When you work as a digital worker you may think about working remotely. Depending on your employer management policy, it may be part-time or even full-time. But when you are an entrepreneur with full online business, you do what you want! You may even think about working from another country for several reasons: enjoying an advantageous cost of living, discovering new cultures, etc.
As an entrepreneur, you can count only on yourself to keep your business running. In particular, if you are the only one in your company. But in a new foreign country, all your landmarks may disappear. Actions that used to be easy in your country of birth may look like far harder then. And it can impact your business.
This article is a list of products and services I use to stay as efficient as I used to be in my country of birth. Besides, I designed my nomad setup to have a declared business and I don't need to rely on people in my country of birth (like my family).
Good to know
- I am a tech and geek guy so the kit I propose may not fit all businesses. Besides I also included a bonus section at the end with tools about personal use like video games, etc
- The setup is as resilient as possible. So my efficiency should not depend on the host country’s policies or unexpected events.
- My comfort is part of my efficiency. Some of the products I will describe may seem optional or expensive. But they participate in my efficiency at work wherever I am.
- When you go to a country far away by plane, you cannot carry too many things with you. So I suggest you bring very versatile devices with you so that they can be useful in a lot of situations and still saving weight and space.
- The following kit is definitively opinionated. It depends on my business and the country where I come from (France). But for each product I gave several examples to help you make your own choice.
- The list of products I give is not exhaustive. Of course, depending on your destination country, you might need more stuff.
- I also tried to skip obvious needs like reliability and autonomy.
Few first sections seem obvious but people never think about them before problems happen.
- A computer from a company with worldwide support and warranty: if your computer has hardware issues, you want them to be fixed as soon as possible. Even if I don’t like Apple, I chose the Macbook Pro 16". This is a thin and yet very powerful machine. And 510 retails stores across 25 countries are a good reason. You could also choose Microsoft surfaces or Dell XPS laptops which also have good support.
- a smartphone with a dual sim-card slot to have a local phone plan for daily use and an international internet package for your business communications and as an internet backup. It is very useful to receive SMS from services with double authentication required.
- a headphone with a good active noise canceling. It is a killer solution to avoid distractions and stay focused and attend skype if you work in airports, coworking-spaces, coffee shops, etc. I like to use the Bose QC-35 II but Bose 700, Sony XM3, and Surface headphone 2 are also very good.
- large cloud storage system like Google Drive, Dropbox, or One Drive.
- a cloud computer. Depending on your needs, you may only need a cloud IDE like Visual Studio Codespaces. I rent a cloud computer as a backup. If I lose my computer, I can access to my second computer with a complete setup. I also use it when I need more computing power. I use a shadow PC for this purpose.
When you are alone in a foreign country, your best friend is your money. It can get you out of trouble very quickly. But you can lose your wallet. Your bank can block your account after false suspicious activity. And local stores may accept only credit or debit cards. For all those reasons, I suggest you have at least several bank accounts when you go to a foreign country for the long term.
Now with online banks like n26 and Revolut in Europe, it is very easy to open an account and manage it from a smartphone. It is cheap. And international charges are often very low.
I have 4 bank accounts: 3 personal (1 from my country of birth, 1 international and 1 local), and 1 professional. I also have both Visa and MasterCard cards and both credit and debit cards.
When you have a real business, you can have a lot of paperwork to handle. Like everything else, the goal is to manage as many things as possible online. But sometimes, it is not up to you. So you need to find a way to make as independent as possible from your current location.
The key points are:
- a virtual business address with letter redirection. I chose a company that scans my letters and redirects them to me once a month wherever I am in the world. And it is a game-changer for legal paperwork. You can find a lot of them.
- an online bank account: all banks don’t do professional bank accounts, you need to find a bank that can do it online. In France Qonto is good at this purpose.
- an online accountant: to track your revenues and declared your added taxes. I use Georges in France for a short time so I don’t have any feedback to give 🤷♂️.
- a tablet or a graphic tablet to sign and fill manually digital papers. I use Remarkable since I can use it to read e-books, design mockups, and also to fill paper forms (versatility 😉).
Security and Confidentiality
Every country policy is different and sometimes a service you use is blocked where you live. To ensure your efficiency, I suggest you:
- thor: it makes you invisible online (a simplistic explanation). It is very slow and a lot of websites don’t accept it. I use the Thor feature integrated into the browser brave.
- VPN: it fakes your real location (a simplistic explanation). It is less safe but faster. I use NordVPN since it is very easy to use when I can choose my fake location in one click.
In a lot of countries, health care is very expensive. And it very depends on the local country. These are my advice:
- take local health insurance as soon as possible
- subscribe to international health insurance if the local country has a bad health care system. It is expensive so I use the least possible but I took a repatriation option in last resort.
Bonus for hobbies
- A cloud computer for video games. You won’t be able to carry a war machine with you so playing through the cloud may be a good solution
- Oculus Quest: I use it to play in VR (I use it also for my job). It is very small and doesn’t a long setup.
- A premium music account to be able to save your music offline.
- All video streaming services: Amazon Prime/Netflix/Disney+. In a lot of countries, television channels are expensive and these are a good alternative. In particular in the USA where their film catalogs are far bigger.
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