What do you love about being a freelancer? About owning your own business?

Everyone’s answers to these questions are unique. For some, it’s all about creativity. For others, freedom is the name of the game. And if your favorite part of your career is that you can put in a full day’s work in your pajamas—well, that’s cool too. 
 
Fifty years ago, most graphic designers worked as employees at ad agencies—before Mad Men made it seem way cooler than ever actually existed. Thankfully, things have changed. We’re in an age when you can turn your phone into a computer and your computer into an office. An age when you can sell your hard work to anyone, anywhere. An age where a girl who likes to doodle in her notebook can actually build a business online selling her work to companies all around the world who value great design.
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There’s a (shrinking) world of possibilities out there. Explore it.

If you’ve tried selling your services (or, really, selling anything) internationally lately, you’ve probably noticed that there’s an amazing variety of ways to make money long-distance. Freelancers and businesses, designers and online sellers, writers and translators, and countless others—it seems like there’s a way (or a thousand) that any of them can make a living online. And there are lots of reasons people enjoy selling their work to clients overseas.
 
Whether you’re looking to sell your designs to customers around the world, or to work with freelancers in different countries, today’s possibilities are endless and borderless. By working with clients overseas, you can tap into a world (no pun intended… ok maybe a little intended) of creative approaches to design.
 
And, professionals and businesses alike are hip to the idea. A 2014 Content Marketing Institute survey revealed that more than half of tech company respondents outsource design work. That’s a big opportunity for little girls that used to doodle in their notebook.  
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Don’t be left screaming “show me the money” to your clients

So you want to work internationally. The problem is that paying and getting paid in international currencies isn’t simple and if you are a true creative you’re already overwhelmed by the mention of international currencies. Breath… we’ll take this part slow.

Let’s say you’re a designer in India or Russia and you want to work with companies in the US or in Europe. How do you go about it? Do you open a US bank account? Do you send a wire transfer? Wait for a check (please don’t ever do that)? What about currency conversions? Fees? Ugh, it’s overwhelming.
 
Essentially, this is because the traditional banking model makes international payments more difficult than domestic ones, which is hard to comprehend considering how difficult it can be to do literally anything at the bank. Each payment passes through multiple hands, making it complicated for both parties to track the money's overseas. Info gets lost along the way, regulatory conflicts spawn delays, and it becomes impossible to know who to contact when a problem occurs.
 
Plus, it's not cheap. World Bank reports that the cost to send a $200 payment overseas averages 8 percent. In other words, you could be paying up to $16 just to receive a $200 payment. That’s insane! Not to mention, it assumes that your client has a simple and easy way to send you funds.

Down to business: what matters when working internationally?

Working internationally sounds awesome. International payments don’t. What should you consider if you want to build a global business?
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Cost
This may sound a little obvi, but just to make sure we’re clear: you want to spend as little money as possible to receive each payment. Shocking, I know. Make sure to look not only at the cost of receiving the payment, but also any currency conversion charges applied when receiving the funds in your local currency. Major eWallets will often make it easy to receive funds, however withdrawing your money is like is like buying snacks at the movie theatre – way more expensive than necessary with often less-than-stellar customer service.
 
Time
Who has time to sit around for days on end waiting for a payment to be sent and received by different banks in different countries? We get anxious when it takes Google more than 3 seconds to load a page…but we wait days to get paid? No.

Oh, and don’t forget delays. Holidays? No money for you! Saturday? Nope! You want to know when your money will arrive and be confident that it will get there on time, because you have things to do and a business to build.
 
Safety and Security
Globally, 37 percent of businesses report being the victims of some type of economic crime, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers International (PwC). Make sure any financial company you work with is a regulated and licensed business. There is no worse feeling than someone playing around in your money drawer and stealing all your cash. Except if they take your chocolate too. That’s just unforgivable.
 
Scalability
Today, it’s just you working from home in your pjs. Tomorrow, it might be you and your partner still working at home in your pjs. But next year, you may very well have a team of 50 around the world, all looking at you to ensure they get paid on time and for minimal cost.

When looking at payment solutions don’t just consider a solution that works right now, but one that can adapt to your changing needs.
 
Currency Conversion
If you are like me, you have a hard time remembering the names of entire countries let alone the currency they work in. But forget currency--exchange rates vary from one country and currency to another. God forbid you work with various countries and currencies, you’ve got a part-time job on your hand (that doesn’t pay).
 
Convenience
Simplify, simplify, simplify! You may be an international payment expert but your clients aren’t. In fact, many times clients want to make payments to a local bank account in local currency. If you want to hang with the big guys, you’ll either need to open international banks in each country you want to work with (um, no) or find a payment solution that solves this problem for you.

Support
If you are sending or receiving money across international borders, you should never underestimate the importance of having someone readily available to talk to or email should you have a minor freak out at 3am.

When looking for a payment solution, you should consider your comfort level in different languages. Does this service offer English only? Is you English good enough? Do you prefer talking in your native tongue? Various payment options different levels of support and you should think hard about your expectations when things don’t go as planned.
 
Finding an Effortless Solution
Wouldn’t it be nice if everybody knew what an amazing designer you are? The reality is that building your business takes work. Getting your name out there, making sure prospective clients find you, and letting them know you’re worth every penny they’ll pay you is its own battle.
 
Getting paid shouldn’t be.
 
Until relatively recently, wire transfers were the go-to option for making and receiving payments overseas. It got the job done, but it was expensive, it was slow, and it was best suited for large transfers between even larger companies (not your blossoming design business).
 
Today there are a variety of innovative solutions that can seriously cut down on the time and money you spend on international payments.
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This article was provided by Payoneer. Payoneer enables millions of businesses and professionals from more than 200 countries to grow globally by facilitating seamless, cross-border payments. 
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