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INTRO From Belgium to Bulgaria to Spain. From employee to just me.

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JtoM

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Hi Fastlaners,

Belgium
I’m 38 and from Belgium. I have worked - as an employee - in sales. Face to face and telesales, both B2B & B2C, which can only be useful for the entrepreneurial journey I’m about to embark on. It's a job I would advise anyone to do early on in your career (if not working for yourself immediately). It has learned me to let my conversations flow more naturally and overcome a slight shyness. It has learned me to deal with rejection and just push on. It has learned me to focus on the prospect and his problems/struggles, so afterwards you can craft your solution/story to his/her individual needs.

Bulgaria

I decided to discover (South-)Eastern Europe a bit. The past 2 years I’ve been living and working in Bulgaria in the call-center industry (remote IT support). Living in Bulgaria is not as bad as most people in North/West/Southern Europe think, but it does have some serious disadvantages: unhealthiest air quality in Europe, dangerous winters causing you to fall or crash your car on snow and ice, a different alphabet and vocabulary that is hard to master – coming from someone that is fluent in 4 languages and on my way to a fifth).

But I don’t regret working there, because it made me reflect more on what I really want out of life and because it gave me the push I needed to get started working on my own. I know that whatever happens, no matter if I go broke, there is always work for me as a multilingual person in Bulgaria, at a salary that allows me to live comfortably. If you speak Dutch and have your shit together, you can get hired in 48 hours, doesn’t matter whether you’re 24 or 62. Not my ideal living circumstances and I don’t think I’ll ever really move back, but I know I’ll never end up on the street, so I’m willing to take risks. This is big for me, because, even though I’ve always wanted to work for myself and even though my dad and brother have always had businesses (some successful some not), I’ve always been very risk averse.

Spain

I’ve left the country now and have started a business in Spain. I like the warm winters, beach life, good air quality and low cost of living, call me special ;) My dad has a house there where I could live, although it is in a remote village and I probably will only spend a limited time there. I prefer a bigger city to get my creative juices flowing and where you can meet more people (friends, customers, partners, collaborators, investors etc).

I will focus on copywriting at first to get me going, contemplating car & property sales, while working on my fastlane project, which is in the sports industry. I do have enough money in the bank to live for about 16 months, but I need money coming in to fund my fastlane.

I’ve suffered from paralysis by analysis before, but I’m sure I have a just do it attitude now. I’m enthusiastic and hungry. I’ve only just discovered and joined this forum, but I’ve already encountered priceless gems about mindset and copywriting from @SinisterLex , @IceCreamKid, @Andy Black and @MJ DeMarco . I’ve bought The Millionaire Fastlane yesterday and I’ll join the Inside. I hope to share some progress/experiences/knowledge myself in the near future.

Thanks for reading and talk to you soon!
 

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Andy Black

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Welcome. Great intro.

These stood out to me:
focus on the prospect and his problems/struggles, so afterwards you can craft your solution/story to his/her individual needs.
which is the solution to this:
I’ve suffered from paralysis by analysis before

And this is priceless:
I know I’ll never end up on the street
I know that if the war-chest gets bare, then I can roll up my sleeves and fill it. It's on me.
 

Longinus

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Poland / Belgium
Welcome, fellow Belgian!

I hope you enjoyed the Balkans as much as I do every time (my preferred region is ex-Yugoslavian countries though). Did you live there alone?
 

MTF

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Hi @JtoM. Where in Spain did you decide to live and why? How do you like it when compared to Belgium and Bulgaria?
 
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JtoM

JtoM

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jan 19, 2018
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Welcome, fellow Belgian!

I hope you enjoyed the Balkans as much as I do every time (my preferred region is ex-Yugoslavian countries though). Did you live there alone?
Hi there!
Yes I did, no problem paying for everything on your own. In the capital Sofia, you can get a nice apartment for about 600 BGN = 300 €. And - even without qualifications - you can get a net salary of about 1300 €. Not that much compared to Western/Northern Europe, but with the low cost of living, you can live good on this in Sofia.

It's easy to make friends there too. Facebook groups with a big amount of members, both foreigners and Bulgarians. A lot of opportunity to socialize: events from FB groups, Internations, work related, sports etc. In the BPO industry there's a lot of foreigners too. But it's not as if Bulgarians are unwelcoming to foreigners at all.
The architecture (communist style blocks) can be a bit depressing to some, but there's enough modern, gated complexes with swimming pools there too, I've lived in one and loved it :clench:

Starting a company there is easy and cheap too (just 1 BGN capital required) and corporate tax is just 10%. Very low social contributions for employees too. But you have to invoice in Bulgarian Lev and doing business with a Bulgarian company doesn't provide the same level of confidence to your potential clients. There's still that aura of corruption, unreliability.

For the summer, I prefer the Greek coast/islands, as many Bulgarians do. It's way closer to Sofia than the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast also. I've never visited ex-Yugoslavian countries, although I drove through Serbia twice. I hear Belgrade is nice, I guess you like it too?
 

Azure

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How easy is it to get around Sofia with only English? Is it a very walkable city with good transit?

Sofia is on my shortlist for future living arrangements.
 

Longinus

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Poland / Belgium
I didn't visit Bulgaria yet, but it's on my list. Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia are amazing countries to visit. Friendly people, great food, interesting history and culture going back for centuries and beautiful nature, mountains, beaches, it has it all! And so cheap.

Perhaps I will travel to Macedonia together with Bulgaria this Summer.
 
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JtoM

JtoM

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jan 19, 2018
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19
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Spain
Hi @JtoM. Where in Spain did you decide to live and why? How do you like it when compared to Belgium and Bulgaria?
I can't answer that yet, because I 'm not yet living in Spain. I've been to Spain before on Holidays of course. My dad used to have a company and live there. I was there last week to get a NIE at the Policía Nacional , have the accountant deal with the business side, open a bank account, get a Spanish mobile phone number and register as an inhabitant in the small mountain village where my dad owns a house. Unlike in Belgium, there's no police officer that comes and check whether you really live there (have a bed etc).

I'm thinking of living in AirBnB places for about a month each in a few big cities (Valencia, Barcelona, Madrid, Alicante) to get a feel for the city, talk to people etc. Valencia is my n°1 choice for the moment and the only one of those 4 cities where I've spent time before. It has both a better climate and considerably cheaper cost of living than both Madrid and Barcelona, while still being a reasonably big city. But for doing business (finding multilingual collaborators, investors,...) and social life Barcelona and Madrid are both better. The Spanish are know to not easily make friends with foreigners and there's a lot of foreigners to have a great time with in BCN and Madrid) I haven't decided on this yet, and luckily I don't really have to :)

Some things not related to business are clear: the climate is way better than both Belgium and Bulgaria, the air quality is some of the best in Europe (very important to me). Spain also has excellent health care that covers more than both Belgium and Bulgaria. Cost of living in Spain (except Madrid & Barcelona) is cheaper than in Belgium and on par with Sofia.
 
Last edited:
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JtoM

JtoM

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jan 19, 2018
7
19
19
Spain
How easy is it to get around Sofia with only English? Is it a very walkable city with good transit?

Sofia is on my shortlist for future living arrangements.
Very easy to get around with English. A big percentage of people speak basic English and quite some of the under 35s are fluent. For employees in supermarkets and government services like immigration police it's hit-and-miss. I did speak some very basic Bulgarian and could read the Cyrillic alphabet before moving to Sofia. Usually, when you get hired there, your employer will send you a Bulgarian to accompany you to translator to have your name officially translated to Cyrillic and to a government service where they will create you a labor number to be able to work. I imported my Belgian car there and I did (rightfully so) use a Bulgarian lawyer agency. It still only cost me about 700€ (government taxes for pollution, technical control and license plates included). Insurance is dirt cheap (90 € per year compared to almost 800€ in Belgium). Yearly tax too (13 € compared to about 600 €).

The city is quite spread out, but there's a new/modern metro system that takes you all over the city. Buses and trams everywhere. Cabs are DIRT cheap, this was a big eye-opener for me, because in Belgium, all taxi drivers seem to insist on driving a Mercedes or BMW and you as a customer have to pay big time for it. In Bulgaria they often drive in KIA's and Hyundai's, but who cares, they get you from point A to B super cheaply. Only use cabs that you call yourself (never hail one from the street, 90% WILL overcharge you). Yellow is the best company, most companies in Sofia use this company too to offer rides to their employees. I did have my own car there though, but for going out, I did usually take a cab. Did I really need a car in Bulgaria? No, but it came in handy to move over (and back) all my stuff, to visit some cities in Bulgaria and Greece.
Do not count on riding a bike, there's no cycling lanes like all over the country in Belgium, Holland, Denmark. You're risking your life riding a bike in Sofia. I did have a mountain bike and went riding up/in the mountains right near Sofia.

There's a crazy amount of big shopping malls in Sofia too (like 7 or 8), which comes in handy.
 

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