Real Lifestyle Design
This is the third post of a new series: the Expat Entrepreneur Life: the real Lifestyle Design. The series focuses on the lives of entrepreneur who have decided to start or run their business abroad. Every Friday, you will step into their extraordinary lives, their adventures overseas and how they manage to run a profitable business in the most interesting environments.
Who are you and what do you?
My name is Saul Fleischman, originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,and a 1989 graduate of Penn State University. I have been living in Japan for 18 years.
If I had to define myself, I would say I am an overseas marketing man, a business developer with creativity and twenty years of greatly varied experience in company/brand image development.
I help Japanese companies with precise and high quality products or services open and develop their foreign distribution networks. To achieve this, I proactively use public relations to create opportunities and open entirely new territories and business routes for clients. Nowadays I use social media consulting to strengthen my client’s voice online.
My skills include social media chops, and a creative marketing mindset that has allowed me to succeed by introducing cost-cutting initiatives to small and mid-sized firms in diverse industries. Over the years I have worked with sporting goods manufacturers, heavy machinery firms, small retail or import/wholesale companies.
Why did you move abroad?
I realized I caught the traveling bug after I returned from my “Semester at Sea”. To finish my B.A I travelled to 12 countries during a one semester world study tour.
With my degree in hand, I flew back to one of the countries we visited, Japan, to work and study. I stayed two years, returned to the U.S., but found myself like a fish out of water back “home”.
I moved to Japan in 1995 and have lived here ever since.
What are some the challenges of running your business?
Language is the number one problem.
The Japanese language being rather difficult, it is definitely an obstacle for an expat to setup and run a business here. The next challenge is the present economy, it is the current barrier to any hope of a standard of living.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to run a business abroad?
Begin networking well before you arrive, join LinkedIn networking groups in the country you will be starting up in
Get talking with people before you fly.
We did not have social media when I came here, but with since its arrival, I began using it extensively to network, and even launch groups of my own, including the Japan expats’ “KdL Web2.0 Social Media Group” in LinkedIn
Which part of your life abroad do you enjoy most?
There is adventure in everyday when living abroad.
Even rainy days are fun. I can be away from Philadelphia for ten years but when I return to visit and think “a little nostalgic – but otherwise, it is just as I remember it: not too exciting.”