Though many people have the dream of retiring and spending their days lazing on a white sand beach while staring at the ocean, for others just “laying around” simply isn’t enough stimulation. Maybe you’re one of them. Maybe you have the dream of living a low stress life in a beautiful tropical setting, but you’d also like to have some business activity too. Maybe you’d like to finally create your dream business. Maybe you have some passive income to live on, but you need to supplement it to stay in the Caribbean full time. Maybe you’d just like a fun side hustle to stay sharp. Whatever your situation, making a living while also living your Caribbean dream is possible. It just takes a bit of creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit.
The first step is to determine exactly how you’re going to stay in the country. If you opt to get residency, then many more options open up. Though residency takes a bit longer to procure than a retirement visa, it does allow you to work in country. Once you’re able to work, you could take a job, or you could start a local business. Many expats work for resorts, take sales positions, broker real estate or give tours.
With the yearly rise in tourism, small business opportunities abound. You could start a restaurant just like Jana Belknap and Kevin Quishchan. Recently, they combined their love of wine and Belize by opening their dream business, The Little Wine Bar in downtown Placencia. But restaurants aren’t the only need to fill. There are opportunities for all kinds of local shops and services.
If residency isn’t something you want to go through the process of getting right away, then the next best option is to get a tourist visa under the QRP program. As qualified retired person, you can still work, but it just has to be for a company outside of the country.
The trick to creating this kind of income is to either negotiate working remote for the job you’re presently in, or to figure out a way to somehow create a business online or transition a present one. The internet has been such a game changer over the past decade in giving people the freedom to work anywhere.
Many expats have done the work of transferring a traditional brick and mortar business into an online retailer to fund their dream. Another option is to create a program from any specialized expertise you have to teach through online classes. If you’re a writer, you might be able to work freelance or create a blog you could monetize.
Again, taking a personal inventory of your skills and assets, and getting creative with how to use them is key. Though it may seem daunting at first, take heart, many expats have successfully made their dream happen in just that way. You can too.
Brett Renee Stone is a managing partner and director of communications for Palm Reef Resort.