One of the things I love most about Medellin is its entrepreneurial spirit. Not only are a lot of locals doing big things, innovating and creating, but the city is naturally attracting foreigners who are doing the same. I want to shed light on this community of entrepreneurs in Medellin, bringing their stories to my readers and highlighting even more reasons why I decided to make this city my permanent home.
First up in the series is Mark Manson, a professional blogger. Here’s his story.
1. What made you want to come to Medellin? How long have you been living here?
I’ve been living in Medellin for about five months. I visited here in January with a friend. We were just passing through and I fell in love with the place. It’s a beautiful city with some of the friendliest and most inviting people I’ve come across. I like the culture and of course, the women are beautiful. In the Spring I needed to find somewhere to set up shop because I was hiring a handful of interns for my business. I wanted to bring them to somewhere in Latin America where the cost of living was preferably low. Medellin was the perfect fit, both geographically, but also financially and quality-of-life-wise as well.
2. What kind of work did you do before coming here?
I’m an internet marketer and professional blogger and have been for almost five years. Although more of my time has shifted to my blog and selling my own info products these days, I’ve been doing various online marketing projects for a while now while living around the world. I suppose my last “real job” that I had was at a bank in Boston in 2008. I hated it. I quit that summer to work online and haven’t looked back since.
3. Tell us about the kind of business you have set up here. Do you work online or is it a brick-and-mortar business?
As mentioned previously, I’m a professional blogger. I started out doing more generic marketing and selling info products – both as an affiliate but also my own. I wore a lot of hats and scraped money together to get by. About a year ago one of my sites really started to take off and become very popular, so I’ve since dedicated all of my time and energy into that one.
4. What kind of challenges have you faced moving to Colombia and doing business here?
The visa situation is a pain but it could be a lot worse. From what I understand it’s relatively easy to get residence here, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to stay long enough to require one. And then of course there are the typical Latin American issues that crop up periodically – power goes out, water stops working, internet is really slow for a while. But that just comes with the territory I suppose. I don’t really mind.
5. What’s your favorite thing about living in Medellin?
The weather. Having my friends all within walking distance. Cheap, good food. I like Medellin because it can kind of be whatever you want it to be. If I want to strap down and focus really hard for a few weeks and get a lot of work done, it’s great for that. If I want to go out and party my ass off for a week, it can do that too.
6. What advice can you offer those who want to move to Medellin and/or Colombia and start a business here?
Learn basic Spanish. You would think this would be obvious, but I’ve been surprised at how many foreigners I’ve met living here who don’t know any Spanish. Usually they’re stuck hanging out with the same 10 foreigners over and over again and don’t develop any connections with the locals.
Also, don’t get too caught up in the party culture. I’ve seen it happen over and over again. Especially if you’re a guy (the rumors about the women here are true). I’ve seen a lot of foreigners show up here to work and three weeks of partying later, they’ve gone through a bunch of their savings, have gotten nothing done and still don’t have a steady place to live.