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The Ultimate Guide to Freelancing and Working Abroad

Freelancing has long been a choice for employees unwilling to work within set restrictions of the traditional work model under one employer. According to Forbes, in 2021, the United States had about 57 million individuals working as freelancers. Moreover, freelance platform Upwork conducted a survey in 2021, reporting that 20% of the current employees are considering a shift to freelancing, roughly rounding up to over 10 million people!

Needless to say, employers worldwide are also embracing the idea of hiring freelancers

But why this paradigm shift towards freelancing? 

Most employees are inclining toward the remote/freelancing model due to the level of flexibility it offers. Professionals get to choose their clients wisely and exercise greater control over their work.

So, what does this translate for employers in this era of global employment? 

If companies wish to stay competitive and profitable, they must devise actionable strategies for hiring freelancers from across the world, create a robust infrastructure to onboard them, and ensure optimal productivity. 

This article will be the ultimate guide to your freelancing and working abroad, helping you gain a comprehensive understanding of this emerging work trend. 

Determine Your Independent Career and Location

As already mentioned, the main advantage of freelancing is the flexibility to work from your preferred location. While remote working offers the same benefit, freelancing goes a step further to give you the flexibility to choose your desired niche instead of limiting yourself to the domain dictated by an employer. However, you may need to follow standard tips to land lucrative freelancing projects:

  • Research

The primary step in finding freelancing work is conducting in-depth research to understand where your skills fit best. Surf the internet for opportunities, make a list and research the needs and requirements of different job propositions/projects. You must first identify the correct sources of information (where you can find genuine projects requiring freelancers). Once you have the freelancing platform list, use the right filters to navigate through hundreds of results to find the appropriate freelancing project. 

  • Join forums and subscribe to newsletters

While independent research is critical, you must also understand the need for intelligent work. You cannot simply stumble upon work while navigating through millions of searches on the internet. However, you can find reliable work projects by joining online forums based on your niche domain. There are plenty of good online forums where companies advertise for jobs, and you can select the ones that best match your skills. You can also choose the traditional way and subscribe to newsletters by post or mail where you can find job adverts from different companies. 

  • Ingenuity

Your ingenuity can be instrumental in bridging the gap between the present market demand and the skills required to meet that demand. By aligning your creative preferences and research skills, you can find credible and lucrative projects with high pay. Eventually, it will help you devise a steady income stream. It is crucial to deep dive into the market trends and create actionable strategies to implement your innovative ideas. Otherwise, your unique ideas will simply be limited to hollow inspiration without any market value. 

  • Tenacity

Establishing yourself as a successful freelancer with an impressive portfolio is both challenging and lengthy. Although the initial phase of finding suitable projects and building a name for yourself in the freelance network is tenuous, you must stick to your path. You may land good projects sometimes, while you may fail in a few. However, each success and mistake will be a learning curve. You must find your strong and weak areas and choose projects accordingly. Remember, there is no fixed formula for success – you must be open to learning and experimenting with different options in your expertise domain. 

Befriend technology 

Running a freelancing business might be tricky if you cannot grasp how to leverage tech tools and platforms. Going old school might not help, and you will have to embrace technological advancement to be successful in this field. 

For example, you use virtual assistants and video conferencing tools like Skype, Google Meet, or Facetime. You can use online services like PayPal to send online invoices to clients, and they can directly transfer the amount to your bank account from any part of the world. The key is to understand which tools can make freelancing more seamless and smooth for you. 

Have a supplementary income source

While you must be confident in your abilities and skills, it is good sense to have a plan B ready. Even as you start earning through freelancing, you must remember that work may not be consistent in the first few months. So, it’s best to enter freelancing while keeping a supplementary source of income to keep you afloat when there aren’t many freelancing jobs. 

Also, where you choose to live and work can heavily influence how well a lifestyle you can maintain with your freelancing income, especially during the first months. For instance, most regions in Southeast Asia have very minimal living costs and cheap internet facilities. However, if you are based out of Europe or America, you must deal with high living costs. 

Constantly upskill 

The present market is highly dynamic, with new technologies evolving every year and unique roles cropping to support these advances. Thus, to succeed in this competitive market, you must continually upskill in unexplored areas to stay relevant. You can take online certification courses and diplomas to support your upskilling needs. 

Some of the necessary tasks that should be on your list of learning are:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tasks and techniques
  • Digital marketing 
  • Researching the top trends
  • Building an extensive network
  • Reading industry newsletters

To conclude,

Though freelancing is gaining popularity now, it is here to stay thanks to the expanding global gig economy. Companies readily hire freelance workers globally since they can maintain a large international workforce at significantly lower costs. So, while business leaders figure out hiring strategies and how to pay freelancers, invest your time in upskilling and redefining your knowledge base. This approach will help you build an upward scaling graph in freelancing. 

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Dyka Smith
Dyka Smith is a content marketing professional at Inosocial, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Dyka worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. She graduated with honors from Columbia University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.

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