Business Ideas for Expats

Many are motivated by the idea of becoming an expat rather than a desire to follow a particular business idea.  You may consider purchasing an existing business.  This can have the advantage of being established and proven and you can get advice and input from the seller before going solo.  You may alternatively prefer to  set up a new business.  If you are looking for a suitable opportunity to pursue here are some potential ideas:

  • Tutoring - Personal tutoring or teaching can be easy to set up with demand commonly available from other expats or English language tutoring valued by local parents.  You are free to work the hours that you want or need to and can do it alongside other work.  You can also potentially simply cover the school holidays if you only want to work part of the year.
  • Foreign Language teaching - With the increasing importance of foreign languages there are opportunities to use any language skills.  This may be teaching English or your home language to locals or teaching expats the local language if you have proficiency.  This can be done in person or online.
  • Personal Trainer or Yoga Instructor – If you are fit and healthy and have knowledge in these areas you can consider starting a business as a personal trainer or yoga instructor.  You may need to have the right qualifications, but if you do there is always demand for such services from English-speakers and you can keep fit and earn money at the same time.
  • Massage Therapy - Massage therapy can be offered as part of a company’s policies to manage stress or can be provided to individuals.
  • Life Coach - If you have counselling qualifications and skills and have had a successful career you may consider a life coaching, business mentoring role helping people to identify their career options and handle the challenges of their job or business.
  • Online Freelance – Increasingly sites have developed offering opportunities for freelance providers of services.  These include web design, copywriting, graphic design and other specialist skills.  These sites are worth reviewing to identify other opportunities for setting up a business.  Examples include:
  • Photography – a number of sites will take a wide range of photographs and pay a commision for  each one sold. You may wish to try the following sites:

Alternatively you may consider starting a photography workshop. As a popular hobby there is likely to be constant demand for lessons on how to achieve quality pictures and how to get the best from photo editing software. 

  • eBay or eCommerce Trading – you can use the opportunity to trade  products from your new home back to your home country or vice versa.  Either way tying up with your network at home can help to find suitable products or deal with logistics.
  • Arts and crafts – For those with the relevant skills it is always possible to create items for sale and then sell them through local markets (or online).   This can include toys, stationery, gifts, jewelry or clothes.
  • Catering to the Local or Expat Community – Catering will always provide opportunities for those with the skills and you can either cater to the specific needs of the local or expat communities.
  • Hairdressers – Experienced hairdressers can provide mobile hairdressing services to expats who miss the experience of an English or native language speaker who can provide them with the style that they expect.
  • Webdesign – It is easy to establish a web design company from your home and then market your services through your network or appropriate sites