Benefits of Being an International Writer

It's no secret - I'm an international writer. I have clients in several countries around the world and they're quite well aware that I'm all the way over here in Australia.

In most cases, my clients are quite lenient of the difference in time zone. They seem to understand that I sleep when they're awake and I'm working while they sleep. Of course, there are a few who call me in the middle of the night because they've miscalculated the time differences, but that's fine.

Some writers seem a little hesitant to deal with clients outside their own country. They fear that they might not get paid or that they might end up with tax issues. Other writers think it's cool to have US clients, UK clients, Aussie clients, South African clients and various other orders arriving from parts of Europe or Asia all the time. I'm one of the latter.

Here are some of the bigger benefits I've found to having an international client base:

International Writers Have a Broadened Debtor Base

In business terms, broadening your debtor base means becoming less reliant on one sole source of income. Imagine if I had one big-paying client (or worse, one employer) and something went wrong with that source of income. I'd go broke. Yet with so many different clients with varied needs from all over the world, I'm assured that somebody, somewhere will always want to order more work from me.

This protects my freelance business against any particular client leaving or not ordering any more.

International Writers Are More Recession-Proof

During the Global Financial Crisis, I noticed that far less American clients were ordering big amounts of writing work done. Oh sure, there were still plenty around - just less than there had been before. The same with UK clients. They suddenly went very quiet and only ordered what they needed.

Of course, not every country went into a recession. Australia sure didn't, and the surge in orders from Australian clients was enormous as they sought to take over niches where the Americans and Brits were falling behind.

Parts of Asia, such as Singapore and India, also didn't suffer the same financial difficulties faced by the US and UK, and I also noticed a huge spike in the number of orders I received from Indian and Asian entrepreneurs willing to pay higher rates for a native-English speaking writer.

International Writers Can Benefit from Earning in Multiple Currencies

One of the fun parts about being an international writer is that I'm not limited to just earning Aussie dollars. Right at this point in time, the AUD is quite strong against the US Dollar, but this hasn't always been so - and isn't always going to stay this way either.

I can choose to charge my clients in the currency that represents stronger value at that time when I convert it to my own local currency. So right now, the Aussie dollar is stronger for me. However, last year it made sense for me to charge UK and European clients in British pounds or Euros.

I can choose to charge Canadian clients in CA dollars or US dollars, whichever represents the best conversion rate for me at that time. I always charge US clients in US dollars, as they don't seem to get their heads all the way around paying in a different currency to their own.

When you learn how to use the power of foreign currency in your own favor, it's possible to increase your income simply due to the conversion rates over to your own local currency.

International Writers Could Be Considered Exporters

This really fun aspect of being an international writer surprised me when I first learned about it a few years ago. You see, if you're selling goods or services overseas and bringing that money into your own country, you're technically an exporter.

According to the Australian Export office, I'm selling my writing (the product) to foreign countries, which means I'm an official exporter.

Usually this doesn't change the way you do business. You still need to produce the goods and you still need to deliver the goods. You still receive payment the same way you always would and convert it to your own country's currency so you can spend it (and pay tax on it).

The big difference is that some countries actually reward exporting businesses. In Australia, this makes me eligible for various government Export Grants, exporting assistance schemes and rebates on travel (!)

With so many cool benefits to being an international freelance writer, I hope it's even more obvious why I love my job/business so much


Emma said...

Hi Bianca, I was wondering how you claim income if it is not a full rights sale of an article and the income is from a foreign country? For example, if you earn residual income from a company like Hubpages where you do not sell them your article, or if you earn income from an affiliate sale that came from an article written on your own site about a product? Do you still claim these as export income, or as regular income?

Bianca Raven said...

HI Emma,
I think this is going to need a whole new post written, but basically I keep a spreadsheet that shows what currency any income was originally received in - regardless of what source it came from. Obviously, you'll convert it over to your local currency in order to spend it, but that's the currency you received. As it was initially paid to you in a foreign currency, it counts as export income