The Business Benefits of Living in South East Asia
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The Business Benefits of Living in South East Asia

Jill Stanton Posted May 6, 2013

It's no secret that we abandoned the Western lifestyle in search of a more simple existence in a cheaper country. Where we could easily bootstrap our business and get it to the level we have been craving since writing our first post on our first website.

We had worked our (cute) asses off to get our income levels to a stage where we could support ourselves while in an expensive Western city. But we were pining for more.

We wanted to live better. We were aching to be in a place where we didn't have to think about every dollar we spent. And we craved being in a location where there were others just like us, building a life that most people don't understand.

We were a little apprehensive but more so excited, elated and hungry to get the long-haul flight over with and kickstart the life we felt we were meant to live.

Fast forward 5 months and it's the best decision we have ever made for our business, and more importantly, ourselves!

Want to know why?

Why You Should Move to a Cheap Country to Build Your Business

There are three main reasons why making this move has been our smartest business decision yet: the community, an improved lifestyle and crazy productivity levels.

So let's get into it…

The Community

If there is one thing that was obvious after stepping off the plane it's that people here just get us.

What I mean is that every expat we have met in Asia so far has made the same decision to leave the constraints of Western life behind. They have chosen to go off the beaten track. They are motivated. Ambitious. And they are creative in their chosen businesses.

On top of that there are meetups, expat groups, shared workspaces full of online business owners making shit happen and mixers (wow, I feel old using that term).

So far, in Thailand, we have met a bunch of different people, all doing their own thing.

From sites teaching people how to pass the CPA exam to pay-per-click marketers, travel bloggers to e-commerce experts, product manufacturers to affiliate marketers, consultants and online business coaches, the online opportunities are virtually  endless.

Each new connection we make here is one we can learn from, grow alongside and potentially even partner up with.

It's a community we never had before moving here and one we are incredibly grateful for.

The Lifestyle

It's no secret Southeast Asia is dirt cheap and you can live exponentially better here for far less than living on a budget in any Western city.

For example, before Josh and I moved to Thailand we were living in a two bedroom apartment with my sister and her boyfriend (who is luckily Josh's best mate from Australia).

There wasn't much to the apartment, it wasn't overly spacious, there was no balcony or backyard, the walls were paper thin and the tenants that bookended us were miserable and would scream hatred nearly every day.

Western living expenses vs living in south east asia

The apartment was $1000. Now that may sound ridiculously cheap for a 2 bedroom apartment in a big Western city but that was just our basic rent.

Add to that:

  • $100/month for electricity and internet
  • $275/month for car insurance
  • $200/month for gas
  • $600/month for groceries
  • $120/month for our cell phones
  • $150/month at coffee shops (sometimes you need to get out of your apartment to work)
  • $70/month for our gym memberships
  • $30/month for laundry
  • $1500/month for entertainment – dinners, special events, parties, cottage weekends and movies

And that's just off the top of my head. I'm sure we had a bunch of other incidental expenses as well, like wine.

Add that all up and we were spending on average $3545 to live in an apartment that we didn't love, in a city that stole our soul with no one around us who truly understood what we were doing.

Compare that to our current expenses:

  • $600/month for rent – which includes internet, maid service twice a week, rooftop pool, small gym and parking in a gorgeous one bedroom apartment slightly smaller than the 2 bedroom apartment we lived in Toronto
  • $70/month for electricity – that's if we are running our air conditioning all day
  • $100/month for our scooter
  • $12/month for gas – it costs $3 to fill up our tank
  • $300/month for groceries
  • $10/month for our cell phone
  • $80/month at coffee shops
  • $70/month for our gym memberships – we chose a plush Western gym instead of the tiny one in our building
  • $6/month for full-service laundry
  • $400/month for entertainment

Add that all up and we spend $1648 a month, meaning it costs us $1897 less to live better and in a place that makes us happy.

Another bonus about our cost of living here is we can use the money we save each month to invest back into our business.

With that excess money we have chosen to outsource all of our content, guest posting and social media management for our two big affiliate sites, ultimately freeing up our time to work on this site as well as our third authority site we launched a few months ago.

Simply put, we just didn't have that opportunity back home.

The Lack of Distractions

One of the biggest hurdles we faced while living in Toronto was the countless distractions we had in our day-to-day life.

We had family obligations, dinners with friends, parties, events and the faint pressure to abide by others work schedules.

Here it is a different story.

Since we have a small network of friends who all work online we are able to pass on dinners, events or parties without having to worry about offending anyone by choosing to work instead of hanging out with them. And they understand that.

It is because of this laser focus that we have been able to launch our two new sites and grow our business to the point of being on the cusp of reaching our goal of 5 figures a month.

If you are at a place in your life where you want to take the leap and create a lifestyle business for yourself – one that can satiate your wanderlust as well as start you down the path to making more money than you ever have before – consider relocation.

You don't have to move to Southeast Asia but you should choose a location that is overflowing with opportunity and possibilities for your chosen path.

Remember, this lifestyle is possible for anyone, you just need to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.


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