Working with International Clients: The Pros and Cons - Jobidea24 - Learn Everyday New

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Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Working with International Clients: The Pros and Cons

Working with International Clients: The Pros and Cons


Working with International Clients The Pros and Cons - Jobidea24

While working with international clients may seem glamorous, it pays to understand the pros and cons.

It has become more common to work with international clients. This should not surprise you. After all, the Internet has opened up markets that were once inaccessible.

Now you can easily email someone on the other side of the world to do your business, apply for jobs on job boards, and easily video chat on Skype. More and more entrepreneurs are embracing this global economy. According to a USForex survey cited in Small Business Trends, 58% of small business owners now work with foreign clients. Another 72% said they planned to increase their foreign customer base in 2017. Most respondents said they were confident about doing business with international clients in the future. And why wouldn't they be? Working with foreign clients is exciting and offers many advantages. But as I've learned from building my business almost entirely with clients abroad, from home in South Africa, there are downsides. So if you plan to work with international clients, consider the pros and cons.

5 advantages of working with international clients


Thanks to payments from Stripe and other cross-border payment providers, receiving cross-border payments is no longer the barrier it once was. For example, a client in Canada recently paid me via direct transfer, and I could access the money in two days, much less time than it takes to go to the bank and cash a check from a local client!


In the past, you had to communicate with clients abroad by phone and email. You couldn't see who you were talking to; real-time project collaboration was just a dream. But thanks to the advent of online collaboration apps like Slack and Trello, you can now work on projects in real time. More and more businesses are enabling remote work thanks to these devices, so why should it be any different for small business owners and their customers? Recognizing the importance of such collaboration, many software platforms have moved to include it as part of their core services. For example, FreshBooks offers features allowing you to collaborate effectively with clients, team members, and contractors on projects. Finally, if you want a more personal connection when communicating on a project, you can now use video apps like Google Hangouts and Skype to see who you're talking to. But it's not just about cooperation. These apps help improve your chances of winning clients and allow you to qualify them early in a potential relationship. When I start any relationship with a client, I make a video call to get to know their business and see if we are a good fit.


When you work with foreign clients, you can learn new skills faster and improve your existing ones. For example, if I had decided to only work with local clients, I would not have ventured into writing eBooks as quickly as I did because the content marketing industry in South Africa has yet to develop fully. That's not to say there aren't content marketing experts in South Africa and people who understand the value of content marketing. Still, overall it's a nascent market and an opportunity for me to innovate and stay ahead of the local market. My career comes from my foreign clients.


It is also much easier to sell your services in foreign markets where there is a high demand for them and clients understand the value of what you do. Why? It takes less time to convince clients they need your services because you don't have to bang your head against a brick wall. You can grow your business faster by focusing more on "selling" and less on education.


The exchange rate for your services in different cities and countries may be much higher than in the local market. Often this is simply due to the higher cost of living in these areas. This disparity offers you a unique opportunity: By targeting customers in these areas, you can earn more, and in some cases, much more (especially if you live in a country with a much weaker currency or target rural or urban customers). For example, when I lived in South Africa, I used the strong dollar to expand my business. I primarily targeted clients in the US and Canada, and it was only a short time before I started making money writing.

4 cons of working with international clients


One of the biggest disadvantages of working with foreign clients is often no face-to-face interaction. Think about it: if you live in the US and are working with a client in Germany, you can't get on a plane whenever you want to talk to a client. It means it needs to make more business sense. Assessing the impact of a lack of face-to-face meetings on business relationships is often difficult. But a recent Harvard Business Review study confirms that face-to-face solicitations are 34 times more effective than email. And considering we're wired to connect and interact with people in person, we may miss out on more than we think. After all, trust is key to the success of any relationship, and face-to-face meetings can build that trust faster than any communication via email or Skype call.


If you love communication and are good at it, this will be fine for you, but if not, it may be. Because of the distance and the fact that you've probably only ever chatted on the phone, email, or even Skype, you've had to interact with your customer a lot more (especially early in the relationship, when they're learning to trust you). They want to know that you are on top of your work and the project is on track. But don't let this need for more communication stop you. Invariably, the client will learn to trust you, and the amount of communication required will decrease over time (that's not to say that the need for communication will go away).


This is big for me, but I've learned to deal with it. Since most of my clients are located in the US and Canada, the end of my workday often marks the beginning of theirs. This means that sometimes I communicate via email or have a Skype call early in the evening (and sometimes even late in the evening) due to time zones many hours apart (I'm talking about a difference of 7-10 hours here). The time zone difference is not a big problem if managed correctly. But they can quickly become a nightmare when you work unnecessarily long hours. To deal with this time difference and ensure you're not burning the candle at both ends, it pays to give your clients regular updates on the projects you're working on. That way, you won't get late-night emails asking about project progress and updates. Also, at the beginning of each contact, let them know what time zone you are in. Many clients may assume that you are in their time zone. They will be more accommodating by simply making them aware of the difference. The truth is, no matter how much you plan to work outside of business hours, sometimes you must do just that. It is something you have to accept when you work with foreign clients. Many remote freelancers see this as an advantage; they shift work hours to after the kids are in bed, for example, while days are mostly off. While it may not always be possible to keep your "overtime" to a minimum, you should always strive to do so. You could compromise on meeting times with the client or let them know that if they want to use Skype, you are only available at certain times of the week.


You're stuck in that scenario if customers choose not to pay you. You could fly worldwide, hire a lawyer, or explore other collection options to get your money. But this is time-consuming, financially demanding, and emotionally draining. There is also no real guarantee that you will get your money back. My experience with this scenario has been limited. All I've had to do is chase the late payments. I have had a challenging time getting paid by one of my local clients than with an international client. So while not getting paid is a risk, it's less common than you might think. Most of the clients I work with are honest and trustworthy. Maybe it's because I set the tone at the beginning of every relationship by: I jumped on a call to qualify my options. During that call, I usually get to know them and their business and have a list of questions that I usually ask. I also look for potential red flags when I ask these questions and talk with the client. One of the questions I ask is: Have you worked with copywriters before, and how has your experience been? If your answer completely disregards the profession and includes badmouthing copywriters, I mark that as a red flag. Ask for an advance payment before starting work. The client is much more likely to pay the rest if he has paid the deposit. At worst, they don't pay, but at least you have that down payment. On large projects, ask to be paid in installments on key milestones, so your compensation stays caught up with the work you've delivered. It would help if you also remembered that customers have similar concerns. They may worry that you will take the money and walk away without doing anything. But in the end, you have to find a middle ground and still trust each other. The above three things have helped me tremendously in building a business where I work with clients who pay me, pay me well, and pay me on time. A final word on working with international clients The limits that once hindered our ability to work with global clients no longer exist. Today it is easier than ever to do business with someone on the other side. Working abroad is very attractive and offers many advantages. Who would want to earn less for the same service if working with foreign clients meant earning more? But the benefits are not without drawbacks: In-person sessions are limited and, in most cases, non-existent, and if a client chooses not to pay you, it can be extremely difficult to get that money back. So, work with international clients as the opportunities are many. But understand that there are pros and cons that you need to consider to know what you are getting into. Have you worked with international clients? What was your experience?

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