Where should you start your online business? Is there such as thing as the perfect location? One that is suitable for all kinds of online entrepreneurs.
In this article, I will talk about the pros & cons of what I think are basically 2 different approaches.
1.) Isolating yourself for maximum focus when you work on your business or an important project.
2.) Immersing yourself in an environment with others where there’s lots of people around you. Maybe staying in a big city or an environment that is conducive to business.
I will go over some consideration when deciding where to stay and questions you should ask yourself when you are looking into finding that ideal place for starting an online business.
I also think that the phase your business is in, is an important criteria and relates to picking the right location.
Then, I will present you 5 different options (cities) in different countries that I think are great for any type of online entrepreneur.
Lastly I will go over my personal approach, how I balance business with lifestyle. Business and quality of life, so to speak.
First off, the most important realization is that there is no such thing as a universally awesome location for building your business.
There is no cookie-cutter answer and that’s for the simple reason that how/where you perform at your best will depend on your personal preferences and also the type of business you have.
Now the 2 approaches are the ones mentioned before:
Isolation & Immersion
For me isolation would mean staying in a small town, basically any type of environment that has little to no distraction. Surroundings would be considered ‘boring’.
You think about going out on the weekend but realize there’s not really much else to do so staying in an working on your business seems like a viable option.
The opposite would be a tropical country.
Maybe Southeast Asia or any big city or hotspot where there’s lots of things going on 24/7. Lots of people, nightlife opportunities.
Of course neither place or neither approach is better than the other.
That’s why I think the most important question you can ask yourself is under which circumstances you perform at your best. The idea here is ‘Know Thyself’.
Distraction – If we take distraction for example. IT can be a good, but also a bad thing. It can be a problem for some people where they don’t get any work done if they have distractions outside (nightlife, meeting people …).
For other people, they need distractions every once in a while to take their mind off work, relax a little bit and then go back to work.
You should know under which circumstances you perform at your best. If distraction is a positive or negative thing for you.
Stages of Your Online Business
The other thing to consider is the stage your business is at.
Maybe if you are just starting out, you need more focus and put in more hours. In such a case, distractions would be counter-productive.
But on the other hand, if have already built your business up to a level where it’s stable (mostly running on autopilot), I think most people can allow themselves to be distracted every once in a while. They don’t need to be super focused and work 15 hours per day.
That’s something you should factor in as well.
Lastly, I would say the type of business you have or work you do, would also be an important criteria when choosing a location. I personally find that when I have surroundings such as a big city then there’s a higher degree of mental stimulation.
Because on a daily basis even just going outside (food court, business meeting) I see so many different things that lots of ideas come up on a regular basis that help me with new product or business ideas.
Of course if I am just starting out, then maybe all of that would be a distraction. It would be a negative thing.
To sum up, these would be the questions I’d ask myself
- How do I perform at MY best?
- Is distraction a problem or does it help me being more productive?
- What phase is my business in?
- What type of business do I have? Is it mostly creative work or the complete opposite?
Online Business – Additional Considerations
There are probably more than a dozen additional consideration, which vary from person to person. Costs of living, visa requirement and taxes are often the most important ones.
If you run an e-Residency business, you have already optimized your taxes and can pretty much stay in any country as long as you keep your tourist status.
Almost all major cities offer a number of different work environments. From coffee shops to coworking spaces.
Best Digital Nomad Countries
The most popular countries for digital nomads are Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia (specifically Bali). If you are coming from a Western country, costs of living will be relatively low and most offer visa on arrival.
Panama has recently become more popular – not necessarily for the average digital nomad, but for those that either have a considerable monthly income or assets and seek to optimize their personal tax situation.
Running an e-Residency business is one thing, but unless you are a Perpetual Traveler, you would still need to pay personal income tax. Not the case if you have permanent residency in Panama.
Panama is considered a tax haven because only Panamanian source income is subject to income tax. If you have your company offshore and earn your income outside of Panama (e.g. Online Business), there’s no income tax for you.
My Online Business Strategy
Here’s my personal strategy of starting an online business from scratch.
I try to work in isolation whenever I am starting an entirely new online business. That phase usually takes anywhere from 1-3 months of immersion.
Once I see that the business is gaining some traction, I slowly start automating as much as I can and transition into the ‘enjoyment‘ phase, which is usually spent in a fun place.