You’ve spotted an opportunity to grow your business overseas, and you’re looking forward to working in a different country and a big adventure. But you’re going to be away for a lot longer than the average holidaymaker! Getting yourself prepared, instead of just hitting the ground running, will help you to get settled in more smoothly and sooner. Here are some of the things you should get done before you set out.
Triple-Check Your Health Insurance
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If you have health insurance at home, it probably doesn’t cover you comprehensively while you are overseas. It’s very likely that you’ll need an extra layer of protection. Get global medical insurance that keeps you covered no matter where in the world you may find yourself.
The great thing about global insurance is that you’re free to move from country to country around the world – it doesn’t depend on your being in any specific country. Shop around, compare rates, scrutinize what’s covered with special attention to what’s not covered, and choose the most comprehensive package you can find.
Get The Paperwork Right
In case you haven’t done this before, paperwork is extremely important. By that, we mean visas and work permits. Find out about the regulations pertaining to your destination and make sure you have all the official paperwork in order. The time and effort this takes will depend on the country you’re planning to work from.
While you’re at it, find out what it would take to renew or extend a work permit just in case you stay longer than you expected to. You should also check on your tax status at home and abroad. Most countries will welcome people starting their own businesses, especially if they’re likely to employ people, but compliance is a must. Consider appointing a local accounting firm to help you. After all, nobody likes tax surprises.
Budget For The Unexpected
While we know that it’s wise to expect the unexpected, many of us are still inclined to cut budgets too close to the bone. If something goes wrong when you’re far from your support system, you need to be prepared. Make sure that there’s an emergency fund available for contingencies. Even if you did your homework before you left, you may find that the cost of settling down is a little higher than you thought it would be, for example.
Get Ready For Local Working Conditions
You’re good at your job and you get along well with the folks you work with. But will you still do just fine in some other country? Check things like the hours you’ll be expected to be at work and local professional etiquette. If you come across as an “ignorant foreigner” you may struggle to make many friends in your new home country. For example, did you know that there are countries in the world where shaking hands just isn’t a thing? Dress codes can also be a minefield. Make sure you know what will be expected of you, and be ready to adapt so that you can create the right impression.
Find Out More About Dos and Don’ts
The more exotic your destination, the more important it is to give yourself a crash course on the local culture. If you’re going to the US to the UK, for example, you’ll find things a little different, but similar enough to get by without making any mental adjustments. But, if you were to go to Thailand, making jokes about the king could see you arrested and prosecuted. That’s definitely not the best way to end an overseas adventure. Going to Saudi Arabia? Alcohol is illegal, so packing a bottle of your favorite wine is definitely not a great idea!
Learn a Little Of The Language
Even when people in your host country are perfectly willing to accept that you only speak English, taking the trouble to learn a few everyday phrases will create a favorable impression. It’s nice to be able to greet and thank people in their own language, even if that’s all you learn for a start. If you’ll be staying in your new country for any length of time, consider getting a tutor to help you learn even more.
Pack Your Positive Attitude
Since you’re moving to a new country as a foreigner, you need to be ready to exercise a little humility. Just because things were done in a certain way back home doesn’t mean the house rules are the same in other countries. Keep any complaints to yourself and be willing to ask for advice. Expat communities can be very helpful because they understand the adjustments you need to make. With a healthy dose of a positive attitude, you’re already well on the way to making the most of your opportunity to grow your business, and you’ll cope better with the ups and downs of overseas work. Bon, voyage!