So, who should you go for when it comes to hiring a freelancer; local or international? This a debatable subject. What is important is when it comes to hiring is the end goal. Before, Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, online freelancing marketplace was booming.

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I recall back in the year 2018 and 2019 receiving e-mails and messages from newbie freelancers seeking my advise after their applications to be freelancers on Upwork was rejected. They wanted my advise on what to do in order to breakthrough.

During the same time in my country Kenya, media reported that a third of Kenya’s youths who were eligible for work were unemployed. This meant that the rate of youth unemployment stood at 38.9%. As an entrepreneur, I found myself in a limbo especially on who to hire.

Video on Comparison between hiring locally vs hiring internationally online

As a Kenyan Citizen, I have to be my brothers keeper. This is in our loyalty pledge and I quote ‘by the living spirit embodied in our national motto Harambee.” In this case, my first priority should be to hire local freelancers as opposed to hiring an international freelancer via online freelance marketplaces.

Again, this depended on many things. I must confess that I was and still get disappointed several times by the local freelancers I collaborate with. However, I get better at it every time on how I handle them.

At the time, I had spotted opportunities in the freelancing platforms I had signed up on and was ready to explore them. This means that I had one account as a client and another one as a freelancer.

That’s how I shaped my approach to hiring freelancers which I am going to share with you here today. It’s important to note that the terms of doing work on freelancing marketplaces changes all time in a bid to prohibit ‘brokerage‘ kind of business in their platforms.

To begin, lets first look at the reasons why people hire freelancers.


When planning to hire a freelancer, the skills needed should comes first. What kind of skills are you looking for? This way, you will be able to first; look around and see if you can find a local freelancer around you with the skill; and secondly, determine which platform is good to find the right freelancer.

Sometimes, the skills need for the project at hand may not be available in your country or its hard to find. I this case, you will have no option other than to use the freelance marketplaces to find the right fit.

Once you have established where to find the skill you want, you can now proceed and post a job for freelancers to apply. Please read the article here on how to sift through many applications.


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How much time do you have with you to reach out, evaluate and hire the right freelancer? This is very important. Some projects are urgent and others are not. In my experience, finding a local freelancer with the skill you are looking for takes time because it’s mainly dependent on referrals from the people you know.

Additionally, there are spread across different platforms. So it may take 1-2 weeks to find one.

On the other hand finding an international online freelancer is easy. You only have to sign up on a freelancing platform, post a job and wait for applications or bids to come in. Based on their portfolio, you can eliminate and remain with those most qualified for the job.

So, the process of hiring an international freelancer takes only few hours. Most of them are always online as they do freelancing full time.

Considering the timeline you have, you can opt for either international or local freelancer.


What’s your budget? Is it within the amount that the freelancers around you are offering? While scouting for a freelancer, its important not to quote your budget until you confirm that the person you are interviewing has the skill that you are looking for. That’s when you can reveal to them how much you are willing to spend if they are shy to quote you an amount.

The advantage of not quoting them your budget upfront is because you may end up saving money besides giving the freelancer a feeling of control on how much they charge for their skills.

So, if you find that the budget you are being offered locally is expensive, you can consider checking with freelancers from around the world. This only applies if the project can be completed remotely.

In many occasions, you will find a better offer from a freelancer in a different continent. That’s when you can consider hiring a freelancer from the international marketplace as opposed to local.


Ease of payment is another important dynamic when hiring a freelancer irrespective of where you meet them. How easy is it to pay them? Are you ready to comply with online payment schemes?

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When you have this in mind, you will be in a position to know which option to use in order to save money. Paying a local freelancer is easy. I also find it very good to consider a local freelancer first since at the end of everything, you will remain with the good business relationship and you can meet them in person.

For creatives, you may later find that you can join hands and build something great together.

Contract Terms

Some contracts dictates how you are going to handle a project. Non Disclosure Contract is very common in the freelancing world. Make sure you read and understand well the contract terms. If you are hiring a freelancer to provide a certain service which is part of the contract, ensure that you replicate the contract and have whoever is part of the contract(contributor) to sign.

If you fail to do so and the person you hired (contributor) shares the contents of the project; and the contract prohibited sharing contents of the work in any manner; you may find yourself in trouble.

That’s why, in such occasions, if its a contract originating from a local organization, it’s wise to hire a local talent who can work on the project and can agree to sign the contract.

But again, you are not limited. You can still consider either local or international freelancer depending on time, cost, availability and will to sign the NDA contract.


Element Local FreelancerInternational Freelancer (Online)
Skills Scarcely available to find. Mainly dependent on who you know.Easy to find. You just post a job and indicate the skill you want.
Timelines Takes time to find the right fit. May take 1-2 weeks. Take ONLY few hours to find the right fit
Budget Mostly reasonable and you get value. You get All. Cheap and Expensive. You may lose money if you are stingy on your budget by hiring because they are cheap.
Payments Easy to pay It may be costly and sometimes complicated depending your nationality.
Contract TermsNot seriously taken. Some freelancers refuse to do work if you ask them to sign a NDA. Seriously taken by every party. Easy to comply.
A summary table of comparison between hiring local vs Hiring international freelancer

The summary of scores out of 5; local freelancers scores 3/5 and International freelancer score 3/5. So, it’s a draw😀. Now, its up to you to decide who you want to hire.


Having the ability to handle both hiring options is good. It gives you a room to understand the many dynamics of doing business both locally and internationally. I use both regularly depending on the skill am after and ease of access.

I find it easy to hire anyone from any country for tech related skills because I get variety of offers besides being able to find someone with experience in very specific niches in the market.

Economy of the future is lies in both markets.

Which approach do you prefer when hiring freelancers; local or international? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

And if you need help with video production services, you can request a free quote here. Just describe in detail what you need in the summary section and we will get back to you.

Until next time, bye bye and take care.

Follow me on twitter @cheptiony.

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