Three Ways to Work in Paradise

When my husband and I moved to St. Croix from Dallas nearly five years ago, one of the reasons was that the huge company he was working for forgot him.  His first day back to work following our destination wedding (on St. Croix) he was sitting in a meeting connected with offices worldwide (this company employs more than one hundred thousand people).  Suddenly his name was on the screen.  The header?  “Staff Transferring from Dallas to Nashville.”  He looked down the row at his boss . . . oops.

We decided then we were done with the corporate rat race, done being numbers on a huge lists, done with companies that don’t care about your personal lives.  Our first weekend living here, my husband (a computer engineer) met one of his current co-workers at the beach.  While we planned on just waiting tables for a few years then moving back to the real world, we quickly learned that great career opportunities exist here.

Unless you’re at that lucky place in life of retirement, one of the most frequently asked questions by people hoping to move to the islands is “what do you do there?”  For some St. Croix residents whose education and past experiences fit nicely into the market’s needs, it’s a simple answer: “I’m an attorney,” “I work in real estate,” etc.  Others take on side jobs: “I’m a teacher and Mary Kay Consultant.”  The possibilities are endless if you’re motivated and good at networking.  Here are a few types of job opportunities on St. Croix:

Freelance Work / Telecommuting

My background is working with public relations / marketing / event agencies in major cities.  While its no surprise those large companies don’t exists here, I’ve had no problem parlaying those skills into freelance work for a broad range of business clients.  I currently work online from home (anytime I’m not chasing my toddler).  While some island businesses still live in the dark ages and think all they need is their land-line listed in the phone book, most small business owners are well aware of the need for online presence.

Another job option popular among island residents is telecommuting.  While it seems most jobs are now completely on a computer and capable of being done from anywhere in the world, companies seem to be growing more open to the idea of not having a physical office.  It’s a great way to drastically reduce overhead expenses.  Generally quality of life for employees is also enhanced by this flexibility.

Economic Development Commission (EDC) Companies

A group of companies exist in the U.S. Virgin Islands due to tax incentives under the Economic Development Authority.  These include perks like:

  • 90% reduction in corporate income tax
  • 90% reduction in personal income tax
  • 100% exemption on excise tax payments
  • 100% exemption on business property tax
  • 100% exemption on gross receipt (sales) tax

Because of this program, many stateside companies have relocated here, including high-tech companies you would expect only to find in major cities.  A full list of these companies may be found here.

Hospitality / Tourism

Obviously St. Croix is a popular tourist destination and cruise ship port.  If you have experience working with hotels or good / services that cater to travelers, you’re all set here.  Even those who indirectly benefit from tourism reap the benefits, such as a musician who gets hired by a restaurant to entertain on a weekly basis during high season.  Professional photographers catering to destination weddings and sessions for families on vacation also do well here.

Ready to say sayonara to your big wig boss?  Download our free guide, the 10 Best Reasons for Living on St. Croix.