The entrepreneur spirit has risen among citizens from all regions in the world. And the truth is that starting your company and becoming your own boss is now easier than ever before. In that sense, Spain is the perfect place to initiate your own project. Hence, many foreigners start their new life in the country so that they can pursue their new business goals. But the vast majority don’t know how to start. The most difficult question to answer is: which kind of company should I create? Which are the best business and investment opportunities? In this post, we will clear those doubts forever. We will show you 25 business ideas to start in Spain as an expat that you can start today with little or no money. Are you ready to learn our company suggestions?
THE TYPE OF BUSINESS THAT IS SUCCESSFUL TODAY
Before starting with our company and investment suggestions, let’s start first talking about the main characteristics that the business you start in Spain must have in order to become successful. Keep these 3 principles in mind, and living out of your own project will be simple:
- Target the niche. No matter the sector in which you will be opening your company, you can’t afford to have everyone as your client. The key is to specialize and to target a tiny group of homogeneous customers. For example, if you were to open a restaurant, don’t open a Mediterranean food restaurant. Open a Mediterranian food restaurant for vegan individuals.
- Include an innovative and technological component. And this is something really important if you are willing to get the Spanish residency while setting up your business. Not all company ideas will work for that. You will need to base your business model in something that involves a high degree of technology and innovation. Online business are usually the perfect fit for that.
- Be the intermediary and avoid costs. If you take a close look at which are the main successful companies nowadays, you will find how many of them possess a business model that does not involve a huge number of internal costs. For example, Airbnb, even though operating in the house rental business, has 0 maintenance costs. And that is because it is the intermediary, and those costs are paid by the buyer/seller. And the same happens with platforms such as Skyscanner, booking or eBay.
BUSINESS IDEA SUGGESTIONS FOR EXPATS IN SPAIN
Let’s now dive deep into the top 25 business ideas that can make any expat successful in Spain. The vast majority of the following ideas are characterized by requiring low levels of knowledge/expertise and investment. And that is due to the high level of opportunities that the online world brings to the table.
1. OPENING A SOUVENIR SHOP
There’s no denying the fact that Spain attracts thousands and thousands of tourists throughout the year. Some will visit Barcelona, others Madrid. Some will go hiking, and others will embark on a gastronomical tour. But there is one activity that they will all do for sure: go souvenir shopping. That is why, if you are a bit strategic and choose the right location, you will have a high level of demand guaranteed. You must strike a balance between having a centric enough location vs getting the lowest possible rental price for the store in which you will be based.
The other upside of this business idea is that you don’t need to be really creative. There is no need to create a new and innovative product. You will just need to contact the same manufactures that fill the shelves of the other souvenir shops in the city, buy from them and then sell applying your markup.
And, as Spain is a country with a wide range of traditions and typical things, you will be able to offer a big assortment of souvenirs to satisfy the needs and wantings of all the tourists that will be entering into your shop.
2. BUILD A CONTENT WEBSITE
A content website is one of the cheapest business ideas you can start in Spain, and with the possibility to work from home!
You will first need to choose a niche that is not really competitive and full of blog posts from other websites, and start writing content. After some time being creative with the topics you choose, providing enough value and applying some SEO techniques, you will start getting traffic to your website. Then, you will be able to monetize your visitors with Google Adsense or to sell your advertising space to companies who are interested.
All the costs you will have are:
- Buying your website domain
- Yearly hosting payment
- Your time and energy
And that’s it!
3. BECOME A LANGUAGE TEACHER
It’s completely obvious. What has an expat living in Spain to offer to the labor market that a national can’t? His or her language, something that will be really unique or difficult to find depending on the country of origin. That is why becoming a language teacher is a great solution for many foreigners.
English is still the number one language that Spaniards try to learn. Nevertheless, nowadays many individuals in the country try to learn an additional one. Hence, if you can speak German, Chinese, Japanese, Araba, Hindi, French, Italian or any other language, you will easily find students willing to learn it.
You just need to sign up into platforms such as Preply, and you are set to go!
4. OPEN A LOW-COST EXPERIENCE TRAVEL AGENCY
Everyone loves traveling. And all travelers have something in common: they want to spend as less money as possible while having an amazing experience. Furthermore, people don’t buy products or services anymore, they buy experiences. If you combine both facts, you have a more than worth it business idea: a low-cost experience travel agency.
As an expat, you can take advantage of your situation and offer tourist packages for individuals from all around the world wishing to visit Spain. You know exactly what are their needs and desires, and what impressed you the most. Besides, the understanding of the country that you will gather while living in it will make you able to create the perfect experiences. And, due to how diverse the Spanish territory is and the culture & history its regions have, you will see an infinite amount of possibilities to start off.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
As difficult to believe it may sound, there are several companies nowadays still don’t have a website. And, a big part of those that have do not devote the required levels of attention to their social media profiles (or they simply don’t do it well). That is why the role of the social media manager is something that any company needs today.
And the truth is that you can do it at 0 cost ust with a laptop & internet connection, and without a lot of expertise or knowledge in the field. You use Photoshop or online sites like Canva to create your designs and easily obtain an esthetic look.
6. CLEANING BUSINESS
Cleaning services are something which is also in demand today. Our advice would be not to focus on the personal housecleaning segment but target office buildings or other types of commercial properties. That will guarantee bigger profitability to your activities with the mop and rag.
The most difficult part will be to start. Once you have done a couple or three services and, provided that you did a great job, word of mouth will be your best ally in terms of advertising, without the need to spend a dime on it.
7. ONLINE COACH
If you have achieved success in your home country in any field, you have now the option to share it with others in Spain and make a living out of it. For example, if you created one or two companies successfully and consider that you are now in the position to share what you learned with beginners who are struggling, becoming an online coach will be the right fit.
You can do your coaching sessions online via Skype, so there is no need to pay for an actual office. Furthermore, if you charge a decent amount of money and do not position yourself as a low-cost coach, the amount of effort your clients will make due to the high price paid to you will be higher, therefore their level of satisfaction with what you have taught them will be dramatically bigger. This will grant you new clients through recommendations.
You can’t imagine how helpful your advice could be to those who are starting out. Just choose what you are good at or think about any situation you have overcome in your life which was difficult, and start teaching it to others. The most common path is becoming a business coach, but there are thousands of other options such as dating coach, overcoming breakups coaches or coaches that help you raise your children properly.
8. PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER
Think about it: how many websites need quality photos for their product pages? How many Instagram models need amazing pictures to grow their profiles? The answer is simple: A LOT. If you always had a reflex camera and don’t know what to do with it, you now have a business idea that can help you make a lot of money: becoming a professional photographer.
The thing is that many business owners do not have the time or the camera to take the photos they need. That is why you, with your effort, can become the perfect solution. If you are not a complete professional, you will find thousands of photography and edition courses online that will enable you to improve as time goes by.
9. OPERATE AS A MASSAGIST
In such a stressful society we live in, everybody needs a massage. Because there is nothing better than that after a long working week. You will probably need to take some courses before starting, but that won’t require much time and money.
And one of the main upsides is that you don’t need to have a specific massage place or local. You can visit your clients at their homes or wherever they tell you, reducing your costs immensely.
10. ACCOUNTING COMPANY FOR FREELANCERS AND STARTUPS
Taxes are a real headache. But company or self-employed individual must go through that hell. Due to how boring it is to file a tax declaration or to know how to optimize your business taxes, you will there find a need to be covered. In the end, any company or freelancer wants to specialize in what they do best: the core of their activity. And does not involve running the monthly accounting. Therefore, they tend to delegate that.
If you are good with numbers and specialize in expat taxes (something you will also need to go through yourself), you can be that reliable tax accountant that anyone would need to hire. That tax accountant that speaks their language and that is from the same country. And, just to niche down, focusing on freelancers and newly created startups will be a wise course of action to take.
11. RUN AN AFFILIATE WEBSITE
You create a website that includes certain types of products or services from different companies. You rank that site. Once a user ends up buying those products or services via your site, you get a commission from the seller. That is how affiliate marketing works, and you can achieve success with it easily. Again, the costs behind this business idea will mainly be your time and effort.
12. HEALTHY FOOD RESTAURANT/CAFETERIA
Healthy food is nowadays a trend. A trend that is really successful worldwide and that is starting to spread fiercely inside Spain right now. That is why you can make yourself a place inside the healthy market by starting a healthy food restaurant or cafeteria.
Our advice would be to open it on one of the big cities in Spain, such as Barcelona or Madrid. Then, take amazing pictures of your dishes and upload them to your website and Instagram, try to rank high on platforms such as Tripadvisor, and you are ready to serve healthy recipes!
13. PERSONAL FITNESS TRAINER
Many Spanish citizens are out of shape. They would really like to lose some weight or gain muscle, but 1) they don’t have the required willpower to do it, or 2) they don’t know how. But a personal fitness trainer or coach can be everything they need.
You can go to the gym with your clients and train them there, or organize street workouts. Complement that with meal plans adapted to the needs of every client, and you will have enough work to make a living as a fitness coach!
14. BECOME A YOUTUBER
No need to buy an amazing camera. You just need the one on your mobile phone. Click to the recording button, and start talking. Create your unique and creative touch, and you have become a Youtuber. It will probably take time until you reach the top, but if you keep it consistent and try to make collaborations with other Youtubers, you will gain exposure fast.
Every year, Spain attracts tourists from all around the world. And there is no denying the fact that all of them prefer to talk in their native language. That is why you will find great opportunities as a translator. In that sense, you can become a translator for any activity that tourist embark on, but you have other options which are also really interesting.
Because being a freelance translator will also open many doors to you. You can translate website content or other types of texts contained in promotional material, for example.
16. IMAGE CONSULTING
If you are someone who is into fashion and have an eye for improving people’s image, the market of image consulting is waiting for you. You can become a stylist and make daily recommendations regarding what to wear on different occasions to your clients, or you can be a personal shopper assistant and directly go shopping with them.
17. AI (ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE) IMPLEMENTATION
Artificial intelligence is the future. And that is due to the huge improvements that its implementation can yield to companies. The problem is that many times, they don’t realize that. Hence, if you have experience in this field, you can clearly impact and improve companies with AI implementation. Selling to B2B is a bit more complicated and costly, but if you elaborate a value proposition that is good enough, you have a huge market to sell to. Nearly no one has AI implemented!
18. TOUR GUIDE
Just walk down through the center of Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia or any big city in Spain, and you will be surrounded by free tours. Hundreds of routes are organized each day so tourists can explore the city with an expert who explains to them everything they should know about the history and culture of what they are seeing. The thing is that, as they can take those tours in their native language, the whole deal is much more appealing.
You will just need to study some history of the place you will be touring and you will have become a tour guide in Spain. The most important part will be the way in which you organize and execute your explanations. Why? Because you will live out of tips. Therefore, you must make sure to have satisfied tourists!
19. HOTEL BUSINESS
Maybe this is one of the most capital intensive business ideas in this list, but it is worth it nevertheless. You can start with a bed & breakfast option in order to invest a lower amount of money. The thing is that tourists are switching from big cities to smaller ones in Spain, therefore you have a nice opportunity to find your niche in cities with not that much competition and open a successful hotel business.
You just need to offer a high-quality service and get your guests to leave positive reviews both on your Google My Business Profile and on booking platforms, and you will get a nice stream of customers!
20. CAREER COACH FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Many young students have no idea at all about what to do with their lives. They finish high school, and they have no direction on what to do next. Should I study a career? If yes, which one? That is why, inside all that mess, you can be the perfect solution as a career coach. These jobs consist mainly in first of all understanding the Spanish labor market to see which are the different possibilities any student has. Then, you will need to be good at identifying your clients (young individuals) weaknesses and strengths, so you can create a detailed path for them to follow. Trust us, this is something many Spanish young students need!
21. LAUNDRY SERVICE
No matter where you live, a laundry service will be a good business idea. It requires a really low level of capital investment, therefore profitability levels are high. Everything you should do is to be strategic with the location. Go to Google Maps, start searching for laundries in the cities in which you will be based, and there where you detect an area with not many competition, open one.
Just to make it even better, try to target a specific segment of the market, like a laundry service for tourists or foreign students. Then make sure to open your store close to where they are.
22. PERSONALIZED ONLINE GIFT STORE
Giving a present to someone is something really complicated. How to make sure the person receiving the gift will like it? Personalized gifts can solve this situation, especially in a time in which generic and mainstream presents won’t be valued as much. But whenever you include that personalization touch, your chances of buying the right thing dramatically increase.
That is why opening a personalized online gift store can really work out for you. You can sell mugs with the name of the person on it, blankets with photos printed, or personalized diaries. The options are infinite!
23. CREATE ONLINE COURSES
Probably one of the best sources of passive income. You can do it via your own website using the subscription-based business model (membership site), or just go to Udemy and do it there. Creating online courses is an easy way to get some money by just recording yourself and editing the resulting videos.
There are thousands of fields you can start teaching on, and you can go as deep as you want in finding the right topics. Just think about providing value to someone who is starting in his or her journey.
24. TECHNOLOGY CONSULTANT
No one would dispute that today every company can benefit and improve its profitability by implementing technological solutions. That is why you can specialize in exactly that: helping companies become more efficient and effective by the use of technology. In that sense, as a technology consultant, you can focus more on logistics, back end, online processes or any other aspect that can be better off once an innovative approach is implemented. If you can promise an increase in the company’s profits… you will get hired!
25. DAY TRADING
If you are into the economy and really enjoy being up to date with the last business and international economic news, day trading can be a really profitable source of income for you. Even though the possibility to earn thousands of euros is indisputable, the risks involved are also high. How the economy evolves is not something you can predict with an algorithm, therefore you will need to trust your intuition many times.
We have offered you a list of the 25 of the best business ideas you can start as an expat in the Spanish territory. Now it’s your time to choose the one that best adapts to your knowledge, experience, and interests, and start developing it.
The entrepreneurial process of opening a company in a foreign country won’t be easy. You will encounter many pitfalls for sure. But our business lawyers are here to make it as easy as possible for you. We will help you out establishing your company, manage your taxes in Spain, and making your business successful.