Diaspora wealth building ideas

nzira blog header showing growth of wealth in diaspora communities

A diaspora is commonly defined as “the dispersion or spread of people from their original homeland”.

Being a part of a diaspora in a foreign land gives people a sense of community and identity, with strong ties “back to their roots”.

The term does not only apply to those that are forced to move out of their homeland due to conflict, persecution, exploitation etc, but also to those who voluntarily move to a different country for any reason whatsoever.

I am part of a diaspora.

For the last 25 years, I have not been living in the country of my birth and being a foreigner in a foreign land, I have some insights into the unique opportunities to build sidehustles and alternative income streams that others might overlook.

If you are part of a diaspora, read on for some ideas on what you could possibly do to start earning some extra income. I have previously written about 3 basic business models and I will group my ideas under these same categories:-

Selling a service

Some of the very first questions that people ask when they move to a new country include:-

  • How do I find accomodation?
  • How do I find a job?
  • How do I get a mobile phone contract?
  • How do I open a bank account?
  • How do I get my kids in school?
  • How do I buy a train / bus ticket?
  • Where is the best place to buy the food I am used to?
  • Where do I go to meet other people like me?
  • What are the things that I am used to doing that could land me in trouble?

If you are a first generation immigrant, you will have gone through these and a whole lot more!! I cannot even begin to remember how many times I have repeated the same information to fellow immigrants to the country I live in now – I really should have made a guidebook!!

If you are not first generation then ask other people in your diaspora community what their experiences were like when they first arrived – what did they need to know?

So there is your first idea – create a guidebook / a list of answers to the most common questions that people ask and sell it! You might be thinking “hey, that’s a bit cruel – I don’t want to take advantage of people’s lack of knowledge” and that’s ok too – you can GIVE the information away for free – but first set yourself up with local service providers to earn an “introductory fee” for sending people their way.

If you give this information away for free online (you can build a website for free on many different platforms) you can have affiliate links for example to mobile phone providers or online shops that cater to the diaspora you are a part of – each new customer you send their way will earn you a “commission” without costing the customer anything – win-win!

By the way – selling the information might at first sound a bit like exploiting their circumstance BUT …….. if you are saving them hours of searching for all the information themselves and the information you provide is genuine and well researched, it has value – value that someone will be prepared to pay for – NEVER underestimate the value of information!

You can earn even more money by being a “fixer” – not just sending people to service providers but by “doing-it-for-them” instead of “showing-them-how”.

Selling a product

Now you might be thinking “that sounds expensive” but it doesn’t have to be. I recently met a young (teenage) lady that is part of the Nigerian diaspora living in England who told me about her latest “sidehustle” idea.

Having been born in England, she is second generation Nigerian and strongly identifies with her roots. She told me that one of the complaints she frequently hears from members of her community is that whenever they go back to Nigeria to on holiday, they are bombarded with delicious biscuits and tasty treats, the likes of which they never get in England. When she asked her mother why she never bakes any of these “at home” in England, her mother simply said “life is too busy with work and everything going on”. You see, because multi-generational living is common in Nigeria, there is a division of duties in the household, where the younger, more able-bodied people go out to work and the less physically abled people look after all things around the children and the home.

This gave this young lady an idea. On her next visit to Nigeria, she sat down with her grandmother and got her to show her how to make a few simple recipes. When she returned to England, she tired an “experiment”. She baked a batch of typical Nigerian treats and made them up into small bags, which she went round her community offering for sale.

SHE SOLD OUT IMMEDIATELY and started taking orders for more!

Now of course in England there are health and safety laws that have to be complied with and when I met her, she was going through the process of getting her mother’s kitchen approved so that she could turn her experiment into a small business.

A small and simple idea that could work for anyone, anywhere!

Food items are probably one of the most common and easiest “products” to start with – but it doesn’t have to stop there.

As a member of a diaspora, you will probably be aware of the markup that shops and middlemen place on “exotic” items from your home country. Many years ago I read about a retailer that was buying leather belts made by a small tribe in South America. He was selling them in the USA for a 500% markup – until someone from the diaspora community found out about it and negotiated exclusive rights at a far fairer price for those in their homeland.

What products do tourists commonly buy from your homeland? What products do members of your diaspora community miss from their homeland? Could you secure supply of these products at a price that enables you to make a profit but ALSO gives a fair deal to people back home? This kind of ethical business is a win for all of those involved!

Sell an audience

This final business model will probably appeal to the younger generation as it involves building an audience on YouTube / TikTok / Instagram / any social media platform. As a member of a diaspora, you will experience everyday life differently to “local” people of the land you live in. Creating short videos can be entertaining and also informative to those looking to make a move themselves. Think of all the funny, awkward, difficult things that happen to you because of who you are – there will be an audience that wants to hear about them. As I pointed out in my previous post, this is potentially the most difficult of the three business models to monetise as you first have to build an audience before you can get sponsored or start monetising it.

But – if you get it right, you will also be able to sell products and services, meaning it is potentially the most profitable way to build an income stream in the long term.

If you do decide to go ahead with any of these ideas, please share your story with us so that we can feature you on here as inspiration for other members of diaspora communities across the world.