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Ask HN: Without Upwork, what's the best way to find clients remotely?
21 points by bakli 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments
Pretty much what the title says.

If you're living in India, and want to find clients in USA, how do you go about it?

Upwork seems broken, and traveling isn't possible.

Unfortunately the best way to find remote work is networking and word of mouth. You can try applying for jobs advertised as remote but it tend to be hard to get even to interview stage at those. I found that the good idea is to provide product for the customer before anyone even asks and offer service for implementing it. You can for example find some niche CMSes plugin markets and start porting some of the most popular Wordpress plugins to those CMSes. You will sell each installation of plugin for couple bucks and you will create exposure for yourself. I bet that some of the people will ask you for help setting up something and that's where you can earn some cash on doing remote contracting.

Upwork is often discussed and general advice is to avoid it. Check previous discussions for a list of alternatives https://hn.algolia.com/?query=upwork&sort=byPopularity&prefi...

Best way to find clients is through your existing network. However, if you are not experienced or networked enough, you need to let clients find you. Inbound. It will take effort though. But it works. I am not just talking about slapping some code on github. I m talking real work. Some steps:

1. Have a basic website describing who you are, what you do and Most Importantly: why someone should hire YOU

2. Create and share quality content in your area of expertise. Full Stack Web Developer ? Create a simple tutorial on a topic that explains a small project. Anything. The idea is to show that you can communicate. It is not everything but it adds up.

3. Open Source participation. You don't have to create something of your own necessarily but be active in open source communities. A lot of good freelance jobs are referred through other freelancers whom you may meet through these communities.

4. Write about topics that you want to work on. A blog. One quality post a month will do. Drive traffic. Yes, you need to get your marketing hat.

The overall point is that anyone can become a freelancer these days (at least call themselves that). You have to try and differentiate yourself from others and the only way to do that is by actively doing and building things. Remember, you could do great things but how do people know about it ? Let them know. Learn to sell yourself.

Remote job sites, cold emails.

Also - you can actually use upwork for finding leads - contact the job posters outside upwork, in case they provide contact details (many do).

I have done this a few times. Do one job on the upwork platform with a given client, then move to working independently. Its an easy sell to a client: "hey, now that you know I am good, lets work without upwork. I can charge you less because upwork won't be getting a cut of your payments."

Have you tried Toptal? As a tech-savvy Western client, we prefer them to sites like Upwork because of how they screen their developers and because their rates are more realistic for good talent (it's really hard to find good people in a place where prices race to the bottom).

And as a bonus, you'll probably find that the rates there are higher than what Upwork has converged on.

More on this - Toptal does have a much more challenging screening than upwork does. I signed up and had a skype interview with a real human, mostly to make sure my English was good. I then had to take a programming challenge. I think of myself as a reasonably good programmer but I failed the test on my first try.

I haven't taken it a second time yet, but its enough to show that you have to be good to get on their platform.

I've actually been picking up contract work offers through LinkedIn. I was a very early adopter of LinkedIn, but quit about 6 or 7 years ago for various reasons. Recently rejoined and it is much improved. I got a contract offer (3 months) within about a day of singing back on.

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