One of the best things about working as a freelance designer is that you can work from anywhere you like. You could be at a co-working hub, in your bedroom, or at the beach; as long as you meet your deadlines, it doesn’t matter where you are. Being able to work wherever you like also gives you the freedom of finding international clients. Why limit yourself by working only for people in your neighborhood or your city? You could do web design or graphic design work from your local cafe for a business in the next street, or on the next continent. It doesn’t make a difference to your professionalism or your skills.

Working for global clients gives you an excellent opportunity to expand your business. After all, the bigger the pool of potential clients, the greater your chances of finding a good gig. Sometimes international businesses look for freelance designers that live locally to their target audience, and different costs of living and salary scales mean that you could charge a very good rate, and still undercut freelancers in a more expensive region. If you’re still nervous about working for global clients, we share advice about the right way to do it.

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How to Connect with Global Customers

There are 2 main ways of connecting with global customers: through freelance marketplaces, or as a direct client.

Freelance marketplaces

Freelance marketplaces can be a good way to test out new geography as a freelancer. You can see what other freelancers with similar skills are charging, and get an idea of the types of work that are available. These marketplaces attract many businesses who are searching for freelancers, so it’s a good source of potential jobs.

As well as using international freelancer platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer.com, it’s worthwhile to register on platforms that serve a specific country or region. For example, visit Twago for European clients, Broxer for India, and OzLance for jobs in Australia and New Zealand.

Here are some tips for success on freelance marketplaces:

  • Fill out your complete profile, including all your qualifications, certifications, and experience.
  • Choose an attractive profile picture that shows your full, smiling face, without any hair or accessories in the way. It should look professional, ie. no selfies or beach snaps.
  • Be responsive to everybody, to build a reputation for prompt and polite replies.
  • Check that your English level is high enough for the marketplace. If it’s not, it might be worth taking an online course to improve your English before trying again.
  • Create an impressive online portfolio that showcases your best work to future clients.
  • Check the website frequently for new gigs. The first one to respond is usually the one most likely to get hired.
  • Take the time to write a personal proposal for every job you apply for. Even though you want to reply quickly, you’ll impress the client more with a well-written proposal. And no matter how short you are on time, always proofread your proposal before hitting send!

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Direct clients

You’ll usually make more money from direct clients than through a marketplace, because there’s no need to pay commission. It can take a bit more work to find direct clients in a different area, but once you’ve broken into the market you’ll find that it’s worth it. Generally, you just need one client to get you started; once you’ve made that connection, one client can lead to a second one, and a third, etc.

Here are some tips for finding direct clients in a different country:

  • Do some research to find out how much local freelancers usually charge, so that you can fit in with the market.
  • Localize your website with content that’s relevant to your target market. If your website is in English and you’re targeting a different English-speaking country, you might want to change your spelling.
  • If you want clients in an area that speaks a different language, it’s a good idea to pay a professional translator to translate your website.
  • Network with other freelancers in your target area. They can tell you about local freelancer sites, let you know about typical client expectations, and hopefully even put you in touch with new clients.
  • Use social media to find out what clients need in your target area, connect with potential customers, and make useful connections.

One way to shift to working for direct clients is to begin working for someone through a freelance marketplace. If they are happy with your work and want to carry on working with you, you can suggest that they employ you directly. Just be careful, because many marketplaces have rules about how long you have to wait before you can work directly for a client you met on their platform.

freelance design businessImage: Icons8 Stock Photos

How to Get Paid by Global Customers

Getting paid by global clients can be worrying, but not if you use Payoneer. Payoneer makes it easy to get paid either by private businesses or through a freelance marketplace.

Payoneer’s local receiving accounts give you the ability to receive local bank transfers from companies and marketplaces as if you had a local account. Accept and hold payments in USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, AUD, MXN and more! You easily convert them into your local currency when you’re ready to make a withdrawal. Basically, all your payments in different currencies from global clients can sit together in a single account, making it easier to keep track of your cash flow.

You can also use Payoneer to send payment requests directly to clients anywhere in the world. They’ll have the option to pay you via bank transfer, credit card or eCheck, and you can track their payments until they reach your account. If you work with subcontractors or suppliers, you can use Payoneer to manage payments to them as well – you can either pay them directly from your Payoneer balance to theirs if they have a Payoneer account. If they don’t, you can still pay them from your balance via bank transfer.

With Payoneer, there’s nothing holding you back from expanding globally to work for international customers.

Don’t have Payoneer account yet? Sign up now and get a $50 bonus after receiving over $1000 payment in total!

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About the author: this is the guest article by the Payoneer team

Title image from Abstract pack on Ouch, the library of free vector illustrations

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