How Can International Writers Break into Freelance Writing?

Freelancing has taken off in a big way in the last few years and it is predicted that by 2020 more than 40% of the US workforce will consist of part-time or freelance workers.

Certainly, the US (and to some extent the UK as well) dominates the freelance industry and making a success of a freelance writing career is much easier if you are based in the US or UK.

How Can International Writers Break into Freelance Writing?

For the rest of us international writers, it’s a lot more challenging. We face challenges US and UK-based writers do not have to contend with.

International freelancers can capitalize location to boost their careers.

For starters, systems and payments are usually geared towards US writers. Most writing opportunities you see in the freelance job boards are in the US and some require writers to be based in the US.

There may be certain policies and restrictions in our country that limit international payments and therefore severely limit our earning potential (certainly a problem I face in South Africa).

Despite the challenges, international freelancers need not slink off and back to a cubicle job. Here’s the good news. You can actually capitalize on your location to boost your freelance career.

Here are 4 great markets to target:

1. Travel Writing

This one should be pretty obvious! Who knows your country better than you? Who wants information about your country?

Tourists, travel magazines, airline in-flight magazines, travel blogs – to name a few. This is a great market to break into, especially if you are a seasoned traveler both in and out of your country.

2. News and Politics

Most of the big name newspapers (print or news aggregation websites) and even some smaller ones have a section for international news. Do you love the adrenaline rush of chasing a good story?

Then use your location to your advantage. Every country has news. Here’s where your bloodhound journalistic nose will come in handy sniffing out topical news stories.

Do you love the adrenaline rush of chasing a good story?

Or fine-tune the niche even further and position yourself as a political writer offering opinions and analyzes.

3. Animals and Nature

Every country has plant and animal life that is indigenous to that country. Now think about the numerous publications out there (both in your own country and overseas) that you could pitch articles to.

And we’re not only talking National Geographic (although you can certainly give it bash and submit to them too), but there are many magazines and blogs that cover nature and wildlife. Even travel publications could be targeted with this topic.

4. Property and Investments

You’ve heard of offshore investments? Something that people with big bucks dabble in by investing money outside of their country. There are also people who buy property in other countries.

So there’s a market here – one you can use to your advantage as a writer if you have a knack for financial writing. Property and investment publications would love well-researched articles about investment opportunities and the general economic outlook in your country. Plus this niche pays well.

So there you have it. Four easy markets to carve out a niche as an international writer. If consistent, you will eventually position yourself as an authority on your chosen niche, making you a preferred writer by editors.

And you know what that means? That means editors will be happy to accept more articles from you and may even commission a few.

Yep – more work and more money.

By using the knowledge you already have about topics in your country, you’ll have a thriving and lucrative little freelance business going in next to no time.

Are you an international freelancer? Tell us about your secret to success and feel free to share other unique ways to leverage your location as an international freelance writer.

Deevra Norling is a freelance content writer with a marketing and PR background. She covers topics such as career, small business, entrepreneurs, e-commerce, HVAC systems, car and driving-related content, travel, pets, and freelancing. Visit her website or connect with her on Twitter.

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Thanks Alicia, Elna and Julienne for your comments and personal input. 🙂Reply to Deevra
Hey Deevra! Great tips from a fellow international freelancer! Several freelance job posts I read on boards often ask for or prefer U.S., CA or EU based writers. It can certainly make job searches a bit harder but I know there are blogs and editors who don’t mind where you’re from so long as you can write in their preferred style with good English. Go international freelancers!Reply to Julienne
Deevra, Good tips! I live in Canada, and while this hasn’t hurt my chances of landing clients from all over the world, I know there are limitations because of where I live. I try to also favor clients in my own country. That’s why my URL for Innovative Ink ends in .ca I thought this would help identify me as a Canadian based writer. It has in a way, but I don’t get many prospects from Canada contacting me. That’s what’s great about freelance writing! Your clients are from all parts of the world!Reply to Elna
Great article, Deevra. I think it’s important for international freelancers to know there are *so* many more markets you can break into. There really shouldn’t be anything holding you back from one you really like, but I love how you’ve shown how to use your location to your advantage. Also, don’t forget that there are clients to be found in your own country. I have a lot of international clients (I’m from the U.S.). I also have received requests from international clients where I think a writer from their own country would do a better job.Reply to Alicia