Why Moving to South East Asia was the Best Business Decision I’ve Ever Made

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship Startup Advice Travel / July 17, 2013

ThailandI live a life that makes a lot of people uncomfortable.

Together with my husband, I run an affiliate marketing business; and up until 7 months ago we were flatlining. You see our business was growing, slowly. Our life was healthy, somewhat. We hired help but could only afford one employee. We craved growth; we so desperately wanted to level up, and we longed to shake things up and add a little discomfort to our lives.

We decided then and there we were going to do it – we were moving to Thailand!

184 days later and it has proven to be the best thing we have ever done for ourselves – both personally and professionally.

From harnessing the power of Geoarbitrage to surrounding ourselves with like-minded digital entrepreneurs, ridding our lives of bad habits to staying uncomfortable; we have been able to catapult our business from one that barely supported our Western lifestyle to five figures a month and the lifestyle we had been dreaming of.

Curious to know how you can do the same thing? Read on.

Leverage Your Precious Time

If there is one thing we entrepreneurs need, it is more time. Back home, we felt as though we had zero.

Every hour of every day was accounted for something – the gym, work, birthdays, family dinners, networking meet ups, brain-picking sessions or a ‘really important [fill in the blank] that we absolutely must attend’.

It can be downright perplexing figuring out how to fit it all into one week and still have the time, and brain space, to develop your business into the money-making, life-enriching, value-providing operation you have been thirsting for.

Not to mention – how the heck are you going to afford to bring someone on to help you when you have only been in business for a short time?

South East Asia, baby!

I know; you can’t just pick up and move to Asia. But, why not?

There are more opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to bootstrap their business than nearly anywhere else in the world. In fact, nowhere else can you make a few thousand a month, hire a small team of outsourcers and still relish in a lifestyle that is considered above average by Western standards.

It is called Geoarbitrage – or Tropicalization –, and it is the process of leveraging lower wage rates in developing countries to create a loyal team that churns out high quality work and helps build your business.

To further my point, let me give you an idea of what is possible: We live in Chiang Mai (Thailand) and spend about $2,000 a month for the two of us. We rarely spare any expense and do almost anything we want here.

It is because of this low cost of living that we have been able to outsource all of our content and social media, hire a web show editor as well as a graphic designer. Not only that but we have recently brought on two virtual assistants who handle all our formatting, guest post sourcing, domain purchasing and transferring, image searches, keyword research, niche research, link outreach and website setup.

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Essentially, we outsource each and every task that makes us money. This, in turn, helps to create some personal white space in our lives and allows us the freedom to work ON our business instead of IN our business.

So, how can you get started with outsourcing?

It’s simple. Start by creating a list with three columns – things you don’t want to do, things you do not know how to do and things you should not be doing. From there, start ticking off the tasks you would feel confident delegating to a virtual assistant.

Once you have your list, you can begin finding someone who fits your criteria. We personally love Virtual Staff Finder (because they pre-interview candidates for you), but there are other options, such as Elance.com, Odesk.com, Freelancer.com and HireMyMom.com

It may seem like an intimidating step – handing off your business to someone you have only met online -, but if you are struggling to keep up with menial tasks, it is a crucial step you simply must take.

Surround Yourself with Those Who Understand You

Anyone who owns an online business probably knows that the majority of your friends and family do not understand what you do.

They may say things like: “But you work on the computer; surely you can take today off”, “Do you even make money?”, “It’s 6pm, the work day is over”, “You work online? Like, selling things?”.

It can be challenging keeping your priorities in line, not letting another person’s judgement dissuade you, or not being disillusioned when others minimize what you have worked so hard to accomplish.

It is something almost every online entrepreneur has had to deal with, and it can be a little defeating.

That is another reason why we decided we had to leave home and not look back: People simply didn’t get us.

However since stepping foot off the plane in Thailand we have been bombarded with an overwhelming sense of belonging. Everyone we have met is living an unconventional life, blazing their own path and not looking back.

They understand if you have to work on the weekend or that sometimes working from your besk (bed + desk) is just as productive as working from an actual desk. They take an active interest in what you are doing and more importantly, why you are doing it.

In addition to that, there are accountability groups, mastermind sessions and conferences full of people in the trenches, making their lifestyle dreams a reality. They talk about marketing strategies, business ideas and SEO practices and best of all are encouraging, intelligent, friendly and fearless.

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But how can you find a community of people who understand you if you can’t afford to pick up and leave yet?

There is a community called the Dynamite Circle – an online forum of digital entrepreneurs created by Dan Andrews and Ian Schoen of Lifestyle Business Podcast fame.

Within the cyber walls of this forum are hundreds of supportive entrepreneurs ditching the constraints of the conventional 9-5 and creating a business and life they love, all by harnessing the potential of the internet.

It is a fantastic place to start if you are looking for strength and reassurance…or a swift kick in the pants to make things happen for yourself.

Form Healthy Habits on the Cheap

As mentioned above, before we took the leap and moved overseas we lived a comfortable life. We woke up whenever we pleased; slugged back a sugar-laden coffee with as much caffeine as our bodies could handle, scarfed down all-you-can-eat sushi dinners and kept irregular hours.

Here, it is a different story.

In South East Asia, there is a huge community of entrepreneurs who want to hack their health and uncover new ways of increasing their productivity and mental clarity.

They are exercising regularly, juicing daily (you would be surprised at how cheap it is to juice here – $1 a a day per person!), taking $1.50 fresh Wheatgrass shots, meditating, going to $5 yoga classes and setting goals that make them reach higher than they thought possible.

To follow in their successful footsteps try creating a morning ritual for yourself that helps kickstart your day on a positive note. Personally, we like Eben Pagan’s process which he outlines in his productivity course, Wake Up Productive.

Within the course, Eben talks about how a morning success ritual (as he calls it) is key to increasing your productivity.

He claims that the first ritual you perform each morning is your highest leverage activity of the day and  should be repeated each morning to reinforce your goals, keep you in a success mindset, get your blood pumping and nourish your body in a way that breeds productivity and success.

What kind of routine should you be starting? Well, here is my routine or as I like to call it my “Ritual to Riches”:

–        Get up at 7:30am

–        Drink 1/2 litre of water

–        Brush my teeth

–        Rinse my face

–        Workout for 45 minutes

–        Shower

–        Make a green juice

–        Visualize for 15 minutes

–        Read a work-related blogpost (or listen to a podcast or watch a video)

It may not be for everyone, but after that 90 minutes is up I am chomping at the bit to crush my to-do list, have been able to cut out caffeine and have more energy than ever before.

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Just be sure you test out your ritual for at least 30 days so you give yourself ample time to relax into it and refine what works for you. Something as simple as waking up, drinking water, brushing your teeth, working out, showering and eating a clean meal could make all the difference in your entrepreneurial adventures.

Get Uncomfortable

If there is one surefire way to rip you out of your comfort zone and catapult you into a space in your life where you are uncomfortable, learning new things and meeting new people who can help you in your business, it is moving to South East Asia.

You see; one of the most important aspects of success is the ability to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Now that may seem a tad contradictory because most of us crave a feeling of comfort, but when you are comfortable you are not growing.

In fact, you are stagnant, and stagnancy will obliterate your business’s chances of growth. Not only that but it can make life downright boring!

When you move to a country such as Thailand you are facing situations that do not make sense by Western standards, adapting to a whole new way of living and learning something new every day.

That is uncomfortable. It is also pivotal, electrifying and inspiring!

After all, when was the last time you met someone extremely successful or interesting who lived in the same city all their life, spent their weekends with the same social circle and never tested their own limits? I bet not often, if at all.

If you want to kick your comfort zone to the curb, get daring.

Move overseas, learn a new skill set or meet new people who are aligned with your business and lifestyle goals.

You may feel a level of resistance, but if you can dedicate yourself to this level of discomfort you will transform your life in ways you cannot even fathom. You just have to stay committed.

Besides, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. So what are you waiting for?

Jill is a wanderluster and lifestyle business owner hellbent on teaching others how to live a life dripping with freedom and purpose. She can be found over at Screw the Nine to Five where she tries to get others to ditch their soul-sucking jobs and live a life they love by luring them with her free book The Art of Authority. She also lives out of her backpack, probably swears too much for her own good and isn’t afraid of a tall glass of gin.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.