An online survey conducted by Fiverr and Censuswide found that in the U.S. alone, 66% of workers are continuing or planning to begin freelancing. 78% of U.S. employers are also looking to fill talent gaps with freelancers.
Freelancing is the new trend in 2023 and there are many opportunities arising. An uncertain economy, two years of lockdown, and the WFH movement can be credited for this revolution in work.
More specifically, freelancing abroad has become popular.
Working online and freelancing abroad can be a great way to experience new cultures and make money at the same time. However, it is not without its difficulties. In this blog, I will cover some of the benefits and challenges of freelancing abroad.
The good: No one can fire you. You are your own boss, and if you don’t like the direction of your company, then it’s up to you to change it. You get to work from home or anywhere, on your own time; that is the beauty of online freelancing.
This is a great perk for freelancers because there is freedom and flexibility. They have autonomy in determining when they want to work and how much they want to work. Want to make lots of money to travel next month? Then take on several projects and work hard to provide top-quality services.
The flexibility makes it easier for those who want to be freelancing abroad and explore a new country without being pinned down by an office job. Being a freelancer is also ideal for those with children or family commitments that could prevent them from committing to full-time employment.
If you are freelancing abroad and running a team, find out how to manage your team efficiently whilst working 100% remotely here.
The bad is that you have to be wary of taxes. You will need to file a tax return in the country that you are a resident of and the country you are earning income from. You may be able to get an extension on filing in one country but not the other, which can cause problems if you owe any money. You also need to keep track of your expenses for every country because some things are deductible in one country but not another. This varies from country to country so definitely check before you move!
Another issue is the gray area behind certain visas. It is not uncommon to find freelancers who apply for a tourist visa despite working within that country; they end up not having to pay taxes as they are “visiting on holiday”. This is a regular occurrence with online freelancers traveling abroad but it’s important to note that it is illegal. Some countries find it difficult to track freelancers but in places popular for this type of work such as Bali, government officials are increasing efforts to crack down on illegal work through random checks. If caught working illegally, you could face fines or deportation.
It may be confusing and time-consuming but there are many updated, online resources to help such as KPMG’s digital nomad and remote work visa guide. The research is worth it for such a great experience living and working abroad so as long as you follow the rules…
Freelancing abroad has its ups and downs as we have seen. But, the major downside to freelancing is not having a steady paycheck. It can be difficult to pay your bills if you don’t know when you’re going to get paid next.
There’s no job security, so it’s hard to budget for anything in the future because you never know what will happen. You could have a client who says they will pay as soon as the service is finished but may end up paying three months later. You can avoid these mishaps by outlining a clear contract before working with clients or requesting to be paid upfront as a deposit.
The online freelancer lifestyle may not be suitable for everyone, some prefer a steady and predictable job and salary, which is great for long-term planning; others may seek work and exploration resulting in unsteady income and difficulty in planning long-term.
Is freelancing abroad for you?
You have read the good, the bad, and the ugly side of freelancing abroad. If you are interested in freelancing, make sure you do proper research before making any decisions. Extensive planning on working in different countries and regulations can save you from potential hassle. Don’t just hop on a plane and wish for the best, the best will come with good planning.
Freelancing abroad can be a great opportunity, especially if you’re looking to keep things interesting, make money, and explore new cultures. The more places you travel, the more demand and opportunities you will find. You can provide services while simultaneously fulfilling a desire to travel the world. Make sure you know what and how to avoid the risks before taking the leap to minimize your risk and maximize your experience!