I am Bing Kohner and I'm a 41 year old Filipino-American. I’m married and have a seven year old daughter. We have lived in Sitges for about two years. Limitbusters Coaching & Training, Inc. (www.limitbusters.com) is a service company offering individual coaching to expats and entrepreneurs. We also offer coaching workshops to individual and corporations. We have been in business since 1997.
Where did the original idea come from?
I married one of the pioneers of the coaching movement. I went to a professional coaching school, The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) the year we got married. I did not originally appreciate the value of coaching. I thought it was all hype. I was professionally trained as a teacher in the Philippines and thus I felt most suited to continue my profession as a teacher in the US. Although I did not fully appreciate what I learned at CTI, for some reason I included coaching skills in teaching my students, and communicating with my peers. I was amazed by the results. Over time, I realized that it worked! When my daughter was born, I decided to be a Life Coach instead of going back to work as a teacher. I went back to CTI to further learn about how to be a professional Life Coach. I have loved it ever since.
How long did it take to get your business off the ground in Barcelona?
It took about a year. I had to focus on other things like the logistics of being a resident as well as accommodating my daughter’s transition into her new school. Through word of mouth and joining networking events, people slowly started to hear about my coaching practice.
What do you wish you’d known when you started/moved here?
It takes time to set up and build a business here. One must have commitment, acceptance, and patience.
How easy was it to get the financing for your business?
The US Capitol One Company has a great loan offer. As long as you pay the whole amount with in 1 year, they won’t charge for any interest. Also, their credit card accumulates points for mileage and has no foreign fee charge. My partner and I have completely self-financed our business through our savings and credit cards.
Did you find the paperwork difficult?
Yes, indeed! The paperwork was hard on me. My Spanish is limited. However, it also motivated me to learn Castellano. I practice a few days a week, listen to a Spanish CD in the car, and I bought a Spanish DVD to learn on the computer. Of course, we hired a lawyer to process all of our legal papers.
Did you get help from any particular official organizations or associations (e.g. Chambers of Commerce)? If so, please describe.
Yes, I am a member of Co-meetings and International Holistic Networking in Sitges. This year I joined the Barcelona Women’s Networking group. All have been very helpful!
What is your business experience / background / qualifications?
I was a teacher in the Philippines and in the USA. I am a Columnist for Asian Journal in Los Angeles where I write a coaching column and I am a member of the International Coach Federation. I have been an Expat since 1997, a resident of Los Angeles, Amsterdam and now Barcelona.
What are the positive aspects about having a business here?
The weather is a big plus. Life is not stressful. Our place is in walking distance from the beach. It’s a chance for me to meet new, diverse people, and learn a new country’s culture. It is also an opportunity once again to restart my business life and this time I get to work mostly out of my home. I’m also realizing that life coaching is in its infancy in Spain and this gives me the incentive to be a coaching pioneer in this region.
And the negative aspects?
Almost everything is done in a slower pace. My practice is limited to people that speak English.
Are there any other useful contacts, tips or information you think would be useful to other foreign entrepreneurs in Barcelona?
Wearing my “mompreneur hat”, if you have children, support them in their transition. Play with them and talk/listen to them about the changes they are experiencing. Make sure you get to know your neighbors. Explore where to shop, find out the lay of the land, and discover interesting places to go such as museums, restaurants, and cafes. Develop a contact list with special numbers for emergencies. Ask for referrals for good providers such as lawyers, dentists, english speaking banks, etc. If you don’t want to clean up the house, hire a cleaner/helper. Don’t forget to find time for yourself everyday!
Decorate your home in a way that makes you feel welcome and familiar.
If you are married or are living with a significant other, make time to spend together for both fun and support each other in navigating this new living experience.
As a businesswoman, delegation and systems are the keys to becoming successful.
It’s great to have a business plan. If you don’t have one yet, write a plan about your work schedule, where you will network, and the tools you will use. Get support, i.e. partner, friends or hire a Coach who is 100% committed to your passion. A Coach will be there to make sure you are moving forward with your business/dreams! Like my clients, I also want to have a successful business, fun, family, and a more balanced life! That’s why I too have my own Coach.