In today's global economy, the world is truly your oyster. For small businesses and freelancers, there's no reason to stick to serving clients in your own local market. The rise of the "gig economy" means that even large corporations are hiring freelancers and agencies.
of the workforce in the US is made up of freelancers, while close to 50%
of workers in the UK will be self-employed within five years. Digital communication platforms, freelance marketplaces and collaboration tools mean that companies don’t bat an eyelid at hiring remote workers.
With the right tools and platform, South Africans can access valuable clients in the US, Europe, and around the world. Here are the best ways to make the most of the gig economy for your business or skills. Diversify your offers
One of the pillars of the gig economy is that you can switch easily between different paid jobs. This means that the more diverse your market offerings, the more income you can make.
For example, if you’re a photographer, it might seem like you can only make money by taking photos of people or objects in your area. But if you create an online course teaching advanced techniques in portrait photography, you could market that to anyone, anywhere around the world. It even allows you to make money when you sleep, while people in other time zones are opting in for your course.
The same applies to almost any business. As well as continuing with your core service, whether it’s photography, web design, plumbing, or accounting, you can also sell digital products that are based on your expertise. If you set up a members-only area on your website, you can place valuable content behind the paywall and make money by selling access. Using an all-in-one platform like Kajabi
, this is all simple enough to set up and operate.
Online courses, webinars, how-to videos, and cheat sheets are all digital products that you can create in a remarkably short amount of time, if you have the right tools, and offering them on your site can also help you sell more of your core services, since it helps make the case that you’re an in-demand expert. Kajabi even has functionalities in place that make it easy for you to offer free webinars and then upsell premium memberships and courses to the most engaged audience members via segmented retargeting.Optimize your digital footprint
The next step is to let overseas clients know that you exist. If you don’t have a website, now is the time to create one. Building a website is no longer a complicated task, though, as there are many platforms that make it easy to create a business website that’s attractive and functional.
If you already have a business website, you’ll need to optimize it to attract overseas clients. If you’re moving from offering local services to selling digital products based on your expertise, you might want to overhaul the wording on your site to check that it still accurately reflects your business.
The photographer in our example above could change her keyword focus from capturing a beautiful moment to learning how to master advanced techniques using exposure, focus, and proportion. Of course, optimizing your site includes tweaking SEO keywords according to the region you’re targeting. If you’re in South Africa and you want to get clients from the US, it’s a good idea to change your spelling to American usage, and check that your content doesn’t use terms that are unfamiliar to Americans.
Non-native English speakers who want a slice of the overseas gig economy need to check the level of English on their site. Unless your English is very good indeed, it’s best to have a professional translator give your site a once-over for any mistakes, misspelling, or misuse of grammar that could put off professional customers. While automated tools like Grammarly
aren’t foolproof, they can also help a great deal.Prepare to attract and bill clients
The final step in attracting worldwide clients is to pay careful attention to your marketing campaigns – and your ability to convert customers. With today’s marketing automation tools, even DIY-ers can attract high-paying, international clients. For example, email marketing automation enables you to manage an email list with regular, personalized email newsletters that add value to your clients and encourage them to employ you. Dynamic, personalized landing pages convert better than your regular website homepage.
Platforms like Unbounce
make it easy to create a high-converting landing page, while HubSpot
can handle email marketing, plan and organize events, and automate full funnel marketing campaigns. These marketing tools empower you to promote your digital products and services, draw clients to your optimized site, and enjoy more income from the global gig economy.
Once you start working for overseas clients, you may need to boost your accounting process up a level. If you’ve been using a fairly simple accounting system, you might need to replace it with something more capable that can track expenses, produce and follow up on invoices, and handle multiple currencies. Platforms like InvoiceApp
help you to produce professional-looking estimates and invoices in different currencies, while also keeping track of the equivalent in your home currency. It even integrates with local payment tech providers like Verve. The right setup to go global
There are many platforms that can help you to produce high-quality digital products, others that enable you to optimize your website for international clients, and a wealth of marketing automation support and accounting options. Consider your options and whether you’re best off building out your tech stack on a piecemeal basis, or whether you might prefer an all-in-one business management solution.
Although it might seem overwhelming to transform your small business or freelance skills to deliver internationally, with the right tools, you can enjoy the fruits of the global gig economy from South Africa, Texas, Australia, or even a small beach in Thailand.