Trend: American Entrepreneurs Create Successful Small Businesses Overseas

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New report from InternationalLiving.com reveals how Americans abroad have become “accidental entrepreneurs,” funding their lives overseas with successful small businesses.

U.S. citizens can become business owners quickly and affordably if they are willing to look overseas for business opportunities, according to a new report just released by the live-abroad experts at InternationalLiving.com.

While red tape and high start-up costs can put off would-be entrepreneurs in the States, those same independent, income-minded folks are finding it far easier to break into business outside the U.S.—and far less expensive, too.

International Living magazine’s new “Fund Your Life Overseas” issue highlights the stories of Americans who have established themselves in businesses outside the country.

“In the U.S., you cannot do what I have done here in Ecuador… you’d have too much debt to worry about,” says expat Kevin Sheehy from Quito, Ecuador. He bankrolled his first venture—a stake in a Vietnamese restaurant—with just $14,000 on his part. A serial entrepreneur abroad, he’s also been involved in an Irish bar and, most recently, a gym.

“I’d never set foot in a gym in my life until I bought into one,” he explained. “People buy a small business here and they can live off the proceeds. If they decide they want to sell, they can almost always at least recoup their original investment.”

In places where the cost of living is lower, it’s less expensive to start and maintain a business. As Seattle-native Kat Bennett, owner of Allende Books in La Paz, Mexico puts it, “It hasn’t been a get-rich-quick scheme, but we make ends meet… enjoy a lifestyle in paradise… and we love our store.”

The opportunity to fund a more relaxed, low-cost lifestyle on the beach is what drew 51-year-old Juli Puryear to Belize, a place she’d fallen in love with on vacation. “I had absolutely no prior experience owning a business, but I wanted to move back to Belize,” she said.

Hearing an Internet café was for sale in the coastal town of Punta Gorda, Puryear decided to buy it. “I wanted to move back to Belize and I saw the business as a way to fund my life there,” explained Juli. “Basically, I was buying myself a job.”

Juli later expanded the operation, serving espressos, drinks, smoothies and pastries. She then added on a gift shop.

Other entrepreneurial expats InternationalLiving.com’s editors interviewed include a couple from Virginia who established a school in Guatemala, expats who bought a coffee farm in Panama, another who runs a beach café in Barbados and yet another who established a walking-tour company in Uruguay.

“There’s no end to the different ways expats are making money overseas,” said International Living magazine’s Dan Prescher.

Prescher continued, “The famous American entrepreneurial spirit has been stifled to some degree by red tape and high costs in the States. Those overseas are discovering that getting into business is something almost anyone can do.”

To read InternationalLiving.com’s full article, see here: "Business Opportunities for Expats Overseas".

Editor’s Note: Members of the media have full permission to reproduce the article linked above either in part or in its entirety, once credit is given to InternationalLiving.com.

Media Contact: For information about InternationalLiving.com content republishing, available source material or to book an interview with one of our experts, contact Associate Editor Carol Barron, 772-678-0287 (US), CBarron@InternationalLiving.com or visit the Media Center . For automatic updates on the most current stories, follow International Living Media on Twitter.

For more than 30 years, InternationalLiving.com has been the leading authority for anyone looking for global retirement or relocation opportunities. Through its monthly magazine and related e-letters, extensive website, podcasts, online bookstore, and events held around the world, InternationalLiving.com provides information and services to help its readers live better, travel farther, have more fun, save more money, and find better business opportunities when they expand their world beyond their own shores. InternationalLiving.com has more than 200 correspondents traveling the globe, investigating the best opportunities for travel, retirement, real estate, and investment.

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