Most of us here at the Presentation Guild are incredibly lucky, in that we grew up speaking a language the world has chosen as its standard for international communication.
Just think of all the years you’ve spent honing your craft.
Now imagine having to do that not only in your native language, but in another language, too. You’d have to work twice as hard!
That means that you have a huge comparative advantage in international markets, more than you do in your own.
Twenty years ago, serving these markets wasn’t that easy. International calling, international payments… they weren’t unheard of, but they were expensive and difficult, better left to large companies with deep pockets or individuals with unusual amounts of determination and creativity. Now these markets are open to anyone with Zoom and an email address.
In addition to getting Zoom and an email address, both of which you probably already have, you only need to do three things to start tapping into these markets.
For your customer, paying you needs to be as easy as paying the rent or electricity bill. Set up a personal account (and, preferably, a business account too) at Wise.com, one of the masters of international payments. If your customer is in one of most countries, this will allow your customer to make the payment domestically and in their own currency. From the customer’s perspective, it won’t be an international transaction at all.
And what do you do with all those Euros, Lira, Pounds and Dollars coming in from Australia and Singapore? Wise lets you convert them when you want, so if it’s not a great rate for converting to your home currency today, you can wait for the exchange rate to become more favorable and then convert.
Another juicy option is to keep it as local currency so on your next holiday in that exotic locale, you’ll have cash you can withdraw from the ATM to get yourself some local chow from the food truck or some other cash-only treat.
Receiving payments by credit card more your style? By setting up an account at Stripe.com, your customer is going to be able to pay you with their debit or credit card.
Best to be flexible when it comes to accepting payments, wherever you and your clients are. After all, some people prefer bank transfers, others cards, and their preferences might be deeply engrained by habits that change from country to country. You don’t want to think about any of that, you just want to be free to work your presentation magic. So make it easy on yourself, and make it easy on your customer, and go with Wise and Stripe. You’ll be covering most of the world and most payment methods, and you’ll be able to focus on doing what your customer hired you to do.
Pro tip #2: Get WhatsApp for backup communication.
Yes, you already have an email address. But your customers need a second way to get in touch with you. They’ll sleep better at night knowing that if you, their vendor, stop responding on one platform, there’s a backup.
Think of what you would do: If you are working with a local vendor, and worse comes to worst, you can always jump in your car and drive across town and catch your vendor outside on the street and ask angrily, “Why aren’t you answering my emails?”
Your international customers can’t do that. So if WhatsApp isn’t already on your phone, put it there.
You might be thinking, “Can’t they just text me?” The delivery of international texts is notoriously unreliable, and your customer’s phone might not even be set up for international calls and texts, but WhatsApp is by default. Besides, WhatsApp is probably what they already use to text their mom and their friends.
Pro tip #3: Get your own website for credibility and referability.
If you’re just starting out, your website doesn’t need to be fancy. One page, with a photo of you (preferably doing whatever you do), your email address, and your phone number, that’s all it takes. Sure, you could use a Facebook page or your Instagram profile instead, and those would get more traffic, but traffic is not the point, credibility and referability are. A website says “I was here before Facebook started, and I’ll be here when Facebook is gone.” Plus, when one of your customer’s friends asks, “How can I get in touch with him/her,” your customer can just say, “Go to XYZ.com.”
All of this is telling your customer, “I’m going to make life easy for you, and I’m not going to go AWOL on you.”
After all, the things on your customer’s mind are very similar to the things on your mind: Is doing business internationally going to be hard, and are they going to ghost me?
Sure, with these three things you’re not going to come across as a King of Globalization like Deloitte or Citigroup. But your customers will be impressed by how easy it is to do business with you, and they’re not going to worry about your international-ness next time around.