Gone are the days when you had to go in person from door to door looking for new customers and give them your resume. If you can buy online from all over the world, you can also work online for your customers – no matter where they operate from -, don’t you think so?

Of course, searching for international customers only makes sense if they’re going to pay you higher wages than customers in your country – or if it would translate in less competition for you. So use globalization to your advantage. You don’t have to search for customers only in your country!

How to get international customers

However, trying to get new customers from another culture – and maybe another language – needs a bit of research and prework on your side before diving in. What seems logical for you might be considered unprofessional, or even disrespectful in other cultures, so let’s make sure that we aren’t hurting anyone’s feelings – especially if you’re dealing with potential customers!

What you need to research to get international customers:

  • Learn how to write an application in the target country. How do they usually do it? Do they usually send a formless email, saying something like “check out my attached resume”? Or do applicants rather send an application letter, explaining why they’re the best candidate for the company they’re trying to win as a customer?
  • Once you know what belongs into your introductory email, you should find out how the actual resumes or collaboration proposals look like. Are they standardized? Can you get creative? Do you need a resume at all? Can’t you just send a link to your online portfolio or website?
  • Research the professional networks usually used in the country you’re trying to find new customers. Where do they publish work offers for freelancers? Is it on a job search website like indeed.com or monster.com? Is it on LinkedIn? Do they have any local job search platform?

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Steps to win international customers

Once you’ve figured out how to approach your potential customers from overseas, there are a few steps you’ll have to take. It may seem like a lot, but most of the steps are only applicable for the first time. When your resume, your portfolio and your online presence are all set up, you can forget about them for a while.

You’ll probably have to speak your potential customers’ language. However, if learning a new language sounds too unrealistic for you, the least that you could do is hiring a translator for the following:

  • resume
  • application letter (if needed)
  • portfolio and/or website
  • social media professional profiles.

So let’s have a look at the steps you should take if you want to win customers from all over the world:

  1. Translate your LinkedIn page – or any other professional social network – into the relevant language(s).
  2. Create a profile on local professional associations related to your expertise. As a professional translator, I’m a member of the German Translators’ and Interpreters’ Associations, for instance. There’s less work for me than for Germans, that’s for sure, but on the other hand, I also have less competition for my mother tongue – Spanish.
  3. Translate your website into their language. If you don’t think that’s worth it – at least not until you’ve found your first customer in that country -, create a landing page in the market language you’d like to attract. This post about working online even without a website may help!
  4. Search for jobs or projects on foreign platforms. Tip: Search for “[Your language]” and the keyword you were going to type anyway. For example, if you’re an American content writer who would like to have Italian customers, write something like “English content writer” in the search box. Depending on the job search platform you’re using, you can filter the job offers by categories, so once you’ve selected your category (in this example, content writers), you’ll just have to type “English” – or whatever your language is.
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Tips to get international customers if you feel comfortable with speaking their language

  • Offer language services which complement your current services. So let’s say you offer lifestyle coaching for women. What about offering coaching sessions in Italian?
  • Offer “import” services into your country – only if it complements your current services and products. For instance, let’s say you help startups raise funds. A great – and easy! – way for you to grow your business would be offering help to foreign startups to raise funds in your country!

How can you compete with freelancers from poorer countries?

  • Many freelancers only apply for jobs in their countries. Don’t ask me why – I honestly can’t understand it. But the truth is that they don’t even think about searching for customers from other places. So take advantage of this. Find out where you’d be best paid, and go for those customers!
  • Focus on high quality. Quality is what has to let you stand out. Period. If your quality is higher – and your customer is looking for quality products or services, your price isn’t going to be stopping you from winning that customer.
  • Clients whose highest priority is to find the lowest bidder shouldn’t be your target.
  • If you wanted to hire a freelancer to design your logo, for instance, and even if you’re on a tight budget – who would you choose? Someone with a crappy website who takes $5/hour, or rather someone with a professional looking website who asks for $20/hour? How many $5 per hour are you gonna risk until you get the result you’re looking for? Remember: Cheap is always more expensive in the long term!
  • Professionality: Your way to communicate, your delivering on time and your online presence speak for themselves. Check out this post to plan and build a strong online presence.

Recap

  • Research how to apply for a job, how your resume should look like and where work offers are usually posted.
  • Translate or hire a translator to translate the following into the language of the market where you want to win customers:
    • resume
    • application letter (if needed)
    • portfolio and/or website
    • social media professional profiles.
  • Offer services to companies who want to start operating in your country.
  • Offer your mother tongue as an additional service to your offerings. Check out this post about learning foreign languages to find freelance work.
  • Make quality and professionality let you stand out from other freelancers from poorer countries – and cheaper wages.
  • Follow these steps to get new customers without looking for them actively.
Born to Freelance

Alicia

Born to Freelance

Are you born to freelance?

Don't look for clients. Let them find you!

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If you don't need to leave the house to shop online, you can also look for work gigs outside of your country. No need to travel if you don't want to! Get customers from all over the world #workonline #workfromhome #creativebusiness #findnewcustomers #borntofreelance