5 tips to monetize your passion project

I was 16 when I had my first paid, freelance client.   It was for a music label owned by a TV producer.  I still have him on my LinkedIn.

How did that happen?  From around age 11/12, I spent a great deal of time creating and editing images using Adobe Photoshop and doing websites using Notepad.  I dabbled in ActionScript and Flash, but ended up falling in love with Photoshop.  I took part in Photoshop contests.  Next thing I know, I have made a few hundred images.  The tip of the iceberg of those images ended up in an online portfolio that my first client found.

There is a way to monetize the things that you do as a hobby or in your spare time.  Build up the profile then make the move to monetize.

Even if you decide to change course, there is no reason to hesitate doing this all over again.

When I built Brisbane Creative Industries, I was not successful in monetizing this but it did lead to other opportunities.

When I started building up this blog (it was a completely different ‘brand’ a few years ago and before the blogging break), I started getting offers from content providers to sponsor posts.

After spending a few years online posting replies to expats, migrants and so on, I decided to sign up to ExpatGenius to see if I can monetize something that I enjoy – giving advice.

I love going to art, architecture and design fairs and keeping up with the art news worldwide.  I plan a majority of my trips around these events.  I talk to the exhibitors, other show goers and gallerists.  I take notes of how they display the artwork, the lighting, promotions, how they sell it.  I used to have a blog where I published these notes but haven’t had the time to update it.  I will keep on doing this because not only do I enjoy it and because it’s part of who I am as it combines two things that I enjoy – travel and art.    It may evolve into a business, a consultancy, a network.  Who knows.

I like to travel, live and work around the world.  With this freedom, has its challenges.  I am trying to figure out the monetization aspect of this.  It’s the type of thing that one can gain via life experience only.  You can’t read this in a blog, or in a book.   However, there is a ‘core’ to this.  I am working towards building up my knowledge, skills and experience in this ‘core’.  I have a business card of an entrepreneur tacked on the wall in front of me as inspiration. I am thinking that this is going to be me in about five or so years’ time.

With this in mind, how do you exactly monetize your ‘passion’? Or on a less intense note, how do you monetize your hobby?  Your side project?

1. Create one main hub and channel your efforts into keeping this hub updated

In all instances, I’ve kept one hub online where I upload my work, add my notes, and I add my own profile there.

2. Talk and network with others in that area

I went to Monaco for a luxury packaging event and I decided to catch a helicopter from Monaco back to Nice where I was staying (Nice is more interesting by the way!).  I had a great conversation with someone on the same flight, she was looking for a branding consultant for a launch in Harrods (or Selfridges) in London and wanted someone in marketing based there.  I was in marketing and was also based in London and provided her my business card and we parted ways.  During that time, I was interested in the luxury/digital industry enough to do this.

At the end of the day you gain a lot more by going out there and building valuable relationships.

3. Don’t oscillate too much between one item and the next

I remember instances where I’ve found myself getting in too deep with a particular area.  When you completely delve into an area, it’s very easy to get lost in the research, the websites, the newsletters, blogs, groups, networks.  And you then lose track of what needs to be done.

The thing with oscillation is that it takes time, and that time that is taken could be used for monetization efforts.  You are displaying symptoms of SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome.

4. Find someone or a group to be accountable with

I’ve written a couple of posts about working with a professional coach and it has helped me in being accountable to someone.  I get into a session and the questions that I am being asked helps provide some clarity into the situation.  It takes a lot of discipline and effort.  It’s the reason why people sign up to classes, or university courses, purchase the services of coaches or tutors.

Once you have someone or a group to be accountable with – be it a mentor, a coach, a small group – it helps solidify what you have in mind into something more concrete and down the track, into a paid service offering.

5. Price your services accordingly

The issue with knowledge-based work is that it’s not easily replicable, it’s limited to my own constraints (in terms of time, experience, and so on) and it’s probably going to be hard to automate.  The pricing in these types of areas generally run per hour.  Then, you take into account the time spent in developing the relationship with that person.  They ask questions, you provide answers.  But the answers are the value that need to be priced.  However, how else are you able to get that client?

I know of services where they allow a 5 to 10 minute phone call to ask the preliminary questions.  Then following the phone call, they determine if they can help you.  If they believe that they can help you, they then allocate 30 minutes or 60 minutes with you which they then charge.

Then following that, is some sort of advance and/or unbundled package offering detailing of what’s involved.

Therefore, having a systematic approach may help.  And knowing your limits regarding time spent on work.


Signing up to ExpatGenius


Since 2012, I have been involved with the expat online communities and blogging about the process on this website.  For me, I generally like to publish blog posts – allows me to write things out, while at the same time help others.  Much of it has been to the side in my free time, but I have been thinking about how I can monetize this.

The first idea was some sort of international recruitment type of agency but with a focus on the youth work visa arrangements. Then, I had another that was more of a concierge type of service for highly specific items like getting a VIP invite to an art fair, or finding a tax accountant with knowledge of bilateral agreements.

However in one of the LinkedIn groups that I belong to, I came across a startup that has been launched very recently called Expat Genius. It is a peer-to-peer marketplace and network connecting expats with locals.  It’s currently in early beta stage right now and I decided to try out what being an ‘Expat Genius’ entails so you can read my profile here.  Since it’s beta stage, they are soon releasing a few other features which I’m excited to learn more about!  Setting up the profile is quiet streamlined.

Ever since I posted my profile and offering my services aimed at expats/relocations in Canada, Britain and Australia I have had several responses and questions back – however these responses were outside of the platform and occurred on third-party sites.  The thing here is that a few of these want migration and visa consultancy services and is something that I am not registered to do as it involves answering legal questions that is specific to them.  ExpatGenius does offer legal and tax services but these are only reserved exclusively to professional lawyers and tax accountants.  What I do when I get a response back outside the platform is that I get them to seek out legal counsel for their own situation and once they get to the stage where their visas/immigration is all sorted out, that is when I or an ExpatGenius can come in. However, there may be the opportunity to come in the early stages – for example, if someone requires advice adjusting their profile to the target country market.

Another item that I have in mind is the blur between doing something that is ‘contained’.  For example, if I am assisting someone with their CV or developing their online profile, it does not necessarily mean that I recommend them.  I’m not sure if this is going to be a big deal, since the times where I have helped someone with their CV or profile, I would usually also recommend them since I would already know that person.

KYC (Know Your Client)

Another reason why I decided to go with a platform is that it helps decrease the potential risk of running into anyone wanting to commit migration/visa fraud.  There is an underbelly in that there are scams operating around the whole visa industry especially around high-value countries like the UK and Australia.  In an earlier post, I wrote about being in the cross-roads of a college doing visa fraud as a witness. I don’t want to run into those willing or encouraging to take part in fraud and there are also those that exploit out of greed.  The migration/border security folks do as much as they can to stamp it out, as is the case with this college, but some can fall through the cracks.  Therefore, I’m only working with those that are verifiable and is the reason why I’d prefer a platform like ExpatGenius. I am also sure that across the whole process of them obtaining their visas (if they have not done so already) it would nonetheless help clean up the stream for the aspiring expat.

I will give this a try, then I may end up switching to being a customer of their service!  It looks like they require people to either be the Expat (one who needs the service) or a Genius (one who offers the service).

Working with a professional coach for an investment learning plan

In one of my earlier posts, I wrote about expat coaches and the specialist areas and concerns that they can address when working with expats. Recently, I attended an investment day expo aimed at retail investors and with that still lingering in my mind, my next session with the professional coach was around structuring a three-month investment learning plan.

An investment learning plan will differ for individuals. I decided to incorporate within that learning plan to learn more about a) active management strategies, b) technical analysis (charting and patterns), c) research on two types of investment strategies – discretionary versus systematic and also d) research into a few investment vehicles that interest me. Looking back on early 2015, much of my time in this particular area (when I’m not learning Linux commands or figuring out the Canadian visa system..) had been delving into private banking and wealth management. Much of what I know had been on an eagle’s eye point of view or from the viewpoint of a marketer when my experiences within that career was still very recent in my mind. Therefore, my approach to this plan is going to be from a completely different viewpoint.

Another issue that I mentioned in the coaching session was sifting through large volumes of information, opinion, charts, patterns, products, tools and data. We ended up allocating a key task to do each week over the next three months so that I only focus on the one task per week. Part of the information overload was around dealing with distractions which seemed to go hand in hand. We then addressed that by allocating x hours per day on this learning plan. I finalized on 7 to 8 hours per day but I spread this out over a whole day. For day trading, the hours need to be changed to consider Sydney/London/New York (and possibly Tokyo) overlaps. New York and London (8:00 am — 12:00 noon EST), Sydney and Tokyo (7:00 pm — 2:00 am EST, London and Tokyo (3:00 am — 4:00am EST).

And last but not least, one of the issues that I had to address in the coaching session was that I was completely aware of what I don’t know. I know enough to begin to structure this plan, but I don’t know if it’s actually going to be effective compared to other potential plans that I could be structuring instead. It wasn’t like I was having a coaching session with a trader or an investor coach. I think it’s too early for that. Instead I didn’t want to be swayed by someone’s approach and instead wanted to do my ownresearch journey and try to find what works for me. I think that is when a non-specialist coach is very useful in that there is more freedom to make your own way, including finding out the mistakes and weaknesses.

I imagine that I’ll be spending three months virtual currency or paper trading before I move on to real currency. I will see if this plan changes, if the hours are correct, if I need more time in a few months!

Question for readers: Did you have an investment education plan when you first learn to trade? How long did you paper trade? What resources do you recommend?  Comment below or comment via LinkedIn.

Toronto MoneyShow 2016 – Canadian ETF market, Canadian Roboadvisors, Gold as Plan B and Dark Pool prints

On Friday September 16, I attended the Toronto MoneyShow which seemed to be aimed at various levels of investor experienced and attended to by retail investors, day traders, investment advisors and accredited investors.

This was my first finance related expo and it was very relevant to me.  I know of fintech-type of events more geared towards technologists and entrepreneurs but I was looking for something more towards the investor side.

State of the Canadian ETF market

The first main speaker that I saw was on the current state of the ETF market and the types of ETFs available in Canada.  Very interesting topic as I have not had much exposure with these types of tax efficient, Canadian-focused vehicles deemed to be the modern to the mutual fund.  However, the Canadian ETF is now $100 billion and growing.

The speaker, Jaime Purvis, introduced the notion of a strategic beta ETF.  This is any passively managed index strategy that uses a different methodology from cap-weighing to determine security weight.  Morningstar has a guide on strategic beta.  There were also other weighing strategies that he introduced such as equal weighting, FAFI or fundamental indexing and low volatility.  The best takeaway that I had obtained from the expo was how far ETFs had grown since they were first introduced as an investment vehicle.

Personal finance emails to The Globe and Mail

The next speaker was from The Globe and Mail, a Canadian news media outlet, who recounted about 17,000 emails that he had received as a personal finance writer over 18 years.  I didn’t take away that much from him, however it would be interesting if there was a way to automate the findings in those emails to determine any patterns from it.  For example, is there a linguistic pattern arising that could measure overall sentiment of a particular event?  I know that in social media, there are data mining SaaS that automates and measures sentiment based on tweets.

Gold / GDX

Definitely an interesting panel introducing this precious metal as an investment.

State of GDX in 2016 – Data as of 23:32 EDT September 24 2016

The overall sentiment, I found, was that they were bullish on gold investments overall with gold being seen as ‘chaos insurance’ especially in the threat of quantitative failure.

If you want to read more about gold, The Bull and Bear has a digital edition out dedicated to gold which you can read here.

Eight years after our near meltdown in 2008, trust in our politicians, central banks and the intelligentsia have eroded…As such investors are more concerned about the return of their money, rather than the return. Investors beware, better to come up with a Plan B. Gold is everyone’s Plan B.

Active Investment Management 

One of the dedicated sessions that I sat in was on high probability swinging strategies as a swing trader capitalizing on oscillations on the market, analysing price behaviour, a bit about risk management and candle stick charts.  This was a really great panel and spiked my interest, especially when trying to make sense of the world through finding out what is ‘normal’, pattern recognition.  The risk management portion really struck out to me.  I think that there is surely a correlation between expats/nomads and day traders when it comes to risk management.


Having been aware of roboadvisors since early last year, I was very interested to see what the panel can bring.  I am personally not a big fan of the term but it really is about technological innovations in current investment vehicles and in wealth management.  It’s about digital going to the future.

One could determine that roboadvisory services are simply services that utilizes technology to make things more efficient.  The mechanisms could be in algorithm but there is still a component involving human interaction.   While traditionally these types of services have high human touch points, robo advisories could bundle up high human touch with lower human touch for certain areas, or it could even do away with human touch in portfolio management depending on the segment.  I appreciate the ability to innovate bundling offers and I can easily sense a writeup regarding the potentials roboadvisors have with expats.

Roboadvisors enhance the digital experience of how you interact with portfolio management

One of the panel speakers made an interesting note about the difference between the US model (which can be fully digital) and the Canadian model (more correlation with portfolio managers).

Profiting and trading from dark pool prints

This was by far the most interesting part of the day for me at the Toronto MoneyShow.  The presentation was by The Stock Whisperer or Stefanie Kammerman.  LightSpeed Trader has a recorded webinar on how to profit off the dark pool which you can view which has some points from this talk.  I subscribe to her Whisper of the Day which lands in my inbox each morning also.

Please note that these do not count as investment advice whatsoever.  View the LinkedIn post here.

Follow up blog post: Session with a professional coach formulating a personal investment education plan.

Fintech.pw Updated With New Menu And Expat Section

I have recently updated one of the smaller sub-sites that I own, www.fintech.pw, with a better menu and a new section for expats.  You can visit the website at http://www.fintech.pw.


I haven’t had the opportunity to add new content to this site since around November/December 2015.  However, I do have a new commitment in place and if I do publish my notes, it will be in this website.

You can also follow my #fintech tweets via @stellarfintech.


How to apply for Permanent Residency via International Experience Canada in 12 Months

Reader note:

This guide is only for those who are eligible to apply for International Experience Canada (IEC) and are able to work for at least 12 months in Canada.

Why Canada?

There could be a number of reasons why you are choosing Canada as your base.  Its close proximity to parts of Asia (from the Vancouver side), to Europe (from the Toronto/Halifax side) and from the US is just one reason. You also have the opportunity for exposure to the North American market (both Canada AND the US) if the company is large enough.  You have the advantage of going with a fairly stable economy, with English being one of the main languages spoken (alongside French) and an urban multicultural community.

For those eligible, they can move and work in Canada via the International Experience Canada route.  And from there, if they choose to use Canada as a more permanent base, they can then springboard on to a Canadian permanent residency.

Why write this post?

The reason why I am writing this is because I read about others who were on the IEC visa, they had their experience, then later on they realize that they want to stay and work longer but they can’t.

Another could be someone who came back to their home country, then later realized that they want another shot in Canada but this time, they have to go through other and more cumbersome visa hoops.

It’s better to be prepared from the beginning, rather than the end. It’s what I advise in my tips for those on short-term, temporary work visas.

Let’s get started!

Now, in Canada, all applicants must qualify within the Express Entry pool regardless of what stream or channel that they are applying in.  For those on IEC, I’ve identified that the best channel is to apply via the Canadian Experience Class stream.  Even if you meet the criteria, you are classified with points.  The higher points you have, the better your change of getting an invitation to apply for permanent residency.

When you receive your Letter of Introduction

This is the letter given to you to apply for the IEC visa upon landing Canada.  Once you get this, start looking for work and make sure to meet the requirements that are set in that letter.  You can still be turned away by the Canadian Border Security.

Meeting the Canadian Experience Class core requirement

Regarding the work opportunities, it must also have equivalency within the NOC code.  Feel free to read my advice on how to optimize your profile prior to a relocation here.

You must have that job opportunity since freelancing or self-employment does not count as qualified work experience.  Upon meeting the requirements of at least 12 months of full-time (or an equal amount in part-time) skilled work experience, you are then eligible for the Canadian Experience Class stream.  For some reason, the system will still accept you even if you only hit 11 months and x weeks so it’s not the exact 12 months mark.

From day one to three months

Sign up to a university education certification authority to confirm that your overseas education has some sort of Canadian equivalency. I used WES.  These don’t expire after five years.

Try to not lose your job.  In Canada, there are various “statutory probation periods” and they vary depending on which province you are working in.  This means that provinces allow for the termination of an employee without any notice or any pay.  Probationary periods occur at the beginning of your employment.  Out of the list of eligible citizens that can apply for this visa, Australians are the only ones that can live and work for two years. The rest, except for Italy, can only live and work for one year only.  Having such a small stay duration means that there are very little chances of getting another opportunity under this visa class.

After three months

You can do a test run and create your Express Entry profile, seeking to enter via Canadian Experience Class.  Make a note of which details you need and if there is anything else that you need to cover that is unique to your situation.

There are going to be some parts which you won’t need to meet. For example, entrants on Canadian Experience Class who are already working don’t need to meet the Proof of Funds requirement.

After six months

Sign up to get the English language test. This will add more points to your profile.  I used CELPIP.  You may actually want to do the language test a few months before going into Express Entry since there is a two-year expiration date for the results.

You may want to notify your employer about wanting to continue on and apply for permanent residency and wanting to continue on working for them.  There may be other programs available which they may be aware of already.

The other case may be that they need to provide a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA, previously called LMO) if it turns out that you need to enter via another class such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).   However, getting an employer to do a LMIA requires some additional red tape that is normally not involved when hiring someone who is on IEC visa.

After 10 months

Express Entry will require not only the exact start and end dates of your previous work history, but it will require the NOC equivalent and whether or not it was full-time or part-time.  Have these details ready.

After 11 months

Since the 12 months skilled Canadian work experience requirement seem to start from 11 months and something like 1 week, you can actually enter your details in this early and you may still find yourself eligible for Canadian Experience Class.

Start entering the rest of your details in your Express Entry profile so that you can calculate your final points.

Time to go into Express Entry!

After the points are calculated, submit the Express Entry profile

Once your final points are calculated, you’ll be in the running to obtain the invitation to apply for permanent residency.

Invitation rounds happen at two-week intervals and you are notified via email in regards to any new messages.

You are in IEC and you receive your invitation for permanent residency

Once you have an invitation, you have 60 days to obtain your documentation and complete your application for permanent residency.

Your IEC will most likely expire before receiving your invitation for permanent residency

Realistically, and especially if you are on a 12 month visa, you will be facing the consequence of not being able to obtain the invitation prior to the expiration of the IEC visa.  In this case, it is a very good idea to plan and budget for seeking legal counsel or qualified migration assistance to see what avenues can be pursued.

Your status changes after applying for permanent residency

Another item that I have found is that there is this other status called a ‘Permanent resident applicant‘.  This is like a grey area between those that are not temporary, not permanent residents nor are they citizens.  For example, there may be certain government or provincial resources, benefits, exceptions and so on that will consider those that are deemed ‘Permanent Resident applicants’.  The Government of Canada also has another set of wording for these here.  Keep a look out for these.

The reality is that it’s going to take months, even years, to get a final decision.

After the application for permanent residency and you are on a 24 month visa (aka, you are Australian!)

Once this has been sent off, and you have four months or less left in IEC you can apply for an open-work permit providing that you meet certain conditions.

The point of these open-work permits is that it will enable you to live and stay in the country while a decision is made on permanent residency.

After the application for permanent residency and you are on a 12 month visa

The main issue here is that by the time you are ready to submit your application for permanent residency, your IEC visa will most likely have expired.  However, there may be some work around.  The only thing is that you will by then have already sought after legal counsel or qualified migration assistance at this stage.  If you are already prepared and have budgeted for this, then this should not be a nasty shock.

When is it time to get legal counsel?

One of the cases that I have read on a law firm site, they involved a client on IEC applying for a visitor visa prior to its expiration. In doing so, they were able to take advantage of “implied status”. However, in this case it is a good idea to seek out as much advice as you can, including legal counsel.

Good luck!

Please note that this guide is not a substitute for migration or legal advice and that you should first and foremost check the Government of Canada Immigration and Citizenship portal for the latest details and/or with qualified legal counsel for your particular situation.

I am also not a migration consultant, I do write about Millennial expats though.  Please have a look at the rest of my blog here for other posts.

If you are looking to add an official online presence to your relocation strategy, please email me at hi@hannahsuarez.me

Improving the Australian Working Holiday Visa

Earlier this year, news about the muru-D startup graduate, Disrupt was making its rounds due to one of their business partners being deported for not fulfilling a visa obligation. I won’t rehash what happened here, and instead urge you to read the original LinkedIn post posted by the founder.

I am very familiar with the visa programs that Chris is on which is the working holiday programs. These are essentially bilateral agreements between two countries allowing young people under 30 to live and work under certain conditions. These agreements are generally for the short-term, since your main reason to work is to supplement income while you travel in and around these regions.

As an Australian, I’ve had the opportunity to work in the UK and in Canada under these bilateral agreements. While the UK tightened its policies when I was living there (I was planning to go to Tier 2 but I was not successful), Canada currently has a very good process. You can graduate from the Canadian working holiday program and into the pool for an invitation for permanent residency in as little as a year.

Australia needs an overhaul

The Australian working holiday visa agreement (subclass 417) has some lessons to learn from Canada’s International Experience Canada visa and the UK’s Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa.


The current limitations are as follows:

1. Only being able to live for up to 12 months.

2. Only being able to work for up to 6 months.

3. For the first visa, only being able to apply while outside of Australia.

4. For the second visa (to apply upon the completion of the first), only being able to apply after completing three months of specified work in regional Australia.

Here’s my proposal – a two-year working holiday visa

Australia should match both the UK and Canada in its working holiday visa conditions. That means an open-work permit to live and work in the country 2 years.

Australia should have an ‘applicant stream’ available to graduate into another visa class should one decide to live and work in the country for longer. The visa class can either be a longer option that is still temporary but can lead to permanent residency. Or it can be a direct stream into a permanent residency application.

I agree with the motivation behind doing three months of specified work in regional Australia. I lived in and grew up in regional Australia. I believe this requirement should instead be optional. However, applicants that do meet this requirement should be rewarded with additional ‘visa points’ if they decide to graduate into another visa class in Australia.

What’s in it for candidates and Australian businesses?

Businesses have the opportunity to tap into a more global talent pool. They can do this without having to touch the red tape associated with the standard visa sponsorship pathways.

One of the red tape that I have in mind is businesses sponsoring a worker under the Temporary Work (Skilled) subclass 457 visa. Earlier, I was posting a comment to an Australian-based recruiter and also to a job-seeker about a post concerning sponsoring a potential candidate.

This visa subclass provides candidates the freedom of working for that business for up to four years. Which is great. However, the burden of proof is either on the candidate to convince a business to sponsor them or on the candidate to completely follow through with the sponsorship path from start to finish.

If a candidate decides to forego the sponsorship opportunity, or if the business payoff to sponsor ended up being disappointing, then the business will probably be less inclined to consider future sponsorship opportunities with others.

The benefit of a two-year working holiday visa, already available in Canada and the UK, is that it opens up the doors for young, emerging talent in the countries that have these bilateral agreements to work for Australian businesses.

Instead of being restricted to 12 months, I propose that young people should instead have 2 years to build up their global and professional skill while contributing to the Australian economy. It will also give them the opportunity to travel in and around Australia, New Zealand and the nearby Asia-Pacific regions.

The Australian Government to review the Working Holiday Visa program

Recently, the Australian Government issued out a call of submissions to stakeholders in regards to this visa program. You can read all the submissions here from a variety of companies such as Fragomen, Cotton Australia, YHA and the NSW Business Chambers.  Free text comments from other individuals, organizations and businesses can be read here. The submissions must also address the issue of exploitation and protections for vulnerable workers. The submissions also address a 2015-2016 Budget proposal in regards to changing in the tax status for those under this arrangement.

Tips and inspiration for those on short-term, temporary work/resident visas

Yes, there are short-term six and twelve month visas available for those that are looking to experience the world without the uber short term country hopping.  Australians applying for the under-30 visa in Ireland can work for up to 6 months over a 12 month span under the Irish Authorization.  If you are from the Czech Republic then you can only be a resident in Canada for 12 months under International Experience Canada.  These types of short-term visas are available as part of a youth bilateral agreement set up between two countries.

If you are the type eligible under the types of visas that I mentioned (and not just restricted to Ireland or Canada, we are talking about the youth bilateral agreements that have been set up) and you are interested in maximizing your time under these short-term visas, then read on!

Think and plan for the long-term

Even if you are on a short-term visa, you may have the opportunity to jump on board to other categories that will allow you to experience life in that country.  For example, if you can only be in Canada for one year under IEC, make sure to maximize that time spent by ensuring that it is full-time and under the National Occupation Code.  That way, it will help increase your chance of obtaining permanent residency by entering under the Canadian Experience Class stream where the requirements include one year’s experience.

Even if you are pretty sure that you are only there in a matter of months, it helps to sit down and spend a bit of time researching what the potential long-term options.  At least you won’t regret not being prepared if you do decide that you want to live in the country for a longer period.  It’s much better to have this option than to be without.

Find out what the options are for remote work – and then go on site

If your specialization is in areas like digital and online marketing, SEO, online copy writing, customer and technical support, web and front-end development, administration, copy writing, design, and product management then there are options to conduct remote work.

Since you are on a short-term visa, there may be the added difficulty of gaining a foot in the door for large companies and establishments.  In this case, you can look into start-ups, the creative industries, small businesses and sole-traders based in the target country to get your foot in the door.  That could be winning over contract or permanent work for them remotely followed by the option to be on site, interning but with the intention of obtaining a job offer before arriving on site, or providing some sort of arrangement that will allow you to be involved with their business before arriving on site.

The approach would be similar to a freelancer winning over new clients or someone new to the industry.  First, they may get you to do a short sample and if what you provide also helps with their business then there is the opportunity for more than followed up by being there on site.  This also goes for the business since they can do some of product trial where the product is what you can bring to the table for them.

Get involved with start-ups and creative projects

I see a plethora of start-up companies seeking out interns or volunteers.  The key item for you is figuring out a way to close the deal – going from being a remote intern or volunteer to going on site and being paid.

There is a chance of this being more of a gamble though. You will need to be upfront and you need to have a very clear exit strategy.  I had an Italian friend that went through the unfortunate situation of getting promises of an internship only to have the opportunity disappear when he arrived in London.  This benefits both parties as well since they need to be clear on what the forecast is in terms of hiring and recruitment.

Try to begin your introductions before you land 

Previously, I’ve written a couple of articles with tips on how you can prepare before landing – on preparing a CV for relocation and on applying for professional volunteerships.  You can also go through Eventbrite and Meetup calendars to see what events are occurring so that straight away, you can land on your feet and that you are networking straight away.

The main challenge is the time constraint of a 6 month or 12 month visa.  Relationships take time.  You do the introductions, arrange a face-to-face meeting, and so on.  Some have taken the liberty to travel as a visitor first but may be challenging if you don’t have the budget to make cross Atlantic flights…

There are online communities like LinkedIn and Slack where you can build up that rapport online.

Research what state and federal public resources are available to you

This is somewhat similar to my first point regarding finding out what the long-term opportunities are available to you.  There may be public resources that you have access to once you officially become a valid temporary resident.

Another item is that since much of these youth visas are due to bilateral agreements set up between two countries, find out what other bilateral agreements are also available in areas like the health care system.

Find ways to bring your work with you, wherever

While the temporary visas provides you with the opportunity to gain global experience with a local company (and to also experience the local work culture), it also provides you with the opportunity to live there for a longer term if your only other option are short stay types of visas.

Now you may not want to have to go through the motions of applying for a new job each year.  It’s stressful.  The other options include diversifying your income streams so that it’s not dependent on the one country, seeking out remote companies, freelancing and growing your own business, or seeking out opportunities with companies that contain multiple headquarters.

Being on your own in Sweden and communicating with a company based in Australia is not the same as experiencing life working and living in that country for a local company.  Maybe it works for some, and not for others.  I feel that it is always seriously worth a try deep-diving into that country’s culture as much as you can.

And last but not least.. be on the lookout for potential curveballs and mishaps

Taking six months or twelve months out of your home country can be a big move.  The time spent is so short that you may be overlooked for opportunities since there will be people who simply assume that you are only there as a stopover before moving on.  Not only that, but it usually takes months for someone to settle into a new role – and by the time you are settled it looks like you may be on your way.

Moving countries can be very exciting but it can put a bit of a shock on your system.  Even moreso if a curveball occurs.  When I first moved to the UK, I was a victim of fraud and came at the worst time ever – right before the Olympics when the rental market was about to be squeezed by the major event.  A friend had to seek out medical help, followed by a fight with his insurance company regarding their policies.  And you read articles on expats finding themselves on quicksand due to the Turkish coup, or people with long-term uncertainty due to the Brexit.  However, and I really don’t want to scare anyone away from doing this, preparation is always, always your friend in these case.

Have these tips helped you?  Do you have advice of your own to share?  Feel free to comment below!

Thanks for reading.  If you are looking for advice or have suggestions to offer for potential posts feel free to email me.

Please note that I am not a migration consultant.  If you have specific questions related to you only, please consult the relevant officiated resource, or find a registered migration consultant or seek out legal advice.

Reflection: Moving countries, moving industries, moving job roles and on 10 year plans.

Mid last year, I did the three toughest things that you can do as a job seeker – move countries, move industries and move job roles.

This whole process was incredibly difficult.  There were a number of times where I second-guessed myself, even wondering if some part of it is delusional.  However even if it was, I would consider it the entrepreneur kind of delusional where you just know that it’s going to happen in some way, shape or form.

Moving countries

After spending most of 2014 thinking that I’ll be landing in Sweden, I decided that the most practical step was Canada.  Not only was a temporary two-year work visa available for me, but the path to permanent residency also looked straight-forward.  It was an English-speaking country, and I already travelled in the country (for a few months).  I ended up spending a few months in Vancouver, going to two one week conferences/events that I had already planned to go months before and then moved to a bigger city, Toronto.

I found that while the job market in Vancouver was quiet good, the housing availability there was the downside.  As soon as I saw what the rental market was like in Toronto, I made the decision to move only two weeks later.

The decision to move to Toronto ended up validating.  Not only am I still here but I have also travelled a bit outside of Canada and to the east side of the US.  Not only that, but the flight and travel opportunity to Europe is better.

Moving industries

In the lead up to and during the move, I somehow managed to move industries, twice.  Once in private banking and wealth management and another in software.

Industries can only be classified as locations.  So while the former was mainly US and Europe, the latter was primarily US and Canada.

I experienced ‘industry culture shock’  for the first time when I moved from Australia to the UK.  I went from working within major events and festivals, was known as a founder for a creative industries startup … then the following year, I was working for a cause as online marketer for a medical education and global health charity organization and my startup was floundering.

The second time this time, I still got ‘industry culture’ shock but to a lesser degree.

Moving job roles

Again, I have done this twice in the lead up to the move and during.  Once as an Analyst to research and compose briefs (in the finance sector) another as Customer Success which was more into testing/QA/user support rather than the account management spectrum.

The former involved working with UK/European colleagues.  The latter was primarily Canada and the US.

The culture associated with the two industry and job role moves was as different as night-and-day.  Completely, unmistakably different.

In a short space of 1.5 years I have managed to move countries (once), move industries (twice) and move job roles (twice).

Where to now?

Other people, well at least my parents, probably think that I’m some sort of job-hopping, country-hopping career rabbit – of the Australian pest variety.  It is so difficult to hide who I really am.  Maybe I can hide it for a short while, but I’ve lasted a day or two before I realise that there really is no point.

This ‘chaos’ has been all planned out since I was 20.  Even years earlier than that.  I remember once, in the library, writing down my plans to freelance while travelling around Europe.

I have been implementing my plans to do this – to live and work around the world and with a time horizon spanning for 10 years.  From 2011 right through to 2021.

What would be your 10 year plan?  And are you actively implementing it?

I find that, once I get to the 5 year mark, then the 7 year mark, then the 10 year mark…who knows, maybe we can get up to 20 years or more.

Redesigning HannahSuarez.me and this blog


The previous design that I’ve had for a couple of years was based on the responsive Bootstrap framework. There were a lot more images and it was easy to get off the ground but I have been wanting to redesign the website for over a year now.  It was just too sterile and lacklustre.

The next item on the agenda is creating a gallery or slideshow of works.   I have code projects with photos of work, a lot of digital art, photos and screenshots that I want to share. This will be incorporated in a new section and I am planning for this to be completely visual, interactive and creative.