We speak to Sally Stone of Les Bons Voisins about making a living in France
Sally has helped start and mentor 55 businesses in France, all franchisees of Les Bons Voisins the first national network of property managers founded in 2002.
Sally told us:
The demographics of people moving is changing and more people need to think about making a living when they choose to come to France. Getting employment with a company in France is extremely difficult for foreigners with high unemployment for French nationals. The solution is to be self employed providing something for which there is a need, AND something which people are prepared to pay for.
Do not expect a safety net. People often say, “I don’t mind what I do,” but that’s not the issue. Temporary stop gap is working in a freezer factory slaughterhouse etc.is not easy.
Remember your capital won’t last long – people sometimes think cost of living is dramatically lower because the cost of their house was very much lower but nowadays things are more on a level with the UK.
Setting up a business which you work hard helps towards integration as you get to mix with the local French artisans and it activates the wonderful French health cover.
Manage your own expectations and get prepared: make a plan!
What? Something you are experienced in – not a total U turn
Who? Are your prospects? Can they afford what you are selling/providing? This is a point often overlooked!
Where? If you live in an isolated hamlet you are limiting your networking. Get a dog.
How? Will you take it to market – “making a website” still needs pointers to that website.
the auto entrepreneur system is great for a basic business regime – but remember roughly one quarter of what you earn in total goes in social security payments
Difficulties – the bureaucracy which is why many people opt for a franchise type environment with hand holding. Working together if it is a husband and wife team can also be troublesome – they may have only met at supper time before! Language and cultural differences are wider than the channel you need to cross when you move!
Single most important factor: learn the language and don’t think it will be easier once you get here!!!
Benefits – quality of life: the sheer freedom to be your own boss takes a lot of beating: the effort you put in, comes directly back to benefit YOU and not your boss!