The freelance community has expanded itself immensely, and one can expect to engage with international clients during the course of freelancing. This brings forth a question as to what those things are which one must keep in mind while working with such clients.
Once you go international with your services, you will inevitably come across many situations requiring changes in how you freelance. In this article, we have compiled together a few of those things and situations which usually arise in international freelancing. Our focus is, particularly, with respect to international clients.
Here are 7 things which should be considered when engaging with an international client.
1. Time Zone Difference
The first thing that comes to our mind when we think about international clients is the inevitable time zone difference. This difference can create a huge difference in how you work because you will have to adjust your operability also in accordance with the time zone requirements of your client.
In order to handle this problem considerably, you can consider downloading a good app which allows you to manage time zones efficiently. Many of these apps provide amazing features such as scheduling of emails to be sent later on, entering multiple time zones, etc. Additionally, you can set multiple clocks on your phone if your phone allows.
2. Payment Modes
One of the things you must decide early on is the mode of payment. Most likely, you will not be able to utilize a domestic mode of payment for international transactions, and if you are, then you should find out details of a number of things such as processing fees.
In case you use a global payment mode, read about its policy carefully before transacting through it. Sometimes the processing fee is high, and you might end up losing more than gaining.
3. Language Difference
You might encounter clients who do not know or are well-versed in English. In fact, huge differences exist between native and non-native English. So, you must take into account a couple of things.
Firstly, use Google translator wherever necessary. While it may not be always effective, it is anyway a good help. Secondly, double-check with the client every time he sends you any information.
You can ask the client to refer an English speaking employee of his, if any, to you so that these linguistic impediments can be reduced.
4. Contract and Governing Laws
It is highly advised to get a written agreement before commencing work because of many reasons. However, even before you get down to the business of drafting or signing a contract, you must apprise yourself of relevant laws.
For example, you have been hired by a US-based content outsourcing company and asked to sign a contract. Then, you should look up relevant laws in the USA such as the contract law, business laws, government measures, etc. Only after you are sufficiently aware of the legal mechanism governing a contract, you should sign it.
5. Choosing The Right Mode Of Communication
Communication barriers are always present when engaging with international clients. While we have multiple platforms facilitating communication conveniently, these platforms are themselves subject to several restrictions.
Let us take up the example of China. The great firewall of the country blocks many major websites such as Google and Facebook. You cannot use popular messaging apps such as Gmail, WhatsApp, and Hangouts for immediate correspondence. Hence, you will have to communicate through channels allowed to operate in the country.
6. Exchange Rates
You must know that the income you make is affected greatly by the currency exchange rates. It is, therefore, advised that you take into account the conversion rate before settling on a pay rate.
When you are negotiating over pay rate, convert the proposed amount into your currency and determine whether the deal fits your requirements. Also, consider the deduction of some amount as processing fee when payment is processed.
7. Tax Laws
While we have already mentioned briefly the need to go through various laws, you should pay special attention to tax laws. Whatever country you are operating from will have some or the other tax laws on the income earned through international freelancing.
Be a good citizen and pay your taxes before the tax authorities pay a visit to your house and make your life hell.
8. Study The Pay Rates
This tip is, especially, for those freelancers who come from emerging economies where labor is cheap. Many international clients, particularly from developed economies, tend to hire low-cost labor from developing countries and do not pay as much as they should.
It is advised that you demand the pay rate you deserve. It does not matter whether or not you come from a developing country; you should get paid the amount your skills deserve—and for that, you must research thoroughly.
Talk to other freelancers who have worked internationally and your previous clients, search on the Internet and connect on various freelancing forums to know better on pay rate.
Many freelancers aim to make their business transnational, as this enables an increase in the flow of income and development of a bigger professional network. However, working internationally comes with its own sets of issues which must be resolved for a good freelance experience. Hence, our article on how to handle international clients is a good start in this direction.
While we have jotted down the best possible tips on this subject-matter, we know that the list is not exhaustive and is open for improvement. To improve the quality of our article more, we would love to have our readers contribute their opinions to it. Hence, we ask them to comment on their suggestions or whatever opinion they may have on this article.
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