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Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Blog, Life overseas, Miscellaneous | 1 comment

6 (crap) excuses you tell yourself

6 (crap) excuses you tell yourself

We all do it, and we know we do it.  The big, life changing decisions are the ones you often leave until the absolute last minute… after you have done the dishes, cleaned up the house, done your taxes and paired all those uneven socks.  Over the years I have heard lots of excuses about why people aren’t pursuing the life that could make them happier. I am guilty of using these, as are you.  It’s important to remind yourself occasionally why they are a load of cr*p.

  1. My career is at a crucial point.

Whatever age you are at– from university graduate to being in the workforce for 20 years – you can always find a reason to think your career is at a pivotal stage. You might be only 9 months from a promotion, or in the middle of a really valuable project that people are relying on you to complete, or at the start of your working life and receiving a lot of pressure to jump into the job market immediately.

The point is, a career will always be there for you. Desk jobs aren’t going anywhere. It is more likely that the opportunity to move overseas for a few years and have a great adventure as a destination entrepreneur is the thing that has a clock on it.

  1. I can’t afford it

As I have previously explored, the cost of living in many developing countries can be ridiculously cheap, and the amount you currently pay for your rent has the potential to fund a fairly comfortable lifestyle abroad.   If you choose your location wisely, money is not going to be the thing that prevents you from sallying forth.

There are also many grants, competitions and incubators that can provide funds for your adventure. If this isn’t an option for you, there are many simple business ideas that generate profit from the first day of operation and require minimal cost to set up. All of this means that the cost of moving abroad is likely not an issue if you approach it with enough thought and planning.

  1. I am pretty settled right now, I’ll do it next year

You’ll always find an excuse to put it off, whether it be a job, a partner, family or friends. There is no ‘perfect time’, and if you are waiting for it then it will never end up happening. You just have to decide you are doing to do it, and take the plunge. You can be settled in your old age. Right now, you have living to do.

  1. I don’t know what business I would start, or what country I want to live in

The vast majority of destination entrepreneurs I have talked with over the years have initially had no idea what business they would start. Many even had no clue what country would be a good fit for them. The answers typically came to them from the experiences they gained while traveling.

They either got exposure to good opportunities simply by being in a different country while surrounded by potential customers, or business ideas became obvious while doing research on the ground and talking to both locals and fellow expats. Regardless of the exact method, you have to get off your ass and make this happen.  The answers are not going to magically appear in your christmas stocking.

  1. I don’t have enough experience yet

I would argue that you get the most value from being a destination entrepreneur when you have the least experience. Not only do you get to mingle with different people and cultures and get out of your comfort zone, but it’s like a mini-MBA. You learn, through the school of hard knocks, how to set up and run a business. Many people pay $50,000 to $100,000 for that experience in school. You get to do it for free … by the beach.  Besides, all successful entrepreneurs everywhere in the world were inexperienced at some point. There is no reason to let it stop you.

  1. I don’t speak the language

Of all of the excuses in this list, this one is the scariest in my opinion.

Moving to an awesome location?  Sign me up. Opening a business doing something you love?  That sounds like a lot of fun. Learning a new language? Ummm…. not so sure about that one.  I only speak two languages – Australian English (basic proficiency) and gibberish (fluent).

So, if you are anything like me, this one could be a little daunting.  The good news is that there are three ways around this issue:

  • The first is to learn the language. A surprising number of people do this. Bonnie in Costa Rica didn’t speak the language when she moved there from the US, and Bianca in the Dominican Republic had to learn Spanish from scratch. Both of these women learned the language through immersion (living in the country) combined with formal lessons.
  • The second way is restrict yourself to countries that already speak your language. Sure, it limits your options.  But if English is your thing, there are still large parts of Africa and the South Pacific open to you, and there are probably many English speaking enclaves in Latin America and Asia where you would be just fine. It just takes a little extra research to find out where you could go.
  • The third way is to find a local business partner who speaks the language and who can act as your go-between and translator. I would argue this is the hardest, and riskiest option. It is however, something you could seriously consider if you found the right person.

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Did I miss any excuses?

Photo Credit: Krissy Venosdale

1 Comment

  1. Most of these excuses happen when people fall into the trap of marginal thinking. A lot of people say, “just 6 more months in this job,” forgetting that a few ‘6 more months’ later they will be an entirely different person, and probably further from their goals than ever before. Alternatively, 6 months in another career would totally change them for the better.
    Clay Christensen and James Allworth have a great explanation of this in their book “How Will You Measure Your Life”, summarized here: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/7007.html

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