I am commonly asked what is the best way to get started in Brazil.  Sometimes I wish there was a more sophisticated answer than the one I am about to give but I don’t think there is.  So, if you are trying to find work in Brazil or thinking about starting a company here and you have never lived here, here are the first steps:

1) Network. Speak to anyone you know who is Brazilian or been to Brazil (Facebook and LinkedIn are great tools). Ask questions, test your assumptions, start to understand the culture etc.

2) Visit Brazil. Before making the move, visit Brazil first as a tourist. You will love it and it will give you the energy to bare the bureaucracy of actually moving here.

3) Learn Portuguese. Its really hard to do anything professionally or socially without speaking Portuguese. It’s absolutely a pre-requisite.  If you can’t learn portuguese its going to be extremely difficult to start a company in Brazil.

4) Read my blog.  Shameless self-promotion maybe, but I wrote this blog to help people to start a business in Brazil.  There is a lot of information that took me four years to figure out.

5) Get a CPF (tax ID number). In any case, this will help you to understand the meaning of bureaucracy.  You can apply online here as a foreign non-resident. http://www.receita.fazenda.gov.b…).

Although the economy is great at the moment, Brazil is a complicated market and only fools rush in.  Once you invest in a business in Brazil, its extremely difficult to get your money out of Brazil.  Take a piece of friendly advice; if you want to start a business, spend 3-6 months in Brazil before you invest your own money.