From the stress of the corporate world to a place of healing and being healed, this is the incredible story of how power-couple Sara Stenqvist (41) and Simba Thomas (35) from Göteborg, Sweden went from working hard, to working heart and started their own business in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Coming to Thailand
Perhaps you can resonate with Sara’s story, as she came from the corporate world, worked in marketing for over 10 years. When she desperately needed a break from everything, she decided to book a holiday in Thailand for 3 months but ended up spending a year with a shaman in the jungle.
She wanted to start her own business in Chiang Mai, so she went back to Sweden to sort everything out, only to meet Simba, her partner, along the way. Together they took the plane to Thailand and found a place to set up their company. Living With the Spirit has been running successfully since October 2018.
Starting Your Own Business in Thailand
As a foreigner, it is not the easiest thing to start your own business in Thailand, as there are many rules and regulations just for foreigners.
As foreigners are not allowed to own property, 51% of the shareholders of your business need to be Thai citizens. Luckily Sara and Simba have a big Thai network and so it was easy for them to meet this requirement. Thais are generally very helpful and accommodating to foreigners. Especially when you have close Thai friends, it is easy to get around this rule.
On top of that, you need to have at least 8 Thai staff members. You have to provide them with work and social security as well. Sara and Simba currently have 8 staff members and provide them with as much work as they can.
A Lot of Rules
There are a lot of rules involved in starting your own business in Thailand, especially for foreigners. It can get quite confusing because a lot of those rules are continuously changing. There is also a difference between provinces. It would have been a lot easier to start a business in Koh Phanag, but a lot more difficult in Bangkok.
That’s why Sara and Simba contacted a lawyer to do all of the legal work for them.
“People who try to start their own business by themselves often have to wait for months and months for the paperwork and often have a tough time figuring out what they are doing. With our lawyer, our business was up and running within 3 months. You can do it by yourself if you want to, but it was just easier this way.”
We Can Help You Out
Sara and Simba feel very strongly about helping others out who are in the same situation.
“One of the reasons we’re doing this is to show people it’s possible to have a life where you can leave the ‘rat race’ of the west, where everything is so performance and profit oriented. There’s not a lot of heart left for the individual and everything is centered around working 24 hours per day.
So many people are falling apart because that’s not a sustainable lifestyle. We want to show people that you can escape your life and go to a tropical country.”
Living With the Spirit
Sara and Simba’s main company is called Living With the Spirit. It’s about living and sharing a holistic lifestyle, “where we believe you need to address all kinds of aspects in your life to be happy and healthy.” They work on topics such as diet, nutrition, personal training, energy work, etc. They also offer a transformation program, where people stay with them and participate in the daily events.
They’re also opening a second company, which focuses on the import of Yerba Matte, which is an Argentinian tea with health benefits. The product is not registered yet in Thailand, so Sara and Simba plan on getting it registered and becoming the main providers.
More information on Sara and Simba and their companies is to be found on their website: www.livingwiththespirit.com.