If, like many people throughout the pandemic and multiple lockdowns, you have started an online business, then you already know it’s full of challenges that you’re not likely to find in other jobs. You might have been doing work with people domestically for now, but when you need to start working with people in different countries, it can add a new layer of complexity. Let’s take a look at some of the complications that can arise and what you can do to help resolve them.
Seal it with a contract
There’s some risk associated with doing pretty much any kind of business online. However, that risk can be heightened at least a little when you’re much further away from your client than you would usually be. However, the power of a contract can be hard to break, even for those who are overseas. They have to put their own name to it, after all. Make sure that you’re clear that your contract follows the jurisdiction of your local laws. As such, if you do need to launch any legal actions, the contract, with that statement, will make it easier to get started, at the very least. It won’t eliminate all risks but it is one way to watch your own back.
The timezone issue
If your business relies on working closely with your clients and keeping in touch with them over the course of the period you’re working for them, then you have to be somewhat available at the same time to make sure that you can communicate effectively. When it comes to people in far-flung timezones, this can be difficult because your work hours could be when they’re fast asleep. Getting more organized can allow you to be slightly more flexible with your time. You can finish work earlier than usual, for earlier, with the knowledge that you’re going to be spending what would normally be your personal time getting in touch with those far-flung timezones.
There are a lot of payment portals that allow you to send and receive money to and from almost anywhere. However, you want to make sure you’re using the portal that is designed to offer the best bang for your buck and not dragging you down with unnecessary fees. Either way, when it comes to arranging a money transfer to and from other countries, you have to be certain that you have the process all set up already. If you make your clients wait to be able to pay you, then you can expect to be waiting even longer for your payment to arrive. When you start doing business with people in other countries, make sure you know precisely how you’re going to get paid.
Get that deposit
Once you have a decent payment method sorted, then you should make sure that any clients you’re working with are willing and able to send a meaningful deposit before the work begins. This is, again, a matter of establishing trust with clients that are situated so far away. If they’re not going to be sending any deposits your way, then you can’t be sure that they’re going to be sending any other money, either. Just make sure that the deposit isn’t too high. There isn’t a specific rule to apply here, some freelancers ask for 10%, others will ask for 50% of the overall costs. It should depend partially on the overall costs of the services provided.
Clear up the terms of work
This is done, partially, in the contract. However, you should be mindful that there are major cultural differences around the world, including how work is done. This can include working and contact hours. You might have this information readily available on your website to clarify any confusion, but you should make sure that when you work and how deadlines work for you are fully explained to the client before you start working. If you rely on insurance to protect your business, such as indemnity insurance, then you should check to see that covers you in the event of doing business with people from other countries and, specifically, the country of the client you’re currently working with.
You might find that you’re able to do business with people from other countries just fine. However, with the tips above, you can always make sure that you’re handling it in the most organized and responsible way possible so that, if a few problems do crop up, you’re able to handle them.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.