Ask Freelance Switch: Building an Agency and Freelancing Internationally
In this issue of Ask FreelanceSwitch, we look at growing into an agency and freelancing internationally. Ask FreelanceSwitch is a regular column here that allows us to help beginners get a grip on freelancing. If you have a question about freelancing that you want answered, send an email to email@example.com.
I have been a successful freelancer for many years now, and I had such a successful year last year that I’ve realized it’s time for me to start hiring and building my own team. I am looking to start my own agency, but could use some advice on funding to help cover the initial hiring and marketing expenses to boost up from a freelancer to a full-blown agency.
Believe it or not, I am having a hard time finding any type of information on this subject online or in forums. How does one take your successful freelance business and officially move it forward to the “cooler” side of the creative corporate world?
The funding options available to a freelancer looking to grow her business are extremely varied, and you’re going to have to decide what really works for you. That said, here are a few ways to get started.
Hiring Your Own Freelancers: The greatest portion of freelancers who have built up businesses beyond themselves have done so by bringing in other freelancers when there was work available, rather than hiring on a permanent basis right away. It’s not a perfect situation, since you can wind up spending a lot of time on finding freelancers when new projects come along. But it’s probably the cheapest option.
Getting a Small Business Loan: Provided that you’ve been building up your business credit as you’ve freelanced, you may be well positioned to take out a business loan to make the transition. This option is attractive because you can get a lump sum and just get everything done, but it can also be tough to get through all the layers of lenders to actually get money.
Build Up Some Savings: Just as you might be advised to sock away some cash before striking out as a freelancer in the first place, you might consider setting aside a certain portion of your freelance income every month until you’ve built up the amount you need to launch your agency right.
I am a freelancing wanna be based in Egypt. I know it’s hard to freelance internationally, especially from a third world country, what with scams and lack of trust along side with different culture and lifestyles. I have lived in the U.S for a year as an exchange student so I kinda understand the culture better, but my question is: Is it possible to freelance from the other side of the world, especially a third world country?
It absolutely is possible. One of the most reliable freelancers I’ve had the pleasure of working with is based in the Philippines. The thing is that I don’t think most of her clients really realize where she’s based. It’s not a question of lying to her clients — she simply presents herself as a professional and doesn’t bring up the matter of location unless it actually impacts her work.
If you’re looking to freelance and want to land clients from other countries that typically pay more, the first thing to focus on is presenting yourself as a professional. If you have a great website and portfolio, written perfectly in the local idiom of the clients you want to attract, you’re going to be more attractive to them — most people want to work with freelancers that seem like they’ll be easy to explain a project to, so not only is a shared language crucial, but so is a shared dialect.
Simply leave off your address in Egypt — or wherever — from your website. if a client asks, be truthful. You’ll be surprised how many people don’t ask, though.