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“If you allow your expenses to increase at a slower rate than your income and you save or invest the difference, you will become financially independent in your working lifetime.” Brian Tracy (The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of business success).

Imagine this, you can reduce your expenses by 75%, have fun, explore a new country, work online and increase your profit.

That is exactly what I do when I live in Vietnam.

I run a very successful digital agency and spend most of the year living in Vietnam and travelling to neighbouring countries.

How do I run a business serving western clients in Vietnam?

By leveraging the power of the Internet.

I could run my business from anywhere in the world or even the moon for that matter (as long as I had stable 3G up there), because the foundation of my business is all online.

Communication with freelancers and clients is done via Skype, email and Upwork.

If I need to share files I use Dropbox and Google Drive and if I need to call someone right away I use apps like Viber, Whatsapp or my trusty mobile phone.

In today’s world, you no longer need to have a fixed location to run a business. In fact, in a lot cases having a fixed location will end up costing you money.

Earn more and work less simply by changing location

The best part of running an online business is that I get paid in Australian dollars and do all my spending in Vietnamese Dong.

At this moment in time (May 2016) the current currency exchange for the Vietnamese Dong is:

  • $1 AUD = 16,500₫
  • $1 USD = 22,217₫
  • £1 = 32,141₫

Okay, but what does that get you in Vietnam? The answer is a lot, giving the average monthly wage is around $300 USD per month.


For as little as 15,000₫ ($0.67) you can buy a Vietnamese baguette (Bánh Mì) or Vietnamese noodle soup (Pho) from 30,000₫ ($1.30).

That’s a fraction of what you would pay for the same meal in your native country.

With food out the way you need a place to sleep.  You can rent a hotel room by the month for only $400 USD with daily cleaning and breakfast. And yes, this includes air-con and a private bathroom.

If you decided to stay long-term you could get a nice one bedroom apartment with a pool and gym for around $500 or if you share $300 USD.

Next up, renting an office.

Vietnam over the last few years has become a hot bed for digital nomads with cafes scattered across worksaigon1the city offering inexpensive coffee and super fast Internet.   Some of my favourite places to setup shop for the day are Annam Gourmet, Work Saigon and Fly Garden Cupcakes should I feel like working in a lush garden setting.

I don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars leasing an office unit, I simply buy a $0.80 coffee and I’m given a table, chair and super-fast Internet.

If you’re from North America and feel Vietnam is a little too far away, there are huge online communities in Costa Rica, Columbia, Mexico and Nicaragua in South America to name just a few.

Living in Vietnam is not all about work

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is a vibrant city with a population of 9 million people and more motorbikes in a 10 square meter radius than you could shake a stick at.

The medium age in Ho Chi Minh City is 30 and the culture, shops, restaurants and amenities reflect this which means it is a city on the move with a great energy.

On the days I don’t feel like working (there’s many of them) I can jump on a xe om (motorbike taxi) and be whizzed off anywhere in the city for less than a few dollars, a cinema ticket to watch the latest blockbuster movie is only $2.70 USD.

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There are plenty of things to see such as the Saigon Central Post Office if you enjoy European architecture, Designer Street if you need to buy western goods, or you could head to the War Museum or Cu Chi Tunnels to get a deeper insight to what life was like during the Vietnam War.

There’s a perfect blend of old versus new in Vietnam allowing me to enjoy the best of both worlds.

For example, on Sundays I’ll head to one of the several parks scattered in the city and help Vietnamese students with their English.


We simply talk for hours about anything and everything, and is arguably one of the best ways to build friendships with the local people.

Then there’s the new vibrant Ho Chi Minh City nightlife, depending on how much you want to spend and how upscale you want to go, you can find everything from 26 story sky bars to a hole in the wall karaoke bar selling beers for less than $1.

Ho Chi Minh City receives a high influx of tourists each year and the nightlife as well as being extremely safe, caters to all budgets and needs.


If you’re struggling to make enough or save enough money at home, why not relocate to a place where your monthly outgoings will be halved with your salary going twice as far?

The days of working a ridged 9-5 job, 5-days a week with limited scope for growth are coming to an end. The Internet has provided us with the tools to run businesses independent of a location with a team of outsourced freelancers based all over the world.

Over to you:  If you could work anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?  Better yet, what’s stopping you from going out and actually doing it?  Feel free to comment or ask any questions on my Charm Outsourcing Facebook Page