One Man Multinational
I run a one man (read person if that term bugs you) multinational business, and we all can, thanks to the levelling effect of the internet.
The Internet Has Brought People Together
The internet has brought people together like no other medium in the past.
I can communicate with people across the planet at almost zero cost. There are tools that allow me to provide services as if they were sitting next to me, and other tools to take payment in their local currency and deposit it in my bank account with almost no effort. In short the world is my market, I’m a multinational player not a local small business, and I think you should build your empire in the same way so you can tap into a huge global audience not a small sheltered local one.
An Unusual Day
Let me tell you about an unusual day I had last week that sparked the idea for this post.
I came to work in my home office in the UK, and my first task was to catch up with some emails to a client in Australia there is a small window when we are both online so I dealt with them as a priority so we could bat a couple of ideas back and forth about a Chinese version of his site before he turned in for the night.
I took a 10am skype call from a client in Dubai, we had to juggle our times around his visit to the Mosque, but it worked out well, he gave me final instructions for a multilingual site we would be working on together.
I went through my morning routine of sending out quotes to potential clients around the globe. Then I knuckled down and did some real work. morning is my prime time, it is usually very quiet, but not today.
The majority of my work comes from the US. Early afternoon sees the east coast rise, and my inbox comes to life, I start shooting replies to queries, sending out invoice the usual day to day client interaction. As the afternoon wears on I can feel the rest of the states waking from their slumber, my last client interaction is from a Canadian on the Pacific coast needing help with a bug in her French and English site.
That evening I gave a webinar attended by people in multiple time zones, I always start my webinars by saying “Good morning, good afternoon or good evening depending upon your timezone”.
I love the way my work seems to follow the sun throughout the day.
The Majority of My Clients Are International
The majority of my clients are not local to me in the UK, even though this could be beneficial to me.
I deliberately position myself as an international player. This allows me to tap into a huge global market, not just a local one. I don’t do local networking events (that leaves me cold) I’m not hunting down local companies so I can physically pitch to them, rather I have a 24/7 website selling my wares to anyone who cares to call. When I run ads I target the english speaking world, where ever they may be. I can and do service people where ever they may be, the internet has made global trade a very easy thing.
There Are Downsides
Of course it’s not all shiny happy people, there are downsides. Paypal kicks me in the nuts with exchange rates every time I draw down cash (bastards). Timezone limitations. many of which are self impose mean many potentially lucrative 1-1 consulting gigs drift off because I cannot or will not take a call at 10pm. I’ve been at the pointy end of Xenophobia and short sighted people who accept quotes then later come back and say they found someone local. WTF this goes both ways people, you don’t need to search for mediocre local talent, you can hire from the global community as easily as you can the local community.
There is an global audience out there waiting for your products an services, you just need a way to reach them. A multi language website is a great way to start.