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).