Foreigners of working-age who want to take up residency in Mexico often consider how they might earn a living by starting and running their own business here.
Running a small business in Mexico, whether you are a Mexican or foreign national, is a unique type of challenge. Mexico’s corporate and labor laws are more akin to France’s than to the USA’s or the UK’s, which makes the mechanics of owning and running a company here more complex. The process of incorporation has been simplified in recent times, and foreigners are now allowed to own majority stakes in most types of business; however, once the business is incorporated, there are a number of laws and regulations which must be adhered to, and especially if you plan to become an employer in Mexico.
Most success stories of self-employment in Mexico feature foreigners working for themselves independently in Mexico and selling their services in the so-called ‘knowledge economy’: writers and journalists, web designers, translators, consultants, photographers, etc. Today, a whole raft of knowledge-working opportunities exist and many foreigners working in Mexico this way also have contracts with foreign companies and use Mexico as a base to work from. A potential advantage of this model is that it offers an opportunity for you to have a low cost-base and earn in US dollars, euros, etc. if your clients are based outside of Mexico. These working frameworks have been made possible by the Internet, which has truly revolutionized the way some people can arrange their work situations.
Sometimes, people who visit Mexico on vacation fall in love with the country and decide that they should move here. Common ‘choices’ of business they consider setting up include beach-bars, restaurants, and B&B’s. These, and a few others, are high-risk ventures, and stories abound of people who have lost their shirt by investing in such endeavors. That’s not to say they are impossible to get right, but caution should be exercised in these areas, based on previous experience.
There are a number of key success factors, not least of which is having sufficient capital to get started and established. As in most countries, the biggest cause of small businesses folding in Mexico is the absence of adequate cash-flow, usually caused by under-estimating the amount of time it takes to get established and generate a profit.
Our guide to Self Employment in Mexico, part of our Mexico Insight Guides, gives a comprehensive overview of the steps to take to becoming successfully self employed in Mexico.
If you’re working freelance, or are preparing to start working on a freelance basis, and want to explore whether Mexico is right for you, we recommend these eBooks which, together, create a “Freelancer’s Knowledge Kit” for working in Mexico.