The process of expanding your freelance business internationally has never been easier and less costly than it is today. The pandemic halting many companies' travel plans has resulted in employees working from home, which has led to an increase in online business networking. Take advantage of the opportunity to attend a digital networking meetup from the comfort of your living room or take advantage of social media to enhance your international marketing.
International work: Why you should do it
There's a challenge - It gets relatively easy after many years of freelancing in one industry. Keeping things the same wouldn't be difficult. Doing the same thing, again and again, would become boring, however. This is why you should always be looking for new challenges.
You'll Have a Fresh Start - You rarely get the chance to start over. It feels good to learn something new and to start over from scratch. That's exactly what happens when you start focusing on foreign clients. If the plan doesn't work out, you can always go back.
More Money With Less Stress - After a few years of freelancing, your skills develop and your rates naturally increase. As your services become more expensive, your clients' expectations increase accordingly. It's just natural - paying more means getting more. But since living costs vary by country, you could be expensive locally, yet affordable abroad - at the same rate!
In freelancing, we often aim to overdeliver - make our clients feel they are getting more than they paid for. If you are too expensive to your local clients, you may find that difficult. You'll probably be able to do it much easier for your clients abroad since you are relatively cheaper for them. Surely you'd like to work with less stress, wouldn't you?
The idea of freelancing internationally seems exciting and challenging. It is important to remember that there is more to overcome than distance when doing business online internationally. These factors must be considered before starting your freelance business overseas.
1. The local language
The importance of understanding the language of the country where you will be doing business cannot be overstated. A foreign language does not necessarily have to be learned right away. To commence with, find out what language is spoken in your destination country. Do some research into the local education system to determine if English is taught there often. Business transactions are commonly conducted in English in many countries, so you won't need to learn another language.
A country's language becomes increasingly important to your enterprise as you develop business relations there. Most people are more comfortable using their native language, so products marketed in their native tongue are more likely to be purchased. Knowing a little bit of the local language will definitely give you an advantage. The process of becoming fluent in a language can take many years, so don't expect to be proficient after a few courses. However, a basic understanding of language is a good start. It is possible to hire a professional translator fluent in English and the local language for more complex translation tasks. A qualified translator should be able to provide cultural advice and effectively create compelling texts in English or in the local language.
2. The local culture
It is important to have cultural awareness in order to better understand the motivations and preferences of people in foreign countries. However, learning every aspect of every culture is not necessary. An understanding of a few cultural aspects of the country is a good place to start. As a result of cultural misunderstandings, inexplicable annoyances are often experienced by the other party. Understanding cultural differences can help you recognize when conflicts stem from them and then resolve them. Engaging the other person in a dialog about any differences that may arise over time can also allow you to gain an understanding of the culture at hand.
3. The time difference
There is much truth in the saying "it's always five o'clock somewhere". Literally, it is always five o'clock somewhere. When speaking about time on the international stage, the time zone is the deciding factor. It is always advisable to include time zones when listing dates and times. Keep track of how many hours behind or ahead of your local time the time zone is in the foreign country. As a reminder, you may want to adjust your computer's internal clock to that time. Clients will also appreciate your marketing materials showing the time zone. It's a good idea to write the time zone of your business hours on your website. When interpreting your website into the local language, consider displaying your office hours in the local time zone so they are easier to understand.
The process of doing business internationally can be challenging at times, and you will encounter bumps along the way. At the same time, it can be highly rewarding. People from different countries tend to have fresh new perspectives and to be more creative when they collaborate with one another. When you start your journey as an international freelancer, remembering these points will help you get off on the right foot.
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