Seems like a LOT of Internet Marketers live and work in Thailand. Maybe it’s the warm, tropical weather, the absolutely wonderful and delightfully fresh food? Hard to say. There are definitely a lot of advantages to living in Thailand but some disadvantages as well. I’ve been visiting Thailand since 1999 and I own a house there. My wife is Thai and owns real estate in a number of locations around Bangkok and Chiang Rai. The house is in her name because foreigners are not allowed to own property in Thailand unless a Thai person owns the major share of the investment. Bummer.
Working in Thailand or not…
I started out working for a large, well known company near the US Embassy in Bangkok. I was in charge of managing their web campaigns. It wasn’t long before I began to feel like I was part of a sitcom. The office was filled with employees who spent most of the day browsing the web, playing on Facebook or watching videos. Not much “work” got done. When a potential client came in, everyone would scramble around to “look busy” and impress the customer. And yes, it was indeed very impressive! The Thais are masters of illusion and they could make everything look very corporate and busy within the blink of an eye. It’s a cultural thing that many of us westerners just cannot comprehend. Despite the fact that I had a pretty sweet deal, my own gorgeous office and staff, I just couldn’t take it after awhile. I love my work and there really wasn’t anything to challenge me, though I could probably write a book about the experience (and some day I might). It really was that crazy.
I tried to start my own business in Thailand, with the help of my wife, but again the cultural differences became apparent. Thai people like to have fun (sanuk) with business transactions. That usually consists of dining out at night and making the deal entertaining. When I approached one large, well know Thai company, about revamping their website (which featured happily dancing, animated gifs of Santa Claus and the Easter bunny on the home page), they just didn’t get it. For them, web marketing meant very little and a website was like the poor cousin of a business card. For the most part, just having a website…any website, was good enough for them.
Fortunately, I started networking with other western business people about working in Thailand. I met with several companies owned by both American and British professionals. Every one of them told me the same thing. Forget about trying to sell services to Thai people. Instead, all of these companies were based in Thailand, using it as a hub, to interact and do business with other countries. Also, they were saving money by hiring Thai and Filipino employees. My takeaway from this was that Thailand is a great base to conduct business from but not to do business with. If you’re going to live the Internet marketing dream, best to establish your roots in your home country. PayPal, some affiliate marketing resources and other essentials may refuse to allow you to open accounts with a foreign address or bank account. Bottom line is that you can indeed live the fantasy lifestyle of Internet marketing in Thailand, and other exotic locations, but build your foundation on your home turf. I have become quite successful using this strategy.
But what about the sandy beaches and working in flip-flops with a cool drink and a laptop?
Although I now own a home and primarily reside in the USA, we still own our house and other real estate in Thailand. It’s a newer, Spanish style home in Samut Prakan, a stone’s throw from the Gulf of Thailand and some delicious seafood restaurants. We try to go back and visit once a year, for at least a month. Is it because we amassed a fortune with Internet Marketing? Maybe not a fortune, but Internet marketing definitely helped. I have my wife’s real estate investment skills to thank along with money earned from a passive income and my web design business in the USA. Although we do get to visit the sandy beaches like Bang Saen (which is nearby) Kho Samet, Hua Hin and others, I try to leave the laptop in the hotel or better yet, at home.
In 15 years, I’ve never seen anyone yet working on the beach with a laptop. Why not? Because if you’re successful, you can spend your time in Thailand enjoying your money made from Internet marketing. Also, most people know that if you have anything of value and you leave it alone for just 10 seconds, it will disappear. That’s the real Thailand!
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