This year, I’ve swapped the sunny beaches of Australia for the snowy streets of Montreal, Canada. Living in a new city is incredible: discovering gorgeous new cafes, amazing parks and museums, amidst a new culture and climate.
And while the move to another part of the world is an adventure, if you’re working with existing clients you need to be prepared to hit the ground running with “business as usual”.
When you work overseas, you not only need to communicate with your clients completely virtually, in a different timezone. In today’s internet-connected world, it’s easy enough to do, but setting yourself up with a few tools from the outset makes things a lot easier – even if you need to keep your head in two timezones each day to get through your workday!
Here is my hit list of tools you need to help you keep your workday when you’re working internationally…
Time and Date Meeting Planner
This nifty website actually covers everything to do with time and timezones. But the World Clock Meeting Planner is amazing because it colour codes the best meeting times for both timezones. It makes it easy to see when both parties are awake and functioning (even if that’s with the help of coffee!)
The other protip I suggest is adding a link to the Time and Date meeting planner to your email signature. It’s hard enough to do business where you’ve only got a crossover of a handful hours a week – asking a client to do maths to arrange a call on top of that is a tough one!
If you’ve not used Skype in the last decade, I don’t know you’ve survived! We’ve all used Skype for video calls when we’ve done business or training internationally. But the side of Skype I’d never used before is where you can call directly to someone’s telephone. Add $15 of Skype credit and you’re able to call businesses locally to set up services when you first arrive, but also call clients on their mobile without having them to sit at their computer for a video call. The catch to keep in mind with this is that Skype credit does expire in a few weeks, so keep an eye on it.
To make it as easy as possible for clients back home to know when you’re available, you could even update your Skype status with the hours you’ve more available. Don’t forget to set Skype to automatically turn on when you’re online so your clients can easily get in touch.
How can I write about a competitor to Skype i the same post?! Well, I actually use Zoom just as much as I use Skype, but for different things.
Zoom is great for group phone calls: I have my fortnightly mastermind group via Zoom – because a community is essential even when on the other side of the world. But Zoom can also be used to film calls to for youtube videos or for webinars. Subscribing is affordable especially if you will be using group calls often. To join a meeting, participants just click a link and it opens Zoom on their computer. Easy peesy.
Google is full of amazing little tricks. Did you know you can add multiple timezones to your Google Calendar? If you want to pop a meeting in, it’s easy to scan to see the timezone in both countries. Adding a different timezone to your calendar is simple and eliminates the maths (one of my key goals in life).
And, while you’re at it, why not add the public holidays for the new country you’re in so that you’re not caught out?
Acuity* is smooth little booking system you can embed into your website, which includes payments. Because you set your availability in your local timezone, people can book either paid or free meetings with you which syncs right with your Google Calendar. I use it for my 1-on-1 coaching calls so people can easily book and pay in one go.
WhatsApp is one of the largest growing social networks (now owned by Facebook) – although, it really could be called a messaging app. With the option for individual or group chat, and access via a mobile or on the web app, WhatsApp is really flexible. I
It’s not just for SMS or text chats either – it also can be used for video calls using wifi, which is really useful when you don’t yet have a sim card in a new country.
Rocketbook Wave Notebook
When you’re moving overseas, what do you not have a lot of room for? Books. Especially notebooks.
I’m truly a pen-and-paper girl at heart, especially when I’m brainstorming. But I didn’t have the luxury of packing a stack of notebooks, so I invested in the Rocketbook Wave. Originally a nifty little kickstarter, the Rocketbook Wave is a notebook where the ink can be entirely erased when you pop it in the microwave with a mug of water.
Even better? Each page has QR codes which you can scan with the app, which automatically syncs important pages to whatever place on the internet you desire – whether that’s Evernote, Dropbox or Google Drive. It’s your BFF if you love paper, but want to travel light.
The key takeaways
Working internationally takes a little while to get your head around a new way of working and you may feel a little like a time traveller.
You may need to work in the evening to launch a project because you need answers live. You may be able to complete a project when the client is asleep. Or perhaps they have a simple question which they need to wait 10 hours for an answer.
Either way, setting clear expectations with your clients on what are your working hours are and how you can be contacted – ideally, before you head overseas – will help reduce the chaos and stress.
I hope these tools have given you some ideas to help you balance work and travel when you next head overseas!
Do you know any other tools to help working internationally a bit smoother? Let me know in the comments!
Want to work with Rachel?Rachel Beaney is a writer and social media content specialist, helping businesses connect with their audiences.
She’s worked with local, national and global companies, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping businesses tell their stories with creative and data-driven solutions.
She is based in Sydney, Australia.
Want to work together? Rachel would love to hear from you. Get in touch today.