Julia Diéguez, founder of the relocation company and e-guide: Life in the Move talks to us about trotting the globe, dealing with noisy bears and demanding clients
How did you come up with the idea of creating a relocation company?
I was inspired by our experience with relocation agents in 1995 when we moved to Buenos Aires with our two small sons. They provided invaluable support during our transfer and 5 years later when we returned to Madrid I wanted to put my expat experience to good use by helping those relocating to Madrid to settle in smoothly.
After working in Madrid for a relocation company for 15 years we moved to China where I seized the opportunity to take the next step and started Live in the Move.
What was your previous profession?
I was a lawyer in a software company in Madrid with responsibility for public contracts.
Where have you lived and why have you relocated 6 times?
Due to my husband´s job we have lived in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Porto (Portugal), L’Aldosa (Andorra), Macau (China) and Kuwait. In addition, in 1988 I moved by myself to Boston to study Certificate of Special Studies in Administration and Management at Harvard.
How is your relocation company different from others and who are your target clients?
We provide the full spectrum of relocation services online ie all the information required, arranging any appointments etc without physically accompanying our clients in person.
This online service is aimed at freelance professionals and business owners, digital nomads etc who struggle with the wealth of unreliable and disjointed information they find on the internet.
In addition, we also continue to provide the more “traditional” relocation services for companies and their expat employees.
What is your e-relocation guide?
The guide (The secret of relocating to Madrid) is an ebook that is updated twice a year and available from our website and on Amazon. It´s a one-stop shop that contains all the info that I would like to have found about any of the cities I moved to prior to actually arriving there. This means clients can start planning their move well before they actually relocate.
How has the relocation industry changed over the last few years?
During the last financial crisis the industry saw a lot of repatriations and the rate of new expatriations slowed down, plus expat conditions became less favourable.
Nowadays a lot of the expats are digital nomads and independent professionals who are used to doing everything by themselves
What is the strangest request you´ve ever received from a relocation client?
Truth be told, most people are pretty reasonable but I’ll always remember that one family who wanted to move with what I thought was a farm! They had lots of pets including a donkey.
Tell us a funny anecdote about yourself moving to Macau
We ended up renting a flat with a lovely view over a huge park in what seemed like the perfect quiet spot in the middle of noisy Macau. Little did I know that at 5 am I would be woken up on a daily basis by a family of Panda Bears doing their morning rituals!
Lesson learned: always expect the unexpected in relocation! What seems completely normal to the locals can seem must unusual to most foreigners!
Do you have any funny anecdotes about helping a particular client to relocate to Madrid?
A young Far Eastern professional lady who wanted a silver hair dryer included with the rest of the household appliances…
What is the key to a successful relocation agent?
Being able to empathise and remain open-minded. It´s not strictly essential to have had one´s own expat experience but it certainly helps one to gain a full understanding of the task in hand.
Which nationalities are the most and least demanding clients?
The Chinese are the most demanding whereas Europeans on the whole, in my experience anyway, are the least.
What´s next for Life in the Move?
I’d like to start a new business line adding a boutique real estate brokerage.
What trends do you see in relocation in general?
I see big companies tend to hire international companies that provide a worldwide relocation service and, on the other hand, many freelancers moving around by themselves.
Life in the Move: https://lifeinthemove.com/en/contact/