So, How Can I Make a Living in Mexico?
The Dollar Vigilante
by Jim Karger: Another
Tough Day In America: Criminals Rewarded, Heroes Jailed, Dollar Destroyed
There are hundreds of thousands of US citizens who would like
to escape America now.
So, why don't they pick up and leave?
They don't have enough to live on the income generated by their
savings for the rest of their lives. (Many actually do and believe
they don't, but I will save that topic for another article.)
For those who want to live in Mexico, and who know they will need
to work to stay here, this is for you: Some ideas on how to make
a living south of the border.
Before I discuss ideas for businesses and jobs that can and have
worked for other expats in Mexico, lets talk about what won't work:
Competing with Mexican nationals for semi-skilled jobs. They barely
make enough to survive. You won't last a month performing hard labor
for $2 or $3 dollars an hour.
Which leaves a lot of vocational options that have merit, depending
on location, and which includes starting your own business, or working
for an existing business here in Mexico.
Here are a dozen businesses/jobs that a motivated American with
the right experience and skill sets could begin and realize their
dream of disconnecting from Amerika:
Real estate agency This business is perhaps the most
common startup among expats. It can be established with relatively
modest capital and if you can list and sell property, you can make
a living. Unfortunately, it is late to get into this game in most
Mexican cities where Americans and Canadians are prevalent. Unless
you can bring a model to market that no one else has thought of
that will cause real estate that hasn't sold to sell, you will be
one of a large pack in a currently depressed Mexican residential
real estate market. Going to work as an agent for an existing agency
is also a possibility if you have experience and a record of success.
Coffee shop/Internet café This is another
business that many expats have tried and some have actually succeeded.
But, in San Miguel de Allende where I have lived the past 11 years,
the city seems saturated with opportunities to buy your morning
fix. That said, there is always room for a coffee shop with a new
twist in a new area. Just be ready to take on the likes of Starbucks,
who are taking Mexico by storm.
Restaurant Most restaurants fail regardless of which
side of the border you are on. But there are notable exceptions.
One young couple from the northeast with restaurant experience came
to San Miguel a few years ago and opened an Asian-fusion restaurant
with a creative menu and an even more creative bar. They have done
B&B Buying a property that lends itself to offering
rooms and breakfast can be a good, if low volume, business. They
key to success is to buy the property at the right price after evaluating
demand and location.
Tours Bringing in tourists from the US and Canada
and providing customized tour services can be attractive in the
right market, meaning a location in Mexico deemed safe and desirable
by tourists from north of the border.
Employment agency We went through several maids after
we moved to San Miguel, not finding one that had the full set of
skills we were seeking. One enterprising entrepreneur started a
company called: "Maid In Mexico". They came in, determined
what we were looking for and trained our maid to service our home
and two casitas to a high standard. The same thing could be done
training gardeners and handymen. And, for sensitive positions or
those with rare skill sets, one could open an agency that conducts
background checks, civil, criminal, and confirms experience, for
a fee, of course.
Health club/gym Finding a modern, state of the art
health club or gym is difficult except for Mexico's largest cities.
While capital intensive, if you have several hundred thousand dollars
to invest and experience in the fitness business, there may be opportunities
in various Mexican locales. If you can't or don't want to own your
own fitness business, consider becoming a personal trainer, Yoga
teacher, or Pilates instructor. I even know one woman who made a
living here for a period of time teaching other women to pole dance
(not training to be strippers but because pole dancing is, apparently,
great exercise.) Just know you will be competing with certified
Mexican nationals doing the same thing and that keeps a lid on potential
Import/Export Importing into Mexico is highly regulated
by the Mexican government and the same is true when exporting good
from Mexico to the United States. Someone who can help individuals
and businesses leap the legal hurdles might just find a successful
Non-profit support services The number of NGOs (non-governmental
organizations) in Mexico is substantial. Someone who has had experience
and success in writing grant proposals, for example, may do very
well servicing the many US non-profits that operate in Mexico.
Organics Organic produce and meat may be bigger in
Mexico than in the US. Organic farming is popular here and many
make their living growing green and selling at various farmers'
markets and restaurants.
Accountants and tax preparation professionals US
citizens must pay tax on their worldwide income, causing a need
for US licensed accountants and tax preparation professionals in
areas of Mexico favored by expats.
Medical case management This is a service I haven't
seen here yet, but is needed. It might include evaluation of medical
insurance alternatives in Mexico for expats, case management for
those hospitalized or in nursing or hospice care, including treatment,
hospital/doctor selection, and billing. Someone who has a medical
and business background might do well managing the healthcare of
expats in Mexico.
Those are a dozen ideas. There are dozens more.
Just know that starting and becoming successful in a business here
in Mexico or anywhere for that matter requires skill, preparation,
market analysis, and hard work. All businesses require, or at least
are best-served in Mexico with bilingual owners. So, if you don't
speak Spanish, don't wait until you get to Mexico. Find courses
you can take now. And, it goes without saying, but I will say it
anyway, businesses require money to open, oftentimes as much as
a similar business in the US and Canada. Don't come down on a shoestring
and believe you can crank up a successful business. It doesn't work
that way. If you want to work in Mexico as an employee, determine
what you can add.
Either way, if you are serious, come to Mexico, not as a tourist,
but with a view to finding and evaluating opportunities that are
in demand which can be serviced by your skill sets and to meet the
people who can help you leap the hurdles.
Your Gold Out of Dodge" is available here. It is free
to TDV and TDV
Golden Trader subscribers or for a one-time price of $44.95
USD. It may be the best use of your fiat Federal Reserve Notes
you've ever spent. Reprinted with permission from The
October 26, 2012
Karger is a lawyer, and frequent contributor to The
Dollar Vigilante, who has represented American businesses against
incursions by government and labor unions for 30 years. In 2001,
he left Dallas and moved to San Miguel de Allende in the high desert
of central Mexico where he sought and found a freer and simpler
life for he and his wife, Kelly, and their 10 dogs. Karger's website
© 2012 The