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7 Things I've Learnt About Business After Moving To Portugal

The interesting comparisons between moving country and running an online business

7 Things I've Learnt About Business After Moving To Portugal

When we decided to up sticks and leave the UK for the warm sunny shores of Portugal I had no idea what to expect. I couldn't speak Portuguese. We'd left our friends and family behind and there was no guarantee that our dreams of living in another country would work out. To say I was scared was an understatement. But I also didn't want to continue on the path I was on. I felt a lack of passion and desire. I was no longer connected to the place we had called home for over 7 years and in the wake of Covid, the feeling of "life is short" felt all the more real.

Four suitcases and a pocket full of dreams

We landed in Portugal and turned the key to unlock the door to our new digs in Porto and I felt (almost) instantly at home. Light poured into the apartment from every angle and our neighbours greeted us with warm smiles and wide-open arms. We had no furniture. Only the 4 suitcases of stuff and a pocket full of dreams.

We've been living in our new home for a year - minus a short 3-month stint back in the UK over the summer last year to finalise a few things, see family and friends and apply (and get) our long stay visas. And over the past 12 months, I've learnt so much. I've learnt things about myself, my relationship with Drew and what we're like as a family. But my move to Portugal has also been a crash course in business, too. Here's what my move to Portugal has taught me about business.

Business lessons I've learnt since moving to Portugal

1. 🇵🇹 Embracing Cultural Differences

In both life and business, diversity is not just a buzzword but a cornerstone of growth. Just as adapting to a new country's customs broadens horizons, embracing different business cultures fosters innovation and adaptation. Learn to incorporate the best practices from diverse backgrounds into your entrepreneurial endeavours.

2. 🤝 Building a Support Network

Transitioning to a new country necessitates forging connections and building a support system. Similarly, in the entrepreneurial world, surrounding yourself with mentors, peers, and advisors offers invaluable guidance and encouragement. Cultivate a network that fosters collaboration and propels your business forward.

3. 🧑‍⚖️Navigating Bureaucracy and Red Tape

From visa applications to tax regulations, the bureaucratic maze of a new country can be daunting. Likewise, in business, navigating legalities and paperwork demands patience and diligence. Seek professional assistance when needed and approach regulatory challenges with a strategic mindset.

4. 💪 Adapting to Unexpected Challenges

Moving countries presents a spectrum of unforeseen challenges, from language barriers to cultural norms. Similarly, entrepreneurship entails navigating through market shifts and technological advancements. Embrace adaptability and quick thinking to thrive amidst uncertainty.

Quote from Nat Milligan about treasuring each experience you have.

5. 🤩 Finding Your Unique Selling Point

Just as each country boasts unique attractions, every business must identify its niche and value proposition. Highlighting what sets your venture apart is paramount for success. Whether entering a new market or competing in a saturated industry, authenticity and differentiation are key.

6. ⚖️Balancing Risk and Reward

Relocating to a new country involves weighing the risks and rewards of starting afresh. Similarly, entrepreneurship demands calculated risks and stepping outside comfort zones for potential rewards. Strive for a balance between prudence and ambition in pursuit of entrepreneurial endeavours.

7. ✨Embracing the Journey, Not Just the Destination

The essence of relocating lies not solely in reaching the final destination but in embracing the journey itself. Likewise, entrepreneurship is a continuous voyage of growth, learning, and self-discovery. Treasure each experience, as they collectively contribute to your entrepreneurial success and fulfilment.

Relocating to Portugal has revealed some unexpected parallels with entrepreneurship - both ventures require a blend of courage and curiosity. Just like stepping into the unknown of a new country, embracing the challenges of entrepreneurship offers invaluable lessons for personal and professional growth. From navigating cultural nuances to adopting resilience in the face of uncertainty, these experiences serve as catalysts for innovation and adaptation. Embracing diversity, building a supportive network, and cherishing the journey of discovery are not just strategies for success - they help you thrive in both life and business. As I continue this journey, I'm reminded that every challenge is an opportunity for growth, and every experience shapes the trajectory of my entrepreneurial path.

What life lessons have shaped your approach to business? Share your stories in the comments below!


Hey there, I'm Nat. I'm a mum of 2, a wife of 1 and if you've made it this far you'll know, I've recently moved to Portugal. Here are some other fun facts you might be interested in.

📣 I help you dial in your message and brand voice so you write clear, captivating and compelling copy that you and your customers love.

⚡️Creator of The Copy Rebel. A globally certified course. It’s the ultimate system to build, launch and sell your copywriting services. TCR is where new and aspiring copywriters thrive.

🏆 My copywriting clients include BAFTA winners and Golden Globe recipients. I work with industry leaders, multi-million-pound companies, start-ups, and aspiring entrepreneurs.

📖 Covered up the fact I struggled to read when I was a kid… I guess 13 years in drama class at Sylvia Young Theatre School paid off!

🇬🇧 Londoner, born and bred. Fun fact: grew up in a Spurs household, bought my first place in Highbury (a stone’s throw from Arsenal's stadium) and supported Real Madrid - talk about confusion.

🇵🇹 Today I live in Portugal with my man of 20 years and our two kids.

🎧I write every day, usually with 90s R&B or Hip-Hop filling my ear drums. If copy and music hooked up, I’d be their lovechild.

👏 Got all the time in the world for you if you’re a genuine, open-minded, fun-loving human being, brilliant at what you do and embrace a little humility and grace with your swagger.

🚫 Turned off if you’re a world-class tit and intolerant of different people based on race, religion, class, nationality, colour, gender, sexuality, physical and mental abilities.

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