Building a Successful Home Business

Even While Living Overseas


A complete guide for expatriate wives to starting and growing a successful home-based business.

Table of Contents


 Living overseas may seem like an exciting and welcome opportunity, but once you arrive at your new home with your spouse, you may find that you want something to do with your time or are in need of extra income. Yet, traditional employment is particularly challenging to those women who are married to expatriates. Depending on the reason you are living overseas, you never know when you will need to pack up everything and move to yet another foreign land. 

So is there a way you can earn some extra income, without getting a traditional job, which may be impossible as a foreigner, and without tying yourself down to one location? The answer is yes. Through working your own home-based or Internet business, you can have income while still retaining the flexibility that your lifestyle demands. In fact, working from home is the ideal solution for the wife of an expatriate. The income potential is nearly limitless, yet the startup costs and overhead are often quite small. 

Skills You Will Need 

Working from home is a very rewarding experience, but it is not always easy. When your home is also your office, there are thousands of distractions on a daily basis. there are a few skills you will need to make this arrangement work.


Self Motivation

 First, you will need to be self motivated. You have the ability to set your own schedule, but if you do not schedule in time for work, it will not get done. Sleeping late, spending time over drinks with friends at night and hanging out sipping coffee into the late morning will mean you do not get work done. You have to be able to stay on task, because there will be no one overlooking your work and ensuring it gets done.


Strong Communication Skills

 You will also need strong communication skills. Almost every opportunity for home based work requires you to be able to market your skills or product. This requires communication, either over the phone or via email. Skype is even used sometimes for voice chats.



 To succeed as a home based business owner, you are going to need to be very organized. Scheduling will be vital to your success, not just in business, but also as you care for your home on top of running a successful business. Scheduling and the ability to stick to a schedule are going to be vital skills.

Computer Literacy

 No matter which of these business options you choose, you are going to need to be well versed in using the computer and probably the Internet. If you are not computer savvy, you will want to strengthen these skills or have someone in your family who knows their way around computers. Your computer is going to be your link to some of the most vital areas of your business, so learn to use it properly.

 Challenges of Working From Home

Outside of the need to stay motivated and avoid distraction, working from home presents some unique challenges. If these seem like something you can easily overcome, then this might be the right employment venue for you to consider.


Social Isolation 

One of these challenges is social isolation. Unless your job is one that causes you to interact with customers face-to-face, most of your work will be done alone. This can be difficult for certain personalities. You may find yourself going stir crazy or becoming depressed with a lack of social interaction. One way to avoid this complication is to schedule time to be social outside of your work hours.



You are also going to face the challenge of marketing. Marketing is going to become your middle name, because if you do not have work coming in, you are not making money. While each of these business options has its own marketing tactics, you are going to need to learn to specialize in marketing effectively.


Maintaining Balance 

Maintaining the right balance is another challenge of being your own boss. If you work too much, you will get burnt out and you will neglect your friends and family, which are part of the reason you opt to work from home. Yet, you have to work hard in order to succeed in your own business. You must find a way to balance work with personal and family responsibilities. There will be times, however, when you will have to shut out family and home responsibilities in order to focus on work, and that is not a bad thing. It is just something you will have to get used to.


International Challenges 

As someone working from home overseas, you are going to face some additional challenges. Sometimes, cultural differences will make it hard to market your business. You will have to learn to market to the people who you are living around. 

Another challenge specific to your situation is currency. If your business is an online business, and you are paid in dollars, you are going to have to switch that currency to the currency in your location. Depending on exchange rates, this could cut into your profits. Take the time to learn about exchange rates and the best ways to change your money before starting a home based business. 

You will also need to learn what the local business license requirements are, and whether or not you are legally able to have a home based business while living in your current area. The answer may depend on what type of business you are running as well as the local laws. Some areas do not care if you start earning money from home, as long as you are not employed illegally, while others do. This is particularly important to research if you will be selling a service or product locally. Also, look into the correct way to pay taxes, if any apply, for your business.


Fewer Overseas Opportunities 

Finally, some business opportunities, such as network marketing companies or home party-type companies, may only offer their product and business to those residing in the United States or North America. Even some places that hire people, like online freelance job sites, may limit their workforce to people living in America. The fact that you are a U.S. citizen may not matter in these instances. That said, there are many opportunities that you can easily work while living overseas, you just might find it a bit more challenging to narrow down your options than someone who is living in the States would. 

Each of these challenges is something you can overcome, and they should not prevent you from enjoying a successful home based business while living overseas. Knowing about them is the first step towards overcoming them, so take the time to evaluate yourself and determine if these are something you are willing to work to overcome as you build a successful business.


Supplies You Will Need

What you will need to start working your own home based business overseas is going to vary from one opportunity to the next, but there are a few things that almost all of these options require. One is a computer. Whether you are running and online business or not, you are going to need a computer to track your customers, your inventory and your payments. An Internet connection is also vital. 

Most, if not all, of these job options require reliable telephone service. Many can be done with cellular phones, but all require reliable phone communication. You may also need a fax machine. 

Setting Up Your Home Office 

No matter what line of work you decide to start, a home office is going to be beneficial. This will give you a place to meet with potential clients, work without distractions and store the paperwork and supplies for your business. 

Put your home office in its own area of your home, if at all possible. Make sure it is large enough to hold everything you need to run your business. If you will be regularly meeting with clients, obtain comfortable seating. Avoid adding distractions like a television or radio, if possible. You want to have a dedicated work space where you can be productive, not distracted.

 Avoiding Scams 

Sadly, there are far too many people out there willing to take advantage of those who are legitimately looking for a way to make money from home. Avoiding scams is going to be a big part of what you do as you look for the right opportunity for you to make money from home. 

To avoid scams, remember this motto: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. There is no magic way to make thousands of dollars without putting in any effort. No matter how easy the work is, working from home is still work. Many that promise the moon end up delivering very little in terms of results, while costing you quite a bit to set up. 

Which leads to another sure sign of a scam, and that is a large upfront cost for little tangible value. Some opportunities do have a larger upfront cost, but you get something for that investment, such as training, a degree or some product to sell. If someone is asking you to “buy in” to a business for thousands of dollars, yet you get nothing tangible as a benefit for that investment, then you need to be wary. 

Another small warning sign is a “job” that requires you to pay to get work. This is a bit more difficult to spot, though, because building a business of your own is going to require some investment. However, if you are paying for a job, rather than a business, chances are you are looking at a scam. 

Finally, avoid any and all opportunities that want your bank account information. There are plenty of online payment venues, such as PayPal, that you can use to get paid without giving out your actual bank account numbers. If someone wants to pay you via bank draft, they may simply be looking to take your bank account numbers and run, so turn the other way. There are other opportunities out there. 

Regardless of how legitimate a job or business opportunity seems, you must do your own research. Take the time to learn all you can about the opportunity before you invest much time or a single penny in it. There is simply too much at stake for you to lose to not do your due diligence to research what you might be getting into. 

The Bottom Line 

The bottom line about working from home as an expatriate’s wife is this: there are opportunities out there for you, but you are going to have to dig a little deeper to find them. That is where we have tried to help. 

We have compiled a list of 19 legitimate ways you can make money from home even while living overseas. Each of these fulfills the needs of the expatriate family and is completely portable should you need to move. Some require training that you will need to pay for, while others require a set of skills that you may need to perfect or begin developing. 

So take the time to read through the list and find what might work for you. Once you find an option that seems like a good fit, take the time to dig a little deeper to determine if it is, in fact, the right option for you. While you do, consider your personal skills and motivators to see if it is a match. By doing your homework in this way, you soon could be turning all of your extra time into income earning potential with one of these business opportunities.


Chapter 1: Selling on eBay 

Do you have items around your home that you wish to get rid of? Why not use the Internet to sell them and make a little bit of money? Or, even better, build an entire online store that allows you to sell a niche product and earn an income. with eBay, this is possible, no matter where in the world you are living. 

What Is EBay? 

The chances that someone reading a book about making money online knows nothing about eBay are pretty small, but just in case, here is a general rundown of what eBay is.

At its most basic level, eBay is an online auction venue. People can place items up for sale, and buyers bid on them, with the winning bidder receiving the item. Once the item is paid for, using credit card, PayPal, and sometimes check or money order, the seller will ship it to the buyer. Over time it has evolved into more of an online marketplace, with some sellers offering things for sale at a fixed price rather than through the auction. 

A Brief History

The idea behind eBay came from Pierre Omidyar in September of 1995. Over the next few years with the help of his cofounder Jeff Skoll, Omidyar assembled a team of highly successful business marketers and managers to launch and run the new site. The vision for the company was to create a website that connects people, rather than selling things. 

In its earliest days the site was created to auction off collectibles. This quickly morphed into an upscale market with items with high selling prices. Soon, however, eBay evolved into a full online marketplace like it is today. by partnering with a few name brands, the site and business has added several high average sale price items to help increase its profits and revenue. Still, on the most basic level, eBay provides a forum for entrepreneurs to sell products and make money.


Listing on eBay 

Listing an item for sale on eBay is fairly easy. The system allows you to choose a category, create a title, and add a description. You also can add photographs of the item, which is something buyers expect to see. You choose the starting bid or “Buy It Now” price, include shipping information, and put the item out for sale. 


The main drawback of using eBay to sell items is the cost. As a business, eBay itself is in the market to make money. Because of this, they are not going to allow you to list items for sale for free. Here are some of the main costs that sellers have: 

·        Insertion Fee – You pay the insertion fee simply for the privilege of listing the item for sale. This ranges from a few cents to a few dollars, but the drawback is that you pay this fee whether or not the item sells.

·        Final Value Fee – When the auction ends, if you receive bids and sell your item, then you will pay a final value fee. This is a small percent, usually under 5 percent, of the total sale price.

·        Additional Listing Options – As you are building your eBay listing, you will see many additional listing options. These might include added headings, bolded listings, additional photos, and in-text coding. The additional fees for these will be listed next to the service, so you will need to carefully consider these and determine if they are worth the additional costs. Some can be avoided by using an eBay template.

Common items on auctions that you will pay additional fees for include: 

·        Reserve price

·        Buy It Now

·        Listing upgrades

·        Picture hosting through eBay

Stores on eBay

Prolific sellers find it is easier to connect with buyers and encourage repeat purchases by creating an eBay store. This allows you to brand yourself, connect your listings to your other listings easily, and develop a following among avid eBay buyers. By having a storefront with your logo, you can better reach out to your customers.

Building an eBay store is not free. The most basic setting is $15.95 a month, and the premium package is $299.95 a month. For this fee, you receive a fixed price for insertion fees, reporting programming, low-fees for auctions, and free ability to host pictures on eBay. The website also has step-by-step instructions for helping you build your store’s page layout.

In order to make an eBay store work for you, you need to have enough items coming in and out each month to justify the monthly fee. If you do, then this is an affordable and effective way to brand yourself through eBay selling. You can choose several pre-set eBay templates, add your logo, and get started selling in just a little bit of time.

 Finding Items to Sell

Using eBay is not difficult. What is difficult is finding items to sell. You can research through eBay’s advanced search feature to see listings that have sold in the past, and for what amount. Think about various niches that you would be interested in pursuing, and see what these items sell for.

As you are researching potential niches, consider popular items like: 

·        Supplies for a specific hobby

     ·        Collectibles of some sort

·        Electronic gadgets

·        Fashion accessories 

The trick to finding the right item is finding something you can buy or attain for a cheap price, and then sell for a higher price. Since you are living overseas, this may be simpler for you. Consider something that is prevalent in the area where you are living, but not so much in the United States. If you can sell this item, you might have found your niche.

Once you have determined some potential niches, you will need to find a supplier. There is no tried and true way to do this, but you simply need to start researching until you find one. Make sure you can buy for substantially less than your item sells for on eBay, and you will be in good shape.

Shipping Considerations

Living overseas, shipping costs are going to need to be a consideration. Learn what the shipping costs and regulations are in your area, and make sure this is not going to raise the price of your items so high that U.S. buyers will not be willing to purchase from you. Your best bet is to offer something they most likely cannot buy from local sellers for a lower shipping rate.

The Feedback System 

Through its feedback system, eBay gives buyers and sellers a chance to rate each other, giving other buyers and sellers fair warning about unethical practices. You need to protect your feedback score carefully when selling online. One way to do this is to be open and honest in your listing, carefully package and ship your items on time, and deal with problems the minute they arise. 

Using a Template 

Several websites offer eBay templates that you can use to dress up your listings. These templates have cute or trendy designs and allow you to input the information about your items, pictures, and your shipping and returns policies into the template. Once you have created your listing, the site gives you an HTML code to copy and paste into eBay. In this way you can dress up your listings without spending a fortune on eBay fees for additional services. A few sites offer this service free of charge, but most have a small monthly fee. if you are listing a lot of items, this small monthly fee is usually less than what you would pay for eBay’s fees. 

How to Get Started 

If you think you have a good niche product and the idea of selling on eBay is appealing to you, here are some steps to get you started. 

Step 1: Choose Your Product


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews from Amazon
This review is from: Home Business For Expat Wives: Building a Successful Home Business Even While Living Overseas - A complete guide for expatriate wives to starting and growing a successful home-based business. (Kindle Edition)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very solid resources! June 17, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I'll be honest, I'm not an expat wife. I am actually about to move to Mexico and I've been trying to build up resources to make money online when I get there and I've been collecting all the material I can get. I stumbled across this book and decided to give it a shot and I'm really glad I did.

These days, it feels like you're missing out on one of the big benefits of our era if you're not making money via the Internet, and this book is full of helpful resources and ideas for ways you can start building an online income. Whether you're trying to come up with some extra money to pay your rent, or you're hoping to build up a business and quit your day job, or you're just looking for a project to work on during your day and you're figuring it to bring in some money for you, this book will have information that will help you. It's one of those rare books that, if you follow the advice in side, will pay for itself quickly and then earn you money for years to come. Easily worth taking a look at.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very useful December 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
My friends bought this book for me for my birthday and I was very excited to learn from it ,because lately I was thinking how great it will be if I had my own home business. This book is complete guide for wives like me to learn how to start and grow home-based business. It is not easy when your home is also your office especially in my case. I get thousands of distractions during the day from my family. With the great help of this guide I first learn how to be self motivated and maintain discipline in my home-work place. The most important chapter and lesson from the book was one about marketing, I really learned a lot. Now I can proudly say that I am earning some money and not just that, I am also enjoying because I am doing what I like and the best thing of all is that I am financially independent. Thanks to my friends and thanks to the author of this educational, informative and useful book I feel much better about my self. That is why I recommend this book for all wives with big desire for home -based business. You will be satisfied with this purchase.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Guide for home business December 5, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Having a job in the times we live in has become a privilege,and all those who have it may feel like they have won the jackpot. JACKPOT is what this book is. Instead of loosing your time trying to apply to numerous jobs, and receiving negative answers, take your life into your hands and change it. In this book, or as I prefer to call it a Guide to your success, you will, thankfully to the author get a list of jobs that actually do work.

What I like about this book is the personal experience which the author passes to readers. She starts slowly explaining what you need to prepare yourself for an home business. I definitely agree with the part that you must have a strong will to succeed in this type of work.

There are a lot of suggestions and not everyone can do everything. Choose the one where you are confident that you will have the most success.

Great book. I warmly recommended it to everyone, male or female :)




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