If you are a programmer from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, or any other country that is not the U.S, you may find breaking into that market difficult. If English is not your first language, or American or British English isn’t, it’s important to make sure your project bid is written in a way that shows you will be able to comprehend the work and communicate easily with your prospective client.
I will go over the pitch stage in a different post, but for now, let’s assume you are in communication with them. If you make it past the pitch stage, you’ve accomplished something. Now that you’re chatting with the hirer, there are a couple things to consider.
- If you are not a native English speaker and have trouble understanding things, use a friend as your translator. This requires the friend to be available to you, but having someone who can communicate well—if it isn’t you—is important. (It’s unrealistic to think that if you can’t speak regularly with your client you will still get a complicated, long-term job. A smaller project with less communication, however, is possible.).
- Be honest about what you have worked on and offer some personal information. Every person posting a project to a freelance website is leery of losing time and money to a bad developer. Be friendly and honest about your experience and how you can accomplish the tasks. If you have never done something before, be honest, but explain how you have tackled a similar issue. In many cases, the person hiring won’t expect you to have specifically done everything, but will want to know how you will complete the project and fill in any holes in your skills.
- Don’t oversell. Hirers are getting pitched all the time, and this time, they are posting a project looking for help. If you fit into their needs, then you are the right choice. If you talk with the hirer and you haven’t heard from them in a while, move on. Don’t bombard them with messages; you may end up turning them away.
- Don’t over-promise. It’s always tempting to offer to meet impossible timelines or to deliver a complicated project for a low bid. Don’t do that. Be aggressive, especially when you are starting out, but don’t put yourself in a position to fail.
You just need one good U.S client, and if you treat them well, they will pass you to everyone else.