Running an Online Business from Abroad: A Guide for Women Entrepreneurs

Are you a woman with an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to travel? Do you dream of running a successful online business while exploring the world?

If so, you’re not alone! Many women are now running thriving online businesses from abroad, and you can too.

Running an Online Business from AbroadThis post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy for more information.

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I’ve ran various different types of online businesses over the years, so I do know a thing or two about online businesses.

So in this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about running an online business from abroad as a woman entrepreneur.

Topics which I’m covering are:

  • Benefits of Running a Business Abroad
  • Challenges to Consider
  • Online Business Models
  • Marketing Your Online Business
  • Being Self-Employed
  • Legal Requirements
  • Business Bank Account
  • Client Communication
  • Resources for Women Entrepreneurs
  • Success Stories
  • FAQ
  • Conclusion


Then let’s get started…

Benefits Of Running A Business Abroad

Running an online business abroad has many exciting benefits for women entrepreneurs, some of which include:

New Experiences and Perspectives

Living in a new country can open-up your mind to new ideas, cultures, and ways of thinking, giving your business an innovative edge.

It’s amazing how your subconscious mind works, and it will surely respond to a totally new environment and way of life by giving you lots of ‘ah-ha’ and light-bulb moments.

You should then quickly write down all of these ah-ha moments into a notebook and refer back to your ‘ideas list’ when setting up your new business overseas.

Cost Savings

Depending on your destination, you may find lower living and business expenses than in your home country.

This is especially true if you come from the USA or Europe and move to countries such as Thailand, Bali or India. Make the most of the lower cost of living and plough some of your savings back into your online business.

Networking Opportunities

Making connections with like-minded people in another country can lead to valuable international partnerships and clients.

Also, the different perspectives they will have on business ideas from a cultural approach will be invaluable.

You’ll also be likely to make new personal friends simply by business networking.

Personal Growth

Running a business abroad can be a rewarding and life-changing experience, pushing you to grow personally and professionally.

Adapting to a whole new country, their culture and business regulations is no mean feat. Take it on board and and you will grow as a person exponentially.

Tax Benefits

Some countries offer tax incentives for foreign entrepreneurs, which can help you save money on your taxes.

Side Note: I am definitely not a tax expert. Please do your own research as to the tax rules and implications in the country from where you wish to run your online business.


Challenges To Consider

While starting a business abroad has its perks, it’s also essential to consider the challenges you may face.

Ironically, it can be some of the ‘perks’ which can also sometimes become a challenge too…

Language Barriers

Navigating daily life with the basics such as shopping in markets, and also juggling business matters in a new language can be difficult.

Therefore you should consider learning the local language by:

  • Attending a night class before you go.
  • Attending a night class when you live there.
  • Find an online language course which you can access anytime.
  • Buying a basic translation book, and/or
  • Get a translation app on your phone.

There are many ways today to learn a new language, even if it’s only learning the core basics.

Do some research and find the best way for you to learn a new language.

Cultural Differences

Understanding local customs, business practices and just everyday local life is crucial.

Be open-minded, adaptable and have a willingness to learn a new way of life.

Me and Sean (my husband) always find it fascinating when we go to a new country because we want to learn what their traditions are; and then compare them to our UK traditions.

So with this in mind, you should always respect their:

Time Zones

Communicating with clients or team members in different time zones can be challenging.

To overcome this, create a schedule that accommodates everyone’s needs.

Have zoom meetings at different times of the day to make it fair on everyone involved.

Legal and Regulatory Requirements

Familiarize yourself with the legal and regulatory environment of your chosen country to avoid complications.

You should research and look into this before you go to that particular country. You want to avoid any unnecessary and stressful situations – although I daresay that some unforeseen circumstances may arise.


Adjusting to life abroad can be challenging. Stay connected with friends and family back home and establish a support system in your new country.

This can easily be accomplished via Zoom or something similar.


The Different Types of Online Business Models

Now it’s time to choose an online business model; if you haven’t already done so.

There are several online business models to choose from, depending on your skills and interests:

Online Business Model Description
E-commerce Selling physical or digital products online via your website or online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy or opening your own Shopify store.
Blogging Share your expertise, passion, or experiences through written content and monetize through sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, or advertising.
Online courses and coaching Teach others your skills through online courses or one-on-one coaching sessions.
Virtual assistance Offer administrative, technical, or creative support to clients remotely.
Freelance services Provide your professional services, such as writing, proofreading, design or web development, to clients on a project-by-project basis.
YouTube You could set up a YouTube channel where you can teach others on a specialist subject which you are passionate about. You can monetize your channel with ads.
Podcast If you love to talk and have a voice for radio, then consider setting up your own podcast. There are a variety of ways to monetize your podcast such as sponsorships and promoting affiliate products – or your own digital products.

Choosing an online business which suits you personally is actually a very difficult decision to make.

So make sure you take your time to do a lot of research into each business model.

You don’t want to move abroad and run a laptop business, only to find that that particular business doesn’t suit you and you don’t enjoy it.

Do a Deep Self-Assessment

To help you chose the best business for you, I always advise people to do a self-assessment first.

This self-assessment is to specifically find out your:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Your Likes, and
  • Your Dislikes

… among many other things about yourself.

When you’ve done a self-assessment, you’re then in a much better position to match up your self-assessment with all the online business ideas and then choose a one which is the best match to you.

Related Reading: Case Study: How I Found My Dream Home Business

Marketing Your New Online Business

The marketing of your new online business will solely depend on what type of business you’ve chosen to run, as the marketing activities for each business model can vary extensively.

For example:

  • If you chose to blog, then you need to learn SEO to get your blog posts found in Google search, and maybe Pinterest.
  • If you want to start a virtual assistant business, then you need a system to get clients.
  • If you want to run a Shopify dropshipping business, then you need to know how to get customers to your online store.

Online digital marketing a whole massive subject in itself.

So when researching your ideal online business model, the also look into how you’re going to market it.

Being Self-Employed In a Foreign Country

Being self-employed and running your own business is a steep learning curve in the first instance, but it could become more complex when running a business overseas.

Therefore you must do your research and homework before you get on that airplane.

I would find out what being self-employed entails in your own country first, and then with this checklist of self-employment tasks and duties at hand, look into each one and research them in the country of where you’re going to run your business.

Legal Requirements

When setting up a business abroad, it’s crucial to understand the legal requirements of your chosen country.

This includes:

Business registration: Research the process and requirements for registering your business in the country.

Visas and permits: Determine if you need a specific visa or permit to live and work in the country legally.

Taxation: Understand the local tax laws and how they apply to your business, including income tax, sales tax, and VAT.

Intellectual property protection: Familiarize yourself with the country’s intellectual property laws and register your trademarks, copyrights, or patents accordingly.

Employment law: If you plan to hire local employees, be aware of the country’s employment laws and regulations.

Your Business Bank Account

When running an online business from abroad, having a bank account is essential. It allows you to accept payments and manage your finances in the local currency of where your business operates.

Having a separate bank account for your business will also help keep track of transactions and make tax filing easier.

The first step towards setting up a business bank account is researching which banks offer accounts that best suit your needs.

Consider factors such as fees, services offered, interest rates, international transfer capabilities, customer service, etc., when making this decision.

Make sure to read through all documents carefully before signing any contracts with the chosen bank.

It’s important to note that some countries may have certain restrictions on foreign entities opening business bank accounts within their jurisdiction so be sure to check if this applies to you and take necessary steps accordingly.

All in all, it pays off to do thorough research before committing yourself to any financial institution!

Communicating With Clients Across Borders

Effective communication is vital when running an online business abroad.

Here are some tips to help you communicate with clients across borders:

Establish clear communication channels: Use email, project management tools, or video conferencing apps to stay in touch with clients.

Be mindful of time zones: Schedule meetings and deadlines that work for both parties, considering the time difference.

Use professional language: Keep communication professional and culturally sensitive, avoiding slang or idiomatic expressions that may not translate well.

Embrace technology: Utilize translation tools, if necessary, to communicate with clients in their native language.

Set expectations: Clearly communicate your working hours, response times, and project milestones to avoid misunderstandings.

Resources for Women Entrepreneurs

There are many resources available to support women entrepreneurs in starting and running a successful online business abroad:

Online Communities

Connect with other women entrepreneurs through online forums, social media groups, or networking platforms.

I know of a few Facebook groups which are specifically dedicated to women digital nomads. Go and do a search on Facebook and join two or three of such groups.

Business Training and Workshops

Enroll in courses or workshops to enhance your business skills and knowledge.

If you join two or three Facebook groups as mentioned above, then you will get lots of free advice as well as recommendations for courses.

Mentorship Programs

Try and find guidance from experienced entrepreneurs through mentorship programs or by reaching out to them directly.

Again, and not wanting to sound like a stuck record, but you can also find mentors and and get guidance from other experienced women inside some very friendly and busy Facebook groups.

Funding Opportunities

Explore grants, loans, or crowdfunding options specifically designed for women entrepreneurs.

However having said that, starting and running an online business is extremely inexpensive. The high cost will be to actually move abroad.

Conferences and Events

Attend industry events and conferences to network, learn from experts, and stay updated on industry trends.

Success Stories

Many women entrepreneurs have found success in running an online business from abroad, so I though I would share a inspiring examples:

Celinne Da Costa: Celinne is a branding and storytelling expert who has built her business while traveling the world. She helps entrepreneurs create powerful brand stories that resonate with their audience.


Michelle Dale: Michelle started out as virtual assistant while she was trapped in Egypt because she had no money to leave the country. You can read an interview about Michelle’s incredible journey.


Lauren McManus: Lauren is a co-founder of Create and Go, a platform that teaches people how to start a successful blog. Lauren started making a six-figure business with her laptop while travelling around the world.


Please note that, while these women entrepreneurs have run or are running their businesses abroad, their current locations may change over time due to the nature of their work and lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I run my online business from any country?
A: While you can technically run an online business from most countries, it’s essential to research local laws, regulations, and infrastructure to ensure a smooth operation.

Q: What’s the best way to find clients when starting a business abroad?
A: Networking, both online and in-person, is crucial for finding clients. Attend local events, join online communities, and leverage social media platforms to connect with potential clients.

Q: How can I manage my finances while running an online business abroad?
A: Use online financial tools and software to manage your business finances, track expenses, and monitor cash flow.

You may also want to consult with a local accountant or tax professional to ensure compliance with local tax laws.

Q: Do I need a separate bank account for my business?
A: Opening a separate business bank account can help you separate personal and business finances, making it easier to manage and track expenses.

In conclusion, running an online business from abroad can be a rewarding and life-changing experience for women entrepreneurs.

With careful planning, the right business model, and an understanding of the legal requirements and challenges, you can successfully launch and grow your online business while living overseas.