Lessons learned from Lisbon (and how it relates to business)
Over the past 5 years (how has it been that long already?!) I’ve been blessed to live and work from all corners of the globe while working with women who inspire the heck out of me. With intentionality, authenticity and a long-term strategy, I’ve been able to really create a life that I love. It’s one that I have designed, not one I landed in by default. It’s also important to note that I am incredibly privileged, have a strong passport, and access to resources and opportunities that many women across the world do not, which I am actively working to make a difference in.
As my business has grown, I started exploring the option of expanding into Europe in 2019. After months of research, Portugal seemed to be the perfect fit, and I started preparing to gain residency and open a company there. Here are the four biggest lessons I learned from Lisbon and how they relate to business. They may be different than what you think. 😉
I began the process in December of 2018. It was not until mid-October of 2019 that I actually received my residence permit. This process took multiple flights from Singapore to New York to Lisbon. There were multiple delays and hiccups and bumps in the road. And it required me to not give up even when it seemed hard and overwhelming and I questioned why I was doing this in the first place.
I find business to be very similar. Even when you’re questioning why you’re doing this and what the point is. It’s important to stay grounded in what’s pushing you forward and the motivation behind your drive. There are so many challenges that will pop up in business and things that you don’t expect will inevitably happen. Building a successful business requires the perseverance to see it through.
I hired support to help guide me through the process, hold my hand when I needed it and advocate for me when necessary. Could I have gone through this process alone? Yes, but with a lot more headaches, stress, and time. And it very likely would have cost me more money dealing with this on my own because of all of the different snafus and my lack of knowledge with the entire protocol.
It’s the same in business. You can do many things yourself, but oftentimes it takes more time, energy and money. And sometimes you learn things the hard way for the simple fact that you simply don’t know what you don’t know.
It’s been a crazy roller coaster every step of the way. Building my business – and building yours – doesn’t happen overnight. Gaining my residency didn’t happen overnight. It took ten months for a little plastic card. Ten months.
In business, by and large, there are no overnight successes. There may be companies that seem to appear overnight and be crazy successful, but we often don’t see the work and time put in behind the scenes for years leading up to that. Building a prosperous business requires you to keep going and moving forward even when it’s tough, and having the patience to see it through.
For me, Lisbon meant being dedicated. It meant deciding this was the route I was going to take and taking the steps forward to accomplish it. It meant being committed to this for the long haul. It was an arduous process, flying around the world to go to appointments and consulates and embassies. It meant doing inconvenient, expensive and seemingly crazy things in a short amount of time and with a looming deadline at every turn.
However, it was worth all the trials, struggles, long nights and stress. Just like creating a successful business and life on your terms is worth it. But you have to be committed. You have to decide that this is what you’re going to do. Even when it’s inconvenient and you’d rather be doing anything else. It requires commitment and consistency. And it, too, is worth it in the end.
But only you can decide. <3
What about you? What are some of the key lessons you’ve learned from building your business? I’d love to hear in the comments below!