Quit Job, Lives Abroad

Konrad and Jen Rzasa, The While Collar Vagabonds, Work and Travel Aficionados

Konrad and Jen Rzasa, The While Collar Vagabonds, Work and Travel Aficionados

Konrad Rzasa had a very successful 12 year corporate career working at the executive level for the likes of Raytheon and GE, but Konrad had passions outside of his corporate life. One of which was travel. Konrad liked his corporate life but knew it had limitations. He wanted a change in lifestyle so he could travel more and learn about other cultures. At the same time, he also wanted to be successful.

Konrad and his wife Jennifer decided to begin an SEO and online marketing company. This allowed them to continue working on their professional goals while giving them the freedom to work from wherever in the world they wanted.

Want to do the same? If so, here are 7 things they did to make it all happen.

#1 Try before you buy

Before launching into their online marketing business full time Konrad and Jennifer wanted to give it a trial run to see how it would go. In 2010 they went to Ecuador for an extended stay. Their experience in Ecuador was so positive they decided they were going to do this full time. In June 2011 they packed their car and headed to the Mexican border. Their destination? Costa Rica. Time to get their? Seven months. Working along the way? Absolutely!

Their time in Central America allowed them the space to flush their business ideas out and the chance to explore new areas all the while having a lifestyle that was significantly less expensive than that in the US.

#2 Backed by an international support team

Konrad and Jennifer wanted an international life and they got an international team to support it. Their sales team is in the US and their technical team is in Colombia. According to Konrad working with a Colombian team can have its challenges as, “Colombia has a lot of financial controls which can make things difficult to set things up.”

Despite the challenges however, “South America is a good choice because of the time difference between employees there and the United States. Also culturally from a web design and development stand point there are good synergies. We could have had a team in Eastern Europe, but due to the very rapid development in that area of the world the costs will likely rise rapidly.”

#3 Properly prepped the team

Konrad and Jennifer used a company that specializes in hiring and processing the paperwork of international interns to find individuals from Brazil, Argentina and Colombia to bring to the US. These interns spent a year learning their business.

Why use international interns?

“It was financially beneficial to use international interns, but it also helped us identify several high profile individuals who would become our office managers in their own country over time.”

#4 Understand the Challenges

According to Konrad one of the biggest challenges of this lifestyle is that, “People think you are 100 percent on vacation. We work full time, but on the weekends we enjoy ourselves. Sometimes it is hard to get businesses to wrap their heads around that. Sometimes they don’t think you are serious. An online product is virtual. There are certain businesses that want that local presence even if you will never come to their office. For certain clients Jennifer might have to fly out to meet them to make them feel at ease. But a benefit of our lifestyle is that we have also been able to target international real estate, international law and other clients who fit quite well with our business model.”

#5 Overcome the challenges

Konrad attributes, “a strong web presence and strong LinkedIn recommendations,” as some of the ways to overcome the psychological challenges of their business model. He also notes that Jennifer, “has been featured on e-consultancy and done speaking events at different conferences.” Konrad feels, “When customers see that you take your career seriously and are not a fly by night company that puts most of them at ease. A portion of clients don’t even question where we are.”

#6 Never forgetting work life balance is important no matter where you are in the world

Just like in corporate America when you are running your business from wherever you are in the world you can, as Konrad says, “be as busy as you want.” However with the White Collar Vagabond lifestyle, “you have to be disciplined but you also have to know when to quit so you ensure you enjoy the lifestyle you created.”

#7 Konrad’s advice to others?

“People have mortgage payments and car payments and think it is all insurmountable. Figure out certain interests you have, make a list of the places you would like to go, get rid of your liabilities, find somewhere you can be for a few years inexpensively and I can practically guarantee you, you will not want to go back. You will figure out a way to make it work. I know people who came to Costa Rica to become surfers and became millionaires.”

More about Konrad and Jen at:  http://www.whitecollarvagabond.com or on Facebook.

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