Often times, when someone thinks about entrepreneurs, the image that comes to mind is someone in a nice suit with a phone constantly glued to their ear. This image is usually staring at the screen on their laptop and hustling to put together deals.
Sure, that’s one type of entrepreneur.
However, more often than not, it’s a far less glamorous picture. Most entrepreneurs work long hours, including on the weekends. They typically aren’t rich, either – at least not at first.
That’s why people in developing countries shouldn’t feel as though they can’t be entrepreneurs themselves. In fact, they should feel especially well-positioned for success in entrepreneurship. They just need to understand the following opportunities.
Arbitrage Works Both Ways
If you spend enough time reading about entrepreneurship, you’ll come across the term “arbitrage.”
In short, it refers to the differences in buying power between two different countries. When entrepreneurs use it, though, they are usually referring to how the dollar, pound, or euro can be used to pay for services from people in developing countries that would cost them far more in their native lands.
Just about every entrepreneur will use arbitrage to some degree. Many base a large portion of their business model on this difference in purchasing power.
What a lot of people in developing countries don’t understand, though, is that this goes both ways.
Although someone in the U.S. might be getting a great deal because you charge less for a service, that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily getting a bad one.
Learn how to offer services people want in more developed countries and you’ll soon find clients who pay well.
You Don’t Need to Know How to Speak English Fluently
Another big misconception that holds back entrepreneurs in developing countries is that they think not being able to speak English automatically kills their chances of securing business.
The same can be said for other languages, too, like Spanish, French, and Italian.
While you are clearly capable of reading English – and, perhaps, other languages – your ability to speak it might fall below the conversational level, both in-person and over emails.
In any case, the need for complete fluency is a major misconception you need to free yourself of because opportunity is waiting on the other side.
There are countless freelancers online who will happily translate your words into the language spoken by your target audience.
You’re in a Different Time Zone
While there are many ways you can be an entrepreneur, if you plan on working with people from developed countries, you might worry if they’re in a different time zone from yours.
This is actually a huge opportunity, though.
You should be using it by positioning yourself as a solution that gets to work while your customer is asleep.
Again, let’s say you want to create graphics for people. You could explain to them how, once their order is in, you’ll get to work and it will be ready by the time they awake. In our fast-paced world, that’s a considerable amount of time to save.
Developing Countries May Actually Offer More Opportunities
A lot of what we’ve talked about so far entails you helping people in more developed countries. That’s because this is an extremely accessible business model with the possibility of high returns in a short period of time.
That being said, you probably have no shortage of options in your local community, city, or even country.
People in developed countries have their basic needs covered – and then some. For an entrepreneur to succeed, they need to find specific groups with specific needs they can address (this is often referred to as a niche).
In your country, though, many opportunities may exist all around you because people’s basic needs (or at least very important ones) aren’t being met.
Could you help people get the food or water they need?
Maybe you could simply help them get around or teach them a valuable skill.
If You Succeed, You Have Another Big Business Opportunity Waiting
One absolutely huge opportunity for entrepreneurs in developing countries is that they can teach others how to succeed.
We’ve already touched on the fact that there are a number of misconceptions regarding entrepreneurship, one being that it’s not an option for people in developing countries.
Therefore, if you succeed, you can act as living proof that it’s possible and go on to teach others what you did to make it work. That could be a huge business opportunity, perhaps even bigger than one you originally did as an entrepreneur.
Tim Ferris became famous for this. He began as an entrepreneur selling health supplements. Once he had a blueprint for success, he turned around and wrote a book on the topic. Now, his main form of income comes from teaching others how to be an entrepreneur.
You could follow the same example, but focus on helping people from a similar background as yours.
Final Note: Don’t Be Afraid of Starting Small
If you only imagine people like Oprah and Richard Branson when you think of entrepreneurs, it can seem like the goal is impossible.
However, failure is also a common trait of successful entrepreneurs.
Before PayPal, Max Levchin launched four startups that went nowhere.
Colonel Sanders was rejected more than 1,000 times before he started his famous Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants.
Most people know that Thomas Edison went through 10,000 prototypes before he finally invented a light bulb that worked.
The point is that it’s okay to start small. Begin by offering a service that will bring in a small profit, and then you can invest that profit in something else.
Again, maybe people in your city have a hard time getting to work every day. You could do some odd jobs until you have enough money for a bike and a cart for a passenger. Now you’re answering a real demand!
Save up some more, buy another bike and cart, and hire someone to drive the other.
Entrepreneurship is never going to be easy, but it will be extremely rewarding. Just because you live in a developing country doesn’t mean you’re not surrounded by opportunity. Your success will have far more to do with whether or not you’re able to see these opportunities than anything else.