Luis is a digital nomad and entrepreneur with an inspiring business. From his online school, Luis García Vegan teaches vegan, healthy cooking, and raise awareness about the need for conducting a more respectful, balanced and healthy nutrition.
As a digital nomad, you need your business to travel with you. At Your Company In Estonia, we are proud to work with committed projects and individuals such as Luis, and promote the nomadic lifestyle and the power of technology to free us from the limitations of physical borders.
We hope this interview will inspire you as much as it inspired us.
Tell us about your business, what is “Luís García Vegan Food”?
This project is an online school of healthy cooking and food. I also publish books related to the topic and I do conferences in different parts of the world.
It is my way of promoting the vegan lifestyle to as many people as possible, so they take care of themselves and improve their diet, but also take care of our planet.
We know you’re a digital nomad. Tell us about working remotely and how it is for you to take your business with you.
Actually today most of the jobs we know nowadays are already digital one way or another, the problem is that we have not adapted completely to the future yet.
For example, if you work in an office, although you have a physical space, you are in fact working with a computer and a phone, and therefore you could be working from your home or any other place. The physical space is no longer relevant.
Promoting remote work would improve traffic and pollution problems in cities and the quality of life of employees, in addition to reducing costs for the companies.
Other jobs that require a more “physical” presence, such as teachers, will also end up being digitalized, because that’s the push of our society, and I want to believe that it will lead us all to have a better quality of life.
Obviously, not everything will be digital and we will need offices. There will still be eminently physical jobs, but they will be scarce, and robots will -sooner or later- replace jobs such as drivers, cashiers, clerks or receptionists. Most of the work that we do physically, will end up being taken up by robots.
For me, the digital life is a way of looking forward and applying today the working environment we’ll find in the near future, without being tied to a physical location and thus, becoming more flexible workers.
Basically, it is living the future today, with all its advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, for me it is a personal choice that makes me very happy, and that brings me more good than the bad. I am convinced that this eventually will mean the end of concepts such as nations as we know them now.
We began to cooperate with people and not with countries, humanity was never so unique and could cooperate so easily.
What are your main challenges as an entrepreneur and how do you solve them?
From the company point of view, I guess I do not have more challenges apart from the ones of any conventional company, it is true that as I said before, the idea of living and working as “citizens of the future” puts us in a reality that does not fit well with our needs.
The states, legislation and taxation laws, borders, residence rules, etc. they still force me to live tied to the past.
But there are always solutions and if you are one of those people who are not afraid to experiment and jump, you will always find alternatives that fit your needs.
How did you get to know the e-Residency, and what made you decide for it?
One of the problems I faced as a digital nomad is that I had a company in Spain, but in reality, I was not living in Spain. I know it’s not illegal, but it did not resonate with me because I thought something was off.
It was weird to invoice with a Spanish address, which was no longer mine, and even weirder to pay a state that did not give me any benefit back. For example, I could never use a hospital, or public services, because I did not live there, so I was paying a lot in social taxes to the Spanish Tax Office for services that I had to purchase myself, for example, private medical insurance.
I guess this is something that will eventually change. In my mind, it’s weird that a state does not cover your health in other countries. For example, you pay your taxes to have health insurance and social security, but if you go for a month on vacations to Turkey you are not covered, we are used to this, but it is not very coherent, especially if you consider how cheap is travel insurance.
In addition, I needed a system that could see me as a digital nomad, a place that would host my company, but at the same time understand my reality as a citizen of the world.
Searching the internet, I found the possibility of becoming a “digital resident” to open a business in Estonia, without needing to live there, a legal, legit mechanism to pay fair taxes in a country that will allow me to have a business without requiring a physical location. Estonia began to captivate me, and I couldn’t help but admire their push for innovation.
The more I knew, the more I was fascinated by the idea of becoming a “virtual resident”. Was that the “future in the present” that I’d been looking for ????
What difficulties did you find in your other company? What was the main motivation to change? Paperwork, bureaucracy, expenses …?
Well, Spain is not a good country to become a freelancer or set up a company. Far from helping, they put obstacles in your way, and this is really the key; I’m not asking for help from the state, I just want a state that does not hit me every time I want to start something new.
When someone becomes an entrepreneur and launches a business, this person is paying and contributing with taxes It is paradoxical that when you just want to do that: pay taxes, generate wealth, create jobs, etc. They hit you to make it harder.
The Spanish tax system for a freelancer or sole proprietor is sheer and utter nonsense, full of bureaucracy and lacking any interest in making things easy for us from the government. All that makes Spain a big no-no for businesses.
People open companies there because we, entrepreneurs, are brave and at the same time unconscious, but it is not easy at all. A country that does not encourage entrepreneurship and the creation of wealth, is a country doomed to failure.
One of my last entrepreneurial ventures there was in the Canary Islands. I tried to –and I say “tried to” because I was never able to do it- open a restaurant. After a year waiting for licenses and opening permits, paying taxes, more taxes, licenses, rentals… I made the decision to stop the project.
One year is more than enough to be fighting with the public administrations to just be able to open a business. So after that time, I chose to lose my investment but not my health. And this was the last company I launched in Spain (or should I say “I never launched in Spain”).
How do you think a company in Estonia helped you? What do you expect for the future of your company in Estonia?
First, in Estonia they see me as what I am; a digital nomad, something that in Spain does not exist at all.
Secondly, the bureaucracy is much thinner, the deadlines are very short for everything, everything is digitalized, there are no pitfalls for you to fall.
Also, a very important point is that taxes are proportional to your income. There is no fixed fee for freelancers. You pay based on your benefits or salary, and not fixed fees + taxation on company earnings. Everything is simplified and actually in harmony with common sense.
And it is also important to be in an EU country, which has Euros and that is not a tax haven. It is all legal and under European taxation.
What is a typical workday for Luís García? Where do you like to work? Do you go to co-working spaces?
Well, it depends on where I am. Co-workings can sometimes be a blessing, especially in countries where Wi-Fi is not strong. In Asia, for example, co-working can be a life-saver.
Then when you’re in big cities, it’s easier to find places to work, because they have very cool cafes and stores. My favorite place to work is a café with warm light, few people and a beautiful atmosphere, it inspires me and makes my stay pleasant. I am quite sensitive to beautiful spaces.
However, usually, I work in the house or hotel where I am staying at that moment; It’s easier to me because I can just get up and start working.
You visited us in Estonia, where we had the pleasure of meeting you. What do you think of the country and the experience?
Before this, I knew Estonia only from the Eurovision contest. I had no idea about the country’s culture or history, but I wanted to take the chance of knowing it and the truth is: I loved it. Tallinn, its capital, is a very small city, but with lots of things to see and very interesting places to visit. I really enjoy being there.
Why did you choose “Your company in Estonia”? What would you highlight about our services?
Well, to be honest, we connected very well from the first moment, which I think is the most important thing when working with someone, but you were also very patient (especially at the beginning when I had one million doubts about running my business), and you kindly explained everything to me.
Besides that, being able to have direct communication channels in my language, even in the case of an emergency, gives you peace of mind.
Very professional and supportive staff overall.
Where can we find you and know more about your project?
My website is luisgarciavegan.com and on social networks I’m like @luisgarciavegan.