Long-distance freelancing?

Has anyone ever freelanced for a client who is not local? I know that sounds a bit naive, as I am sure some have, but when you are working with a client in another state far from you, does it make it more difficult to communicate and negotiate versus meeting in person, seeing eye to eye and making for a successful outcome?

I am also new to freelancing; having never done it though it all seems so overwhelming!

I recently had to turn down a client who reached out to me from another state but offered only a “royalty-based” compensation; which after researching Core77, made me weary of that arrangement.


I have freelanced from WI to Manhattan working with Fisher price

Also have worked as a consultant with companies all over the states never meeting once… except virtually

Biggest asset some form of online meeting tool that allows you to share and collaborate - GOTO / WEBEX are the two ihave used in the past.

Virtually all of the contract work my team does is remote since we service a global sales network and it is very doable. To be fair, I have met most, if not all of my “clients” face to face at conferences, tradeshows, and expos and the face to face part is helpful in building rapport.

I totally agree with chevisw that you need a good online meeting tool, we use GoTo a lot, but Join.me is easier and cheaper I think. And of course there’s always Skype too.

That said it also depends on the expectations of the work, if you’re generating concepts to meet a product plan that can be a simple arrangement and very doable remote. If you’re being brought in as a consultant on a large project or RFP with an extended timetable where team collaboration is key, then that can be tough. We had a large project with about a 3 year development cycle and while one of our product plan marketing consultants was local we set him up a desk in our office for 3 months. If you look at remote work on a per project basis in this way it could help you qualify what to take on and what to pass on.

Thank you both for your advice. If I consider any freelancing, I will keep in mind the scope and depth of the projects and that I can deliver before committing.

Bumping this as I’m in a similar situation…

Long time reader, first time poster… I work in China and have been contacted by someone outside the country for some freelance work. Basically they want to use a design which they saw on my Coroflot page that I did on my own, so no problems there. However, I’m a little concerned as their compensation isn’t close to what I think the design is worth, including some changes I have to make for production.

On the other hand, the product is in a field which I’d like to pursue further in the future and I think that it could also be good to get the experience under my belt, but I don’t want to just give my work away.

Any advice would be very much appreciated.

I am based in Vancouver, BC and I have done a few projects long distance of GC architectural visualizations that went smoothly.
The most important part of the project for me is to have a solid workflow included in the quote for the client. I can’t stress this enough, the better you and the client understand each other from the beginning, the easier the process will be.

I mainly use email and telephone conversations.

I’ve been freelancing for 6 months and around 80% of my clients are from other countries/continents. Sometimes I have to have Skype meetings at odd times but otherwise it has not been too much of a problem - baring in mind that my projects are usually fairly small.

One problem that I have come across is with prototyping. Understandably clients don’t want to pay for a prototype if they can’t see and interact with it. Sending a CAD file allows them to have a 3D print done - but then you can’t play about with/test it!

There are positive and negative sides to freelancing but it is great for getting experience.

If I am working with a client that isn’t local I prefer to communicate via email to create a paper trail. It’s always best to have conversations that are dated and ‘on paper’. Email does that automatically; try to keep them in threaded conversations instead of having hundreds of separate emails. If you have to collaborate and can’t meet up, try making documents or presentations that have labels that you can reference (look at drawing 2A, etc) while discussing on the phone or video call. Record the phone calls you have for documentation. If you can’t record, send a follow up email detailing what was discussed in the phone call for the client to acknowledge (once again just to keep everything in writing). I have worked on many projects with people in several different states and they all worked out. It’s doable, just make sure to cover your bases.