It’s interesting to note that 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by expats or their children. So what is it about the expat mentality and makeup that makes them successful entrepreneurs? Here are five character traits they all have in common.
Why expatriates make great entrepreneurs
1. They’re resilient
Moving to a new country means starting from the very beginning and working your way up. You often have to learn a new language, navigate through an unfamiliar culture and discover a whole new social system – from healthcare to business practices. Starting a new business requires that you also have a steel backbone and a resilient nature. You have to learn how to navigate through new business and finance challenges and you need a level of resourcefulness and perseverance that comes naturally to someone who has successfully mastered the expat way of life.
2. They’re risk takers
Moving to a new country, no matter how calculated your move is, always involves an element of risk. You might have planned everything down to the last detail but you can’t anticipate every challenge or prepare yourself completely for the emotional impact the experience will have on you. Starting your own business also involves the risk of the ‘unknown’. You may have done all your research, but as any entrepreneur and expat will tell you – there are no guarantees!
3. They’re curious
One of the common factors successful expats and entrepreneurs share, is an eagerness to try new things and learn. They’re open to new ideas and quickly adapt their way of thinking to embrace ideas or practices that are more practical and rewarding – rather than holding on to out-dated thinking or “the way we did things back home”. To build a successful startup, an entrepreneur needs to be interested in every aspect of their business from raising finances to managing a team. Expats have this confidence because they have already experienced this in real life and learnt the value of new ideas.
4. They’re sensitive
Many of the greatest businesses start from a combination of ideas, knowledge and experiences. Successful expats have learnt how to embrace diverse points of view and extract and combine those experiences that work best for them. This sensitivity stands them in good stead when they become entrepreneurs, often giving them a competitive advantage over the local competition who are committed to the tried and tested way of doing things.
5. They’re comfortable (with themselves)
Expats are used to loneliness. Moving miles away from loved ones and family has built up a resilience within them that enables them to enjoy their own company. This feeling of isolation and overcoming it, holds them in good stead for the late nights, uncertainty and the loneliness that startup founders often experience while they are building their company.
If you have relocated abroad or are thinking of doing so in 2018, contact us for expert, personalised advice concerning financial emigration, competitive foreign exchange rates and other financial aspects relating to living abroad.