So, perhaps you have been reading some of Uncle Timmie Rudizuli’s earlier articles, hmm? “America The Monster”? “A Family Tale”? So depressing – all the long litany of ‘horribles’,eh? Well, you may find this article more to your liking. Here I will discuss what , in my opinion , are some of the good aspects of the USA and some ways to avoid the ‘horribles’ – “About time!”, I here you say.
First, there is no, I repeat, no better place, in the entire world, for the making of money than the USA.
Among some of my South East Asian friends the USA is called “The Golden Mountain”. Many of my Afro-Caribbean friends have nothing but disdain for anyone who can live in the USA and not become wealthy.
There are good reasons for these attitudes. In the USA it is incredibly easy and comparatively cheap to start a business. For the most part no bribery of officials is required nor is there an ‘Uncle’ to keep paid his baksheesh/cumshaw. The government doesn’t , often, condemn or confiscate businesses. Can you ‘go broke’? Oh yes! But you can start another – very quickly – as well.
Will you have to work hard and long hours? Yes. Scrimp and save? Plough all of the profits back into the business? Of course! All the Virtues of the “small business man” you will have to possess – and exercise.
But, in the USA, it can be done.
Now, with the above paean to the USA, business, commerce and capitalism stated: is it necessary, to an expat or hopefully soon to be expat, to have a business? Well, maybe.
The life of an expat requires, as does any other, a source of income. Regular and sufficient income from some source, is it not so? Of course it is so.
As prerequisites to our expat status we must, therefore, have:
1) already made our fortune and have it invested with sufficient return to permit us our lifestyle – a rarity , but the usual dream.
2) have a USA (or other) business from which we can draw an income or which we can sell and invest the proceeds.
3) have a retirement fund that is still solvent – a rarity today.
4) start a business in the country or region we wish to expat to.
5) have a business in both USA and our country of choice .
6) have a business through the web.
Now as to how you may decide to structure your business(es) to permit the receipt and retention of profits is between you , your advisers and the appropriate governmental authority. However, holding company’s , ala Malta, are …interesting, no?
If you should decide upon #5, above, i.e., businesses in both USA and your expat destination, I would applaud your good sense. You can administer both and hire local help in both locations, if needful and so desired. Such a business may also allow for travel and extension to even more countries, eh?
On the other hand: should you wish to have a web-based business(#6 above) it is quite possible to become, in effect, a “taker of orders” and use a drop shipper to fulfill them. So many ways, means and modes of doing business. However,should you choose the web… your main concern will be “traffic”. Traffic, just as for a real-world retail store, is the determining factor to the success of a web-based business. Unlike a retail store no one will “drive by and see you” – this isn’t possible on the web. People must go to your site – for some reason. And , this is after they even learn of its existence. Traffic generators, tags, position on search results – such things and considerations … ah, “With this consideration, enterprises of great pith and moment their currents turn awry and lose the name of action.” As Willie once said in somewhat differing circumstances, eh?
There are sites and services which can, and will, for a fee or other consideration, provide all that you would wish for in regard to traffic generation. You should , if this sort of business form is your choice, seek them out and utilize them,eh?
So, all said, we see that the expat must have income – reliable and continuing. However, a caveat here, eh? I am not, and I suggest you not become, a believer in the current “American Dream” of making a fortune and retiring ( #1 above). Business and a delightful, long and productive life, to me, go together. Do not mistake me – I do not suffer from the “Protestant Work Ethic”. That is a belief, in my opinion, for drudges and peasants. I do , however, believe in converting my desires and pleasures into profitable businesses. Why, simply because I achieve success, should I “retire” to idleness and the seeking of … diversions, contrived entertainments?
I enjoy business and the game of making money. So will you, once you learn the joy of doing it properly. Investing and making something where there was nothing before – delightful and is, in my opinion, the essence of social responsibility – one of the forgotten virtues of capitalism.
Here it must be said that success is the time you did not fail and failure is only the tuition of the learning experiences on the road to success.
Permit me to reiterate: There is no where as easy to start and profit from business as the USA. The USA has the largest consumer base,that has reasonable amounts of disposable income, of anywhere in the world. Grand place to buy and sell. The USA has some of the easiest to get along with import/export regulations and rules – they simply must be known and followed. Wouldn’t wish to import lobsters in plastic bags, eh? This is why one employs the services of professionals – customs house brokers, et al, eh?
A prime example of a simple and profitable business which an expat might start is the “hand-knitted-Irish-fisherman’s -sweater”. As I understand it, there was a young couple bumming about Europe, some years back, who bought a couple of the local hand-knitted, lanolin-bearing, water-repelling sweaters – for their own use.So far a typical tourist experience, no?
However, they found that they couldn’t just “buy them off the rack”. Their measurements had to be taken and then – pay attention to this part – whichever of the coastal, work-at-home, men or women, who did this the knitting had to have the time to make them. Wait-time: about three weeks; paid for in advance, of course.
Who did the knitting? Persons who were not employees, but did custom (not piece-work) knitting at their own homes at their own pace with locally produced wool. No factory. No payroll. No withholding responsibility – hmmmm. Already your Uncle Timmie likes it and sees …possibilities.
Paid for in advance? Yes, and the funds held by the person who was to mail the garment. Sort of a primitive escrow, eh? This person also – though in this instance it was not needful – saw to quality control. Personal and local pride and the desire to be continued on the list of those doing this work (with its extra income potential) precluded shoddy work.
Perhaps you have seen the tiny advert , in the back of some “Ladies Magazines” for this company? It has, I understand, been sold by its original owners and founders, but still going strong.
Now, I submit to you this question: How many times, among those of us who travel, have we seen and bought lovely, locally produced items which we knew would “have a market” in the USA, or elsewhere?
Ah, but to buy a quantity of them – if a quantity were even available – to risk capital and invest in transport,storage, customs fees, export duties, fees for advice and services? Then to begin to make ready to try to: sell them/consign them or otherwise make them available through store fronts, for retail sale?Too much work and too much risk and expense, eh? Of course!
However, it is not necessary for us – as it was not necessary to the young couple – to do all of that. No.
We can, as they did, become “middlemen” and facilitators of the process of local (read as non-USA) craft-persons/artists/artisans fulfilling the niche market needs of persons in the rest of the world who , unlike ourselves, can not or do not travel…where we do. Profit all ‘round for all, eh? Yes.
The world of business abounds with such opportunities and they await persons willing to attempt them. Are they guaranteed of success? No! Nothing is. Again I say to you: Success is the time you did not fail and failure only tuition for the learning of how to succeed. No one ever succeeds without trying, eh?
In several locations in Russia are produced the most beautiful paper mache’ boxes. Each an exquisite , unique work of art,hand-painted in egg-tempera and of a quality unknown in the USA. However, even though offered through the web – several sites/businesses – they aren’t prospering. Why? That old demon Traffic! They don’t get much and almost no one knows of their existence and the beautiful objects availability. Were they to be handled differently…ah, perhaps you?
India and Turkey. These two countries , also, have vast well-springs of artists and artisans. Beautiful and worthy objects are available. Haiti as well. All countries – European included – there are , in Italy, up in the Southern Mountains, furniture makers of great talent who do marvelous custom work for less than the price of a Walmart piece. But, who knows of them and how would they reach “the market”??
In many of the Eastern and Middle European States there are old factories that produced many fine things …but not in great quantity. Many crafts-persons who received training under the Soviet system and are more capable than is realized. Yet, where are their works? Do they know how to reach “our” markets?? No. Would it be a fine and profitable thing to assist them in this? In my opinion, a resounding, yes! But, is this being done? No. Hmmmm, Uncle Timmie wonders…. Perhaps you wonder too?
From what I have seen of EFAM there seem to be companies and businesses which would be of use to persons interested in doing business in the fashion(s) I have described. I would caution due diligence , again, and personal investigation – one never knows, eh? However, there are opportunities and the USA offers the widest range of them.
So, stop sitting there complaining about: “If only I had a small fortune!” Bah! Go out and make one! Make your pleasures into business and you will have a business you take pleasure in.
Imagine how delightful it would be to look foreward to getting up early – so you could have even more enjoyment from your life? This is what I ask you to consider when I say make of your pleasures a business. Not to commercialize them, not to prostitute them – to enjoy engaging in them and to share, with me and with others, your “finds’, pleasant-things, useful things, beautiful views, delightful restaurants and wines. All of these, if approached properly , are businesses. Think,think! Do you not buy wine? Go out to dine? Seek out beautiful vistas? Decorate your home? Wear clothes and shoes? What, by the way, ever happened to custom made shoes and garments,eh? Did you realize that in some countries, India springs to mind, clothing is so inexpensive to have tailored that the cloth often costs more than the tailoring? The same may be said of shoes. Remember: Quality and hand made – those are the tickets.
But, will anyone listen to their old Uncle Timmie? We’ll see,eh? Let me know – if you try. I might just become a customer.