A Note from Shlomo:This post was written a while ago, after leaving back to Israel. Although my experience is from China, this info will be valuable if you moved back home from other countries as well. Just change the words ‘Chinese/Mandarin’ and ‘China’ with the country you left. I’m sure it will work 🙂
It’s coming! Even if you ever thought that your adventure in China would last forever or be a really long one, deep inside you know that one day you will have to go back to your home country and old life.
But wait, China is so exciting! “I want to stay here forever.” This is correct, China is exciting! But on that day when you have to go back home for any reason, you’d need to find a way to say goodbye and come back when you can to this excitement.
A month and a half ago my wife and I left Beijing and moved back to Israel. It wasn’t an easy step for us and it’s still not. We moved back because of family reasons which we feel was the right thing to do.
China was a great adventure for us for almost 3 years and it will always be part of our lives. How big a part you ask? Well, LARGE part of it.
Basically, since coming back we continue to work at the same things we did while living in Beijing.
My wife is working for the same company who hired her in Beijing. We are grateful to them for letting her work remotely. She loves her job and there was no reason for her to leave the company except of the fact that they don’t have an office in Israel. So, she asked to work remotely and it worked. They are a global company anyway, so video calls are something everybody are used to.
I kept both of my ‘jobs’. AppInChina.co is live and kicking and I’m managing my team remotely. We have some of the team in Beijing and some of it in Canada and US .
Also, in the last year and a half I’ve been working very closely with Chinese investors and helping them find technological ventures in Israel. Now when I’m in Israel most of the time, I can do this even better. I get to meet more startups in Tel Aviv and in Silicon Wadi *** and help find the best ones to go to China.
Also, I even keep organising our ‘Lean Startup Beijing meetup’. It has expanded and now we have 2-3 events in Beijing every month. I obviously can’t attend each and every one of them but I’m in close touch. I follow the events, promote them, decide on dates and so on. This is all thanks to my partner Richard*** who runs it when I’m away.
Here is what I do to keep my China experience alive.
1. Keep learning Chinese
When I was in Beijing Mandarin was an important part of my life. It was important for me to keep making progress in it. Now that I’m based back in Israel and travel back and forth it’s even MORE important. I’m at the stage where I invested a lot of effort in it, so wouldn’t want to lose it on the one hand. On the other hand, it’s not at a high enough level so I’d remember it forever like my mother toughe. So, effort is still required.
2. Keep your China connections fresh
I’m frequently in touch with friends and business contacts in China. The fact that I don’t live there any more doesn’t mean I’m not interested in it and what’s going on. I keep open channels of discussion and fly when I need to do face to face meetings (This post is written flying to Beijing, BTW).
3. Keep following on events, conferences and industry
As I mentioned I still run the Lean Startup Meetup. I enjoy doing it even though I now can’t attend every event. I follow conferences and events related to mobile in Asia and plan my trips accordingly. GMGC, GMIC and Tech in Asia in Singapore are happening at the end of April beginning of May and I hope to be there as well.
(Update: I made it to GMIC and GMGC but not to Tech in Asia conference)
I guess you can’t avoid those. Even in today’s globally connected world. Come for a visit from time to time see what’s changed. I really enjoyed living in Beijing, so I’m looking forward flying back. This is my first trip back since we left 2 months ago and I’m really excited.
(Update: I’m now planing my 4th trip at the end of October, so things are going well)
Yes, acknowledge this. Some things are different now. You can be frustrated because you had to move back or you can decide you make the most out of it and make the effort to keep the experience alive in your everyday life as much as you can. Beijing is a very transient city, I know MANY people who left town. It’s part of the reality. People come for a few years and then leave.
It might look like a sad subject to write about. Certainly not an easy thing to cope with if you liked the place where you lived. The point is that it’s not sad, it’s just different. You are in a different place with a different reality and you need to adjust. The most powerful skill you can have as an entrepreneur is flexibility. So adjustment is a good skill to have. Moving back home certainly develops this, until the next time you feel it’s time to move on.
Now over to you
Did you just come back from a long stay somewhere far from home building your business? Was it successful for you? How do you leverage your knowledge and contacts from there? What’s changed for you since coming back? Would be great if you’ll share it in the comments.