Expat Entrepreneurs - Blanca

What are the best careers for expats? Particularly when you are accompanying your partner? I have spent the passed 5 years fascinated by meeting people who are creating their own career paths whilst living abroad. This series, shares those insights, in the hope it will inspire you to over come the many challenges of work abroad. 

I am a big fan in surrounding yourself with inspirational people, thus after I had decided to start a business I started to download podcasts and read blogs all about how to do it! Carrie Green and the Female Entrepreneurs Association has taught me everything! It has been beyond useful, and incredibly inspiring.  I am delighted to have found other expat in the club, who are also creating their own businesses. Blanca, is one of them. She moved to Edinburgh, started off teaching Spanish as a tutor before taking a plunge to create her own school. WOW impressive eh!  

Blanca kindly shares her advice on how best to learn a language, her highs and lows of living abroad, running a business and also some tips on how to see and experience the best of her current home, Edinburgh.    

Expat entrepreneurs, global career

What do you love about your current city, what makes it special? 

I have been living in Edinburgh for almost 6 years now, and there are plenty things I love about this city, I think the thing I love the most is the feeling, Edinburgh has a medieval atmosphere that takes you back on time, they lay out of the city is great, with you different parts, old town and new town but wherever you are you can always see the castle, and there are so many green areas too, starting from Princess gardens in the middle of the city and follow  for the several parks and meadows in different neighbours.

Also the people here is great, so friendly and helpful and besides of being a city is still small, you can walk pretty much everywhere.

Expat Portable Careers

What things do you always ask your guests to bring out for you from home?

best jobs for expats

Edinburgh is beautiful but it is not known because of its good weather so I always joke and ask the people who come to visit me to bring me some sunshine. Jokes apart I always ask for “Spanish ham”, jamón ibérico, and a special brand of creams from a famous Spanish supermarket called mercadona.

In what ways have you changed personally or professionally since living abroad?  

That is a great question, I do not know if it is due because I came to Edinburgh when  I was 24 so I was still developing my personality, but living abroad has change me completely, both personally and professionally.
Firstly in the personal part I think living abroad changes you, you grow as a person and see things from a different perspective, you know more people and your empathy grows too, I have learnt to think twice and always try to put into the other person shoes, you need to make yourself understood, overall at the beginning and you try to understand people too, also normally when you live in another country you start mingling with people from different countries, foreigners too and that gives so a really rich experience and taste of different cultures, which makes you grow. 
And regarding business,

I own a business now! I would have never thought I would be able to make that happen, I always thought entrepreneurship was not for me, I did not even think I could do such a thing, I was educated to go to school, get a degree and find a good job where the money was secure and you know your income monthly.

What are some of your personal highlights since living abroad? 

I can communicate with people in a language that is not mine, I think is a big achievement, but I do not have a really big aha moment…I think everything has been progressive, just the fact you are able to build a life in another country is a big highlight for me.

What was the trigger or light bulb moment that made you start up your own business?

Mmm….my partner is an entrepreneur and he loves it, he had been telling me for a while I should start up my own business, but I have a really good job, good salary, and as I mentioned before I thought that was not for me, too risky…I am not that kind of person who likes to risk, but obviously my partner had much more freedom that I did so every time we tried to organise something a holiday, a weekend away, anything! My job got in between, until once when I have a weekend booked in Ireland for a wedding my work told me I could not go…that was the moment I said…I have had enough! I am spending my life here and I am not getting anything back, I am making someone else rich for what? That moment make me open my eyes and realised that was not how I wanted to live life.

What have been some of your business highlights. 

Well, I can tell you a few, as every little step of my business I think is a big whoop whoop moment. I started as private tutor, I went with my bike to the house of my students, and gradually built up my reputation, so  I could afford a space to teach in one of the city main street. I would say that was one of them and the fact that people started coming to me through recommendations, other big highlight will be the first time I got my first group, until that point I had been teaching privately and even when I loved my job I was tired of repeating the same thing again and again. 

Another one would be when I got my first employee, I realised I could not do everything myself, it took me a while to understand the concept of delegation as I used to think “nobody would do it as I do, nobody would care about my business as I do”….thanks God I left go all that , as my employee has been an amazing part of my business in the last year and a big relief.

The final one and more recently it would be when I started doing online lessons, and soon I will have another one, I am going to sell courses online….I am so excited about it and I would love you to go into the V.I.P list , you can join here

what are the best expat careers,

 

Can you share with us your top tips on how to learn a language.  

As a teacher and a student of another language, the main tip I would say is practice!

I know it is easier to learn once you are in the country as you are surrounded by the language 24/7, but if you do not live in the country, try to immerse yourself with friends, or media! Try to at least block 30 minutes a day to work into your language learning, read, write and listen! Sometimes we just focus in one of the skills, but then the others are not as good, when you are going to live in another country you need them all! Really at some point you would need to face a form to fill in, or write a letter etc and obviously practice the speaking part, this one can be the hardest if you are not living in the country but nowadays with internet is so easy, there are groups for everything! I am sure you could find one where you can practice the language you are learning.

The best tip I think I can share is….be patient and gently with yourself, learn a language is not easy or quick…it is going to take time and energy and you will have some discouraging moments, just stay positive!

What is the best bit of advice you can give for others wanting to set up on their own? 

It is going to sound repetitive, but…patience! Start up a business is not easy, the beginnings are hard, and the mindset is so important, you really need to have a connection with your why, why you are doing that, keep in mind the big picture, get reminders everywhere, and in the worse days think that your doing something amazing, you are putting yourself out there and even it is scary it is worth it, do not focus too much in the present and look everyday to the future….the best is yet to come!

Also I would say company, the people you surrounded yourself with, it is important, as you need people to lift you up in the bad days and you can relate with

Have you adopted any new customs or traditions from various places you have lived? 

It is funny….because even when I have lived here for almost 6 years, my customs are pretty much the same, the food timetable is the most difficult to keep, but I still stick to my Spanish eating times, which seems pretty crazy to my Scottish friends.

And…I have learnt to wait in a lane for the bus, in Spain was a bit more chaotic…and I was surprised at first here no one is on a rush to get on the bus…

What is different about your normal routine currently compared to what it would be back at home?

I think back home my routine would be a bit more chaotic, I think, Spanish people like to be outdoors, also with the good weather is difficult to say no to a cold beer, but I am not sure as I have been living here since I left uni in Spain, so all my working routine is here…It might be the same in Spain….I do not really know, when I go to visit is always frenetic, but that is because I do not go too often and everyone want to see you.

When I feel homesick I use the wonders of internet and call my family through Skype, also when I have a bad day I like to go up Calton Hill, a hill in the city centre with incredible views of the city and remind myself how lucky I am I am able to live in this city

 

Fav book >>>>>

 It was the first book I read about mindset, and the power of our mind…and it changed my life!

Podcast >>>> She means business by Carrie Green
 

Quote

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right”  
Henry Ford
“Choose your dreams over your fears”
Carrie Green


Blogger >>> I do not follow any specific blogs…I am subscribed to a lot….probably too many newsletter such as she takes on the world with Natalie McNeill, Lucky Bitch with Denise DT and plenty more….but I do not read them everyday it is just when the headline gets my attention.

 

expat careers, portable careers

If visiting Edinburgh where are your favourite spots: 

To go for dinner: I am a bit of a foodie so I will give you a few......

Chaophraya is a thai cuisine restaurant and it is on a roof top with incredible views. 

The Witchery, close to the castle it is amazing too. 

The Dome in one of the main street is really good, those ones are a bit expensive, but they are an experience. 

A bit more within a budget will be The Worlds end or Rabbie Burns, both typical Scottish situated in the Royal Mile and try some fish and chips and haggis and tatties.

Drinks: Edinburgh has a lot of bars where you can find good whisky and beers with live music, the area of Grassmarket is really common for drinks and food too, and the Royal Oak.

Day trip: There are plenty of good spots to spend the day, such as Stirling, or St Andrews, a bit far away but so worth it!

Must see: I do not think if I can choose one…the Castle I guess, and the Old Town.

Coolest Shop / Brand: During the weekends Edinburgh has a lot of local markets in different parts of the city, so worth having a look and also the Tartan Weaving Mill, close to the castle, they have the factory in the shop and it is pretty impressive, and also you can buy woollen and cashmere which is quite Scottish.

Best entertainment: In August the fringe, which is a festival that last the whole month, and it has so many thing and performance to see, both, free and paid, the city is magical (and full) in August and during other time National Museum of Scotland, I love, it is huge and quite interactive, also on the top the views are pretty cool.

Favourite way to stay fit: To be honest my favourite way to stay fit is walking, Edinburgh has so many hills so they keep you fit, also if the weather is nice a run to Calton Hill or around Arthur seat are a big energy bust!

Any other advice:  Bring a coat even in summer

Do not forget your scarf, it is cold here…not an umbrella! It is so windy ☺

Jokes a side….watch the sunset since Calton Hill,climb the Scottish monument, visit Stockbridge and dean village, and just walk this amazing city, it will surprise you! Ah! If you are going to use the bus you will need the exact amount and cash!

Thanks so much Blanca, this is such great insight into a wonderful city! What an inspiration you are to create your own business, and keep on pushing out of your comfort zone by creating online courses too! I hope you now make lots of time to get away for weekends, and holidays ;) 

If you want to know more about Blanca, or want to take up her course to learn Spanish - please visit her website:  

Website http://spanishconnectionedinburgh.co.uk/

Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/spanishconnectionedinburgh/

If you are looking for more inspiration on careers you can continue whilst living abroad, you should sign up for our {FREE} success abroad workshops, which support you in starting your own Personal Branding journey. 

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