Reasons why I find more clients abroad than at home

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Finding clients as a freelancer is difficult no matter the location. But it’s not as hard as people make it out to be!

I’ve been abroad for two years and have been happily freelancing since I’ve left the States. We as freelancers love the lifestyle from setting our own rates, working remotely, and booking high-end clients.

But before any of this can happen, you have to find clients.

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In the States, freelancing is becoming more competitive by the day. With sites like Fiverr, Freelancer, and more, it’s never been easier to go out on your own. With that in mind, I can proudly say I’ve found more success abroad than back home.

Here are some points to freelancing in your home country versus abroad.

Reasons it’s harder to freelance at home

1. Comfort zone

Being in a familiar place whether it’s a state or city, you do not push yourself hard enough. Your business development process stagnates and your freelance work suffers.

2. Competitive environment

If you are thinking it, I’m sure another 100K people are doing the same.

3. You don’t stand out

The competitive nature of being a freelancer means the market is full of competitors. You will have to invest more time to build your clients, brands, credentials, and anything to stand out.

Why I have more clients abroad than back home

1. A new perspective

My education, culture, and background bring a new perspective as well as reputation. I’m a US citizen and I’m freelancing in China. Just being able to speak English and have a different perspective on how to conduct projects adds tremendous value to my services.

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From the way I speak to interpreting advertisement in copy, these soft skills are critical when working with eastern clients.

2. I represent a key new demographic

I work with small and medium businesses that are targeting international citizens in Shanghai. This city has more than 25 million people and about 250K international expats. Though the ratio is wide, these expats are rising and high spending customers. Clients want to know what appeals to foreigners?

What should they say? How do local businesses stand out? How do we jump over not only the language barrier but also the cultural barrier? Here, you are more than a freelancer but also a consultant.

3. Pushing yourself to overcome challenges

Since I’m based in Shanghai, certain tools are not readily available i.e. Google, Facebook, and other common sites that I’m comfortable using in the States – but that’s where the fun kicks in.

With limited resources and tools, it truly brings out your creativity. Though I can access these blocked sites, I prefer not to because you want to adjust to your local market.

Instead of focusing on 4-6 digital channels, I am able to focus on 3 key ones and maximize these channels for my clients.

For example, I revamp a client’s digital activity just by focusing on WeChat, Email, and LinkedIn through original articles, daily activity, and strategic planning. I now have more time to focus on other projects with more clients.

More on Millo: The secret to finding clients you actually want to work with

Wrapping up

Freelancing at home can be just as exciting as any other opportunity but there’s a key factor that may be limiting your growth; being at a familiar place.

Being in your home country or city brings a certain level of familiarity but it doesn’t challenge you the same when you’re in an unfamiliar environment. Globalization is making the world more flat on a daily basis.

Regions in Asia and even South America have growing economies and industries with rising budgets and are open to creative projects.

My advice to fellow freelancers who are looking to take their business to the next level – take your talents overseas!

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About Deshawn Peterson

Deshawn Peterson is a digital nomad currently living in Shanghai. He specializes in content creation and inbound marketing. In his spare time, he’s studying Mandarin and loves talking about tech, entrepreneurship, global economics, and traveling. Follow his adventures on Twitter and Instagram.

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