‘The expat entrepreneur’ is a Yay For Today Q&A series with expats who have set up their own businesses
Kathryn is the founder of Up+thrive www.upandthrive.com, which specializes in supporting people to move out of their comfort zone, get comfortable with the discomfort of the unknown, and thrive through change. Kathryn recently (Summer 2018) relocated back to her home country, the UK, after spending three years with her family in Montreal, Canada. They are still in the process of transition! Kathryn uses the insights she gained as an expat and has adapted the business she created in Montreal to continue to build her portable career.
We are very excited as Kathryn will contribute a monthly column to Yay For Today. Her columns will focus on relocation and moving outside of your comfort zone to help you make the most of your expat experience and beyond.
Up+thrive is a culmination of 20 years plus experience as an intercultural facilitator and transitions coach. For me working for myself was a natural leap from my job. I was working in the International NGO sector at the time, establishing projects and training staff (local and expats) to deliver them. I loved it, but I couldn’t see how I could manage the international travel and have a family, so in 2003 in set up my own consultancy. My business, like me has evolved over time!
In 2015, two children later, we had the opportunity to go to Montreal. The business model of face to face training, that I had built up with key clients in the UK over many years, no longer worked. I had to adapt to this new context I now found myself in. After being approached by many (too many) expat partners who were either struggling to belong and find their sense of purpose, I felt compelled to do something. First in the form of a blog, and then a series of coaching workshops.
Now I’m back in the UK, I’m re-connecting with my old clients as well as working with new ones both face to face and over Skype to bring them the insights I’ve gained from both personal experience, and the experience of supporting others to thrive through change.
What was your mission at the outset?
My mission has always been to support people to transform their lives and fulfill their potential by providing insights and tools to develop a ‘thrive’ mindset. I understand the fear that engaging with someone or something different brings, but I also see, from my own personal experience and from the experience of those I’ve supported, it’s huge value. For me it’s where the magic happens!
Do you chose your current location or did it chose you?
I guess you could say it chose me as although it doesn’t feel like it completely yet, this is home.
Do you think being an expat contributes to your success at all?
My expat experience was transformational, and certainly one that myself and my family are looking to repeat when the next opportunity comes along. It gave me the ‘space’ away from my normal surroundings and influences to reassess what it was I really wanted to do and who I wanted to be, as well as links to an amazing global network that I continue to connect, collaborate and co-create with.
Do you face any unique challenges because you are an expat running a local business?
Whilst in Montreal I supported expat partners through coaching and workshops to make the most of their overseas experience. The challenge I faced was one mainly of language. Despite a year of trying, my French never progressed to a high enough level to be able to work proficiently in it. Instead I collaborated with someone who’s first language was French and we delivered bilingual courses.
If you had one piece of advice for a expat entrepreneur just starting out what would it be?
Have a vision of where you want to get to, but break that down in to the smallest of steps. When you start up in business there is so much to do, that you could do, and want to do, but whilst you can do anything, you can’t do everything, not straight away anyway! It’s a journey up a huge mountain, with different base camps along the way. Make sure you stop to enjoy the view! 😉
Kathryn Eade is a facilitator, coach and expert in change resilience. Though based in the UK she supports expats in different places around the world. She has lived and worked in Venezuela, Zimbabwe and most recently with her family in Canada. You can contact her at email@example.com or find her on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathryneade/