Updated: May 6
Freelancing has been a popular way to make money for many years.
But now, with the advent of globalization and the internet, freelancers have more opportunities than ever to find work around the world! There are still some challenges though.
So in this blog post, we'll cover a few, high-impact ways you can get international clients for your freelance business.
First things first, there's nothing (absolutely nothing stopping you from going international).
If you have the 5 S (like Saina Nehwal's ethos): Stamina, Speed, Skill, Strength, and Spirit, you are all good to make a killing with freelancing.
Whether you are freelancing as a writer, illustrator, graphic designer, web developer, or virtual assistant, these tips will apply:
Get your own platform: This is your home
You are a freelancer; you are a digital entrepreneur. This automatically means that you should have your own blog (professionally done, with your own domain name. Get some deals and discounts here). Then, get published at a few publications with your name (and photo) showing.
If you are a writer, you'll showcase your blog posts as your work. The key is to be self-published. All on your own. You can also request other bloggers and publications to publish on their sites with your byline.
Illustrator? Start a website (see below) and showcase your illustrations.
Web developer? Build out live projects around your own ideas. Just look at how many developers start projects on ProductHunt.
Some really inexpensive ways to start your web presence is by using the following platforms:
Slightly more expensive (but well worth the money) options are: Webflow and
the self-hosted version of WordPress if you want to go down that route.
Once you are done with your foundation, you'll do this: Find clients.
Here are some top, proven ways to find international clients for freelancing:
Find Clients On Freelance Job Boards
I know everyone makes a huge scene about these, but I don't care. I care about you getting a start.
Look, I am still on Upwork and I made around $125,000 from there alone (and I continue to work there). See my profile if you are interested
You need to make money from freelancing. That's all I care about.
I don't mind getting projects from freelance job boards such as Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and guru (don't bother with the rest). Get your clients here and build an actual foundation of client work. A rock-solid portfolio that you'll be proud of.
Once you are accomplished, you have three options: stay there, leave, or do a bit of both.
The choice is yours.
Have an Impactful Social media Presence
Make sure you have a profile that showcases your work and includes links back to your website or portfolio site, if applicable. You can also use social media to grow your following and network.
Remember though: your presence on social networks is to do the following (and not just promote your services as a freelance writer.
Share your best work (blog post for writers, live projects for web devs, illustrations for illustrators, actual videos for video editors, etc.)
Really connect with people (those you want to work with, other professionals, your fellow freelance writers, startup founders, freelancers who do other things, and others)
Make an impact
Direct outreach via email (Cold Email Outreach)
If they don't already know who you are, which is mostly going to be the case with you, reach out to them. On your own. With a simple, honest-to-God, short email.
Provide a link to your portfolio (or a couple of samples). Do cold email outreach because this is what makes you a true entrepreneur (or a digital entrepreneur).
Take the time to craft a thoughtful, kind, and compelling email. Be yourself; this is your opportunity to connect with someone in another country and they don't know you.
Best way to do this? Ask for feedback or advice, and it does not have to be necessarily about work (though that could be appropriate) but just something like:
"I'm playing around with ideas on how to rework my garden. I noticed your Pinterest images (and your Home decor ideas are fantastic). What do you think about my ideas for my bedroom (share pics)?"
Or give out a genuine, relatable, heartfelt compliment.
"Hey Abi, I am a huge fan of your work. I am a fellow IITian, a member of the Lions Club of Hyderabad, and I've been eating all of your YouTube videos for lunch. Just wanted to thank you for the work you do"
Go beyond normal
Everything mentioned above is what most active, successful freelancers do.
Feeling more aspirational? Want to make a splash?
Create and sell eBooks.
Launch coaching programs (these can be done in the form of an article series, video series, audiobook compilation, or as individual products).
Or launch a YouTube channel and try to grow your channel (no, it doesn't have to be on Casey Neistat level but the fact that you are trying tells others that you are not "some regular freelancer or entrepreneur".
National or International, whether you are a freelance writer or freelance developer, the hustle and work is the only way to succeed.