Tuesday 18th January 2011

There’s no end of coverage on trailing spouse syndrome and the potentially damaging emotional effects that can occur when an individual relocates to new country so that their partner can pursue their own career and interests. However, a life damned to eternal doom and gloom is not necessary and, providing trailing spouses focus positively on the opportunities that await them, there’s a whole array of exciting moneymaking ventures at their beckon call. If you have relocated and found yourself at a loose end or plan on doing so in the near future and have no idea what you will do next, then this essential guide to 10 ways for expats to make money when living abroad is exactly what you need.

1) Teach a Language

If you’re a native English speaker then you will usually find that there is no shortage of TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) jobs in popular expat destinations throughout the world. Alternatively, if you speak more than one language you can offer to teach expats a foreign language. You can apply to teach at an international school or may wish to consider teaching private lessons. Advertise your availability in expat forums and in the local papers and provided you price your services competitively you may very well pick up a few students. For a comprehensive insight into teaching English overseas please see our teaching abroad resources.

Alternatively, if you have strong English skills you may wish to consider starting a proofreading and editing business that offers to help students and local businesses to perfect their written English.

2) Become an Expat Real Estate Agent

One of the biggest challenges expats face when they move overseas is finding somewhere to live. Choosing a suitable living location, finding the right apartment or house and understanding the contracts and paperwork can be a living nightmare and, during this time, many expats struggle to understand the complex real estate processes of their host country. Here’s where you come in. Provided you have a good working knowledge of the host country you can offer your services as a specialist expat real estate agent. Design end-to-end services that hold the client’s hand throughout the process of finding somewhere to live and offer your services on expat and property websites. Just one word of caution, make sure you understand the property laws in use in your host country and attain any necessary qualifications and examinations.

3) Become a Relocation Expert

If you’ve been through the relocation process once then you will almost certainly know how daunting it can be. Navigating the complex bureaucracy of a foreign country can be a minefield that can leave you frustrated and stressed. Because you know all this you have a major advantage, you’ve been there and done that and this makes you valuable to any new arrival. Use your knowledge and experience to your advantage by offering your insights to facilitate new expatriates to do everything they need to do to settle into life in their host country. Create a basic website outline processes you can help with and advertise your services in a local newspaper. Before you do so, make sure you arm yourself with our relocation guide for your expat destination. It contains everything you need to know about life in the expat city and will arm you with all the information you need to be a perfect relocation expert.

4) Export or Import

Finding a niche for yourself in your host country means understanding what they have and what you can offer them. Perhaps the country you’re living in produce special products or food and drink items that are not available in your home country. You could potentially sell these things on eBay or establish an export partner in your host country who can sell them for you. Alternatively, is there anything your home country produces that you can potentially distribute in your host country? Maybe you could set up your own small shop? The possibilities are endless; if you spot a gem… go for it!

5) Wax Lyrical

Expat writers are popping up all over the world and many individuals have now established successful blogs that generate significant amounts of revenue through advertising and sponsorship deals. If you have the skills and talent, why not start your own blog? Post photographs, diary entries and reviews of entertainment and dining venues in your host country and try and establish a loyal following; who knows where it may take you.

There really is no end of possibilities for the trailing spouse who is willing to take a risk and put himself or herself out there. Life abroad does not need to be a lonely experience consisting of endless chores while your husband or wife enjoys their career. Take the bull by the horns and give something new a go-- you never know, this time next year you may be a millionaire!

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