Doing business in another country is not always easy and adding a language barrier makes it even harder. Understanding the country’s paperwork, laws, or even social rules can be hard, especially if they are not in your mother tongue. 

Zahira Panadero, founder of Urbanomy, a website helping Spanish speakers setting up business in New York, talks about developing an online business by herself and about the opportunities of doing business in New York. The interview transcript is below.

Hi, I’m Zahira Panadero and I’m the founder and editor-in-chief of Urbanomy is a website that helps Spanish speakers to get established in New York City in terms of paperwork.

When I came to New York City, it was very complicated to me to find the right information I needed to get all my paperwork done. Everything was all over the web and in a very boring and official kind of language.

I came up with the idea for Urbanomy, that is a very user friendly space, very casual in the way it explains things. Everything is done for people to understand well what they have to do in these kind of things that are very important. On my website you will find articles, like how to open a bank account, how to get a visa, how to rent an apartment in New York City for less than a year or for a long term. These kinds of small details that make you feel at home.

Did you encounter any challenges?

It took me over a year to get my website online, because I wanted to do everything by myself. When Urbanomy was finally online, I discovered that nobody was sending me a check by the end of the month.This is the hardest part actually, to monetize the website.

For me, the secrets to start making money with my website were: Firstly, working very hard on the user experience, to really get people engaged with the content. Giving relevant information to them, building a nice atmosphere and making sure the website is well-designed and that people enjoy spending time on your website.

Secondly, you really need to diversify your sources of income. For example, right now Urbanomy is relying mainly on four different sources of income. The first is advertising, then an affiliate program, the third is sponsored content and the fourth is an e-book that we are working on right now and we are putting a lot of work in it.

Do you have any tips for other entrepreneurs?

After diversifying your income, you really have to do a third thing that is the key of everything: that is building a community with your users, which means having an active and interesting newsletter, being active on social media and also with all the professional actors. It’s very important to get referenced by others, bloggers or websites.

And then there is the network income that is very important in online business and in New York City especially. If New York City is the city that never sleeps, it’s also the city that never stops networking. And, if you really want to properly network in New York City, what you have to do is, first, find your tribe. Find the people that are right for your business, that want to give you exposure, that are going to make you grow.

The second thing is to get prepared with a story and a business card. The story should be a condensation of your background, your work hisstory and your life in a three-minute catchy speach. And the third thing is definitly, absolutely, to go with a goal. Because, if not you get (a goal), you’ll get too dispersed in everything.

If you go to an event, you have a goal. For example, “I’m going to give five of my business cards today” or “I’m going to make a really good contact in this meeting today”. And I’m going to give you an extra tip, that is: don’t drink too much. My max is one and a half or two glasses.

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