How to Land International Freelance Clients for 2015 — Now
Carol Tice | 25 Comments

Young successful woman looking at worldmap with profile photos oBy Amy Dunn Moscoso

Are you losing out on local freelance clients because they don’t have the budget for freelancers or because other writers work for less?

You don’t have to limit yourself to local clients. Start thinking globally.

You can build a rocking list of international freelance clients — and secure work for 2015 — with a few simple steps.

Generate leads with global trade shows

Want to break into a new industry? Beef up your client roster? Targeting global trade shows can help you land awesome clients.

My past experience as an agency trade show publicist taught me that companies have:

  • robust trade show marketing budgets
  • urgent need for written marketing materials and press kits
  • time-starved employees who can’t write and work

Recently, I generated red hot leads by pitching global trade shows. I found a Siemens site listing energy tradeshows, selected three and pitched blog articles, brochures, LinkedIn profiles, and media kits to:

  • show managers (the person who knows everyone)
  • sponsors (with juicy budgets)
  • exhibitors (who want to get the best return on their investment)

How I’m getting gigs for 2015: Tradeshows often run a fall and spring version. I offered to handle both. Two leads have emailed their fall and spring requirements, and one even asked if I’m able to write up an industry awards submission in February.

Act as a Local Contact

Does your city, region, or country dominate an industry?

Here’s your chance to activate your PR knowledge. Pitch yourself to international companies attending events, meetings, or conferences as a local contact who writes appropriate:

  • press kits
  • social media campaigns
  • marketing materials

I recently landed a CEO speaker package with a CEO in France, who is presenting in Toronto. I also provided cultural dos and don’ts and Canadian references to help him connect with the audience.

How I’m driving work for 2015: I pitched myself as a Canadian Special Projects Writer. This company has work for year end in March and needs to communicate “in Canadian.”

Position Yourself as a Cultural Consultant

Are overseas companies setting up offices in your town? Here’s your chance to grab work before the local competition descends. Send an LOI that pitches:

  • city guides
  • a package on business etiquette
  • a family resources kit

I’ve landed this kind of work through an agency. During the research, I interviewed local business and government experts which resulting in landing these contacts as clients.

Lining up work for 2015: My family is moving to China, so I’m researching how to settle small children and import Ziggy, our mini-poodle, sans quarantine. I pitched an ongoing ex-pat life blog to five Fortune 500 companies in my new city that recruit North Americans. So far, I have one hot lead.

Secure your 2015 Income

Put an end to the freelancer feast-and-famine cycle and fill in your fall and spring schedule by going global. You may find that once you’ve added international clients to your portfolio, local contacts start banging down your door, too.

How do you target far-flung companies? Share your top tips in the comments below.

Amy Dunn Moscoso is a Canadian B2B writer who works with IT, SaaS, and small business-focused companies, publications, and entrepreneurs around the world. Drop by her blog to talk content marketing.

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25 comments on “How to Land International Freelance Clients for 2015 — Now

  1. Steven Rainwater on

    Amy! This is a great marketing approach, exactly what I needed! I decided to surf around the web this morning to get my own creative ideas flowing, and I bookmarked a dozen or so articles. This is the only one I need! I am going to begin using this approach immediately (of course, in addition to other things I’m already doing). This approach offers so many possibilities for my business,both internationally AND where I live. Thanks again!

  2. Jeremy on

    Hustling on trade show floors is an approach I haven’t considered before … looks like I’ll have a new strategy to implement in my arsenal!

    • Amy on

      Hi Jeremy,

      Tradeshows can be a quick way to take the temperature of an entire industry and qualify all kinds of clients. Glad to hear you have a new tool to sharpen!

  3. Sarah Li Cain on

    I LOVE the idea of pitching as a local consultant. I’ve lived in China for the past 6 years, why haven’t I thought of this before?

    Considering how big a certain industry is here where I’m living, it makes total sense to pitch them! Thanks for the wonderful ideas!

  4. Revé on

    Good tips! I’m an American expat in Spain, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to break into international markets (particularly as a newbie).

  5. Daryl on

    I love this!

    This is actually quite relevant to me, because where I live (a tiny island in the middle of the Caribbean) has recently attracted a couple of foreign investors in the tourism/construction industry.

    After working with a construction company and seeing the HUGE screwups that they made by not understanding local culture, I think I’m in a rather unique position to put together something (not sure what yet though).

    But first I need to get Google Translate to translate their page from Chinese to English…

    • Amy on

      Hi Daryl,

      You could probably save companies thousands of dollars.

      I wonder if there’s an English contact you could interview and then write up the page? (Google translate can get kind of crazy….maybe you can help…)

      Amy

  6. Emelia on

    Wow! Something fresh for 2015. I’ve never heard of this idea before, Amy and I like it. I agree with what Gwen and Kevin said about not finding good paying international clients or being rejected because of nationality. But I’ve worked with good paying international clients before and would like to believe that there could be more “waiting for me somewhere”.

    • Amy on

      Hi Emelia,

      I think you’ve nailed it – you have to know, sometimes even before seeing them, that those clients are out there and that they need you. I hope you find a whack of them for 2015.

      Amy

  7. Rob on

    You wouldn’t think there would be many opportunities like this in a country like Cambodia, but a friend of mine got a well-paying gig over coffee in a Phnom Penh cafe. He wasn’t even pitching his services. Just mentioned he was a freelance writer in a casual conversation.

    • Amy on

      Wow – Rob that’s fascinating. How did that happen? Sometimes, when you travel, you never know who you may meet on the plane, or maybe in a Cambodian cafe? Would love to read what your friend wrote here. Any links?

      Amy

  8. Gwen Boyle on

    This is a really brilliant tactic Amy, and certainly one I wouldn’t have thought of before!

    I think the tips about positioning yourself as a local expert or cultural consultant are great. I’ve been finding it difficult to contact potential international clients as I live in Ireland, and more often than not get a polite “thanks, but we work with people who are US-based” etc. On the other hand, I get a lot of replies from local places saying that they already do their writing in-house, or “we don’t have the budget now but we’ll keep you on file”. The idea of targeting companies that are coming to trade shows or setting up a base in Ireland soon opens up whole other avenues!

    Thanks for the advice, and best of luck with the move to China 🙂

    • Amy on

      Hi Gwen,

      I know it can be tough when everyone’s looking for someone in the US.

      I do know here, though, that business in Europe and the UK is big and we love all parts of Ireland (and don’t understand the differences between the two parts – I’ve seen some embarrassing business blunders around it – maybe a guide for those attending tradeshows in Ireland?)

      What about being a UK business or travel destination guide or pitching a travel magazine before St. Patrick’s Day on an insider Irish travel guide to Ireland beyond the travel guides?

      Good luck with your pitches.

      Amy

      P.S. Thanks for the good wishes for China. We’re excited!

      • Gwen Boyle on

        Hi Amy,

        Those are great ideas, thanks so much for your advice! You’re right in saying that people often make blunders about things like the geographical/political situation here, and conventional travel guides often don’t address odd things like local slang… the wheels are turning in my brain now…

        Loads of options to look into – thanks!

        Gwen

  9. Elke Feuer on

    I agree with Kevin, Amy. Your post makes me want to run out and get started! Lots of great stuff!

    My biggest success has been reviewing current content to see how I can add or improve on it, or identify something that’s missing.

    Just pitched to a client who publishes various overseas magazines. I scoped out their back issues, crossed referenced with seasonal holidays/events, and came up with a bunch of article ideas for their 2015 issues. They liked my idea for their Nov/Dec issue so fingers crossed.

    Clipping this post to reference in October when my book is done. Thanks!

    • Amy on

      Hi Elke,

      Congrats on a book. Great idea looking for what’s missing. I think it really helps when you come to clients with a solution for a problem they weren’t even aware of. I’m finding that even the smallest proactive activity produces great results. Sometimes clients aren’t interested in your solution but they do have a pressing need for other writing work.

      My fingers are crossed on your magazine pitches.

      Amy

  10. Kevin Carlton on

    Funny thing is, Amy, but I get quite a few queries through my website from clients overseas – some from pretty big companies.

    The problem so far has been that many of these prospects are much like local clients. They just want work on the cheap.

    I think it’s because these people have certain price expectations because they’ve found you ‘on the Internet’.

    What you’re doing, on the other hand, is an example to us all.

    You’re doing the targeting. You’re effectively doing the client picking. And that means you’re getting well-paid gigs.

    I also love the positive and proactive way you’ve written this post.

    It really makes you want to get on your bike and do something.

    • Amy on

      Hi Kevin,

      That’s great that you’re getting found and you’re right – international doesn’t always mean professional rates. I’m glad you feel like getting on your bike and taking action. To your success in the rest of 2014 and beyond!

      Amy

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