As writers, we’ve all have had trouble finding work, myself included. However, those of us who can write in English at a native level have a significant advantage, independent of how new we are to the world of writing, when seeking work from foreign markets.
Where and How to Find Work
With English being the world’s universal language, increasing numbers of foreign bloggers, Youtubers, and website owners are seeking to produce content directed at an English speaking audience. It is worth mentioning that the people and companies that need content are usually non-native English speakers, and would prefer to have something created by a native. It is common to find these kinds of projects posted on freelance sites, predominantly foreign freelance sites.
That is where we, native English writers, come in. Clients seeking to hire native English writers tend to post their projects in English, in hopes of attracting a competent English-speaking freelancer.
I am multi-lingual and I personally look for work on sites where languages I know are used, in order to facilitate the negotiation process with potential clients. However, even if you can speak the client’s native tongue, I would recommend sending your proposal in English, as it helps to convince the client that you really do know English.
There are two I recommend to both new and experienced writers. You can register for every promising freelancing site you come across, but trust me, this gets rather overwhelming after the first few days. It is better to add just one or two new foreign sites to the freelancing sites you currently use to get work. This way, you’ll be able to fully dedicate yourself to those sites, and focus on creating a strong profile.
Workana claims to be the largest freelance platform in Latin America. Surprisingly though, the competition isn’t very high, at least for the writing assignments. And, when it comes to projects that require content to be created in English, there is pretty much no competition if you’re a native. I have written articles about the United States, curiosities, technology, and product reviews, among others. The only downside of Workana, I would say, is the irregularity. Sometimes there are several English projects posted per week and sometimes there are none.
Freelancehunt is a freelancing platform based in Ukraine. When you go to the site, a window pops up offering you the English version. There are many projects posted every day and a number of them offer long-term content creating positions. There is also a lot of variety in what the clients are searching for. You can create blog posts, help with letter writing, come up with product descriptions, and much more. The main downside of this site are the low pay standards. However, despite the low budgets, the assignments are easy to complete for native English speakers so you can earn quite a bit by taking on a couple of projects at a time.
Getting the Project
Both of the above-mentioned sites involve sending a proposal to a posted project. The client then has the option of contacting the freelancer whose proposal interested them the most to discuss the project details. First and foremost, the proposal should be used to answer the questions the client included in their project description. Next comes the most important part: Advertising yourself. This can be done at the beginning of the proposal to increase your chances of capturing the client’s attention. A simple “I am a native English speaker from ______.” often does the trick.
Make sure you check your on-site inbox often because, if a client responds, and they most likely will, they will want to receive a timely response from you.
As I mentioned above, pay standards are lower in Latin America, Asia, and parts of Europe. But, most clients are often willing to pay more for high-quality content. Ones that aren’t may overestimate the complexity of their project so, even if you won’t earn as much as you would have liked, you’ll also spend much less time on the task. I once earned nearly $300 (USD) for rewriting 60 short texts, a task that took 10 minutes per text. And, the client still apologized for not being able to offer me more pay.
Options in Addition to Writing? Proofreading!
As writers, we have an understanding of English grammar, even without having formally studied it. We are also easily able to identify what sounds unnatural when reading a text written in English. This skill provides us with yet another way of making money on foreign freelance sites: We make the perfect proofreaders!
While clients posting English writing assignments prefer to have a native speaker complete them, those needing help with proofreading almost always only accept offers from English natives. These jobs can include editing translations done by non-natives, as well as proofreading documents and articles written by those whose first language is not English.
Please tell us what you think in the comments box below! 🙂
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Sara is a freelance writer and translator. By offering her services on foreign websites, she managed to achieve her goal of being able to live off of her freelancing work. She is a language enthusiast and hopes to someday develop her very own language learning methodology. When she is not writing or translating, Sara enjoys experimenting with new recipes or planning her future travels.
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Very good article. I honestly never even thought about freelancing, let alone writing for foreign markets. In a previous life, I wrote methods and procedures and marketing material for a very large corporation. I’ll give the sites you mentioned a try.
Sara’s right. A lot of people whse mother tongue is not English are communicating in the language, doing business or studying with English language courses. Especially where business is concerned they want to sound fluent and businesslike. Becoming a regular interpreter of their communications, putting their words into Plain English, can be rewarding.