Croatia's Foreign Entrepreneurs: Michael, from USA to Zagreb

By 13 February 2018

February 13, 2018 - Continuing our look at the foreign entrepreneurs trying to make it in Croatia, meet Michael, who swapped the United States for Zagreb.

1. First and foremost, why Croatia?

A few years ago I sold most of my things and started travelling around the world. While that was great for a while, I missed community and stability. I wanted to pick somewhere in Europe that had good infrastructure, spoke reasonably good English, and was affordable.

My ancestors are from Croatia, so I picked Zagreb!


INTRO YOUR BUSINESS, what is it you do?

I am a leadership speaker, author and trainer. My business is worldwide; I speak / train in person (so I travel to the location to do that), people purchase my books on Amazon or read an article on, or they access my online courses. So I don’t really do business in Croatia, though I am working with local resources to support my business; things like web design, social media, and digital marketing. If all goes well, I will build a full-time team here.

I’ve just applied for my Temporary Stay permit.

2. Tell us about some of the differences of your expectations of running a business in Croatia and the reality.

As for people who I work with to support my businesses, I find the people are quite eager with good skills, especially the younger generation. They have a great energy and desire to succeed; and are of course good value for money. I search until I can find ones that are coachable, and I work with them to develop soft skills (listening, setting clear deadlines, etc.)


3. What (if any) bureaucratical issues have you encountered and how did you overcome them (i.e. any advice to the would-be entrepreneur?)

Every country has bureaucracy (and taxes) and Croatia is no different. While some things may be marginally more difficult or expensive, there are normally ways to make things work for you.

4. How is your product or business perceived in the Croatian market?

I’ve done some leadership training with great success here locally, though right now some of the people in charge aren’t open to developing themselves further as leaders. They may think that it’s a sign of weakness.

However, the ones that are courageous enough to want to improve themselves really see a huge jump in their effectiveness. Especially since many of the current leadership is very top-down and authoritarian, which comes from a place of fear and control on their part, and is shown to be a non-effective way of long-term leadership. This is of course natural remnants of the old system.

5. What were the opinions of your friends and community, were they supportive of your idea, or…?

I’m currently working out of Hub385 which has been a great place to connect with other forward-thinking people in the community.


6. What are some of the greatest challenges you have faced in business in Croatia?

Overall people are very friendly and very hospitable. It’s really an amazing place with even more amazing potential.

There’s an underlying negativity and sense of victimhood that can be difficult. I’ve worked to surround myself with other positive people which has been amazing. 

7. If you knew then, what you know now, would you have come?

Yes absolutely.

8. What are 3 things you love about Croatia?

The people, the beauty, and I love the layout of Zagreb. To me it’s a very warm city that’s great to walk around in.

9. What are 3 things you would like to see improved in the business climate in Croatia?

Less taxes on employees; less corruption; better attitude of public servants. 

10. How is it working with Croatians in terms of a business mentality?

Again, the old system (communism / heavy socialism) is working its way out, though it just takes time. I figure it’s up to me to choose who to do business with, so I look for other people with my same mindset.

11. Advice for foreign entrepreneurs thinking of coming to Croatia?

There’s great skills here, it’s a great city and a great country. As with anything else, go in strategically. Figure out what you need and put a plan in to get it done. Doing things without a well-researched and thought out plan, just like anywhere else, will most likely end up in disappointment.

You can learn more about Michael on

Are you a foreign entrepreneur in Croatia who would like to be featured in this series? If so, then please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.