We spoke to Jake, a UK national who quit the rat race to travel and live abroad; on how owning an Estonian company supports his digital nomad lifestyle.
In 2000 I founded Intelligent Space, an award-winning consultancy that led innovation in the field of pedestrian movement simulation and analysis. My consultancy was a specialist company helping shopping centres and councils plan infrastructure that works for pedestrians.
I sold this business in 2007, and after remaining working for the company that bought it for three years, I decided to leave and pursue a job-free lifestyle with a lot of travel.
From then on I didn’t look back, travelling and living in many destinations including Argentina, Mexico and Panama. I’m currently enjoying a stint in Barcelona with my wife and child.
While travelling, I started a podcast and began writing books.
Yes, and a content creator. I run a weekly podcast called The Voluntary Life that discusses how to empower others to create a life of their choosing, through inspiring ideas for entrepreneurship, financial independence and freedom. Through my podcast, I interview people who have achieved financial independence.
My two books are about entrepreneurship, financial independence and personal freedom — one is called Becoming an Entrepreneur, and the other is Job Free: Four Ways to Quit the Rat Race and Achieve Financial Freedom on Your Terms.
Also, watch Jake’s presentation he gave at the 2013 Libertopia conference describing four different ways to quit the rat race- with examples of people who have done so.
I read a lot online about different options that other people have found for choosing to live an expatriate life, including how they managed their finances and supported their lifestyle.
I needed a business setup that could be managed remotely, and when I stumbled upon resources and articles about e-Residency it fitted my needs best of all the options, so in 2015 I applied for e-Residency.
I did look at having a business based in the UK, but Estonia has many advantages. It has better tax laws for a small startup like mine. Plus, it’s so easy to run a business online! Combined with using LeapIN to manage my company compliance, it’s more cost effective and less cumbersome to use them, rather than having to do it yourself like I would’ve done in the UK.
What was important for me was that with my Estonian company, no matter where I’m a resident, I can still manage and operate a business.
For me following an expatriate digital nomad lifestyle — this flexibility was crucial.
Only for the bank account, not for the application. When I made my e-Residency application, I was resident in the UK, so I collected my ID card from the Estonian embassy in London.
I didn’t set up my company until spring 2017 and only then was a visit to Estonia required. I examined the several banking options available to e-residents but for me, having a business bank account was vital to manage my finances abroad — for example, LHVs online banking portal is excellent for accessing abroad, whether through my e-resident card reader or Smart-ID.
The entire process of opening my account only took 30 minutes — this may seem not worth a trip to Estonia, but I viewed this as an investment into my digital nomad future. Moreover, I’d encourage others to do the same.
In my case, I sell digital media products in e-books and online podcasts. I use Patreon to monetise my podcasts and subscribers pay through PayPal which then credits my LHV business bank account.
The same with Amazon who sell my e-books — payments are credited to my Estonian business account.
Because the application process is straightforward and easy, if you want to run a business as a digital nomad, then e-Residency and incorporating an Estonian company is a clean and efficient way to manage your business online.
The e-Residency programme is a very cost-effective, modern solution for today’s expat. For example, I have a small business and require a platform to help create digital content online — I don’t need a vast infrastructure to do this, only someone to handle my day to day compliance.
Estonia and LeapIN are solving the challenges that digital nomads face in adopting this lifestyle, enabling us to remain mobile and see the world and travel. This way of working and living is only going to increase.
Freelance e-Residency Customer story
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