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Have been searching on the internet for a bit without much luck so thought I would post my question up here (I imagine I am not the first with this though!)

I'm 28 years old and have about 5 years experience in programming/web design (good CV, work for investment banks in London, 1st in my degree, etc). After a year of backpacking in South America I'm now in Lima and don't really want to return to the UK. A friend of mine has offered me part time work for his web design company and now I'm looking at extra things to do.

Just wondering which of the online freelancing sites would be best for me to explain "YES THE FLAG SHOWS PERU BUT I'M ACTUALLY FROM THE UK!" After a year and a half of speaking Spanish everyday I've realised that the difference between "speaking" a language (what does that mean anyway) and being able to conduct business in that language is massive. Absolutely massive.

Essentially I'll be able to charge rates of a Fiver an hour, and that would be a comfortable salary here. The time difference is only 6 hours as well.

So far I'm thinking of signing up for PeoplePerHour (as that's based in the UK) and my options would be - Have the flag set as Peru (because they have my IP address) but write "UK EXPAT" in my description - login into PPH through a proxy so it looks like I'm in the UK (sounds dodgy!) - send proof of my latest UK bank statements to PPH to make them change my location to UK (I'm still a UK resident with an active bank account)

Really though I would want people to see where I am so they can understand my pricing, while knowing that if they call me I will understand them completely (both in language terms and culturally!).

Also I've enough money saved that I could really not earn anything for the next 2 years and still jump on a flight back to the UK.

Nice one everyone! Buswell

  • Note that your rate is also an indication of how much you value your time and your expertise. If you charge too little, the client may not value you as a professional, take you seriously, or respect your time as much as they would otherwise. This question isn't about rate, which is why this is a comment, but it is a good idea to find a medium where you're charging rates that are in-between what they are used to paying and what you need to live. this is a win-win situation for both of you. – user152 Oct 8 '14 at 6:19
  • Thanks Stacey. I'm just purely looking at the rates quoted on these freelance sites. I would be able to bid and live off the money made here comfortably, where as if I was back in the UK I wouldn't touch these sites as I wouldn't earn even close to what I was in my last full time job! – Buswell Oct 9 '14 at 3:39
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There are some sites where your location doesn't matter. I have worked outside my home country before and have never had an issue with the website looking at my location (IP). I was using odesk.com at the time, I'm sure there are a number of others that don't take location too seriously as long as you prove that you are who you say you are. I have validated my bank account using my government ID in the past and that was adequate enough.

As far as telling people that you're from the UK, just do that in your profile! It's not necessary to make a big thing about it. Just say that you're English but living in Peru.

As far as rate goes, I would hesitate to drop my rate significantly unless I really can't find work. If you're being paid a lot less that what the client is used to paying someone with your skill, you may find that they don't take you seriously. They may hand off menial tasks to you because (while it's not your area of expertise), you're cheaper than the people they pay locally to do those things.

It's really important to note that the relationship here is not supposed to be an employee-employer one. You are the professional, you call the shots, you say what you will and won't do and for how much. This is important because you need to make decisions in a professional capacity and it's important that the client takes you seriously and respects you, your time and your opinion.

I would suggest that you aim for the middle ground between what you need to live and what the client expects locally, and then push that up as more work comes along and as you get more experience as a freelancer. You should be paid as much as you're worth to the client. This worth is mostly determined by experience - you hit a "sweet spot" where you're getting enough work to keep you busy but still getting paid enough to have the client think twice before giving you something menial to do.

  • Thanks for your advice Stacey. "Don't make a big thing about it" I think you're spot on with this. If the people I write proposals to don't have the time to read my proposal and look at my profile, then they're probably not worth working for! – Buswell Oct 9 '14 at 3:41
  • Upon re-reading this a few more times, it's really good advice that goes beyond what my question asked and is really good advice for dangers to look out for. – Buswell Oct 11 '14 at 2:43
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You could get projects for let's say 50 pound an hour, but you want to charge 5 because you happen to live somewhere else? Pricing should always be determined by the worth it adds to customers business, which is probably in the UK, so UK pricing levels apply.

If you really don't want the money, give it away to those in need. Why would you save a company money? Companies do business, business costs money, that's normal.

And if you completely go crazy (good thing!) you can charge the UK companies the normal prices, let people in Peru work on the projects and give them higher salaries than they are used to or they could negotiate with a UK customer themselves.

And if you don't care about all that altruistic stuff, just think about the difference of working 2 hours a day and 12 hours a day for the same money. You have 10 hours more every day to sit on the beach, drink piña coladas and enjoy your life.

Back to your question, you are an UK citizen, so I would create a UK website, offer your services there, and on job portals I would use the UK flag.

If this was advertisement for how cheap life in Peru is, you almost had me. ;)

  • user5068 - if I was fully booked up I would increase my prices. Have you seen the online websites for freelancing? If I were living in England I would be back in my old job at my old rate. My idea is more that I can match the rates offered online, by other people who either seem to be living in cheaper countries like me, or being very altruistic with their pricing. – Buswell Oct 8 '14 at 5:52

protected by Canadian Luke Oct 9 '14 at 22:23

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