A word of warning


For many foreigners who are thinking of a new life in Spain, owning their own business is all part of the dream. What better way to escape the daily grind than to be your own boss?

According to a survey in 2004, the Costa del Sol had around 10,000 self-employed foreigners – 63 per cent of all self-employed workers in the whole of Andalusia. Of course, anyone who has run his own business, either in his home country or in Spain, will tell you that it is anything but a dream. It’s tough in any country; if you plan to start a business in Spain, you will be reminded again and again what it really means to be a foreigner when you come up against the full force of Spanish bureaucracy!

One of the first rules of business in any country is that you must know and understand your market inside out. Yet, every year, thousands of foreigners arrive in Spain with the vaguest of business ideas, insufficient money and little or no Spanish. It’s a country that seems to induce temporary madness in many people, or maybe it’s just the sun and the apparently relaxed lifestyle. Don’t be fooled; if you’re going to make your living in Spain, you cannot afford to risk everything on a whim and a prayer. The golden rule is: if you wouldn’t do it in your home country, don’t do it in Spain! Whether you want to set up a completely new business or buy an existing one, there are two priorities. The first is detailed research, in terms of the market for your business and more generally in terms of living in Spain, and the second is a long, hard look at how you’re going to finance the venture. For specific marketing tips and strategies (particularly for getting a handle on the expat market) visit .

This article is an extract from Making a Living in Spain. Click here to get a copy now.

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