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freelance team around the world

International Freelance Teams: How to Expand Without Growing Pains

Daniel TemkinDaniel Temkin
August 2, 2016

If you wanted to build the ideal freelance team to grow your business, where would you look for team members?

In today’s ever-shrinking world, the professionals best suited for your goals may not be the ones who are closest to you. Many successful businesses are driven by international teams of freelancers, with each member bringing different skills and expertise to the table. But putting together a great international team of freelancers presents some serious hurdles that you’ll want to address in order to keep your business running smoothly.

Fortunately, there are strategies and cutting-edge tools that can help you build a freelance team that’s an engine for growth – and not a source of growing pains. As far apart as your team members may be, it all comes down to keeping them close together.

Building a Winning Team

It goes without saying that before you can build the team dynamics you want, you need to have team members who can make that happen. But identifying the right people for your freelance team can be more challenging than a traditional face-to-face job interview.

Before hiring an overseas freelancer, it’s worth your time to pay close attention to their work samples, as well as their testimonials or references. Graphic design marketplace 99designs suggests focusing on three factors when examining a freelancer’s portfolio: the types of work they show, the tone(s) of their samples, and the topics that they have covered. You can also use tools like LinkedIn’s recommendations to gauge how well they have worked with previous clients. And both trust and communication skills can also make a world of difference down the road, so it’s a good idea to consider those factors when interviewing prospective team members.

Once you have assembled an international team of outstanding freelancers, it’s important to establish the group dynamics that they need to excel together. The challenge is real, because you can’t count on the avenues for communication that are a given in office settings – plus, language barriers can lead to misunderstandings and difficulties. But there’s never been a greater variety of tools available to keep your whole team in sync. It’s also important to take the time to build rapport with your team members.

Keeping Them on Track

When people work together in an office building, there are routines and arrangements that naturally keep everybody on track to be productive. Work hours may be well defined, and at any given time it’s likely obvious who’s working and who isn’t. Workplaces tend to be – well – places of work, and when payday rolls around it’s pretty clear how much any given employee should take home.

When building an international freelance team, not only do you not have these factors to fall back on – you may well have people working different hours, in different time zones, with little hard evidence of how much time they spend working. If you’re paying them by the hour, this situation can create a mountain of uncertainty that can get in the way of the team dynamics that you want to build.

The good news? Again, innovative tools can help boost both transparency and productivity. If you’re looking for a reliable way to keep records of the hours your remote team members work, time-tracking software can be a simple solution.

While many time-tracking tools let you keep track of work hours via a stopwatch feature, the various platforms out there differ in the additional features they offer. Innovative platforms like Hubstaff and Time Doctor automatically keep a record of how each freelancer uses their computer during their work time and can even take screenshots at random (if you want them to!), helping make sure work hours are reported accurately. Both of these platforms also offer integrations that make it easy to automatically pay your team members for each hour they have worked.

Of course, keeping track of work hours is good for more than making sure your payments are accurate. You can also use time-tracking software to get a bird’s-eye view of how your team spends its time and how productive each member is – valuable information that can boost your efficiency. And many leading time-tracking programs (including the popular Harvest platform) can be integrated with project-management tools to help you schedule projects more efficiently.

Making Sure Payments Run Smoothly

If trust is an important piece of a team dynamic (Hint: It is!), then it’s important for your team members to know they can count on you to pay them on time. You’ll want to find a payment system that meets your needs and – just as importantly – the needs of your international team, so that everyone gets paid promptly and reliably.

Finding a dependable way to pay overseas freelancers can save time, money, and headaches – both for them and for you. Low rates are important when choosing a payment platform – but depending on your needs, you may also want to focus on speed, reliability, and customer support. Solutions like Payoneer’s free Make a Payment service can help you make sure your international team gets paid quickly, without costing you your hard-earned revenue.

With a winning team of the world’s best freelancers for your specific goals (and your specific budget), you can keep more of that hard-earned revenue coming in – without shouldering all of the burden on your own. It can be challenging to build a strong team when its members are spread across the globe – but with the right strategies and tools, you can decrease the distance and boost your team’s productivity. Remember: A great freelance team can be the difference between growing pains and a growing business.


The content provided in this article including any information relating to pricing, fees, and other charges is accurate and valid only as of the date it was published. In addition, changes in applicable regulations, policies, market conditions, or other relevant factors may impact the accuracy of the mentioned pricing and fees and other associated details. Accordingly, it is further clarified that any information regarding pricing, fees and other charges is subject to changes, and it is your responsibility to ensure you are viewing the most up to date content applicable to you. Payoneer will provide the most up to date and accurate information relating to pricing and fees as part of the account registration process. Registered customers can view this information via their online account.

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