As a general rule, I’ve worked primarily on projects where at least most of the participants are based in the US. Lately, though, I’ve been starting to rethink my opinion on taking on projects where at least some of the project is international, for several reasons.
I know have two ongoing projects with companies headquartered in other countries — although my direct supervisor for both are located in the U.S. I’ve had no problems, although honestly I didn’t really expect to: these are both fairly established companies that I was easily able to check out.
My comfort level is growing, although certain factors do keep me a bit leery of taking on new international clients, especially those not affiliated with known companies:
- Language barriers. It’s hard enough to make sure that everyone’s on the same page when we’re communicating solely via email. But factor in language barriers (as well as different cultural expectations) and I feel like I run a significant risk of disappointing a client.
- Potential payment problems. I have enough problems waiting patiently for a check from two states over — waiting for payment from another country entirely gives me the opportunity to think up far too many worst case scenarios.
- Limited recourse if something goes wrong. I know the U.S. system — collections, etc. But I have no idea where to start with an international client.
But I’m very tempted to start looking for writing projects in, say, the U.K. Magazine markets over there used to pay fairly competitively with U.S. markets. But as the U.S. dollar has been slipping, payment from U.K. markets has held fairly steady. That basically means that writing for U.K. clients has gotten far more lucrative than it was a few years ago.
It’s tempting, and I’m going to start looking into a few possibilities for international projects. Keep your fingers crossed for me but I think it should all work out fine.