What's the best approach as a non-native English speaker?

by carot
15 replies
Hello everyone! I recently discovered this (fabulous) forum and must say the information you can find here is so interesting it's at times a bit overwhelming for a newbie in internet marketing.

I'm trying to find out whether I'm able to earn something extra online. My boss is retiring in 2 years and I wonder if by then I'll have to find a new 'normal' job or if it would be possible to earn a normal wage online. It's not necessary to get 'rich', just a normal wage to get around (preferably avoiding unpleasant things like starving or having to sell organs).

What would be the best approach for someone like me, who lives in a small non-English speaking country? I live in Belgium, 6 million people speak my language (Dutch), another 17 million speak (almost ) the same language in the neighboring Netherlands, and I wonder if that pond is big enough for topics that get talked about a lot on here (list building, SEO niche sites, teespring t-shirts, Facebook fanpages, etc.) or if it's better to try my luck in that big English pond.

Problem 1: my forte is my writing, more than my marketing/technical skills. But by writing I mean of course writing in my mother tongue. I hope I'll understand the English replies in this topic but by no means I can compete with people whose mother tongue is English. So yeah, that's a first issue I'm confronted with.

Problem 2: I've read some topics in here that specifically talk about how European markets are less crowded by internet marketers than the English one, but that was about 'big' EU markets like Germany. The Dutch speaking market is far smaller and my experience in doing stuff online has been fun, but far from profitable.

Experience 1: I've had a 'niche' site for over ten years but never monetized it seeing the low amount of traffic and the low price point of the product that could have been promoted through affiliates. I didn't start the website to earn money anyway, it was just a hobby. But of course, very specified niches will still have a potential of tens of thousands in English, but might only have a few hundred people interested on a smaller market (people who might even first search in English instead of in Dutch...)

Experience 2: Since a few years I write some small articles for a general Dutch gossip site with over 5K visitors a day - which in my eyes is huge. But even that website doesn't give the owner a decent monthly wage, so yeah... I do that because I like it, but I don't earn anything of that. Of course, it's just a gossip site, not selling services/products or anything, but still...

So yeah! Before I found this forum, my intention was to search an interesting, rather 'general' topic and to write articles about it, trying to update the website as often as possible, but it seems hard to earn money with that kind of sites, even when successful. On the other hand, stuff like e-books or selling services online isn't something that is common use in Dutch - people are rather reluctant about spending money online.

I know this is more of a rambling rant than a specific question but my main concern is if it's possible to earn money writing in a foreign language for a small market or if there are more possibilities in the English market - even for non-native English speakers. And how more experience internet marketers would approach this. Or maybe there are Warriors in the same situation as me?

Thanks!
#approach #english #money #newbie #non-english #nonnative #speaker #what’s
  • Profile picture of the author Tom Addams
    Buddy, you write far better than most of the English speaking population on this forum. Given your writing ability, intelligence, and willingness to enter internet marketing, I'd say the world is your oyster. However, if you'd be more comfortable in areas that are less reliant on the written word, then you could consider the following:

    - Domain Flipping
    - Website Flipping
    - B2B Services
    - Growing & Managing Social Traffic Platforms
    - PPC

    I could go on all day with the list above. I know a great many folks from your neck of the woods, with far less of a facility for the English language, and they have a habit of doing very well; must be something in the water!

    Tom
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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    Originally Posted by carot View Post


    Problem 1: my forte is my writing, more than my marketing/technical skills. But by writing I mean of course writing in my mother tongue. I hope I’ll understand the English replies in this topic but by no means I can compete with people whose mother tongue is English. So yeah, that’s a first issue I’m confronted with.

    What are you talking about ? Your English is not only adequate but is very, very good. Do not sell yourself short, seriously.

    So I answer with a resounding YES, YES you can compete with us guys who are native English speakers



    - Robert Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author spearce000
    Your English is better than my Dutch .
    As others have said: don't sell yourself short, but don't abandon your home market either. I'm sure if you put what you'll learn here into effect, you'll have the capability to be a big fish in a small pond.
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  • Profile picture of the author Danny Woolard
    I disagree with the above replies.

    There are subtle clues in your writing that English isn't your primary language and this will damage your creditability in a English speaking market.

    Simple fix: hire an editor. If you have good ideas (and you're clearly very smart and thoughtful) an editor will be very cost-effective.

    Heck, most native English speakers should be hiring editors, so you're not giving up ANYTHING here.
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    • Profile picture of the author discrat
      Originally Posted by Danny Woolard View Post

      I disagree with the above replies.

      There are subtle clues in your writing that English isn't your primary language and this will damage your creditability in a English speaking market.
      Seriously ??

      This has got to be one of the funniest and most ironic Posts I have seen in awhile here at WF

      Thank you Mr. Mccabe for pointing it out
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Danny Woolard View Post

      I disagree with the above replies.

      There are subtle clues in your writing that English isn't your primary language and this will damage your creditability in a English speaking market.

      Simple fix: hire an editor. If you have good ideas (and you're clearly very smart and thoughtful) an editor will be very cost-effective.

      Heck, most native English speakers should be hiring editors, so you're not giving up ANYTHING here.
      First off, I can't seem to find "creditability" in any dictionary. Something about people in glass houses somehow seems appropriate here...

      As to your point, the only time this would be an issue is if the writer presented themselves as a native speaker. I have several friends on this forum whose milk language is not English, yet I have no trouble communicating with them, nor do I question their credibility.

      As Marx pointed out, this level of fluency in multiple languages is actually a huge advantage in many markets. As long as our new friend here presents himself as a Belgian fluent in English, he'll do fine.
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      • Profile picture of the author Danny Woolard
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        First off, I can't seem to find "creditability" in any dictionary. Something about people in glass houses somehow seems appropriate here...
        You were so quick to jump on that misspelling.

        I also said "Heck, most native English speakers should be hiring editors..."

        Under no circumstances, would I omit myself from this advice. Perhaps only if I wanted to litter my websites with mediocre writing and overused cliches.

        Hiring an editor is nothing to be ashamed of, even for the best of writers.

        The OP seems to have higher expectations than most. He's on the right track. There's enough mediocrity on the internet as it is.
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        • Profile picture of the author JensSteyaert
          Originally Posted by Danny Woolard View Post

          You were so quick to jump on that misspelling.

          I also said "Heck, most native English speakers should be hiring editors..."

          Under no circumstances, would I omit myself from this advice. Perhaps only if I wanted to litter my websites with mediocre writing and overused cliches.

          Hiring an editor is nothing to be ashamed of, even for the best of writers.

          The OP seems to have higher expectations than most. He's on the right track. There's enough mediocrity on the internet as it is.
          Yes i agree with that but only to a certain extent.

          There's a lot of people doing really well blogging for instance who are far from perfect in English, even below average but they present themselves this way, and i think English speaking people really appreciate that people are making the effort.

          But it's another story if you are getting hired by somebody though.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
    Dude, your English is great!
    You can certainly start an online venture in Flemish, French or any other language. A buddy of mine is a successful travel/lifestyle blogger in Ukraine, where people are far more broke than in any Western country. Yet he manages to make enough money online to travel for the most part of the year.

    However, I always suggest English as the Anglophone audience is simply huge! With your level of English you shouldn't worry about starting something in English.

    p.s. I have met a lot of people in Belgium when I was traveling through there and pretty much all the young people spoke English at a good level. I am sure many folks from your country also search for information online using English rather than German, French or Dutch

    - Alex
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    The Extra Paycheck Blog | Extra Paycheck Podcast
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Hi Carot.

    As a writer and editor, I agree that your English isn't bad at all BUT, depending on what you choose to do, hiring an editor to check your work is easy enough to do, especially if you find a good one (no, I'm NOT shamelessly plugging myself- I'm just stating facts).

    You obviously have skills so think about what you want to do and then...TAKE ACTION. Sitting and thinking forever won't earn you any money. Action is the first step.
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  • Profile picture of the author JensSteyaert
    Yes people in Belgium speak and write good English.

    I wouldn't be too woried about your writing abilities though. As said above, it depends on how you present yourself.

    The Dutch market is simply too small, so it's a good idea to focus on the English speaking (wordwide basically) one as you'll increase your chances to become succesful.

    Take it from me, Englsh is only my third language too and i was able to build a business, so nothing is holding you back from doing the same.

    Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author seranking
    Hello, guys!
    I want to say that I am in the same situation! I also try to compete with English native speakers and promote my service in Google USA and UK. Especially, writing guest articles on powerful websites like Jeff Bullas takes me much time to concentrate on the topic and grammar mistakes that can be one of the culprits to reject it. Yes, I guess that it would be a great idea to hire an English native editor, but the question is that where to find a good one. Many good editors require much money! As a newbie in internet marketing, I don't want to spend much money on editors, I would spend it better on paid ads
    But, no one tells that it will be easy to earn money! We just need to believe in ourselves and we can do that!
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  • Profile picture of the author hyperexpert07
    Hello dear friend. I read all replies and didn't find a good answer. As you said, you are fluent in Dutch. Also you have good writing skills. According to your skills this is the best answer I think: Sign up in CPA networks like cpagrip.com and adworkmedia.com(fast sign up). There are some offers for US and UK which are about $0.6-3. But for GE, BE and NE you see offers up to $14.Just use your writing skills and publish good content in the internet. Start making money in a week.

    Best regards.
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    Please don't press the Thank you button if this post isn't helpful.

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  • Profile picture of the author carot
    Thanks for the warm welcome and the nice words. But I do take into account what Danny Woolard says… As a linguist I cringe when a (Dutch) professional approaches me with a proposal with grammatical errors or easy to avoid spelling mistakes, so yeah, I know people will notice I’m not a native English speaker… But I guess it also depends on which path I end up choosing and which peer group I’d want to approach. But man, this forum harvests so much information that I could keep myself busy reading the 2-3 years I’ve given myself to find out what I could do to earn some money online…

    I’d like to give a ‘thanks’ to the people who responded in this topic, but I can’t find the button. I suppose I don’t have enough posts yet.
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