Tips on How to Win Projects from International Clients as a Freelancer.
The new normal post-Covid-19 is such that enables working from home or remote working as it’s also called. Many organizations now allow their employees to work and report from wherever they are. New online structures are being built to facilitate and sustain the operations of most professions.
Accordingly, Freelancers too, are benefitting massively from the new normal. Many are being contracted by organizations for their skills and expertise on a daily basis. It has also further opened up the door of working with international clients like never before. Despite the availability of international jobs, winning such projects doesn’t come easy.
For many reasons, international clients are different from clients in your home country. Diversity of culture, language, working models, government policies and tax system, currency rates, social issues, political issues, etc., are some of the things that make them different, and a freelancer would have to carefully pay attention to in order to win contracts and while working with them. To ease the tension, I want to let you know that they are human beings like you too, so they can be handled. Don’t be afraid. The few factors involved are not insurmountable mountains. As a matter of fact, some of them may not eventually need any consideration in the case of some clients. At such times, the key needs would be what your profile says about your experience and expertise level in your field; how professional you have always worked and conducted yourself with past clients; the effort you put into delivering quality customer experience to clients especially in the area of responding to messages quickly and with accurate and ensuring-progress information; your ability to listen carefully and ensure to communicate and work from the client’s point of view always.
In this article, I will be sharing with you the things a freelancer must put in place in order to be able to always court international clients and win international projects. Let’s dive in as we pick them one by one!
- Rich Experience and Expertise Level. You should know that a foreign client that’s worth something really tangible would not want to work with a newbie or anyone who seems to be one. No matter how talented you are or where you just got your training from, you must be able to boast of years of relevant work experience if you want international clients to consider you for projects. Having worked for a good number of years, with more clients or in an organization, and on top projects, are quite important factors most international clients always look out for in the profile of any freelancer they’d hire. In essence, international projects are usually the icing on the cake of a freelancer’s career after some years of experience on the job. You don’t usually get them when you are just getting started. No. They take a while to come. If you are just starting out as a professional in your field, take your time and do small jobs to build your portfolio. Keep an accurate record of your career progress and always have it ready for both display and sharing. This will be of help in the long run. You should avoid competing or envying those who have been around for years who are boasting of international jobs; they started small like you, and have paid their dues. Pay yours, and the benefits will naturally come to you in due time.
- Professionalism and Ethics. This is usually seen in the reports of your past clients about you as a freelancer. Past clients should be able to tell that you are truly competent in your job. They should be able to freely and confidently speak of your integrity, resourcefulness, and dependability. The praises you get from past jobs are the recommendation letters you need as a freelancer to court international clients. As you progress in your career as a freelancer, you must always go about your business in the most professional and ethical ways possible at all times. Quality of work and character must always be premium concern to you. Perhaps, we can put this as you making yourself a brand known for quality and values. As a freelancer, your target must be to make your name a brand in your field, and I tell you what, being professional and ethical are two building blocks you cannot do away with if you want to achieve that.
- Quality Customer Experience. As I noted not too far above, responding quickly to inquiries and other messages increases your score when trying to win over an international client. Also, the accuracy of the information you give in your replies with regards to how the information can aid progress and quality work is equally important. These show that you are available and you know what you are doing. Quick responses tell the potential client that you are one who is available to work with them, and one they can work with while accurate information assures them that you are a professional in your field and you have a clear grasp of what they want. This is why a freelancer, as a rule, should always listen to or read a client’s brief from the client’s point of view; do your analysis from your client’s point of view, and communicate back from the client’s point of view. You must never forget that you are working for the client, and you are not the one to enjoy the final version of the work. It’s your client who will. You are only there to provide them with professional advice and effort in order to achieve their desire. As such, you must always seek to understand your client and always let them know that you do. This reassures them that you only want to represent their interest.
- Pricing and Payment Method. Just like any proper local client, your pricing is something of importance and great concern to international clients. Let me put it this way: pricing too low makes you seem like you are begging for the job, and perhaps, all that you have said you know and can do could be treated as false. Do not price yourself or your work low. Always give clients a reason to want to negotiate prices with you. Never do anything that would make you sound or seem cheap to a client. You must always give off the aura that you know what you are doing and you know what you are worth. That said, be sure to let your pricing cover all international taxes, duties, and fees. You don’t want to keep going back to ask your client for any fee that is not included in your quotation or offer. It reduces your credibility as an authority in your field as a freelancer or consultant. The second part that has to do with payment method or platform, is also one that is important. As a freelancer, you must have approved and functional accounts with international payment solution providers like PayPal and Payoneer. However, if there’s another preferred platform other than those two, nothing should stop you from having an account with any such platform. It shows your willingness and readiness to work with your prospective international client. Perhaps, what you can do if using such a platform would cost you any extra charges based on your own location, is to find a way to make your overall pricing or quotation include it.
Let me sum everything up by saying that the keyword in courting and working with international clients is, “quality”. Your experience and expertise level must portray quality; your character and delivery must be quality; the customer service/experience you give must be the best quality; your prices must be nothing short of quality. Every high-paying client surely wants quality jobs for their money, and that’s why they would only seek freelancers who can and will deliver it to them, no matter the cost. Be sure to be one of those freelancers.
Cheers to your international success stories!