Handling an Overseas Writing Business

The great thing about being a freelance writer is that you can live virtually anywhere in the world and still do the same exact job while enjoying the benefits of becoming a world traveler. If you want to start an overseas writing business, here are a few tips.

Tip #1: Use the Buddy System

If you are planning to move for a brief period of time — one year, for example — then you will want to retain the comforts of certain things from home while still handling your writing business overseas. You can accomplish this much more effectively by using the buddy system. Find a friend or a relative who can receive your mail, deposit important checks and maintain correspondence with your “home country” clients. This will cut down on your need to send IRC’s with every letter you write and will also many it easier to maintain your finances.

Tip #2: Maintain a Local Bank Account

There are a few benefits to opening a foreign bank account when managing a writing business overseas, but it is usually much easier to have a local bank account, instead. This allows you to deposit checks in your “home country” currency and prevents you from having to incur large fees for cashing a check in a foreign country. This also works out will if you’re using the aforementioned buddy system; your friend or relative can simply deposit your checks in your local bank and you can use online banking to pay your bills.

Tip #3: Get American Express

When handling a writing business overseas, it is almost always helpful to have an American Express card at your disposal. You can hang on to the Visa and MasterCard if you’d like, but American Express is accepted in most foreign countries and is actually the preferred method of payment for Americans when traveling (or moving) internationally.

Tip #4: Sign Up for Internet Faxing

Many Internet faxing services, such as eFax (efax.com) are much easier to maintain when handling a writing business overseas than using a LAN line for your faxing needs. For one thing, international lines often interrupt facsimile transmissions; for another, you’ll probably need to fax a great deal of documents to clients and editors and the fees can be enormous.

Tip #5: Get a Local Phone Number

With the advent of telephone services like Vonage, you can make telephone calls from just about anywhere in the country but maintain a local phone number, which cuts down on the fees for international calls and will enable you to itemize your bill so that you can separate business telephone expenses from personal ones. Maintaining a writing business overseas probably will mean calling your editor(s) and clients on a weekly (if not daily) basis, and telephone calls are expensive when dialed internationally.

Tip #6: Research Tax Requirements

Maintaining a writing business overseas does not exempt you from paying U.S. taxes and may require that you pay taxes to the country in which you are living, temporarily or otherwise. Whatever the case, you should familiarize yourself with the tax requirements of expats and make sure that you outsource an accountant who is used to these types of cases. You’ll want to have every opportunity to take tax deductions, so hiring a professional is usually money well spent.