10 Reasons You Should Move to Asia to Start Your Lifestyle Business

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 02/03/15 •  10 min read

Today I’m writing this from a street side cafe in the bustling streets of Saigon, Vietnam.

Hundreds of motorbikes are constantly fleeing by, the occasional one-man karaoke cart (it’s an Asia thing), and merchants peddling fake Ray Ban sunglasses or other crappy tourist gifts are a regular sight as well.

It’s been two years since I’ve sat at this very same table in Saigon, and I must say – I’ve missed it.

The roots of this blog are engrained in the idea of building a business from Asia. Seven months after starting Location 180 I blindly moved to Thailand having no idea what to expect. I met Dan from the Tropical MBA at 1am at the Bangkok airport, and that set off a chain of events that has changed my life forever.

Quite simply, had I not moved to Asia at that time, I can’t say that I’d still be running my business today.

Living in Asia not only gave me the free time to spend working on my business, but it made it financially viable during a time where money was extremely tight and my plans for the future were unbelievably hazy.

Being back here has reminded me of all of the reasons why moving to the region makes so much sense for the adventurous entrepreneur and the person who is truly motivated to build a lifestyle business.

Today we’re going to look at 10 of the reasons why I think starting a lifestyle business in Asia is such a good idea.

1) Cheap Food and Drink

This seems like such a generic answer for why you should move here, but it’s such a big part of the appeal that it has to be mentioned.

Living in the States is expensive. If you’re in the UK or Australia it’s even more expensive. Food and drink are easily one of the most expensive aspects of our day to day lives.

Especially when you’re in build a business mode and are constantly out meeting people and socializing. In Portland I easily drop $50 or more on a night out meeting people.

Last night in Saigon I got an incredible bowl of pho for 35k Vietnamese Dong – just under $2. The local beer here can be had for 12k Dong – about .$60.

My breakfast this morning. Cost me just over a dollar.

My breakfast this morning. Cost me just over a dollar.

Simply by relocating I can go from averaging $40-50 a day on food and drink to $10 or less all while maintaining a very active social and networking life. That’s huge.

Keep in mind every city is different – Hong Kong for example is not cheaper than living in the western world. But Bangkok, Pnomh Penh, Chiang Mai, Hanoi, Manila and even Bali can be unbelievably affordable.

2) Easy Access to Other Regions

This is one of the things I loved about my time in Bangkok. I could hop on a train and for about $20 I could be on a tropical beach in less than 12 hours – for less than $100 I could be there in a fraction of the time via plane.

With budget airlines and bus systems getting around SE Asia is not only easy, but affordable. You can usually get to any major hub for under $200 round trip if you can stay flexible.

My flight round trip from Hong Kong to Saigon was 15,000 Avios points and $70. Not bad. Although I did chip in an extra 7500 miles to make one of my legs business class.

Can’t go wrong with Cathay Pacific Business 🙂

Finally got to fly business class :)

Finally got to fly business class 🙂

3) Easier to Make Contacts

This seems counter intuitive, but I promise you, it’s easier to meet new people likeminded people when you’re in Asia than back home.

Why? Well for starters there’s the simple question:

“Where are you from?”

It’s the easiest intro ever, and you can go to any number of thousands of expat or tourist bars across Asia and meet people simply using that one line.

I’ve found usually if someone is over here from the States they’re usually doing something interesting – and know other people who are as well.

There’s a huge community of entrepreneurs and people who read this blog here in Vietnam. I had a group of a few dozen friends when I lived in Bangkok – and no matter which Asian city you go to, you’ll find the same and find it’s easy to break into the circle.

Bangkok Friends

Bangkok Friends

4) Everyday is an adventure

I often tell the story about how during my first day living in Thailand I saw an elephant walking down the street.


I’ve been in Vietnam for about 24 hours and I’ve already seen a guy with a washing machine on the back of his motorbike, containers full of snakes for sale on the side of the street, and I’ve been nearly killed trying to cross the street no less than a dozen times.

In Bali, I got lost for hours on a motorbike. I was supposed to be going on a quick hour long trip to the center of the island. 2 hours into it I found myself on a beach. To this day it’s one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had while living abroad.

It’s that sense of adventure and “you don’t see that everyday” that makes Asia so unique for me. Every time you travel to a new city, or even a different part of a city you know – you’re exposed to a new adventure.

5) Inexpensive Talent

Many people in Location Rebel start outsourcing and hiring remote workers as their business grows. I’ve found that when working with remote teams it makes a huge difference if you can meet them in person.

Back during my days with the Tropical MBA I spent 3 weeks working with our remote team in the Philippines and the quality of both the work and the relationships were greatly improved.

Hanging in Vietnam with other Tropical MBA alumni.

Hanging in Vietnam with other Tropical MBA alumni.

There’s a plethora of talented people out there that you can pay much less than what you’d pay in the States – but much more than they would typically make in their home country. It forges a unique win/win scenario that is much easier to setup when you’re on the ground.

6) Forces you to think differently

Blind routine is a terrible thing. Deliberate routine is what will make your business successful.

When you’re at home, and especially in a day job, it can be easy to just go through the motions of life and before you realize you’re so stuck in your ways that change is nearly impossible.

Living in Asia forces you to think differently. When you’re first starting out you have to be deliberate about the routines you setup, and it can be a great way to force positive changes.

When I’m in Asia I usually wake up, work out, find a coffee shop or cafe and work for 4 hours. Then I use the afternoons/evenings to explore, meet up with friends, or do more work if I need to.

It gets me out of my normal routine, but also makes me think differently about how I spend my days and make me more productive in the process.

Here is the "office" where I went back and edited this post. If there are spelling errors, you can see why I was probably distracted.

Here is the “office” where I went back and edited this post. If there are spelling errors, you can see why I was probably distracted.

7) Enhanced Access

Like I mentioned, it’s easier to make contacts and meet expats and travelers when you’re in Asia. But what about those top tier people that you’d normally never have access to?

It’s much easier abroad.

Imagine trying to meet Donald Trump in the United States. Probably never going to happen unless you have dreams of reality television.

Simply by speaking English and engraining yourself in one city for 6-12 months you’ll be amazed by who you’ll meet. In BKK I met CEOs, 8 and 9 figure entrepreneurs, and high level political contacts.

If you’re ever looking for funding or to expand beyond a standard lifestyle business, these contacts can be invaluable.

8) Ever Wanted to Live Like a King (or Queen)?

It’s easy to focus on the low cost reasons to come to Asia when you’re starting out.

But whats cool is once your business starts to have even a little bit of success, your lifestyle can ramp up quickly. Bottles in the club? 5 star restaurants? Infinity pools over looking the ocean?

You can have access to all of these things for a fraction of the cost of what they would be in Melbourne or Venice Beach.

A little bit of money goes a long way, and then add on top of that the fact that you’re the anomaly. You’re the one who doesn’t fit in, and who will garner attention. It’s a unique feeling, but one that can allow you to thrive and want to work even harder to continue the success.

A basic room here is under $200 a night. Not exactly backpacker status, but less than half of what you might see similar rooms elsewhere.

A basic room here is under $200 a night. Not exactly backpacker status, but less than half of what you might see similar rooms elsewhere.

9) The Opportunity for a Fresh Start

Many of the people I work with have been beaten down by their jobs and routines. Years of complacency and sleep walking through life can take it’s toll.

Coming out to Asia gives you an opportunity to start fresh. It can take you from jaded to wide-eyed in the time it takes to travel across the Pacific.

For me it was a rebirth. Coming to Asia and having an adventure while building my business, allowed me to truly build the business I wanted and continue that sense of excitement long after I moved back to the United States.

10) The Stories

This one is simple. I judge my success in life by the number of amazing stories I have to share. Why fly halfway around the world to get wedding suits made, when there’s a perfectly fine Mr. Formal, down the street?

Yes, we flew halfway across the world to come here. Can't go too far wrong with custom tailored suits for $100.

Yes, we flew halfway across the world to come here. Can’t go too far wrong with custom tailored suits for $100.

Because, a week wandering the streets of Vietnam is much more memorable and story worthy than a quick trip to a strip mall.

As you can see, there’s more to Asia than just a cheap cost of living. The elements of adventure, access, and bustling startup scene make moving there a viable option for someone committed to making things happen.

Have you built a business in Asia? Are you thinking about moving to Asia to start a business? Share your thoughts in the comments below! I’d love to hear about your goals or experiences.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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81 comments on "10 Reasons You Should Move to Asia to Start Your Lifestyle Business"

  1. Rick Schultz says:

    I find this post incredibly inspiring, exciting and reassuring as moving to Asia to start a new life and set up a business for the exact same reasons mentioned above. This makes me even more determined and keep me on track with with my timeline and plan. Keep these posts coming please. Very much hoping to meet many like-minded people on this new journey. Thank you.

    1. Sean says:

      Glad you enjoyed it Rick! Keep me posted on how that timeline plays out, and let me know how we can help!

      1. Jack Cosby says:

        I am an 18 year old male about to enter college in the fall and take several thousands of dollars in debt. But then I read this, and it made me consider not even going to college and jump-starting my path to entrepreneurship. I have absolutely no idea what I want to do to even start a business, but I know I really like the idea of working for myself. I have about 8.5 grand saved up in the bank, so I have a little bit of wiggle room. What do you recommend I do? Thanks

      2. Jack Cosby says:

        Another thing just to take note of,
        I wanted to ask about specifically how I could create revenue for myself in chiang mai (before I were to become a successful entrepenuer), and if college is really worth it or if I could just take online stuff. Hard work and persistence is not a concern of mine.

        1. David Christopher says:

          I would say go for it!

  2. GarinEtch says:

    I love SE Asia so much. But Portland’s not a bad place to be either!

    I spent some time in South America last year and the Middle East the year before that and I really loved both as well. Both are growing. Do you think there will be a new region with a new Dynamite Circle style community that will emerge?

    1. Sean says:

      As far as cities in the US goes, I think Portland is one of the more comparable to some Asian cities as far as amenities and quality of life. Austin and NYC are others that remind me of Asian cities in different ways.

      I think Colombia is definitely on the rise, and is similar to some Asian cities in the amount of people who are moving there. Santiago is also another one that’s been propelled by Startup Chile.

      I dont see as much happening in the middle east due to the expense and cultural differences (not much drinking), however I could be proved wrong 🙂

  3. Kooks says:

    Thank you Sean for this!! Too bad- just going to miss you- be there in the next month 🙂

    1. Sean says:

      Ah, bummed to miss you, but let me know how the trip goes!!

  4. Mark says:

    Ironically, I started my business in Asia and then moved to the U.S. 🙂 Indeed working in Asia has cost and other benefits (as you did a great job of listing out in this post), and it was a wonderful experience living in China and Hong Kong for 8 years. But now that I’m in Hawai’i and enjoying the freedom this sort of lifestyle affords, it feels like things have come full circle. After Hawai’i my wife and I will probably move to S. America or Europe for the next leg of the adventure. But so far so good. 🙂

    1. Sean says:

      Mark, Nice!! Sounds like you’ve made the rounds 🙂 Do you have a favorite out of the places you’ve lived so far?

      1. Mark says:

        Good question! Let’s see … I think for overall good-for-working-remotely (cost of living, access to get online, lifestyle + good places to work), I would have to say my favorite has been Xi’an.

        If cost of living wasn’t a factor, then I would probably say Shanghai.

        However, recently the Chinese government started cracking down on VPN use so Social Media has become hard to access. In that case, outside of Asia (never worked in S.E. Asia) I would probably pick Dublin or Edinburgh. Or maybe Seattle. Maui has some decent places to work too, although it’s a little pricey if you don’t have a cheap place to crash.

        The most exotic place I’ve worked so far was a Yurt in Mongolia. That fermented goat’s milk takes some getting used to. (But there was golf nearby, in case you decide to visit.)

        1. Tony m says:

          I live in Dublin and I have been in us uk nordics Vietnam at least 5 months each for work or studies. About Dublin : although people are relaxed and IT is booming here plus low corporate taxes I can not recommend it in the long run. 1) boring nightlife , stinking pubs full of drunk males… 2) difficult to make friends with local natives 3) women are ugly and there seems to be more guys then girls out on the streets. Bc IT is male dominated ? 4) the public transportation and roads are jammed and awful 5) expensive to live in Dublin 1250 euro for a quality flat….6) the winter weather is horrible 7) i seen maybe 5 good looking ladies in a year often married or surrounded by someone else. So to be here for a year or so ok but .. think twice if staying here longer ..

  5. Will says:

    Great post bro, very inspiring. I’ve spent time in Bali, Singapore and Shanghai. The energy in all 3 was amazing. Thanks for the post, keep rockin!

    1. Sean says:

      All are incredible, albeit, very different places. Bali is the only one I’ve spent considerable time in, and at the time it was definitely a hub for the lifestyle entrepreneur. Still is to a point, but these days most of the people I know who are there are going temporarily as part of retreats and such.

  6. Minh says:

    Hi Sean,

    Thanks for the post. I’ve been putting off the move to Asia for a while (about a year now) and it’s about time I make some real, concrete plans to get my butt over there. I’m glad you’re enjoying your time =)

    1. Sean says:

      Let me know if there’s anything I can do to point you in the right direction 🙂

  7. Ana says:

    As a mature woman — and way up there, guys — I’m thinking the experience would be radically for me. I’ve had 3 teaching stints in Japan in the past dozen years and I’d go back again in a flash. But having turned 60… I think you have to have more ducks in a row. I’ve certainly found that out. My business is still in its infancy so can’t go yet — no money — but I want to get back abroad asap, maybe central Europe this time. The EU visa thing keeps me from those Western countries for now.

    1. Ellen says:

      I, too, am an older woman, over 60 although I do feel like I’m 30 to 35. Part of the reason I do feel so young is I follow people like Sean and a few other “location independent” guys and of course, gals, online. They give me the courage to even think about doing what they do, although perhaps I will have to temper the drinking a little. 🙂 My only big concern is my income is not high and although I believe it’s high enough to live decently in parts of SE Asia, I’m worried about medical costs should I need care. I’m not sure I can afford high level international health insurance and until I’m generating more income, paying out of pocket for possible emergencies. Perhaps I’m focusing on this because I’m really scared to do it, but it comes up a lot.
      By the way, I’m seriously considering Colombia because I’ve loved Latin American culture my whole life. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and had many Latino friends over the years.

      1. Ana says:

        Ellen, wow, someone like me! 🙂 I love that there really do exist some “older” types on here, especially women. It does seem like this group consists of mostly guys and young guys at that. Not that I care. I’m subscribed to a few sites in this niche run by young guys, seemingly for … young guys. But we’re all welcome here — right, Sean?

        Anyway, as I said before, I can’t wait to get back abroad. Last time was in Japan in 2010. I can’t go until my online biz totally supports me, though. It really is a risk and that can be a greater risk for the likes of us. Health care, as you mentioned, can be more of an issue with us, as is retirement concerns, the lack of a partner if you’re single like me, money — what happens if the money totally runs out and you find yourself with nowhere to go? Hey, it can happen and it has happened to me a couple of times.

        I really am looking at Central Europe or maybe Ecuador for a while. Spain is my #1 dream but I can’t get in there yet. There, if you don’t have an independent (retirement) income, you really have to prove you’re making very good money in a well-established business before they’ll let you in. So one of those others then. I’m planning for within this year.

        Best of luck to all!

    2. Ellen says:

      Hi again Ana, I’m not sure how this works, but if you’d like to contact me directly, perhaps Sean would give you my contact information. I’ve been thinking of starting up a little group for women and of course, men, if they felt brave enough, who are over 50 and wanting to do what we want to do.

      1. Ana says:

        That sounds great, Ellen! Hey Sean, can you make this possible? Sounds like we got some important stuff in common. Don’t have to be over 50, either — just maybe a tad past twenty- and thirtysomething. 🙂

      2. Roxanne says:

        Hi Ellen and Ana,
        I may be a tad late to this party, but I hope you see this.
        Well, I am not a young, or a guy, either. I am a woman who is turning 48 in a few weeks and even though I find all of these posts helpful and inspiring, I have different concerns than the younger people, such as healthcare.
        Therefore, I would love to get in touch with people in their middle years and beyond who want to make this move.
        I have lived abroad for over 9 years now-Germany, Lebanon and now, Russia, and am ready to become completely self-employed (I was a freelancer in Germany, the only way to work legally there as a non-EU citizen if no one sponsors you).
        So, if you or Ana reads this post, please respond back on this page, and maybe we can get something set up.

      3. Ana says:

        Hey there Roxanne! Great to hear from you. And yes, I’d love to communicate privately and anytime you like. We share a great dream, and the more we communicate together, the faster it can come true. That’s the way I see it anyway.

        Also, Ellen, I’ve already written to you and I’d love to hear from you soon. 🙂

        Sean, if you could put us together, that’d be great!

      4. Chris says:

        Hi Ellen, I’m a little late to the conversation but also exploring options for the over 50’s doing the digital nomad. Would love to contribute. I’m currently in Phnom Penh and just picking up on the social and work scene while blogging and other odds and ends. I’d love to discuss/make a contribution.

  8. Nancie says:

    Your first photo made me do a double take. I’m in that photo, and I remember that great meet-up!

  9. Daniel says:

    I’ve lived in Kyrgyzstan and now am in Tajikistan. These are not easy places, the places you mention are nicer and easier. I’ve always wanted to learn Chinese as well, so I have China in the back of mind, possibly, and maybe one of the other places you mention here. I’ve also signed up for Enter China.

    1. Mariza T. says:

      Hi Daniel – SE Asia is hot. I’m planning to spend some time there later this year. I think Sean makes great points about why the place is awesome for location independence.

      I would love to talk to you about your time Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. You can reach me at marisa[at]proseoarticles[dot]com

      Best of luck with your future endeavors and China!

  10. James Lee says:

    Oh I miss living in Asia…Especially the food. BEST FOOD EVER. I am hoping to be able to have a business that will allow me to travel between Asia (Korea,Japan,Singapore,Hong Kong) and the United States someday. Your website is really inspiring.

    Thank you!

  11. Ellen says:

    I’ve been in Chiang Mai for a couple of years – did it all backwards and was out here when I discovered LR and this lifestyle. It’s all working out quite well! I can definitely recommend Thailand as a warm, cheap and friendly place to live.

    But I’m also hoping to visit Portland this year for the WDS – I’ve heard it’s a pretty nice place too!

    1. Sean says:

      Portland is great! After all, it must be if I made it my home base 🙂 Hard as it is to believe I’ve still never been to Chaing Mai – so hope to make it there on my next Thailand trip. Also hope to see you here in July!

      1. Chris says:

        I’ll be a first-timer at WDS this year, hope to bump into you!

  12. Marvin says:

    Nice post that sums up all the reasons we keep coming back here every year Sean! The low cost makes it a no-brainer for anyone who wants to get something going without needing to devote extra energy to keeping a roof over their heads and their tummies full. 🙂 If your Asia “re-visit” has you passing through BKK at all, would love to meet up over a drink or a meal…for ‘OG WDS’ers’ sake. 😉

    1. Sean says:

      It didn’t take me to BKK on this trip, but I miss that city! So I may make it back at some point soon 🙂

  13. Craig Anthony says:


    That’s the Villa Song, isn’t it?

    1. Radzone says:

      you nailed it!

    2. Sean says:

      Certainly is! Have you been there?

  14. Suzanne Tennant says:

    Great food for thought, thank you. And I LOVE this line… “I judge my success in life by the number of amazing stories I have to share.” I’m taking it as my new mantra 🙂

  15. Agneatha says:

    Such a great piece.
    I get goosebumps reading your blog!

    I guess I’m just very excited to be moving to Thailand in 9 weeks.

    1. Sean says:

      That’s awesome! Congrats on the move 🙂 Where will you be living in Thailand?

  16. Alfred says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter! Totally agree with your post. As someone who built my business around my love of travel, Asia is definitely a great place for adventure as well as professional networking. I did two 3-month stints in SE Asia in 2013 & 2014, spending a majority of my time based in Danang, Vietnam with shorter trips working from Thailand & Cambodia. I also lived in Japan from 2007 – 2011, and planning to visit China for a few months from April. Will definitely be checking the blog more for some tips!

    1. Sean says:

      Nice! I was going to go to Danang on this trip, but just didn’t have quite enough time – heard great things.

  17. Jason Head says:

    I’m aiming for South Korea as a business location eventually, but I think I may explore other locations to leave California, until I have the capital I need to set up, and do web tech / tech startup venture development.
    At least I will be in the region and not be so exorbitantly expensive to travel back and forth 🙂

    What countries would you say have the most expat entrepreneurial activity these days?
    And places where I’m not going to have visa problems working independently (but not being employed and taking local money of course)

    1. Sean says:

      Any place will have their visa requirements, but some are easier to get around than others. You can pretty much expect in most SE Asian countries to have to leave every 2-3 months to do a visa run. While I was in Thailand I had a 3 re-entry tourist visa where I had to leave every 60 days – not a big deal, as I was often traveling around a lot.

      Saigon and Chiang Mai right now have the most bustling expat/lifestyle biz scenes that I know of – I’m thinking Vietnam has the less stringent visa regulations, but I would do more research on that.

  18. Jason Head says:

    Which East/Southeast Asian countries do you think someone can do independent / freelance on a tourist visa without getting kicked out if immigration finds out? i.e. legal and ok, just no “if you don’t get caught”
    Seems it would be to their advantage – you are spending money in their country, while taking no money out via employment etc

  19. Mariza T. says:

    Great post, Sean. Hoping to make Chiang Mai my base by July.

    All of these are great reasons to pack up and go explore SE Asia. But what do you think is the down side? Distance? Lack of pedestrian courtesy? learning to ride a scooter?

    Would love you input on some of the challenges.


    1. Ellen says:

      Learning to ride a scooter was both terrifying and eventually awesome 🙂

  20. Ana says:

    Yes, each country has their own visa issues. I mentioned Europe because, let’s face it, that’s the region with the most challenges for non-EU citizens. I’m considering a central European country like the Czech Republic perhaps, if I can get in and maybe teach for a bit while continuing to build my business.

    SE Asia looks fine for certain groups — young guys maybe and some girls — but for an older female alone I think Europe or some more developed South American countries are more appropriate. At this time of life you’re not in a position to take as many risks.

    I’m still eager as all get-out to get back “over there.” 🙂

    1. Ellen says:

      I guy I met online a few months ago is running a successful online business in a small ski resort town in Bulgaria. Who would have thought that would be possible?
      If I had my choice of countries, I would choose France, Italy or Spain. I’m not high on France these days and Western Europe is expensive although it might be the easiest place to live for my age group.

  21. André G. says:

    I loved Thailand. Was there for one year and will go back for a longer period. Need to get a baby safely through its first months, though. Reason 3 is so true: I’ve made some useful contacts and new friends – easier than ever when you’re all ‘farang’. Number 5 I’m very curious about. How well do the Vietnamese speak English and could I outsource content creation to them?

  22. Tim says:

    #6 hits home for me, Ive never experienced such a renewed perspective on everything until I moved to Asia. I feel like busting out of your normal routine spurs ideas and inspiration, it’s great!

  23. Seth says:

    Hey Sean,

    Greeting from Bend, OR.

    My co-worker and I were just talking yesterday after work about the possibilities of moving to Asia at the end of the year and turning part-time gigs into full-time income. This just made it even more real and compelling. I sent him the article this morning!

    From reading your posts, listening to TropicalMBA and talking with Dave Huss, I’ve definitely got Saigon and/or Chang Mai on the mind. Excited to make shi*t happen in 2015!

    Thanks again for the great post.

  24. Eric says:

    After trying to make my mobile business work in Latin America for the past 6 months, I headed back to Asia soon for all the reasons stated in this article. Spot on!

  25. Bob R says:

    A good list. I see it as more universal, and in your case applied to Asia. For many of the same reasons I’ll be based in Latin America –specifically Ecuador and Colombia– for the next seven months, largely due to time zone factors. Vietnam is however in the 2016 plan. 🙂

  26. John Mondin says:

    Great post bro! I currently live in Hong Kong and it’s amazing how much different it is compared to north america. Also, it’s so close to all the other asian countries / cities like Singapore, Vietnam, Korea, Japan etc. I plan to visit those cities in 2016!

  27. Sudeep says:

    Hey Sean, just discovered you through Maneesh Sethi’s interview with you. Great blog, I have already started to take your advice i.e. I just bought a domain and set up a wordpress blog yesterday. I am still not sure what I am going to write yet.

    Do you think you should have your business idea of what you want to create (or at least have a vague idea) before you move to Asia?

  28. Stephen Reed says:

    Hey Sean.

    Some great points in here, and I totally agree that living on Asia, with a lower cost of living, and some awesome stuff to do is the IDEAL way to break out and start a lifestyle business.

    However, for many (most?) people who might stumble upon your blog, that is just not a realistic proposition. People with kids in school, families, spouses, moving overseas is not immediately viable or even an attractive proposition.

    I firmly believe that if one is pretty much free of dependents etc, then quitting the job, and getting on the next flight to Bangkok is a cool, and very exciting idea.

    I have two kids, 13 and 16, a wife who likes living where we live, and as a middle-aged guy, I have a home that I’m not looking to quit anytime soon.

    However, I have been able to create good online income at times over the last 5-6 years, and currently work from home, producing books that are selling well on Amazon, working location independently as a book promotion manager for an online book promo company, and am pulling in around $3000 USD per month as a result of those ventures, and some small residual income from a number of niche websites I built back in 2010.

    So, for anyone who has a job, is somewhat risk averse, and wants to build a business to allow them to escape the 9 to 5, it CAN be done, and with relative ease.

    Most people have some skills or experiences they could write about, coach about, freelance with, slowly allowing them to build an income over 12-18 months that would allow them to quit the day job.

    I’ve done it multiple times. It’s simple, but takes work, but even with 60 minutes of concerted effort each day, the compounding effect of regular action grows exponentially over time.

    I love the idea of just upping and moving, but wanted to let other readers know that this is not the ONLY way, and the opportunity to create a freedom business and lifestyle is very real, even for those who want to keep their feet firmly planted in their home country…for now 🙂



  29. Mohit says:

    Nice post man, just what I needed to finalize my decision to move to Chiang Mai for 2-3 months! Let me know if you come down. I also have plans for WDS 2105, so hope to see you there.

  30. Hey Sean,

    I hope these points to be true. I left my job, apartment and stuff back in January from Florida (with a Portland based virtual address as I like it there) to live in Goa, India. Granted I came for fun (before hitting Thailand to work), but many health issues are preventing it upon arrival a few weeks ago.

    After arriving, I unexpectedly accepted an (eCommerce consulting) client which not only pays for my time here, but puts money in the bank. However getting good Internet to do the work is a huge challenge.

    Secondly, I’m living in a HUT, with no A/C, or hot water. I am looking forward to hitting Chiang Mai and some other cities over the next few months for a higher standard of living, good Internet and socializing (as it’s mostly Russians here on holiday).

    I think life in the cities you mention will be a far cry from walking everywhere in thick sand, dodging cow poop, wild dogs and panhandlers.

  31. Love the content that you share, Sean.

    Very inspiring and it makes sense to start there.

    As you know, I have already started out and working hard here from Sweden, but am looking forward to move abroad and start my journey soon, what would be the first destination that you’d recommend and why?

  32. Steven says:

    Great post! I have been to Saigon many time and have been contemplating moving over the last year. Job offers have come up and I’m extremely tempted. Was starting your own business in Saigon difficult?

    1. Sean says:

      Personally, I started my business in Bangkok and now travel about 4 months out of the year. When I wrote this post I was just on a visit to Saigon. That said, there’s an incredible entrepreneurial community there and it’s a fantastic place to live on the cheap, and have a bit of an adventure while starting something online.

  33. Andrew says:

    I agree that food and drink in a lot of Asian countries is a lot cheaper than the West but I was wondering how often does your social networking in places like Vietnam drag you into nightclubs, lounge bars and KTVs in which the food and drink is the same price if not more than in the West?

    1. Ellen says:

      Hey Andrew, I wanted to comment on that.

      I live in Chiang Mai, and last night I went out bowling with a group of about 30 digital nomads. It was 150 baht for three games (so about $5US/£3) and I drank water, 25baht (70c/50p) but you could also have beer for a couple of bucks for a huge bottle. Last week some of us went ice skating, and it was similar prices. So I think it’s possible to spend a lot, but it’s not necessary to meet amazing people.

  34. Vietnam is an amazing country. I have visited it 2 years ago and it was an adventure! You are so right that people drive really crazy there. My boyfriend saved my life several times. Thank you for sharing such an interesting post. I was glad to remember the feeling of this country. Greetings!

    1. Gary says:

      Joyce, I’m going to visit Vietnam soon and am curious to know what happened there that was so crazy?! I do hear stories about robberies and theft but did something more extreme happen that I should be aware of? Thanks. Gary

  35. Hayley says:

    Hey everyone.

    All you guys have inspired me to move. Right now in stuck in whistler British Columbia because it beautiful. But it is very expensive and freezing right now. I have been thinking on moving to Asia with a friend or alone, not sure, but also not sure where to start or even fly to at this point. Is it easy to find work? That’s just my main issue. I am also a little nervous but I know travelling is amazing. I did move from Toronto Canada to bristish Columbia Canada haha but that’s only 4 provinces. What all of you guys have done is amazing and I’m glad I came across this 🙂
    Thank you all :):)

  36. Duda.c says:

    Hi, very nice your post and complete. Do know about the pratical part, the papers and documents? I could go just like a tourist, but I don’t now if is too burocratic to take a visa to live and start work. If I ned already contacts there before go.

  37. Chelsea B. says:

    such an amazing view! good to know others are able to do what they love, travel and work remotely! Hope one day we are able to travel with our small business !

  38. keaith says:

    I find this inspirational and am interested in the property buisness. I often thought asia would be the place to start. Beeing a person from australia i totaly understand the cost side of things and how cost effective things can be….cheers mate hope to go through with it soon

  39. Bello says:

    Great post i’ve read about Asia.
    Thank you Sean!

    I took the decision to move to Asia and your article is conforting me to do it.

    Will be happy to meet you, don’t have enough contacts there.


  40. Sam J says:

    What you said? Cheap food? Here I come hehe…

  41. Thanks Sean, reading your blog makes me want to travel to Asia! But to start a business and relocate overseas outside the United States, what will be the best Nation or Kingdom to start at?

  42. Anna says:

    I’m Asian and thoroughly enjoyed this post (especially the photos). Agree with the things you pointed out. To add, the city with the best business environment in the world is also in Asia – Singapore! Although the cost of living is expensive in the city-state, it definitely is an amazing location to move for entrepreneurs.

  43. Elsa Burquez says:

    I have to say that I was not so into Asia, but after reading this I can say I do not think is a bad option for living after all. Specially because “it forces you to think differently”, I liked that part. We need people to be forced to do it, that’s the key to progress.
    Thank you !!!

  44. Eric says:

    My friend,
    You’ve been an integral part of my motivation to ditch the status quo and live on my terms. This post is extremely inspiring and I’m happy to announce that I have only 54 days left at my day job in San Francisco, and them I’m moving to Bali.

    Thank you for everything!

  45. Tony m says:

    Another point: where is the best place to live for a European well educated mid 30 male? Australia ? Florida ? California ? Thai ? Vietnam ? Japan ? I am working on my online business and I seek: Sun; reasonable taxes; easy to connect with entrepreneurs; expats; safety; friendly people; hot ladies a good place for kids to grow up? Or is it uk and usa /Germany that rocks for kids to grow up ? 🙂

  46. hehe! that’s the sound i was making when watching your video. I am Canadian and living in China 6 years. You’re right about the ability to hop scotch all around the Pacific rim and east Asia. I run to Thailand for 200 bucks. I run to Korea for 300 bucks. Hong kong, 1.5 hour bus ride. 15 bucks. The list goes on.. Food 5-15bucks per day. Hotels.. 20, 30, 50 bucks per night.
    Yes! Contacts galore. The whole world comes here for business. and relaxation. What better spot to find business people ready to spend and travelers who have budgets to spend.
    Also in Asia, when you meet a business person, they are most times rich and have top value connections. Most Asians love foreigners and treat you as a V.I.P.
    I am always ready to contribute from a Asia factory standpoint. I am a product design, builder with factories under my commands. haha.. really!
    Love your website Dude! and by the way, I am over 50 going on 32! A whole new life here. Can’t wait for tomorrow! cheers!

  47. Great list of reasons to move to Asia. My brother’s been over there for several years now, and after visiting I’m ready to make the move myself. It’s amazing how many opportunities there are. Furthermore, as you mention, the amount you can save in your daily living makes it far easier to focus your time on investment tasks rather than trying to earn “survival money”. Glad I stumbled across this site!

  48. Samer Tallauze says:

    Proud Asian

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