While many foreigners moving to Mexico are doing so as part of a retirement plan, increasing numbers of working-age professionals are seeking to leave their home country and cultivate a freelance workstyle abroad—and considering how Mexico might fit with this intention.
Technology-led knowledge remote working
Modern technology and flexible working practices facilitated by teleworking make working in Mexico more viable than ever for people with transferable skills and who are willing to exercise those skills working abroad.
Working in Mexico —whether at a formal job or independently via contract work— presents specific challenges for foreign residents. In addition to the common challenges associated with self-employment, you’ll need to learn how to weave your way through others matters including language and communication, cultural nuances, and a distinct commercial environment.
Choosing your trade wisely
When you’re considering a move to Mexico as part of a workstyle plan, it’s wise to consider with care what business endeavor you choose to embark upon.
Catering and leisure services
It’s not unusual for foreign residents considering ways to earn a living in Mexico to consider living in ‘idyllic setting’ and running their own own beach bar, restaurant, or bistro café. Some people do this and thrive (usually those with former experience in the catering trades), although statistically, those sorts of businesses have provided a super-highway to relieve foreigners of their shirts—and their life savings.
Another traditional way to generate income is to buy a property and rent some rooms out through B&B arrangements. Online platforms like Airbnb, HomeStay and Tripping have driven demand for this type of accommodation in recent years, although with so many people now riding this bandwagon, oversupply is an issue in places, prices and profit margins are under pressure, and there remain specific challenges to running this type of business.
Healthcare and home maintenance trades
Mexico has plenty doctors and nurses, as well psychologists, so these trades are unlikely roles for most foreign residents living in Mexico. Home maintenance trades including electricians, plumbers, and carpenters are not trades that foreign residents tend to take up as there exists an abundance of local people doing this work; and it would be difficult or impossible to secure a work permit for these types of jobs.
Translation, teaching, and interpretation work
The market for translators and interpreters always appears buoyant and if you have the skills, you could earn a living doing these. It takes time to build up your reputation (and a client base), but once you’ve done that, if you’re good, you’re likely to be in near-constant demand from agencies and clients.
Teaching English is another trade that is always in demand, although like translators, the supply is plentiful and establishing yourself in the fields of translation, interpretation or teaching on a freelance basis is not easy. You have to be very good, and be prepared to work quite long hours to earn a reasonable living over the long term.
Knowledge-work formats are the most viable
Most of the success stories concerning foreigners moving to Mexico to work independently involve them being engaged with Information Technology or some type of other specialist knowledge-economy work.
Website design, technical programming, professional writers, graphic design, and specialized marketing consultancies are examples. Even if you have the skills, you will need some experience in knowing how to apply them, the ability to market yourself and develop a client base, as well as the flexibility and tenacity to work independently in a country that is different to your customs and expectations.
When you contemplate a move to Mexico to work here independently, you should consider entering a market that you know very well and in which you have at least several years of direct, practical experience. Keys to success include market research, doing your homework thoroughly, choosing the right location for your intended endeavors.
You will also do better, more quickly, if you have contracts in place already: either from Mexican firms seeking your expertise on an independent basis or from foreign companies.
Visa applications for self-employment can be more complex than visas for formal employment or retirement and we recommend you talk to an experienced consultant before you make your application.
If you need assistance with your Mexico residency application, including consultation about applying for self-employment status in Mexico and requests for work permissions on existing temporary residency cards, our Mexico Immigration Assistance Service provides consulting, advice, and practical help that helps you through the entire residency application or renewal process.
Free eBooks to help you begin your research
Mexperience offers several free eBooks that will help you research options and understand the opportunities and challenges of creating a working lifestyle in Mexico:
- Download our free eBook about Living & Retirement in Mexico that contains important chapters about setting out your intentions and creating a defined plan for those intentions.
- Download our free eBook about Working & Self-employment in Mexico that contains detailed insights about the working environment and culture here, including detailed information about work styles and work trades as well as tips and practical insights for working independently.
- Download our free eBook about Social and Business Etiquette in Mexico, that’s filled with local insights to help you navigate the local social and business graces here.
Learn more about living and working in Mexico
For further insights, Mexperience a comprehensive range of resources to help you plan and realize a new lifestyle and workstyle in Mexico:
- Read the latest articles about planning your Mexico lifestyle
- Learn about the routes to obtaining legal residency in Mexico
- Discover places to live in Mexico
- Latest articles about matters related to working in Mexico