Things to Keep in Mind While Working Internationally

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One of the best parts about freelancing is the variety of work that it can provide. Writers can compose text for individuals thousands of miles away, graphic designers can create content for clients on an entirely different continent, and educators can instruct students who live half a world away.

If you bid on a foreign job on a whim and suddenly find that your freelancing career is taking an international turn, here are a few things to keep in mind as you literally pick up your gig-driven lifestyle and take it overseas.

Do Your Research

It’s no surprise that you should do some research before you move to another country. The question is, what should you research? Major things like logistics and language barriers aside (both of which are addressed further down), a few of the most important things to look into before you board a plane include:

●     The background, history, and reputation of your new client.

●     The company culture that they strive to maintain.

●     The culture of the local destination.

●     Exchange rates and cost of living.

As you go about conducting your research, gauge your new client’s willingness to help you make the transition. Often a local client will be more than willing to provide advice, recommendations, and general information.

Manage Your Expectations

Are you living the freelance dream by taking your career overseas? You bet. Does that mean you should expect everything to go smoothly? Absolutely not.

Moving internationally can have a jarring effect on your daily life. Comfort zones are completely left behind and can take time to be redefined. Communication can be challenging. Friends and family can be severely missed.

As a human, you’re likely a creature of habit — no matter how much you enjoy the shifts and changes of the freelance lifestyle. As such, make sure to set reasonable expectations as you navigate one of the biggest changes in your life.

Review Your Finances

Finances are a tricky business — especially when you’re living overseas. In the modern world, things like electronic banking and fintech, in general, can help, but you still want to plan accordingly as you financially prepare for your big move.

For instance, you may find it difficult to initially establish credit in your new home and even your credit cards may function differently, such as requiring a PIN for a card used in Europe.

With so much potential financial instability, it’s important to have a good nest egg of savings in place to help you survive the transition and settle down in your new home.

Address Language Barriers Early

A language barrier can be an isolating, discouraging, and scary challenge. After all, the ability to communicate is part of what makes us human. If your new home speaks a different language:

●     First, ensure that you’ll be able to communicate with your new client while you’re working together.

●     Second, consider if you’ll be able to communicate in your personal life and daily interactions with the local inhabitants.

If you need to learn a new language, make sure to start early and head to your new destination with your Google Translate app ready to hand.

Plan Out Your Logistics Carefully

When it comes to the logistical end of the deal, there are many considerations to keep in mind, such as:

●     Packing lightly: Liquidate what you can and buy new versions in your new home in order to streamline your move.

●     Finding lodging: Try to work with your professional network, local friends, or even your new employer to find lodging that you can use upon your arrival.

●     Gathering important documentation: Do you need a visa or a work permit? Make sure they’re lined up well before you travel.

●     Understanding taxes: Make sure you thoroughly understand your tax responsibilities in your new country. These can get quite complicated when you’re overseas. For instance, you may have to pay local income tax and report to the IRS in order to avoid paying taxes to both entities.

Sort through every possible logistical question you can before your arrival in your new home.

Consider Your Personal Lifestyle

Finally, remember your personal life, as well. Moving can create an enormous amount of stress, which can lead to a plethora of debilitating symptoms, such as brain fog, poor motor skills, and even gastrointestinal issues — all of which can impact your performance in your new job.

Make sure to consider how you can destress once you’ve arrived at your new destination. Look for local hotspots, try to make friends at work, and seek out a community of ex-pats that can help you get on your feet.

Thriving in Your Overseas Freelance Career

If you’re looking for ways to increase your freelancing clout (and by extension, your prices), you may find yourself packing up your freelancing career to head to an entirely different corner of the map. If that’s the case, first off, congratulations! Your career is about to take an exciting step.

While it’s easy to bask in the promise of the upcoming adventure, though, it’s also wise to keep the important things in mind as you prepare for your new life abroad. Research your new client, and your new destination. Address finances, logistics, and language barriers, too, and don’t forget how your personal life will fit into the professional change.

Working internationally is a big step and one that should never be taken lightly. However, if you go into an overseas assignment with the right mindset, you can mitigate the challenges and get the best out of the experience from the moment you step foot outside of your own country.

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