Letting Ideas Flourish: Unleashing the Power of Startups

This post is adapted from a guest post I wrote about a month ago that can be found here. As I work with hopeful entrepreneurs and those in the early stages of their startup, I am continually inspired by their unwavering commitment to pursue their dreams. Unfortunately, I’m often discouraged to see their enthusiasm squelched when they find themselves to be outsiders trying to break into a startup community that only caters to a specific type of entrepreneur. We owe it to aspiring entrepreneurs to be diligent in creating more inclusive startup communities. First, let’s make it easier for entrepreneurs to turn ideas into successful startups. Second, creating strong communities of support for startup businesses must become a top priority. Let’s see how we can … Read more

4 Steps That Launched My Expat Startup, and the 1 Thing That Almost Destroyed It

When I started my first business, I had to figure out most things on my own. I made many mistakes along they way, but there were a few wins that tremendously impacted our success. I hope these steps speed up your business growth. And since no success story is quite complete without a failure or two, I also share one key thing I should have done differently. 1. I Went During my senior year in college, my then fiance, Lauren, and I knew that life outside of the US was calling us. We had travelled to a handful of countries and felt very comfortable that we could handle the stresses that come with living in another country and culture. However, we needed to be sure. … Read more

The 3 Mistakes Most Expat Entrepreneurs Make

As I’ve said before, starting a business can be challenging and starting a business in a culture or country different from your own is even more difficult. This is why you want to make sure you are taking the right steps to set your expat startup for success. In this post, I’m going to explore three common mistakes expat entrepreneurs make and how you can avoid them. 1. Not Understanding Your Customer No matter where you start your business, getting out and talking to your customers is vitally important. When your business is not in your home culture, this is even more critical. We have to understand that our businesses ultimately exist to serve our customers. They will be the ones using your product or … Read more

Getting Started is Easier Than You Think

Last weekend I attended a business conference focused on global impact. Many of the speakers focused on entrepreneurship and best startup practices, both in the US and abroad. They shared their experiences and gave all sorts of practical business advice. They discussed how to treat your employees, how to impact the community, what investors look for, and many other topics. There was one topic that they all touched on, no matter what their focus. Every last one of them said that if you want to start something, you have to first take action. You have to take that first step with the information you currently have, even if you don’t yet have a clear picture of where you are going. I Sold a Phone Last … Read more

Why Entrepreneurship Part 3: Social Impact

So far in this series, I have discussed who can be an entrepreneur, what it takes to be successful, and explored the freedom that comes from starting your own business. In this final post, I want to show the ways that entrepreneurship can be used as a tool for social impact. Small Business Worldwide It is hard to find worldwide figures, but in the United States, small businesses employ half of the entire workforce and create about 64% of new jobs. These numbers are likely higher in less developed countries where unemployment rates are high. High unemployment rates in these countries encourage some individuals to be creative and find ways to make money when jobs are scarce, resulting in many unofficial small businesses. While these … Read more

Get Started Growing Series

Last spring, I wrote a series about startup success for a faith-based blog and it was recently chosen for the Editor’s Pick for the first half of 2017. I may be a little biased, but I think the content is really good. No matter what your background, I think you will find some useful tips and information throughout this series. Here are links to all the articles in this series: Get Started Growing: Maximizing Startup Success It Starts With You: Maximizing Startup Success Understanding Your Customer: Maximizing Startup Success Starting Small: Maximizing Startup Success Iterations Through Feedback: Maximizing Startup Success   Sign up for Expat Essentials Click here to sign up for our Expat Essentials newsletter so you don’t miss out on future book reviews … Read more

Why Entrepreneurship Part 2: Freedom

In Part 1 of this series, we learned entrepreneurship is not easy. In fact, it is usually really hard and takes long hours to be successful. When I started my training business, there were many days when I would leave the house at 6am and not get home until 7pm, including weekends. During one particularly busy season, I remember coming home late one evening to see my toddler jumping up and down when I got home. He was so excited because he hadn’t seen me that day. While this sounds terrible, you need to know that it wasn’t everyday. Despite the long hours, in some ways I felt incredibly free. I was free to: Create the job I wanted Be flexible with the hours I … Read more

Two Things the 2007 Kenya Elections Taught Me About Business

I’m interrupting my “Why Entrepreneurship” series because last week’s presidential elections in Kenya brought back many memories from the 2007 election and its aftermath. Most of these memories are hard and painful, but others make me grateful for my time and experiences in Kenya and those are the ones I want to share in this post. 1. Be Ready for the Unexpected Driving back from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro on December 30th was one of the most frightening times in my life. The election results were supposed to be announced at any moment. We pulled into Nairobi in the late afternoon and there was no one on the streets except for a few police and military trucks. If you have ever spent any time in Nairobi, … Read more

Why Entrepreneurship Part 1: The One Thing That Makes a Successful Entrepreneur

While entrepreneurship may not always be the easiest way to way to get yourself overseas, it is the most sustainable, provides the most flexibility, has the least amount of risk, and allows for the greatest social impact. In this series we will explore who can be an entrepreneur and the benefits I mentioned in much greater detail. In this first post of the series, we will explore WHO qualifies to be an entrepreneur and the one skill all entrepreneurs MUST possess to be successful. Who is an Entrepreneur? Many people believe that to be an entrepreneur you have to have certain personality traits or meet a mysterious set of unwritten criteria. Or, they believe that you must possess a specific set of technical skills. This … Read more

More Than a Book Review: A Thousand Hills to Heaven

I’ll be featuring regular book reviews on ExpatStartup with the goal of recommending books that inspire and equip you with the skills to create and grow your own expat startup. I will share stories that speak into the expat experience and/or provide the technical and soft skills needed to effectively launch a startup. Also, there are affiliate links in this post. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a tiny commission at no additional cost to you. Enjoy! A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope, and a Restaurant in Rwanda By Josh Ruxin Ruxin’s book is a wonderful tale that not only explores the wonders and hardships of expat living, but also the challenges he and his wife face in starting … Read more