Buenos Aires One Month In – Tips for Expat Entrepreneurs

I’m back in the US after a month in Buenos Aires. It has been a great adventure and I look forward to my return trip in 2 weeks.

Here are some ‘lessons learned’ so far…

1. Make Friends with Fellow Expats and Expat Entrepreneurs: To me, this is by far the most important thing one can do if they want to quickly ramp up. In BA (and I suspect many other cities) there are other people who have already been working abroad. These people are an invaluable resource for just about everything you can think of including housing, office space, laws, and staffing. I’ve found its exceptionally easy to meet other expats because you instantly have something interesting to talk about (living abroad). Leverage your existing network to find people in your new country.

2. Make Friends with Locals: Also very very important. Make friends with locals wherever possible. Locals are usually interested in your story, especially if you tell them you are living there (as opposed to being a tourist). You chose their country for some reason, and locals love hearing why. Locals can also help you get to know the basics of your new home and offer great opportunities for interesting conversations.

3. Learn Local Language and Customs: Learning local language and customs is a must if you seriously want to do business in a foreign country any extended time period. Since you are going to be living there, learning language is easier thanks to the immersion effect. People that don’t try are simply ignoring a great opportunity and risk greatly offending locals. I have 1-on-1 spanish tutor for 30 pesos an hour ($8.00).

4. Be Yourself: Don’t change your basic business habits because you are in a different country. For example in BA many people go to work late, take siestas, and then go back to work in the evening. For me this doesn’t work, I’m way too used to a straight business day. If you are successful at home use the same skills abroad.

Here are some quick links for BA that have really helped me out.

Expat Connection, Sugar (bar), and Areatres Workplace – Entrepreneur Martin Frankel and his team’s triple-threat of website, bar, and office space are a great connection for expats in Palermo Soho. Sugar is a cool bar with a great happy hour, expat-connection has great events/useful information and Areatres is a new flexible office located in Palermo Soho.

Craigslist – Decent for apartments, but expect to pay higher prices than the locals.

BAexpats.org – Basically a forum for expats, has some good information.

Argentimes.com – An english-based newspaper about BA and Argentina.

Tim Ferriss’ Blog – How to Live Like a Rock Star (or Tango Star) in Buenos Aires. Tim is the man.


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