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003: Changing Residency

It's where I traded my UK residency for, where I birthed my first business, and despite only spending a few months a year here, I'm still pretty happy I made the decision to move here.

Hey friends,

Over the past few weeks, I've been living and working from Cyprus, a place I've been calling my part-time home for the past four years. It's where I traded my UK residency for, where I birthed my first business, and despite only spending a few months a year here, I'm still pretty happy I made the decision to move here.

When I was 27, I was on a quest for an optimal work-life setup, and Cyprus looked like my best option. It wasn't all smooth sailing though but after some trial, error, and sheer naivety I feel like I got my life on track here.

Why did I even consider changing my residency and business location? I was living the nomadic life, living mostly in Asia with the occasional trip back home and across Europe. My motivation was a mix of sunny weather allure, tax benefits, the 60-day non-dom scheme, and a need for a stable base with my girlfriend who isn't from the UK. Plus, after a nasty bout of toxic mold exposure in Bali, I was on the hunt for a place I could recover my health.

Okay, so I feel silly to admit it but I had never even set foot in Cyprus before deciding to set up a life base here. In hindsight, perhaps a bit reckless, but hey, it worked out eventually in the end.

Still, there are a few nuggets of wisdom I wish someone had handed me about changing residency:

  1. Costs: Brace yourself; it's not just a financial drain (around £10k to establish a business, residency, find a place to live, etc.) but also a time-sucker. Settling in, figuring out healthcare, taxes, transport, forming new friendships, and the annual travel to maintain residency. I'd think twice about the time I'm willing to invest in doing something like this again.
  2. Test the waters first: I know, stating the obvious. But my leap to a "sunny Mediterranean country" without a prior visit was definitely a roll of the dice. A 60-day sunshine quota seemed like a no-brainer but in retrospect, slightly impulsive. I'd book a little holiday trip or 2 before deciding to do this again.
  3. Cultural compatibility: Seven years of nomadic life doesn't really prepare you for adopting a new culture. If you are holidaying, nomadic or resident, the experiences are different for each. If you're considering a move, I'd think about if your values align with the culture to avoid any unnecessary headaches. Cyprus has a big UK expat community which helps. If this wasn't the case I probably would find it more difficult.

But to wrap this up, I have no regrets. Cyprus has been good to me and I see no change in the near future (though Dubai is becoming more tempting but this idea can be for another piece of writing).

Here are some things that I've found interesting:

1.  GTmetrix

I've been tinkering away at optimising the metalabs website recently. The goal? A smoother user experience and better SEO performance. I found myself relying heavily on GTmetrix for this task. It's a neat free tool that gives you an X-ray view into your site's performance across various metrics. It also tosses some useful suggestions on how to boost those stats. Along with Google's own website speed test, it's been an interesting journey aiming to push for better performance numbers.

2. Sitekit by Google

I stumbled into SiteKit by Google this week. It's Google's official WordPress plugin that provides insights about how people find and use your site, and how to improve, and monetize your content, all from this one free plugin. I like how it consolidates Search Console, Analytics, AdSense, and PageSpeed Insights into a single, user-friendly dashboard directly on WordPress. I haven't used it much so far but I'd say SiteKit is definitely worth exploring if you're running a Wordpress site.

And that's it for this week folks! Thanks for reading have a great week ahead and I'll catch you next week.




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