a desk with a laptop on it

It all starts with side projects, right? This business I’m trying to build started as a side project.

Currently, I’m turning this side project into a brand. The name of that brand is called “ExitTaiwan.“ The mission of this brand is to help Taiwanese people explore the world.

I had this idea initially because of my personal experiences abroad. In the past 3 or 4 years, I’ve been all over the places, despite the pandemic.

I went studying abroad. I worked remotely in different countries and traveled a lot at the same time. I slept in different places. I immersed myself in different cultures and languages. It’s a nomadic lifestyle I’ve been living.

There are certainly great stories to share. That’s for sure. But we’ll save them for future if I get the chance to talk about them. My point here is, I’ve grown so much as a person through these years living abroad.

Through living and traveling in foreign countries. Through talking to people who have totally different belief systems. Through figuring out my life on my own, my career, my identity, my future all at once.

It’s a lot of self-doubt. It’s a lot of growth. It’s uncomfortable at first but almost liberating when you know you’re gradually figuring things out.

Through this brand, I want to create the same experiences for other people. The easiest way to do that is to start inspiring the people who I’m most familiar with.

These people share the same cultural background, educational background, and might face the same process and difficulties when they’re about to embark on similar journeys. The answer became obvious, Taiwanese people.

Be inspired 📩

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    ExitTaiwan: A Content Business

    Let me share more about this brand.

    This is a content business I’m building. On the website, people will find all kinds of information on going abroad.

    I put them into two categories. One is the main content on this domain ExitTaiwan.com, where people would find travel guides, study abroad… almost like something-something for dummies, you know that book series? These content are meant to be consumed easily. They are SEO friendly for sure, and should meet the interest of the general public.

    The other category is what I called “Docs,“ which stands for documentation. This is where people would find step-by-step process of accomplishing a project abroad. It could be studying abroad, working holiday, exchange student and so on. Each project is organized under a specific country since almost every country has its own set of protocols for different visiting purposes.

    What I’m trying to do here, is to make this process of going abroad easier for my audience, which is any Taiwanese person. That’s where the main value oof this brand lies in. What I won’t do, is I won’t assist them when they’ve successfully gone on their journeys.

    There wasn’t anyone actively providing help most of the time when I was out in the adventure. There’s no one babysitting me for my life. And that’s when I learnt about life and grew the most.

    Growing from Scratch

    Now you know what this brand is mainly about, the next thing I’m going to share is how I’m building this brand.

    I mentioned a term called SEO. For those who don’t know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

    In simple terms, it means when you type something into your search engine, for most people that’s Google, for some, it might be Bing or Yahoo. And when you hit search, the results you see are most likely ranked according to a set of rules made by a group of people and the algorithm these people designed.

    The process of making the content, the website, rank higher in the search result is called Search Engine Optimization, most commonly, SEO. SEO is where this content business, like most of the content business, kicks off.

    That is to say, I’ll be producing a ton of content as quickly as possible, and as high-quality as possible, so that when Taiwanese people search for keywords like solo-traveling abroad, or tourist attractions in Seoul, Korea, my website gets a higher chance to show up higher among all the results.

    I will be outsourcing a lot of the content production so I can focus on more important decisions. Before I do that, I’ll build a system so that I don’t have to interview someone to make sure this guy is a good writer or not before he actually starts to write.

    The main way of making money would be affiliate programs for now. I’m also having someone to help me with designing these travel brochures that I’ll be selling as digital products. This is for those who are traveling abroad. They can just buy a digital download and bring that file to a local copy shop to make it physical on their own.

    In the future, if everything goes well, it’s very likely we’ll be selling physical products. I don’t have clear ideas on which products to sell, but from what I can think of now, it could possibly be products that people can use on their journey. So bags, baggage straps, or stickers. You get the idea.

    A Pilot Study Project

    I know a lot of you reading this, if you’re at least somewhat informed about the content industry, you’d be thinking, “This guy is crazy. No one’s depending on SEO anymore. SEO is dead already.“

    First of all, you might be right. I might be crazy. We’ll see. It’s your freedom to think of me that way.

    Second of all, the SEO market in Taiwan is actually not as crowded as it is in the English language market in general.

    People from most parts of the world speak English. When we produce content in English, we are competing with A LOT of people. I know.

    But, Traditional Chinese, which is the language Taiwanese people speak, is a very niche language. People from Mainland China, they use Simplified Chinese. So you can say the only group of people that’s using Traditional Chinese, is Taiwanese.

    Plus, I kind of did a pilot project for this. I experimented this already. It’s giving me some great results. Let me tell you about it.

    Be inspired 📩

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      This year, during Chinese New Year, which is like 10 months ago, I came up with this idea of writing review articles for cafés in Taiwan.

      These are the cafés that provide great environment for studying and working. I came up with this idea because I was spending a lot of time working at cafés and I also had troubles finding one where the environment is suitable for me to do my work there.

      This whole thing basically serves as a guide for the small office home office people who also do work at cafés.

      From ideation to the launch of the website, it was only a matter of 2 months if I remember correctly. We got 8 people, me included, writing article reviews. It’s a small but functioning team.

      Within the next 4 months after we launched, the website was generating an average of 4,000 monthly visitors. The website is SohoCafé, in case you want to take a look.

      The only problem with the project SohoCafé was that I didn’t think of monetization when I started. I was spending money on writers, but didn’t have a way to make money from the website. That made me I decide to pause that project for now.

      This time, with ExitTaiwan, not only I’ve thought of different sources of income at the very beginning to make sure the business model is there, I also decided that I’m going to share the progress I’m making with this project.

      I’ve seen so many successful people, some call themselves entrepreneurs, sharing how they’ve built a successful business and justifying the business decisions they had made that got them there.

      Seeing this, a part of me just think it’s not the most convincing way to tell people how they can do it when you’re already so far ahead of that journey and now trying to look back and recall what happened along the way.

      This is why I’ve decided to go through that journey with you and gives you regular updates on it to represent the real world situation.

      This sounds to me like a perfect plan because most of you won’t be my target audience as long as you’re not Taiwanese. But by sharing my decision-making process, you don’t have to know Chinese to understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing what I’m doing.

      Even if you ARE Taiwanese, and you may be my target audience, you’d know the value I’m creating for you. You’d know how difficult it is to build a business from scratch and understand why something costs that much of money or how my sales process looks like when you know this “behind the scene“ aspect of a business.

      My Love for Side Projects

      Side projects are fun. I love side projects.

      With side projects, you never know where it’s going to take you when you started. You face challenges and difficulties so you try to solve them. It makes sure you’re always learning and growing. It gives you sense of achievement. It eventually becomes almost a safe harbor that you go to when all other aspects of life is falling apart.

      That might be why some startup founders hold on desperately to their businesses, right? A lot of them were just working on these side projects without expecting one to become a business someday. To them, it’s probably the safest, most comfortable place on earth no matter how risky it might seem to other people.

      I’m not making any promise about this ExitTaiwan project that it is 100% going to be successful in terms of building it into a profitable business. I’m implying when things go wrong, when my passion fades out, when life gives me unexpected surprises, I might end this and move to another side project.

      The only promise I’m making here, though, is that you’ll get an update from me so you can witness the rise and fall of a business. I don’t see many people doing that on the Internet. I genuinely hope that you find this kind of information valuable.

      Be inspired 📩

        I won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.