Why a Portable Career is the Perfect Solution for the Trailing Expat

Why a Portable Career is the Perfect Solution for the Trailing Expat


With most relocating couples, there’s typically a leading and a trailing expat. The trailing expat can face unique challenges, like fewer employment opportunities, work permit and licensing obstacles, even having to learn a new language.

Because these circumstances are all determined by external factors, how then, does one take control of their career and ensure they’re in the driver’s seat no matter where they live?


Flexible Skills + Knowledge = Control


With the right set of skills, unique strengths, and knowledge, a trailing expat can pick up and move anywhere in the world and continue to practice her profession without missing a beat!  If you’re about to embark on an expat journey I hope you consider a portable career. Here’s why:


1. Business Continuity. Trailing spouses can take on multiple global moves with minimal career disruption. Thanks to technology, a trailing expat can continue to provide services virtually or create and sell products online to global clients following a relocation. A portable career keeps your work humming and your income flowing.


2. Trailing spouses have no geographic restrictions. For the expat spouse, the world is her oyster. The best portable careers are virtual/online. So whether consulting, coaching or selling a physical product, you’re not restricted to your local market.


3. Minimal Cost. The most appealing aspect of starting an online portable career is the minimal startup cost. Brick and mortar businesses are not where it’s at today. All you need for an online career is a great idea, a laptop and the right apps. This is ideal for someone who’s comfortable with a mobile lifestyle.


4. Professional Freedom. A portable career does not require country-specific credentials. Trailing spouses can avoid qualification or credential traps thanks to a more open regulation environment that favors online businesses.

Sara's Tip 

If you’re interested in building your own portable business, make a list of your skills, strengths, values and passions, as well as the needs of your target market/clientele.

Where do they intersect? From there, you’ll naturally gravitate to portable business models that are right for you.


If you’d like help brainstorming, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to help you visualize the big picture and surface lots of great portable career options.

Sara Ottoboni

Sara Ottoboni

I’m Sara Ottoboni, a certified coach, and it is my goal to help you to make expat plan customized to your unique needs, with ongoing support. I speak English, French, and Italian. My passion is to work one-to-one with my clients in order to create a meaningful life abroad.
Sara Ottoboni

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  • Azalee Maslow

    Yes! Online is the way to go! Love your point about looking at what your strengths, values, and passions are. So important!

    • Thank you so much Azalee for your comment. I like you appreciated the point about strengths, values and passion. As you said, they are essential. Have a great day.

  • carimarquette

    Love this Sara! I’m hoping to use my ‘portable business’ as a means to live part-time in Mexico someday!

    • Thank you so much, my dear! I’m sure you will be able to build an amazing “portable business” in Mexico. I know your skills and I don’t have any doubts. Love you. Sara

  • Deneen Troupe-Buitrago

    This is a great article! I love that we can be mobile nowadays and don’t have to rely on ‘being in the office’. This flexibility allows for anyone to be global. I love travel and this works for that as well as for Expats. Thank you for all the ideas about how to figure out how to do what I love any where I go.

    • I agree with you. We don’t have to rely on “being in the office” anymore. Now, the world is our office thanks to the flexibility given by Internet. Thank you for sharing your ideas. Love you, Sara

  • Molly Shipp Goodyear

    Great article and definitely shines the light on what some feel is too big of an obstacle to even venture!

    • Thank you so much Molly. I’m happy you enjoyed the article.