Don't Do It Yourself

3 Things to Keep in Mind When Hiring International Freelancers

international freelancersWe live in a global economy. It's possible to do business all around the world, and hire workers from around the world. However, if you hire international freelancers, you need to be aware of these three items:

1. How Will You Pay Your International Freelancer?

No matter where your freelancer lives, you need to make sure he or she receives what is owed. However, there are issues associated with international payment. Two of the main things you have to keep in mind when it comes to freelancer pay on a global scale include:

  • Foreign currency differences
  • Making sure the money arrives

You can specify that you will pay in your own currency, and then perhaps add a small premium to help your freelancer deal with the costs associated with conversion to the local currency.

However, I find it easier just to use PayPal. PayPal comes with a built in converter (although there may be fees), and it makes it easy for you to send in your currency, and for your freelancer to receive in his or her own freelancer. It's simple and convenient, and it's my preference. I've used it to accept payments from as close as Canada and as far away as the UK, Ukraine and Taiwan.

PayPal also eliminates the uncertainty associated with waiting for checks in other countries to clear, as well as the concerns associated with paying via services like Western Union or MoneyGram (havens for scammers) as well as the expenses associated with international bank-to-bank wire transfers.

If you plan to pay international freelancers, PayPal is the way to go.

2. Language Barriers

It's true that you can hire an international freelancer to do work for a fraction of the cost you might pay for a domestic freelancer. However, there can be some drawbacks you should be aware of like  communication issues.  Be sure to interview applicants thoroughly and make sure you can understand each other, but be patient and respectful.  You can always start a relationship on a trial basis, and if it isn't coming together after a couple of weeks, move on.

3. Time Zones

Be aware of time differences. Some international freelancers adjust their schedules to match daytime hours in the United States in order to be more in sync with what their clients need. This isn't always the case, so it's best to set expectations in advance of any working arrangement.  Realize that your freelancer might already be in bed and sleeping when you need something “urgent” done. Get used to thinking on this type of scale, and you will be much more likely to have realistic expectations regarding the availability of your freelancer.

Eventually, you'll become accustomed to some of these issues, and automatically make the right adjustments. You'll develop a workflow that you and your freelancer are both comfortable with, and everything will move smoothly.

What do you think are the biggest challenges associated with hiring international freelancers?