Business Writing Copywriting 2020-07-10 00:00

How Non-US Writers Can Break into U.S. Freelance Writing Market

According to ZipRecruiter, on average, U.S.-based freelance writers make around US$62K per year. At the lower end, the average is US$11K, and at the higher end is around US$150K.

For writers residing outside the United States, especially in Asia, Africa, and some parts of Europe, such amount is salivating. For instance, those based in the Philippines, it's considered high to make 610K Pesos per year, which converts to merely US$26K.

Thus, it's a dream coming true for non-U.S. writers to break into and succeed in working for U.S. companies and publications. Aiming at making US$150K annually seems to be too good to be true. Or is it?

In this article, let's discuss how non-U.S. writers can break into and make a good living writing for U.S. clients, how to find them, and how to grow your writing business. While many companies welcome non-U.S. freelance writers, some of them might have reservation to do so for various reasons. We'll share what they are and how you can work around them.

  1. Why Some Organizations Don't Work with Non-U.S. Freelancers
  2. How to Find U.S.-Based Writing Projects
  3. How to Grow Your Writing Business with U.S. Clients

Why Some Organizations Don't Work with Non-U.S. Freelancers

It's all about preferences. While it's not illegal for U.S. employers to hire freelancers or independent contractors to work for projects remotely, some of them prefer to deal with locals and U.S.-based individuals for practical reasons, such as easier monitoring, time zones, and convenient background checks. Some also have taxation reasons, that only their CPA (certified public accountant) or professional tax preparer can explain.

One popular preference for hiring U.S.-based individuals is having a similar culture. While many countries use English as a national language, slight variations of word and expression usage make a big difference in meaning. Thus, it's understandable why many U.S. employers prefer working with those residing in the country.

Don't lose heart. If you're Americanized, instead of only "westernized," which means you're 100 percent into American pop culture, customs, idioms, figures of speech, slang words, and popular expressions, you're in the right place. Just make sure that you can use them naturally as Americans do.

Next, one trait that you must have is the mindset of abundance. What does it mean? Americans favor those who believe in themselves, which means believing in having "more" instead of "less."

In other words, if you carry yourself as a capable individual without apologizing, you're likely to be seen as the right person for the job. Of course, you'd need to do so without sounding arrogant. Stay humble but confident.

For those residing in developing countries, cultivating such a mindset takes time, but it's not impossible. In this Internet era, geographical locations shouldn't be considered a limitation for obtaining any job. And your pay rate should commensurate with the quality of your works, not based on where you're located.

How to Find U.S.-Based Writing Projects

Job board aggregators like Indeed mostly cover on-site full-time and part-time jobs that require applicants to have a work permit, a green card, or a U.S. citizenship. Thus, refrain from browsing such boards and focus on using specific writing job boards and reaching out to prospective clients directly, like on business, startup, and digital agency directories.

While there are tons of online directories to scour, make sure that your online portfolio is impressive enough for prospective clients to get to know you. Include live links to published articles and books. Whenever possible, include testimonials from satisfied clients and admiring colleagues.

U.S.-based organizations prefer working with freelancers who have worked for U.S. clients. There is no doubt about it.

Thus, it's imperative to include their logos, testimonials, and successful past projects. In other words, make your online portfolio a hub of information about how "Americanized" your skills and experiences are without looking too overbearing. No need to post the American flag, though.

How to Grow Your Writing Business with U.S. Clients

At least, you'd need to do the following five things to grow your writing business in the United States effectively. They're simple and effective. Above all, they're legal and ethical. You have nothing to hide, and you merely need to show them that you're ready to work for U.S. clients.

First, use a U.S. phone number from Skype.

Sure, you can use a free one from Google, but having a paid number is like having a guarantee that you'd be able to use it for as long as you're paying for it.

You can turn on the Skype app on your desktop, tablet, and smartphone, so you can accept and call any U.S. number with ease. It's so convenient that you'd forget it's a Skype number.

Include this number on your website and email signature, so a prospect can call you at any time and leave a message if necessary. If the time difference is significant and you're not available to pick it up, you can call them back immediately. Treat it like any other phone number.

Second, include a U.S. virtual address on your website and email signature.

It's common for non-U.S. startups and contractors dealing mostly with U.S. clients to use a U.S. virtual address. It allows for better communication and correspondence. They can send you anything, including product samples, if it's necessary for you to understand their business better.

PostScanMail, for instance, offers a mail forwarding address, allowing you to forward any mail to any address, including overseas. They'd accept letters from any carrier on your behalf and store them for 30 days for free. They also manage your mails, meaning you can ask them to open and scan them and have them forwarded to your email. It's like having an extra pair of hands that handle your packages and documents.

Third, consider creating an LLC (limited liability company) based in a U.S. state, such as Nevada or Delaware.

This route is preferred after you've acquired a good number of strong corporate U.S. clienteles. Otherwise, it takes too much effort and cost.

However, can a foreign national create a U.S. company legally? Yes, you can. And it doesn't cost millions of dollars, just hundreds.

After having a U.S. LLC, however, you're required to pay U.S. income taxes, which is something you'd need to think through carefully. You need to make sure that you're not taxed twice. It's always recommended to consult with an accountant and a tax preparer in your country who are familiar with U.S. taxes as well.

Two preferred states for forming an LLC are Delaware and Nevada, as they have a more evolved corporation and privacy laws. Again, to be on the safe side, make sure to consult with qualified incorporation attorneys who are familiar with LLC formation by foreign nationals.

Fourth, create a lead-generation system.

Be aggressive when it comes to marketing your services. Start with business directories, which are gold mines.

With the right strategies, you can expect to nail at least a few new clients each month or even each week. In a year, you can have tens of new clients, which might force you to take this writing business as an "agency."

The thing is, you're most likely too busy to send off rounds and rounds of promotional emails to startup CEOs and business CMOs and V.P.s. For this, having a cost-efficient virtual assistant would come extra handy.

Consider posting a job ad on, which is a portal for hiring Philippines-based virtual assistants with a variety of online skills. Their pay rate is significantly lower than the U.S.-based virtual assistants.

For sending mass emails without getting marked as "spam," use CRM (customer relationship management) tools, like Mixmax or Vocus. You can train your virtual assistant to use it efficiently. Other productivity tools can be used alongside with generic or branded Gmail.

Fifth, stay visible online.

This means your profile must be well known in the writing realm. Or, if you prefer to write for specific niches, sectors, or industries, make sure that your name or your business name is visible. The "American way."

There are many ways to do so, which we all can learn from influencers. Start with active social media accounts. With the right messages sent across, you can start seeing results. Be vigilant. For this, having a virtual assistant and using a social media scheduler might be your best bet.

At last, consider having a YouTube channel to educate viewers about specific skills that you've mastered or discussed specific niches, sectors, or industries. Most people are visual people, and online videos are all the rage recently. This avenue is a great way to brand yourself while also making a few dollars along the way from ads after the following has grown.

In conclusion, despite your geographical location, you can break into and succeed as a freelance writer for U.S.-based organizations. The key is to internalize what U.S. clients are looking for when collaborating with freelancers. And make sure that they can reach you conveniently without having to pay extra for phone charges or postages.

The sky isn't the limit. You are.[]

Be confident about grammar

Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.