How to Start Your Remote Business Using Estonia’s e-Residency Program with Ülane Vilumets

Ülane Vilumets

In this episode of the Expat Empire Podcast, we will be hearing from Ülane Vilumets. Ülane is from Estonia and created her first company in the country when she was 23 years old. She was building her Baltic tours and travel platform businesses for several years before the pandemic hit and she had to think about what she wanted to do next. With her love for international travel and meeting people from around the world, it was a perfect fit for her to start working for the Estonian government to promote the e-Residency program. 

Estonia’s e-Residency program is an excellent way for location-independent entrepreneurs to run their businesses digitally from anywhere in the world. With full access to the EU market and everything managed completely online, it is one of the top choices for business owners who want to run a company while traveling the world.

Listen to this insightful conversation with Ülane to find out what the e-Residency program is all about, who it’s a good fit for, and how you can apply for it!

LEARN in this episode:

✔ How the e-Residency program works, what profile of entrepreneurs are the best fit for the program, and the steps for applying

✔ The benefits and challenges to be aware of regarding the e-Residency program

✔ Where the world is going in terms of entrepreneurship, company incorporation, immigration, taxes, travel, and remote work

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Welcome to the Expat Empire Podcast, the podcast where you can hear from expats around the world and learn how you can join them.

Hey guys, before we get to the interview, I want to remind you that we’re offering free 30-min consulting calls to anyone interested in moving abroad. 

Whether you’re thinking about retiring somewhere warm, starting an international career, or becoming a digital nomad, we’re ready to help you think through the next steps in your journey. 

Send us a message at to schedule your call today!

With that said, let’s start the conversation.


David McNeill [0:00:45]: Hi, Ülane, thanks so much for joining us today on the Expat Empire Podcast.

Ülane Vilumets [0:00:49]: Well, really glad to be here. I hope it’s going to be an interesting conversation.

David McNeill [0:00:53]: I think so, definitely. I’ve been excited to speak with you. Of course, we met a couple of months ago at a Web Summit in Lisbon, which was a great time and I got to go to one of your events through the Study and E-residency program. I really enjoyed that and met some great people. It’s been a program that I’ve been interested in personally and I’ve seen in use in some of my previous employers as well. I’m excited to share that with our audience today, of course with your experience and what you’ve been able to do with the program and sharing it for other entrepreneurs out there that are thinking about where to start their business.

Ülane Vilumets [0:01:25]: Yeah. I hope I can share my experiences both from personal experience and from those of the e-Residents that we have.

David McNeill [0:01:31]: Yeah, definitely. Let’s go ahead and dive into it. It’d be great just to hear a bit about your background, of course, where you’re from. I know that you’ve spent some time in different countries around the world and your region is also in Asia. Of course, we really would like to dive into your entrepreneurial background as well. We’d just love to hear some of the highlights.

Ülane Vilumets [0:01:50]: Yeah. You know how Facebook shows you these memories, pops up like memories from years ago. I just realized that about 11 years ago I quit my day job. I was working in HR in a quite large real estate agency. Then I quit my job. I started a couple of tourism businesses with my friend and I had posted on Facebook that my office hours have changed from 9-5 to 11-7 so don’t call me outside of these hours.

David McNeill [0:02:18]: Those are much more comfortable hours for me too. Yeah.

Ülane Vilumets [0:02:21]: I am so not a morning person. So that was one of the really nice things that happened to me 11 years ago that I was able to really plan my life around my own personal goals in business because nobody really tells you what you have to do, it’s really up to you. We built essentially two businesses. One was a tour company that was taking people who came here to the Baltics. I live in Thailand in the capital of Estonia. People who came here to the Baltics, we took them around with guided tours in small groups, minibusses and then expanded to central Europe at some point as well to Prague and Budapest. At the height, before COVID started we had 50 guides in five countries.

David McNeill [0:03:08]: Wow.

Ülane Vilumets [0:03:09]: They were working full time from April to October for us. Then the other business that I built was a travel platform. I got into this kind of start-up scene. We built a page where you could basically get in touch with locals in various cities. It was quite active in Europe. We managed to raise half a million Euros at some point. We built it for seven years altogether. That’s what I did before I realized that tourism is a very hard sector to be in during COVID.

David McNeill [0:03:44]: Yeah. It sounds like it was going quite well before then. I mean COVID surprised everybody, of course, but I can imagine it was a tough couple of months and of course, maybe realization or sort of a re-adjustment as far as your life and your businesses. Did you ultimately decide to wind those down and how did you sort of transition from that entrepreneurial experience into working with the Estonian government?

Ülane Vilumets [0:04:10]: Yeah. As you can imagine being mainly geared towards overseas travelers, 99.9% towards the overseas traveler then the situation in Europe has not quite been restored since 2020 March. Both businesses still exist but they’re functioning on sort of like -95% revenue levels. We were quite big. I think it’s going to take some time until this industry really recovers because if you’re in the hospitality business your customer segment may change. The local traveler may stay in your hotel, but if you are redoing guided tours it’s a whole different world.

David McNeill [0:04:56]: Yeah, absolutely. I’m sure some locals would still enjoy that, but it’s definitely, of course, much more geared to the people who are coming from out of town, right?

Ülane Vilumets [0:05:03]: Exactly. So we had to refund and cancel like three months and months in a row. It was kind of a forced vacation for me because I’ve always been able to constantly be doing something and really excited about it because it’s been my passion. So when I noticed that e-Residency was looking for people to join their team, then I was thinking, I can actually be with entrepreneurs, people who are trying to run interesting businesses and usually like interesting small businesses. It’s not huge corporations. I was like, oh, this is perfect. I’ve been with the team now for over a year.

David McNeill [0:05:42]: That’s great. In terms of your own entrepreneurial experience, did you find the e-Residency program, or I mean, at least Estonia as a business environment to be really beneficial for you as a business owner? Was there anything that stuck out from that experience, I guess perhaps for you, it was just normal, you know? You’re from there, that’s the place that you were living, so you’d set up there, but did you consider other options or think through maybe some of the benefits or potential challenges that come with incorporating there?

Ülane Vilumets [0:06:10]: Well, I didn’t have to. I always like to tell this sort of anecdotal experience for example, that when I was 23 straight out of university, instead of starting to apply for jobs, I registered a limited liability company just in case because I was thinking, okay, like maybe some interesting projects will come around where I would be hired as a contractor. So in Estonia, it’s so straightforward and so simple that everybody who does something on the side, let’s say you are copywriting for somebody, you’re doing some design work or you’re a web developer, everybody has a company because it’s just so easy and inexpensive to own one. Not a lot of bureaucracy and accounting services are reasonable. That was, for me, one way to look at my situation straight out of university. I’m just going to be open to many different options. So I registered my first business when I was 23 and this business still exists because I, every once in a while, teach at a couple of business universities as well so I bill through that.

All of us here use this ID card that has a chip. It’s a smart card. We don’t actually use that physical card because there are now obviously more advanced methods of logging in, but the e-Residency card is nothing but that same card just without the travel document feature. Everybody who is not from Estonia, not used to having a limited liability company from the age of 23, it basically gives them the exact same simplicity. That they can log on to our public services online, register the company online. I had to do it a couple of months ago for myself because I’m doing a little bit of real estate investing with a friend. So I actually went through the company registration process again online. It took me about 15 minutes. Then in three and a half hours, the company was registered and ready to really start invoicing.

David McNeill [0:08:15]: Yeah, it’s quite an amazing thing just the openness to business there, and even seeing for me, it was shocking to visit the country and visit Tallinn. I thought it was a great place. I really enjoyed it. In fact, I applied to a few jobs there thinking about the potential of moving there some time, now a couple of years ago. But in that process, I was waiting at the airport coming back to Berlin where I was living at the time, and I was just floored to see information about the e-Residency program about investments, about different things in flyers at the airport.

I mean, really the country is sort of the next level. Really thinking ahead for the future and about being people creating businesses, kind of based anywhere around the world and being more nomadic or this or that; having access to the market in the EU as well. Really it’s impressive stuff, but I’d love to hear from your perspective what basically the e-Residency program is. What are the main things to consider are for people that might be looking into it? What does it actually mean? I think sometimes people think it’s more of a visa as opposed to this or that. It’d be good if you could break it down for us and show really who it’s best fitted for.

Ülane Vilumets [0:09:27]: So e-Residency is a status that is given to a private individual, so it’s actually not given to a company, but it’s a status that’s given to a non-resident of Estonia that issues them a digital ID. In the eyes of our public sector, in the eyes of our government, they are identified from a distance with the help of this digital ID. It’s very, very secure. It’s equal to a real signature in Estonia. Anything that you do and you sign with this card, there’s no way out of this. This is legally binding. It’s the highest level of security. So once a private individual is an E resident, then they are able to use all of our public services.

Let’s say you want to start a business and you are an e-Resident then you can do it, but if you have a co-founder then for them to be a shareholder as well, and to be part of that company registration process, they would individually need to be an e-Resident as well. Yes, there are some misconceptions about e-Residency very often, especially when people from outside of the EU apply, they sometimes think that this is going to grant them either a visa or residency permit or the possibility to work here legally or whatever else but it really doesn’t. It’s basically just the status of somebody who is in their own country. It does not in any way reflect your real residency. You basically are just identified here on their security level.

David McNeill [0:10:59]: So why exactly would you want to do that, especially for people coming from outside the EU, for example? What are the real benefits to that? What would make someone a good fit for this program?

Ülane Vilumets [0:11:11]: So we see largely two big groups who are applying for e-Residency. There are people who are from very old and established economies where doing something like Estonia did in the early nineties to make all your people use this ID card is very hard. To take your country to this digitalized society level, it’s something that is just really hard to actually execute. So they are used to running their businesses in this kind of a bureaucratic situation, and they see that some countries are doing it better. They see how it could be more transparent and quicker and less going to places standing in lines, whatever. We see a lot of those people coming from actually old European countries. I will just make a general sort of name for it.

They like the low bureaucracy level. They like the ease of being able to just use these very online-based SaaS-based accounting services and just like being anywhere. I was just recently talking to somebody originally from Spain and they were an e-Resident. They said one time I was in a hammock somewhere on my honeymoon and the Estonia Tax Office told me that my company’s tax report needs to be submitted. He was right there in his hammock and did it through his smartphone. Being able to do that, that’s one side of it.

The second side is when you are not from within the EU single market area. There are many reasons why you want to have a base here, why you want to be established here and these reasons vary from sector to sector. Let’s say you are a startup founder, and you want to raise international capital. You want to go to like European VCs and you are from a country where its legislation or jurisdiction is not so trusted or it’s not so straightforward for the investors they’re going to anyway tell you that you need to be based somewhere, or you need to be at least incorporated somewhere where it’s more trustworthy. That was the reason why let’s say 15 years ago, Etonian startups had to go and incorporate in Delaware because that was…you have to be accepted in that investor scene with your jurisdiction.

We have a lot of that, then we have a lot of let’s say, stock market taxes. UK entrepreneurs are in a strange situation right now. Let’s say they’re importing and exporting with their UK company, but part of the goods are actually made in the EU. Then their UK company has to sell it both to the UK and EU and the goods have to cross borders several times and there’s tax each time. You might want to restructure somehow so that your businesses are like in two places because you want to have access to the EU single market. Also, eCommerce is seeing a big rise right now. Obviously from kind of the Asian side because of the VAT rules. So there are many different reasons, but essentially either having a more trusted jurisdiction where you’re in…a lot of countries are experiencing this kind of political uncertainty. Let’s just say it that way. Or they just want to have a quicker, less red tape kind of business environment.

David McNeill [0:14:41]: Yeah, no, I think those are all good reasons. I know with the event that we went to at Web Summit, that there were a number of entrepreneurs talking about how e-Residency had changed their business, it changed their lives. Of course, they shared their stories, but I was curious from your perspective, given that you work with so many companies out there, you’ve seen so many different scenarios and situations. What are some of the more interesting companies that have been founded or been taken to the next level through the e-Residency program? Can give us some examples?

Ülane Vilumets [0:15:12]: Yeah, like the one you heard at Web Summit, that was these Spanish guys who basically gave up a permanent living space or place and they just started really being digital nomads full time, thanks to the fact that they could run their business from anywhere. Later they even founded an accounting software that actually is serving e-Residents based on Estonia residency. But I recently met a German fellow whose father was a gardener his whole life. They developed this product that is basically like, it looks like a bag, but it’s a tree watering device. They produce them in China. He likes to live in Bali himself. Those tree watering products are sold in Europe, mainly in Germany, even to the public sector, for example. Just the ease of running his business through different jurisdictions under Estonian companies is what he enjoys.

Then I always really feel kind of emotional when I think about this one example that was in my sector years ago. A Turkish girl who was running a tourism business, I guess Turkey’s currency is not doing really well right now either, but it was a previous kind of crisis that they had, and she had trouble receiving money from his customers because she couldn’t use PayPal and like the tourism wasn’t coming actually to Turkey. Then she founded an Estonia company and started expanding her business to European cities. It actually saved her business in a way, because she couldn’t do what she was doing in Turkey. She ended up being an international tourism entrepreneur, which was a really inspiring story.

We have some NGO founders. We have people who have brought their Singaporean PR company to Europe as well with the help of e-Residency because it’s just the easiest way to access the European market.

David McNeill [0:17:16]: Yeah. Those are a lot of great examples of why people should join this e-Residency program. I’m curious about what the steps are to actually get involved in that. It sounds like you were able to open a new business very quickly, but I suppose the process might be a bit different for folks that are not Estonian. What does that look like for us?

Ülane Vilumets [0:17:34]: Yeah. If we can just log on because we already have that card for everything that we do inside the country. The e-Residents first have to go to the PPA, which is our police and border guard. Their website can actually apply for this card so that they would have this as the login. The application is reviewed and since it is a government-issued ID and has to be really, really secure, then the background is checked and we basically take a little while to approve the application. It’s on average, let’s say two, three weeks at the moment that the police and border guard can approve the application.

Then we’re going to send this card to the pickup location that is nearest to you. We have over 50 pickup locations around the world, mostly in Estonian Embassies. Europe is covered quite well. We have some in the US. You can pick up your cards from what is closest to you. Last spring, we also opened four quite far away places that were very new. These are not our embassies, but they are an external service provider that we use, a visa agency, which are in Singapore, Bangkok, South Africa in Johannesburg, and also in São Paulo, Brazil. Four places where our embassies don’t have a presence or actually Singapore does, but we are able to also issue cards there.

This card is sent to the embassy and the embassy notifies you that it’s there. You have to show up there in person to give fingerprints because it is a government-issued ID. So it’s nothing to be worried about or scared about, but it’s kind of like when you get your own passport you pick up a new passport in your own country. Then when you have it, then the card will be activated within 24 hours. Then you have to download the signing software or some plugins or extensions to your browser that you’re actually able to do it. Then you are able to start the company registration process.

One of the differences between local citizens or residents and non-residents is that if the company is managed from abroad, then we require one compulsory service to be used by those people. That is called a contact person because the Estonian government will want to contact you on certain occasions. The service can only be provided by licensed accounting or corporate service providers here in the country.

The address of that company would also become the legal address of your company in Estonia. Basically, you have to choose somebody that you’re going to work with to provide you with this contact person service. These are private companies. We have gathered a range of them that we work with, and we know their background, and we’re able to say that they will not spread false information, or we’re able to say that we have vetted them. You can choose them on our website under the marketplace section. The marketplace is what we call all these services that e-Residents can use here inside Estonia that will help them.

It also includes the fintech companies that we work with, where you can open your business bank account. It also includes some of the Estonia banks that serve e-Residents if your business is connected to Estonia more. Also, some other nice corporation things that we’ve set up, like for example AWS, Amazon Web Services Activate Program that the e-Resident companies can apply for. So there are many, many things that we’ve gathered.

Basically, the first step is then to decide who you’re going to work with. Who’s going to be your service provider here in Estonia? The service is not very expensive, it’s around €200 a year, let’s say, to have this contact person. Of course, you can choose to use the same company for your accounting, for example. Then you can do it yourself on the Estonian business registry site which is accessible with the e-Residency card, or you can go to one of these service providers who have built an API-based connection to our business registry. If you’ve chosen one like that then you don’t actually have to go find out where this business registry is. You can just do it through your service provider and it works the same way. You sign it digitally. The companies usually establish, let’s say in one to three business days is the official term that we have to give you.

David McNeill [0:22:17]: So maybe a couple more steps, but still very doable, still very, let’s say, relatively easy given most of the, as you say, most of the more traditional bureaucracies, especially here in Europe but certainly in countries around the world. A lot of value there for anyone who’s interested in doing so, but do you have any thoughts as to what some of the maybe other benefits are, or any potential challenges or things to watch out for as people are considering this program and going forward with it in terms of getting that digital ID, as well as potentially opening a company in Estonia?

Ülane Vilumets [0:22:51]: Well, the benefits are definitely the fact that you are opening so many more doors for you, if you’re from outside of the EU, for example. It’s helping you to raise investments, it’s helping you to access more partners or customers especially if you’re selling services to, let’s say, big corporate customers, then obviously a company registered within the EU is more legit, is more respected. It’s a chance for you to also apply for and get a lot of the EU grants and other support systems that are available for entrepreneurs. It’s, basically opening a lot of doors for you, right.

On a personal level, I think the main thing is the convenience of it. That you can plan your life how you want to plan your life, because this is what I enjoyed a lot when I was an entrepreneur, that every winter, when it was the low season in tourism, I could spend a few months in a nicer, warmer place, like for example in Southeast Asia. When I had to, I don’t know, check whether my tax reports were submitted or do anything that I had to do I could do that online. Even my co-founder and I were sometimes working several time zones apart from each other, so when he woke up I had sent him a lot of stuff to work on or whatever. When I woke up the next morning then it was kind of like table tennis, you know?

You are just really flexible in terms of your personal choices and you don’t have to…I remember the last time I went to an Estonian institution for anything that had to do with my business was in 2007. When I think then to get a VAT number you had to actually go physically to the Tax Office. Since then I have registered several companies and I have never had to go anywhere. That’s the benefit, right? So you could, you could make your life choices, how you want to make your life choices. You’re not restricted to one country because you know that, oh, I will have to go to the city office or have to go to somewhere to get something signed or go to the bank.

About the challenges or, how to say, things to consider is that the e-Residency and having a company in a different country is definitely not for somebody whose business is very locally based like let’s say you’re running a small bakery in a country and your customers are the local people from the neighborhood then the e-Residency is definitely not for you. It’s for someone that’s aiming for international reach. It’s also not a way to avoid taxes because international taxation, depends on where the company really has substance or where the value is created. Where you are managing the company from.

There’s always a danger that your home country is actually wanting part of those taxes as well. You have to be quite clear about what you are actually getting into. There are jurisdictions where people go to hide their incomes or their revenues. Estonia is definitely not one of those, because anything that you really do will have a digital footprint. That’s one thing that I always like to tell people. Even though the Estonian tax system is very beneficial for entrepreneurs, if you are looking to really build a base here and you can take full advantage of it, then great for you, because then I definitely recommend it. You should, and you should try to come and build a base here if it’s a bigger company. But if you are really just a one-man company, you have to kind of understand your liabilities in the country where you live as well. It sometimes means that you pay in your home country, but Estonia has double tax avoidance agreements with many countries in the world. You should not be paying tax on the same thing twice in two countries.

David McNeill [0:26:59]: Yeah. That’s a great point and definitely worth people looking into more deeply before just going crazy and opening up a company tomorrow. I’m really glad that you mentioned that. I think it’s an important point to talk about. To that extent, I mean, it’s really interesting that the Estonian government has embraced this. It was sort of a pioneer on this level. I’m curious from your perspective, what sort of changes are you seeing in the market more broadly? Do you see any other countries trying to take on this type of activity or this type of problem or doing it maybe in a different fashion, it doesn’t have to be done the same way. Do you have any big-picture thoughts on where the world’s headed in terms of becoming more digital, more remote, more open, more free, and so forth?

Ülane Vilumets [0:27:44]: Well, definitely Estonia was the first, but we are not the only ones anymore, right? So I think one good thing that happened to the world during COVID was that the governments had to start making their services more accessible digitally and in the online format. That was, I think, one good thing that came from that, that finally now it’s starting to be possible in many other places as well. Obviously, countries are always competing because we’re competing for the tax money, right? Or we’re competing where the most entrepreneurs set up and the ones that really do grow big, like where are they located? Everybody’s keeping their eyes out for this kind of a smart economy, potential future unicorns or whoever. so countries are really competing hard.

There are different initiatives around the world based on what the country is trying to promote. Some countries are trying to get people to move there, to live there. They are figuring out schemes or offers or different kinds of, how to say, promotions for the country that would make you actually physically move there. Then some countries are like Estonia saying, we don’t care if you come here like you don’t ever have to come here. But your business could still be in Estonia because you can access it from anywhere.

There are many different initiatives. I know Ukraine has introduced e-Residency as well, but with kind of a different goal because they are a hothouse for IT subcontracting. They are actually using e-Residency to bring more workforce from countries that may have a lot of people, but not necessarily nice salaries. They’re using this also to bring more developers from developing countries for example. So there’s all kinds of different initiatives that are going on in the world. I think it’s a good thing because although yes, we do fear competition, but I think it’s a good thing for everyone. So governments around the world are trying to somehow improve their services.

David McNeill [0:29:53]: One other area that I wanted to ask about just in terms of picking your brain a little bit, is of course you have much experience traveling the world, being a location-independent entrepreneur. You also built these tourism-focused businesses. So where do you kind of see things going from here? Obviously, regulations and rules are changing on practically a daily, weekly, monthly basis. It’s really hard to say exactly where it’s all going to shake out, but do you foresee tourism and travel and everything else coming back in the near future or do you think it’ll be a little slower recovery even yet?

Ülane Vilumets [0:30:28]: Well, it’s an interesting question, right? Like people have been trying to predict the future for the last two years, right?

David McNeill [0:30:35]: Yeah.

Ülane Vilumets [0:30:35]: But what has happened at least from what I see it is like, when the COVID first hit in March 2020 in most of Europe then people were saying that travel will never be the same. People will not travel like they used to. People still want to travel. Like they used to, which is the funny part. Everybody I know at least is just like, they’re craving to go somewhere, to see something, to experience something different, but you have to figure out like how you can do it so that you don’t go to the most crowded touristy places and you are at most risk with both the pandemic and also like other things.

I think what has happened is that people are actually doing more of these work-cations where they go to a place and they stay for a while. This is what I’ve done. I have traveled with my three children. Last spring when Estonia went into the second lockdown, we drove all the way from Estonia to Montenegro. We lived there for one and a half months. We worked from there. It was only one hour difference with Estonia, so totally, totally fine. Also, big corporations are more and more allowing their employees to not be in the same country all the time, not be in the same office all the time. People are able to do this and they’re able to go to a place. This year we’re thinking of doing the exact same thing in April and May. Guess what, my friends’ families are wanting to join me because everybody wants to get out. Everybody wants to go and discover and see. I have not actually given up on traveling. Even last year I think I was abroad five times altogether.

David McNeill [0:32:24]: That’s great. If you can manage it, that’s great. If you can manage all the testing and all the extra stuff that comes with it. It’s still worth doing, hopefully, it’ll be a little more easy and more seamless. As you’ve said, if you can take a car or something like that and go to a nearby country, or obviously even the same country, at least you’re able to do some travel.

Ülane Vilumets [0:32:42]: Car travel is what’s become really more popular, I think as well, because obviously in the states as well, like between the states people have really stuck to their own kind of nearby national parks and gone more local in terms of travel. It’s the same in Europe, because if you travel by land there are still no border checks really within the EU.

David McNeill [0:33:05]: Right. That sounds like a good strategy. In closing, I’d love just to get any thoughts from your side otherwise about of course the e-Residency program, but also about becoming a location independent entrepreneur, and for people that are thinking about doing that, whether through the Estonia e-Residency program or otherwise would just love to just get any final thoughts or words of advice or encouragement for our audience.

Ülane Vilumets [0:33:30]: Well, I think one of the things to ask yourself is that even today, let’s say, you are working for a big corporation and what you’re doing is quite restricted. Like you have to do things in a certain way and you don’t have this very flexible lifestyle is to look with open eyes and heart. Like, what am I good at? How could I make my talent or my passion into something that other people or companies would want to pay for? That’s, I think, what’s going to enable or empower so much of that location independence is if you discover something like that about yourself. What is it that I’m really good at and what can I actually sell? This is going to enable everything else. Nobody needs you to register a company but you actually have to do something that will change somebody’s life or make a company’s process better or whatever it is, right?

David McNeill [0:34:34]: Yeah. It’s not just about creating the corporate entity, it’s about making a little revenue, right. I think that makes sense.

Ülane Vilumets [0:34:42]: I mean, all the entrepreneurs I personally know, even if they’re doing something that you listen to and you’re like it’s so boring, they are absolutely convinced that this is the most amazing thing after sliced bread. It’s the passion that drives entrepreneurs. This is what I love about this job too, is that we get to see a lot of those people.

David McNeill [0:35:05]: Yeah, that’s incredible. I mean, that’s kind of how I thought in short about Expat Empire, as a concept was moving to these different countries. I was working as a product manager. I was never really getting too much into loving the product itself, which is a bit hard to say as an ex-PM. But at the same time, I just looked at the big picture, eventually, I was like, well, what is the common thread here? It’s like, my love of being abroad, my love of going to these different countries and traveling and really trying to then think about how I could help other people to have those same experiences.

That’s where it’s kind of born. It wasn’t that I was a product manager. It was like the bigger connecting thread across all of those experiences was this like trying to find a job in the next country and where did I want to move to next, or where was my next vacation or travel? So yeah, I think as you said, that’s a really good way to kind of sum it up in terms of how people start that whole process and do a little soul searching and figuring out ultimately their first customers, their first products and services and going from there.

Ülane Vilumets [0:36:04]: Exactly.

David McNeill [0:36:06]: Awesome. Well, thank you so much again for joining the podcast today. It’s been a pleasure hearing about your experiences and entrepreneurs all over the world and also about the e-Residency program. If there’s anywhere that people can find out more information about the program or of course, to connect with you please let us know.

Ülane Vilumets [0:36:25]: Yeah, I think the easiest is that if you’re really wanting to know more, then you should go to or just Google Estonian e-Residency. You are able to join one of our monthly Q&As. You’re able to watch some tutorial videos or read some ‘how to’ articles on our website. I’m also comfortable with people reaching out to me on LinkedIn because I’ve been, in the last couple of months, realizing that people who are really thinking about relocating their business to Estonia, they have some very specific questions. I’m happy to just like hop on a call and answer these very specific questions as well as I can, or at least direct you to the right place who could help you or where you could look for the answer. If you, if you look me up on LinkedIn, I’ll be happy to connect.

David McNeill [0:37:16]: Perfect. Well, I’ll definitely put all those links in our show notes. Thanks again for the conversation and I look forward to keeping in touch.

Ülane Vilumets [0:37:21]: Thanks for inviting me.


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As the founder of Expat Empire, David McNeill is focused on inspiring people to move abroad and showing them how to do it. David started Expat Empire because he has a genuine passion for living abroad. He left the United States in 2014 and has since lived in Tokyo, Berlin, and Porto.