down ALL the steps in this two part series on how to live and work abroad as a female entrepreneur, from prepping, setting up your business, to integrating yourself into your new community. Let's get the adventure started! -- The Quirky Pineapple Studio
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