In the summer, we began working on promotion on the international market: we were actively increasing user resources – we were recruiting developers to work on projects from large companies in the US and Europe (we continue now). In order for everything to go according to plan, it was necessary to hold a strategy session, comprehend the problem of IT people and clients, discuss ideas and concepts. But most of our employees work remotely from different parts of the world, and a video conference session is not the best option.
What to do?
It was decided that if we increase revenue by 20 times in December, then the company will operate in Cyprus for two months. Many of the team had never seen each other in person, so everyone liked the idea.
In October 2021, we registered a business in Cyprus. This is a quick process that can be done remotely at minimal cost – we tested it for ourselves.
And already in November they reached the goal (increased revenue as much as 22 times) and in December ended up in Cyprus to devote 2 months to communication and strategy sessions against the backdrop of palm trees and the sea!
Cyprus is a former British colony, so many people speak English, here it is the second official language. The country is located in the European zone, from which you can go to other regions, including the Middle East, Asia and Africa. It was the right place not only to gather the whole team, but also to open another office – now we can offer both current and future employees, including those from Russia and other CIS countries, relocation to the island.
Finding housing as a quest
The founders and I flew to Cyprus in advance to solve all the organizational issues on the spot. I wanted to find housing in Paphos or Larnaca and turned to a couple of dozen realtors and friends for help. Time passed, there was no ideal option, and the team flew to the island in a couple of days. As a result, we found a suitable building in Larnaca – it was the only option, so we settled on it.
This is a closed hotel that could be fully occupied for the entire team. If you live in an open hotel, then the accommodation of the team in it would cost a much larger amount. So we rented the entire hotel for 10,000 euros a month – I note that these are winter prices, everything is more expensive in summer.
It was inhabited by 25-30 people in different periods. And it was important for us that the hotel has a spacious comfortable lounge where you can hold meetups and work with laptops. This problem solved itself – we worked in a restaurant or lobby.
The only negative with housing in Cyprus is that there is no central heating anywhere. Premises can only be heated independently, for example, with the help of air conditioners. But I will say right away that it will be expensive.
Stratsession in Cyprus — organization and results
As I wrote earlier, we came here not only to chat live, but also to hold a strategy session and show the team that they can influence and improve the product and business result with their efforts and ideas.
During the week, the guys gathered for 3 hours in the lounge area. Organized as follows – the entire team was divided into five groups, each of which focused on a separate task. For example, sales, accounting, etc. Representatives of each team formulated goals in metrics, and then generated hypotheses to achieve the goal. As it turned out, this method of work is very effective. So, we managed to strongly rally the team, plus achieve excellent business results. An example is reaching a record last month for new contracts. We continue to use brainstorming to this day, for the team it is already a familiar working tool.
Before the trip to Cyprus, new colleagues joined the team, who were supposed to launch sales in different countries (in the international market), and thanks to the strategy session, they were able to quickly conclude new contracts. Therefore, we began to actively recruit English-speaking developers – the database already includes Japanese, Brazilians and representatives of other regions.
We decided to stay
In addition to the strategic session, we rallied the team thanks to joint trips: to the beach, excursions and in general around the island. As a result, 14 people from the team (including 3 families) decided to stay in Cyprus – they have already issued a residence permit and rented a house.
The climate here is good – all the time while we were in Cyprus, it rained only a couple of times. Every morning, almost all of our guys start with a jog on the embankment. Well, nature – you can admire its beauty all day long.
Mobile Internet has good quality and a great price. Operators offer eSim, the purchase of which is a matter of minutes. In general, 5G works here with a bandwidth of 100 Mbps, the network is almost everywhere.
There are even Russian-speaking doctors here, on the streets you often hear Russian speech – there are many compatriots, and there is someone to talk to.
Housing in winter is very cheap. It is better to search for it through Facebook groups and local marketplaces, for example, Home2Spot or Bazaraki. For $1000 a month you can rent a house, and the guys I know rented an apartment for $600 a month.
Without a car, it is difficult here, since important infrastructure, such as shops, etc., are often located far from each other. For example, a supermarket is 15 minutes away from us by car. But there are no problems with cars in Cyprus, so we rented four cars for the whole team. Who needs it, he uses it. You don’t have to go to restaurants – delivery services work well, they will definitely bring the order within an hour.
Preparation of documents for moving
And now about what you need to move to Cyprus. Below is a detailed list of everything a freelancer/entrepreneur may need to relocate.
At the Consulate of Cyprus in Moscow, you need to apply for a national visa. What is required for this is described in detail. here on this link. Cyprus can also be visited on an open Schengen visa, as well as visas for Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia – in which case National double or multiple entry visas are needed.
Another possibility is to obtain the so-called digital nomad visa, Digital Nomad Visa. True, there are a limited number of them – only 500. Since the visa is for freelancers and entrepreneurs, the first will need to prove the fact of remote work for a company outside Cyprus, and the second – the presence of a business in another country. Another condition is an income of € 3,500 per month, to confirm which you must provide bank documents.
An alternative option is an invitation from a Cypriot company. But it will have to be coordinated with the embassy.
I also advise you not to fly in or out through northern Cyprus, since it is considered temporarily occupied territory. The best option is to go to that part of the island through the checkpoint, which is located on the border between northern and southern Cyprus.
To obtain a residence permit, you must already work in a Cypriot company with an employment contract, and receive a salary of at least €2,500 per month. In addition to the contract, you need:
Certificate of no criminal record.
Diploma of education.
Medical insurance (issued after passing medical tests).
Rental agreement with utilities included.
The package of documents collected for obtaining a residence permit is submitted to the Migration section of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Cyprus. If the documents are approved, then you receive an Alien Registration Сode (ARC) of the European Union and a residence permit. With it, you can open accounts in local banks, apply for a visa, and even receive accruals to your retirement account.
Cyprus is a great place to work as a remote worker and to register a company, moving here is relatively easy. So if you were planning to move to another country, then it’s time to try it!