Going solo (with the help of others)

Expat partner Chris Cartledge became a self-employed business owner after relocating to Sweden. He explains how a coach helped him in unexpected ways.

Major readjustment

“Before returning to Malmö, where I’ve lived before, I was working in India. It was an unbelievable experience but when my partner Kim, also an employee at the company where I worked, was offered a role in Malmö, we decided to return to Europe,” says Chris, an Englishman and store designer. “It was always going to be a big readjustment – getting used to the sleepy pace of life in Malmö after living in India for starters! But after a 16-year career with the same employer, I was also going to be a freelancer, so I definitely felt like I was at a crossroads.”

Valuable resource

“Having never been self-employed before, I had a lot of questions and Global Connection proved to be a really valuable resource for me. My consultant introduced me to coach Camilla Degarth, who has a lot of experience setting up her own business in the UK, Sweden, and the Netherlands. She also had an appreciation for the complexities involved for me personally, as a result of Brexit, and made sure that I wasn’t flying in blind. In fact, we returned to Malmö in May and I was able to start on my first freelance contract in July.”

Digging deeper

“My expectations for the coaching sessions were mainly about the practical side of becoming self-employed – registering a business, understanding all the tax implications, and so on. But once we had all the ‘nuts and bolts’ sorted, my conversations with Camilla started to touch on the development side of running my own business. She challenged me to dig deeper. For example, we talked about work habits and well-being when freelancing, which I hadn’t considered much.”

Opportunities to grow

“When you are self-employed and experience a dry period, it’s not easy. But after Camilla asked me to consider how I would measure a successful day, I began to see there are many ways someone in my shoes can move forward. Even if I’m not on the clock, there are always opportunities to grow, develop skills, build my network, and so on,” says Chris, whose freelance career has already taken him back to South Asia. “It was brilliant to be back in India but Malmö is where Kim and I want to be now, so I’m very grateful for the support I’ve received to help us start over again.”

Photo: Chris and his partner Kim in Malmö

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