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Local vs International: Where Should Nigerian Freelancers Start?

Last Updated on October 30, 2023


This blog post will explore Local vs International Nigerian Freelancers.

Freelancing, the act of working independently for various clients, has gained immense popularity in Nigeria.

As a country with a significant pool of skilled professionals, freelancing has become a viable career option for many Nigerians.

However, one crucial decision that Nigerian freelancers must make is whether to start locally or internationally.

This decision can have a significant impact on their freelancing journey and determines the scope of their opportunities.

Starting locally as a Nigerian freelancer offers several advantages. Firstly, it allows individuals to tap into the growing demand for their skills within the local market.

Clients within Nigeria often prefer working with local freelancers, as it fosters better communication and cultural understanding.

Moreover, starting locally enables freelancers to build a strong network within their own community.

This network can generate referrals and recommendations, leading to a steady stream of work and increased visibility.

On the other hand, venturing into the international freelancing landscape presents its own set of benefits.

International clients offer higher paying opportunities due to the difference in currency values, allowing Nigerian freelancers to earn more for their expertise.

Furthermore, working with international clients exposes Nigerian freelancers to diverse industries and unique projects.

This exposure broadens their skill set and bolsters their professional growth, leading to greater opportunities in the long run.

In essence, the decision of whether to start locally or internationally as a Nigerian freelancer requires careful consideration.

Both options have their merits, and the choice ultimately depends on individual preferences, goals, and the specific industry they operate in.

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Pros and Cons of Starting Locally

When it comes to freelancing, whether to start locally or internationally is a critical decision that Nigerian freelancers have to make.

Both options come with their own set of advantages and limitations. In this chapter, we will discuss the pros and cons of starting locally for Nigerian freelancers.

Advantages of Starting Locally

One major advantage of starting locally is the better understanding of the local market and competition.

Nigerian freelancers who begin their careers locally have an advantage over international freelancers because they are already familiar with the cultural nuances, market demands, and industry trends.

This familiarity can help them tailor their services to meet the specific needs of local clients, giving them an edge in the market.

Moreover, starting locally allows freelancers to build a strong network and connections within the Nigerian freelancing community.

By attending local industry events, joining professional organizations, or participating in online communities, Nigerian freelancers can establish relationships with fellow professionals, potential clients, and mentors.

This network can provide valuable support, guidance, and collaboration opportunities as they progress in their freelancing careers.

Limitations of Starting Locally

However, there are limitations to starting locally as a Nigerian freelancer. Job opportunities, especially in niche industries, may be limited within the local market.

This can restrict the variety of projects available and potentially hinder professional growth.

International freelancers often have access to a wider range of clients and industries, allowing them to explore different niches and expand their portfolios.

Furthermore, the local market may offer lower rates compared to the international market.

Local clients often have budget constraints, resulting in freelancers earning lower fees for their services.

This could impact the financial stability and growth potential of Nigerian freelancers in the long run.

International clients, on the other hand, may be willing to pay higher rates for specialized skills or unique expertise.

In fact, starting locally in Nigeria has its advantages and limitations for freelancers.

While understanding the local market and building connections are significant advantages, limited job opportunities and potentially lower rates should also be taken into account.

It ultimately depends on individual preferences, goals, and the specific freelance niche.

Nigerian freelancers should carefully evaluate their options and choose the path that aligns with their professional aspirations.

Read: Freelance Tax Guide: Understanding Taxation in Nigeria

Pros and cons of starting internationally

Starting a freelance career is an exciting prospect, but when it comes to deciding whether to focus on local or international clients, Nigerian freelancers may find themselves at a crossroads.

Both options have their advantages and considerations, and it’s essential to evaluate the pros and cons of each before making a decision.

Benefits of starting internationally

One significant advantage of starting internationally as a Nigerian freelancer is the access to a larger client base.

By expanding the target market beyond local borders, freelancers can tap into a vast pool of potential clients from various countries.

This broadening of the client base increases the chances of securing more projects and, potentially, being exposed to higher-paying opportunities.

Another advantage of working with international clients is the exposure to new ideas and cultures.

Collaborating with clients from different countries offers freelancers a chance to gain insights into different work styles, perspectives, and approaches.

This exposure can help stimulate creativity and enhance the freelancer’s skill set, leading to professional growth and a diversified portfolio.

Challenges of starting internationally

However, starting internationally also presents its challenges. One significant obstacle is the increased competition.

As a Nigerian freelancer branching out globally, one must compete with freelancers from all around the world.

This competition means that it may be more challenging to stand out and secure projects, especially when competing against freelancers from countries with lower cost-of-living rates.

Additionally, when freelancing internationally, one must adapt to different work requirements and time zones.

Clients from various countries may have different expectations, deadlines, and communication styles.

This adaptation requires flexibility and the ability to acclimate to different work environments successfully.

It also means being available during non-traditional working hours to accommodate clients in different time zones.

While both local and international freelance opportunities have their merits, starting internationally offers Nigerian freelancers a chance to tap into a larger client base and potentially higher-paying projects.

The exposure to new ideas and cultures can enrich their work experiences.

However, it is vital to be aware of the challenges, such as increased competition and the need to adapt to different work requirements and time zones.

Ultimately, the decision to focus on local or international clients depends on personal goals, preferences, and the ability to navigate potential challenges.

Nigerian freelancers have the opportunity to make informed choices that align with their career aspirations and pave the way for success, both locally and internationally.

Read: Fiverr Payment Methods: Receiving Money in Nigeria

Local vs International: Where Should Nigerian Freelancers Start?

Factors to consider when making a decision

Importance of considering personal preferences and goals as a Nigerian freelancer

As a Nigerian freelancer, it is important to consider your personal preferences and goals when deciding whether to start locally or explore international opportunities.

Each choice presents unique benefits and challenges, so understanding your motivations is crucial.

When deciding whether to start as a local or international freelancer, it is crucial to evaluate personal preferences and goals.

Factors such as preferred working hours, communication style, and work-life balance should be taken into account.

Significance of assessing one’s skills and experience to determine if they align better with the local or international market

One essential factor to evaluate is your skills and experience.

Determine whether your expertise is more sought after in the local market or if there is a greater demand internationally.

By aligning your skill set with the market’s needs, you increase the chances of success and profitability.

An essential factor in choosing between local and international freelancing is assessing one’s skills and experience.

Consider if your expertise is more in demand locally or if it holds value in the global market. Understand how your skills align with the needs and trends of each market.

Role of research in understanding the demand and opportunities in both markets

Before making a decision, it is essential to conduct thorough research.

Understand the current demand for your services in the local market and explore potential international opportunities.

Analyze market trends, competition, and client expectations in both realms to make an informed choice.

Thorough research is paramount in making an informed decision.

Study the demand for your services in the local market, identifying any gaps or niches that can be filled.

Simultaneously, explore international opportunities by examining global trends, identifying industries with higher demand, and understanding client expectations in different regions.

Potential for combining local and international freelancing to maximize opportunities

Instead of solely choosing between local or international freelancing, consider the potential for a hybrid approach.

By combining both markets, you can broaden your client base and maximize opportunities.

This approach allows you to benefit from both local connections and global exposure.

While choosing between local and international freelancing has its merits, it is essential to realize the potential for combining both approaches.

Adopting a hybrid model allows you to maximize your opportunities and revenue streams.

By leveraging your local connections while capitalizing on the global reach of international freelancing platforms, you expand your potential client base significantly.

Combining local and international freelancing can also provide a safety net during economic fluctuations.

If one market experiences a slowdown, the other can compensate for the decline. This diversification reduces the risk and ensures a steady income stream.

Moreover, a hybrid approach enables Nigerian freelancers to foster professional growth and broaden their horizons.

Through international freelancing, you can gain exposure to different cultures, work dynamics, and project scopes.

This exposure enhances your skills, making you a valuable asset to clients across borders.

However, a successful hybrid approach requires effective time management, clear communication, and adaptability.

Balancing local and international clients may require adjusting your working hours and availability, as well as accommodating cultural differences in business practices.

In general, when deciding whether to start as a local or international freelancer, Nigerian freelancers should consider personal preferences, assess their skills and experience, conduct thorough research, and explore the potential for a hybrid approach.

By taking these factors into account and making an informed decision, freelancers can position themselves for success in the ever-evolving world of freelancing.

Read: Success Stories: Nigerians Winning in Freelance Fields


Starting as a freelancer locally or internationally has its own set of pros and cons.

Locally, freelancers have the advantage of understanding the local market and building a strong network.

Additionally, they can easily connect with clients and establish trust.

On the other hand, freelancing internationally allows for a larger pool of clients and potentially higher pay rates.

It also provides exposure to different industries and cultures.

However, the decision of where to start ultimately depends on the individual freelancer’s goals, skills, and preferences.

Some may prioritize stability and prefer to start locally, while others may be seeking growth and are willing to venture internationally.

It is crucial for Nigerian freelancers to consider all factors carefully before making a decision.

They should assess their own abilities, target market, competition, and financial goals.

By doing so, they can make an informed decision that aligns with their unique circumstances.

Regardless of the chosen starting point, freelancing offers flexibility and immense potential for growth.

It allows individuals to work on their own terms, choose their projects, and expand their skills.

With dedication and hard work, Nigerian freelancers can achieve success both locally and internationally.

The decision of where Nigerian freelancers should start depends on their individual circumstances, and it is important for them to carefully evaluate all the factors involved.

Freelancing offers a world of opportunities, and with the right mindset and determination, freelancers can thrive in either a local or international market.

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