Building An Expat Business – Getting Prepared and (almost) Qualified

I have spent almost my whole adult life building businesses and working on projects in one form or another. I have a BA Hons in Business Studies I won several junior awards for Entrepreneurship throughout my education and came from a background of having a family business.

I set up my first business at 22 after having my first child and ran a busy thriving shop for 5 years in my local town, then the recession hit…I realised, like many other local retailers that national competition and online pressure had squeezed margins to such an extent that the business had simply become unviable and so I made the decision to close.

I was fortunate. I very quickly found a job with a Times Top 100 company in my local town and worked my way up from a Personal Finance Manager in the call centre, to Team Leader, Business Analyst and finally ran my own project for the CEO.

They have been very supportive of my move and I can honestly say that without my Totemic family I would not have had the confidence to attempt the move to Italy and the subsequent business ventures. I will always be very grateful to them.

For the first few months I spent some of my time in Italy studying an advanced diploma in Import and Export, my TEFL and I also enrolled with my local Commune to take 6 hours per week of beginner and intermediate group study lessons (to back up my private lessons taken with a tutor).

If anyone is considering a move abroad I would highly recommend going to the local community centre and seeing if a similar scheme is available.I pay 15 euro per year for my lessons and my confidence to speak improves every week, the ability to communicate should never ever be taken for granted, it is absolutely the toughest thing about moving to a foreign country.

So now I feel ready…almost…I know I have areas to work on and I know I will make mistakes.It’s time to take the jump 🙂

Emma x


Building An Expat Business – How it all began….

Almost a year ago I was preparing for the biggest move of my life, as a family my husband, myself and my 2 children were to rent out our house, leave our jobs and school and move to Turin in Italy. I was terrified, elated, excited and nervous all at the same time. I would swing from highs of wanting to leave RIGHT NOW and lows which would have my husband, family and friends questioning my sanity and wondering if moving was the right move thing for me to do.In hindsight the last 10 months have been an incredible ride and one which I wouldn’t change for the world so it only seems right to take you back to the beginning and give you an insight into my journey so far.

We were visiting the Grand Designs Roadshow in London when THE CALL came. Matt (my husband) had a huge grin on his face as he told me we had been posted to Turin, Italy for 3 years beginning in April 2014. I think my reaction was a little unexpected considering that we had discussed the post and decided that should the opportunity arise to move abroad we would grab it with both hands.My face fell and my only reaction was “Oh my God how do I tell my Grandmother”

The next 6 months was spent in a blur of language training (for Matt), Italian lessons (for me), lots of packing and decorating our house so that it was ready for renting. Organising schooling for the kids (reports from the old one and choosing a new one) renting a house in Italy and finally wrapping up projects at work and saying goodbye to a job I absolutely loved as well as friends and family.

I should mention that Italy is a beautiful country. Full of wonderfully warm and friendly people, throw in fabulous food and wine and a backdrop of amazing history and culture and life should be pretty much perfect… BUT the layers of bureaucracy and challenges of day to day life could make a saint swear.In short NOTHING in Italy is EVER simple.

I have spent the previous 10 months making the most amazing friends (and saying goodbye when they either move back home or move on to another ex pat adventure) attempting to get a basic grounding in the Italian language (6 hours of lessons a week makes me wish I knew at least something about English Grammar), taking part in Italian cookery lessons, sightseeing, getting involved with the school my kids attend, “doing lunch”, shopping and hosting a never ending stream of visitors from home but now I am ready for more….

In short I have worked since the age of 14 in one way or another, as much as I have loved my time at home I need to begin the next chapter of my Italian adventure. I am going to attempt to build a business, i’m not to sure what kind of business but it will probably centre around importing Italian products into the UK… Click her to visit my Facebook profile and find out more….Looking back over the past 10 months with all it’s challenges I think I may have lost my marbles but I am ready to take a chance and see what the future has in store for me. Wish me luck and let’s see how I get on 🙂

Emma x