Leaving home to work overseas as a freelancer is a life-changing decision, says Connor Davies. You might be slightly nervous at the prospect of moving to a completely new country, but that’s fine: Fear is something that you can overcome, and when you succeed it makes the experience even sweeter.
Far more challenging are those niggling doubts, those concerns at the back of your mind that refuse to go away, the worries that you mull over as you lie in bed at night, which conspire to prevent the dream from becoming reality.
Here are four common concerns that you may have about freelancing abroad – along with why you should not let them get in the way of making the big move.
1. Timezone Issues Will Prevent You from Finding Work
Some of the best places to go are the furthest away from home, but if you travel east or west for more than a few hours you could find that your timezone is quite different from the one in which your clients live.
Is this a problem? Will it stop you finding freelance work? Not at all.
Many companies are used to working with freelancers online, and emails are still the most common method of communication. If there is a slight delay in replying this is rarely a cause for concern.
Get up earlier in the morning if you have to (or stay up later), plan your day around your clients’ hours, make all your phone calls first thing in the morning if it is last thing in the afternoon for your clients – it is easy to work around differences in the timezone so don’t let it worry you.
2. Clients Will Trust You Less
You may be worried that clients will trust you less because you are based abroad. But hiring freelancers based all over the world is becoming much more common, and there is nothing in the fact that you are simply living abroad that makes you more risky.
Despite this, to allay any potential doubts that your clients may have, set about making yourself more trustworthy from the outset. Create a professional-looking website and pack it full of testimonials from previous clients along with their contact details, create a local Skype number so that they can contact you easily, include your address so that they can see exactly where you are.
Nothing in the fact that you are living abroad is going to make people trust you less as long as you get the basics right.
3. Payment Will Be a Problem
How will you get paid? You may be worried that it will be a nightmare getting hold of your money, or that it will put you at risk of more scams because you are abroad.
It’s actually very simple. I won’t be the first person to tell you about PayPal, but in my opinion it is one of the best inventions of all time for overseas workers. Most of my clients pay me directly into my bank account anyway because it is located in the same country as they are, but PayPal is used for all other transactions.
And you never have to complete any work before requesting at least 50% as a deposit. That is standard practice and will provide you with some protection against getting burned.
4. You Won’t Be Able to Charge High Fees
When I first started out as a freelance worker overseas, I assumed that people would only pay me whilst I was living abroad if I was significantly cheaper than my competitors.
But over time I realized that this simply wasn’t true, and when I began to ask for higher rates I started getting them. I don’t think my rates had anything to do with where I was based, and the only reason for charging less at the start was because I was inexperienced.
The truth is that most clients only really care that you are good at the job. Sure, if you are living somewhere very cheap then you might want to reduce your fees slightly, but that does not mean you have to offer bargain-basement prices just to find work.
Again, get the basics right (good testimonials, professional-looking website, phone number, quick replies to emails) and you’ll have no problem.
Ready to Book That Flight?
Hopefully the above info will set your mind at rest about a few common fears about freelancing abroad. Never has it been more possible to set up on your own as a freelance worker from anywhere that takes your fancy, so don’t let a few irrelevant concerns get in your way.
Connor Davies lives in South America and loves the fact that he can work over the internet from anywhere in the world.
Image courtesy uros velickovic