Not a Native English Speaker? Here's 11 Eye-Opening Facts Proving You Can Still Make Money Online
Oct 17 2018
16 min read
16 min read
Table of Contents
English is not my first language. But I've been making money online since 2012.
There are thousands like me who don't speak the most widely used language in the world but still make a full-time living from their laptops.
That's the power of the internet.
You don't need anyone's permission or approval to start a business.
If you offer services, clients don't care if you're from Spain, India, China, or Pakistan as long as you can get the job done.
You can start making money online right now no matter where you are in the world.
But could I say all of these things so confidently when I first started?
Not by a long shot.
In my early days.....
I felt I had to be a native English speaker to get clients (freelance writing clients in particular)
I felt I was at a disadvantage because I lived in a developing country.
I felt I was at an invite-only event without an actual invitation.
I felt alone.
So I can totally understand when I see someone living outside the USA (third world countries in particular) asking questions like these
Here's a similar question which basically originates from the same mindset ("It's not possible to make money online unless you're in the US")
And even those who do somehow believe, still have their doubts (this thread in NicheHacks Facebook Mastermind is a good example)
The preconceived notion here is that the only way to make money online is to target English-speaking countries because most internet users only speak and understand the English language.
This might have been true a few years ago but not anymore.
Countries all around the world are seeing massive growth in internet and smartphone users and people from all backgrounds are now turning to the internet to find solutions to everyday problems.
Why not make money by targeting their needs? Who says you're only limited to the U.S.?
In this post, I'll share several reasons backed by hardcore data, and examples of successful marketers, that prove you can make money online even if you live outside the U.S or can't speak a word of English.
Here are 11 Eye-Opening Facts Proving You Can Still Make Money Online
1. The Global Internet Population is Exploding & That's An Opportunity For You
Did you know that South Asia has the fastest-growing internet user base?
A joint study by We Are Social and Hootsuite shows that Bangladesh alone saw almost 30% growth in internet users in the last 12 months. An average Indian spends more than 7 hours using the internet across different devices. 58% of Pakistan's internet users access the web every day.
And that's just the beginning.
A quick look at some of the other regions will truly surprise you.
For example, Internet World Stats shows there are a whopping 750 million people searching for online content in Spanish (you heard that right!)
According to Statista, Brazil alone has more than 70 million active internet users while Latin America overall is expected to grow to over 380 million users by 2019.
And I've not even started talking about Africa, the Middle East, and, of course, China (a different world in itself)
In short, the global internet population rates are exploding right now and the party has just started.
This is pretty evident by the screenshot below that's taken from a study by HootSuite and We Are Social which shows the global internet penetration rates at the start of 2018 in different regions.
Source: We Are Social
Why do you think all these people are accessing the internet?
Just like people in the U.S., users all around the world use the internet to stay informed about their interests, learn about new products and services, connect with other people, and make their lives easier.
The more they rely on the internet for their needs, the more opportunities there are for you to make money online.
Most of the content on the internet is currently targeted towards the U.S population.
But now that the other countries are gaining ground, is there enough content targeted specifically to their needs and problems?
Are there enough online businesses catering to the specific problems of these emerging regions?
This means there are lots of opportunities waiting for you in countries outside the U.S, Canada, Australia, and other majorly English-speaking countries.
But no opportunity is bigger than the current eCommerce boom in Asia.
This brings me to my next point.
2. E-commerce is the Fastest Growing Industry in Asia
You've heard of Alibaba, right?
According to the official figures released by Alibaba, their Singles Day 2017 (weird name for a holiday, I know) sales topped $25 billion
All within 24 hours!
BusinessTimes reports that Flipkart, the largest eCommerce company in India, is already valued at more than $15 billion dollars and might soon be acquired by Walmart.
According to ManilaTimes, Lazada, the top eCommerce company in Malaysia, gets more than 35 million visitors per month and was recently acquired by the Alibaba Group.
The trend is pretty similar no matter where you look in Asia - eCommerce is on the rise.
A study by eShopWorld shows that the current Asian eCommerce market has approximately 993 million active online shoppers. But the number is expected to exceed 1.4 billion by 2021 as internet penetration grows and making online payments gets easier.
What does this mean for you as a marketer?
With eCommerce sales booming all across Asia, and others regions of the world, you have millions of new consumers who're willing to spend money online to buy their favorite products.
"Asians don't spend money online" is not a valid argument anymore since the annual eCommerce spending in Asia has already exceeded $1 trillion according to a report by TechInAsia
And this is only going to increase.
If you're a marketer in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, or any other growing Asian eCommerce market, this is a great opportunity to make money by identifying the core needs of your audience and helping them find the right products.
As the veteran affiliate marketer Zac Johnson says, Asia is a trillion-dollar affiliate market that's up for the grabs.
Need more convincing?
Let me show you in the next point how companies from small cities you haven't even heard of are making millions through eCommerce.
3. Exporting Physical Products from Cheaper Markets Has Never Been Easier
I'm sure you're a football fan (most people are)
Hardly anyone knows its name, yet the city has been a leader in exporting footballs and sports goods year after year.
Sourcing and purchasing goods from cheaper overseas markets is now much easier for people in the U.S, EU, Australia, and other developed countries which is probably why dropshipping and Amazon FBA have become such popular business models over the last few years.
According to Shopify, 57% of online shoppers preferred buying products from overseas retailers (mostly in China)
Spencer Haws, the founder of NichePursuits, is a prime example of a conventional affiliate marketer who successfully diversified his business by sourcing cheap products from Aisa and selling them with Amazon FBA.
Another marketer sourced gaming glasses from Alibaba and sold them using Shopify in the U.S.
It's obviously an opportunity for anyone living in a developed country.
But it's an even bigger opportunity if you're living in a country that manufactures and exports cheap products
Most product manufacturers in smaller countries know little about online marketing.
You can either partner with them or use your marketing skills independently to sell products to the bigger and more expensive markets using Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, or Shopify.
There are several case studies (like these from India) to prove that it can be done.
But it's not just eCommerce that's booming.
Read the next point to see how you can turn simple problems around you into profitable businesses (and how people like you are already doing it).
4. Many Region Specific Problems (Business Opportunities) Are Still Untapped
Do you know what's the biggest mistakes wannabe marketers from Asia and other non-English speaking countries make?
They see people in the U.S, Canada or Australia run successful online businesses and think that the only way to emulate their success is by copying the same business model and target the same audience (their audience)
This is wrong on so many levels.
Businesses succeed by solving problems in a profitable way.
Every region has its own set of problems that are unique to its people.
By focusing too much on what a marketer in the U.S is doing, you can easily lose sight of the opportunities in your own region.
The right approach is to look around and see if there's a need that you can fulfill to make money.
Here's a great example of a NicheHacks reader from India, who started work as a dentist and then identified a unique business opportunity in his hometown Agra (India)
Also, look at the comment by Dave Starr in the image below (that's how you should think)
He saw a lot of tourists coming to India and decided to start a travel blog to help them explore India better.
In a few months, he started offering tours to his blog readers and the rest, as they say, was history.
What was the secret to his success?
He identified a need in his own region and used it to build a profitable business.
This was a unique opportunity that only someone in India could take advantage of.
Such opportunities are everywhere.
But they're unique and you have to look for them around you.
TheTravelJunkie is another great example.
Run by an Indonesian travel enthusiast Bowie, the blog initially helped people explore different tourist spots in Indonesia. But gradually expanded its scope to other countries and has now become a leading travel blog in Indonesia with a dedicated following on Instagram and Facebook.
He now travels full-time around the world, sponsored by several leading hotels, airlines, and travel companies.
And you know what.
You don't even need to come up with a completely new business idea.
In the next point, I'll show you how you can simply copy proven business models from other countries and apply them to your market (instead of trying to compete with them)
5. Proven Business Models Can be Applied To Other Markets
"Don't reinvent the wheel" - they say that a lot in business schools.
Smart marketers and growth hackers religiously follow this approach.
And this is what you have to do as well if you're in a developing country and want to start making money online.
Instead of trying to come up with a completely unique idea, just see how marketers in the U.S or other developed countries have solved similar problems.
Take their proven business models, tailor them to the specific needs of your target audience, and reap the rewards.
Now don't get confused.
I'm not saying you should become their competitors.
I'm asking you to learn from their proven success and (instead of targeting the same market that they've already captured) apply hose proven business models to your own regional market that does not have any business like that.
For example, Khan Academy is one of the most popular e-learning sites in the world with thousands of tutorials and lessons starting from kindergarten right up to the high school level.
It's a hugely successful platform but it offers lessons in English only.
UnAcademy, a successful eLearning platform in India, adopted the same business model but tailored it according to the needs of the Indian population and offered lessons in the Hindi language.
LatinaMoms is another great example.
Seeing the popularity of mom blogs in the U.S, which became an $11 billion industry, they successfully targeted the same demographic in Latin America.
CookPad, one of the most popular sites in Japan, is a food recipe blog that follows the same pattern as some of the other popular recipe blogs in the U.S.
It caters primarily to the people interested in Japanese recipes.
In short, there are proven business models in other countries that you can simply copy and apply to your own region.
If your English language skills are weak, you don't need to target people in some other country to make money.
You can succeed by addressing the needs of your own people in your own language.
And as I show in the next point, there's a lot of growth potential for content in other languages.
6. There’s an Acute Shortage of Quality Online Content in Other Languages
I've already shared studies with you that show just how rapidly people from all over the world are coming online and using the internet to find solutions to their problems.
The official stats by W3Techs show that 53% of all web content is in English
China and India have more internet users than the USA, yet the percentage of online content in their languages is almost negligible.
Here's a break up of the total content on the internet by language.
This presents a massive opportunity for marketers in non-English speaking countries.
If you can create engaging, useful, and actionable content for people in their own language, they'll not only be able to understand your message better but are also more likely to buy from you.
A 2015 study by Common Sense Advisory shows that people strongly prefer buying from sites that present information in their native language.
This means that your product reviews, buyer guides, price comparisons, and product information posts will have a much greater impact on your audience if they're written in their native language.
Just think about it.
Millions of people from India, Russia, Spain, Brazil, and other countries are purchasing products online.
Yet very few marketers are creating content in their languages.
This applies to content marketing as well.
Neil Patel experimented by translating his blog content in 82 different languages.
As a result, his blog's traffic increased by 47% and started ranking for high traffic keywords in other languages.
There are a couple of ways you can quickly take advantage of this opportunity.
Partner With Established Bloggers
Many of the top bloggers and marketers realize that they can significantly increase their audience size by translating their existing content in other languages.
But they don't have the time to do it.
If you live in one of the regions that they want to target, you can partner with them by offering to translate their content into your language.
For example, a large portion of our audience on Nichehacks comes from India.
And I know for a fact that several marketers have approached Stuart to create an Indian version of this site.
Partnering with the already established bloggers can help you ride on their success and establish a region-specific version of their sites much more quickly
Start a New Language-Specific Site
If partnering doesn't make sense to you, you can start a site from scratch on a topic that's already popular in your region but not available in your native language. You can start by publishing the most popular posts of your competitors in your own language.
But if you're not interested in playing the long game and establishing a site from scratch, there's an even faster and better way to make more money using your own language.
Let me explain in the next point.
7. People Are Purchasing More Digital Products Than Ever Before
Selling eBooks, tutorials, online courses, and other forms of digital products in one of the most profitable ways to make money online.
Until a few years ago, U.S was the primary target market of most digital products.
It still is.
But other countries are catching up fast.
According to Global eBook Report 2017, China, Germany, Brazil, India, and Mexico are among the fastest-growing markets for eBooks.
eBooks are just one form of digital product.
But their growth pattern gives you a good idea of where the market is heading.
Depending on your region and the needs of your target audience, you can create online courses, video tutorials, or eBooks in your own language.
For example, I recently found a Croatian video course on Facebook helping people become vegan.
Here's a premium weight loss video course that's specifically designed for Arabic speaking audience.
The great thing about digital products is that you don't even need Google traffic to attract customers.
There are literally thousands of topics and problems that are unique to every country and region.
And people are more willing than ever before to buy online courses that can help them solve those problems.
8. YouTube Has Become a Major Earning Source for Marketers
In the last few years, the user base of YouTube in non-English countries has increased dramatically. It has also become a major source of earning for marketers in countries like Brazil, India, Turkey, Russia, and even emerging online markets like Pakistan.
Kim Garst, a leading social media influencer, recently published an infographic that shows that 80% of the traffic to YouTube comes from outside the US and 60% of it comes from countries whose primary language is not English.
The following table by Statista shows the countries with the highest number of active monthly YouTube users.
Just imagine the growth of YouTube traffic from the smaller countries when internet penetration rates increase.
But Vloggers and marketers in these countries are already making some pretty decent income from YouTube. For example, local news websites report that some of the most popular YouTubers in the Phillippines make approximately $5000-$10000 per month from advertising. In Vietnam, popular YouTubers are making $8000-$12000 per month (approx.) A Turkish YouTube channel for kids has estimated monthly earnings of $500K+ just from advertising.
These are insane numbers but they're likely to increase in the coming years as more people from these countries gain access to the internet.
Large companies and brands already know this
This is why they're investing heavily in one of the biggest online marketing trends right now (which I'll explain in the next point)
9. Major Brands Are Partnering With Local Influencers To Reach Customers
Influencer marketing is a HUGE business these days.
It doesn't matter if you can't speak a word of English and don't have any following in the U.S.
Brands in your region will pay you handsome amounts of money if you're a popular influencer among their target audience.
That's all that matters.
YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook are full of local influencers with small but dedicated circles who're making a lot of money by promoting different brands in their content.
On Instagram alone, more than 24 million posts sponsored by different brands have been published in 2018, according to a study by Influencer Marketing Hub.
Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
Most of these influencers are common social media users who gained loyal followers over a certain period of time.
Brands in every country and industry are leveraging this new marketing channel as a result of which ordinary social media users in even the smaller countries are making big bucks.
But if you want to start making money right now, keep reading because up next, I'm sharing the fastest and the easiest way to make money online.
10. The Demand for Freelance Services is Growing Exponentially
If you have a skill (read this if you don't) you can start making money as a freelancer in just a few hours
It's among the fastest-growing work trends in the U.S and, according to Upwork, the majority of Americans are expected to work freelance (full-time and part-time) by 2027
But it's outside the U.S that freelancing is making its biggest impact.
Companies from developed countries like the USA, Australia, Canada, and the UK are outsourcing jobs and project-based tasks worth hundreds of millions of dollars every year to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and many other developing countries.
According to a study by the University of Oxford, India has the highest number of active freelancers followed by Bangladesh and the United States.
The table below shows the countries with the most freelancers plus their share in different kinds of freelance work.
For example, most of the work outsourced to India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh comprises software development and web design projects. While the majority of creative writing and content-related projects go to freelancers in the USA.
Source: The University of Oxford
So if you're outside the U.S your best chance to get consistent work as a freelancer is to offer any of the following services
Social Media Marketing Services
Website Design and Development
Graphic Design Services
Data Entry/Typing Services
Call Center Services
Virtual Assistant Services
Most of these services are outsourced to cheaper countries because it saves money for businesses in the U.S
But if you have the right skills, you can even compete with native English speakers for freelance writing and copywriting jobs that are usually outsourced within the U.S.
I live in Pakistan and have been working (and earning pretty well) as a freelance copywriter and blogger since 2012
100% of my clients come from the USA, the UK, and Australia.
None of them have any issues with my nationality, my language, or my appearance
They pay me the same rates (sometimes even higher) as a freelance writer in the U.S
Because I get the job done (to a high standard and on time) and that's the only thing they care about.
How Much Do Freelancers Earn?
According to PayPal's recent freelancer survey, the average freelancer income is just over $30K per year (around $2.5/month)
Here's a detailed break up of the different income levels (annual)
Payoneer, another leading payment processing service, surveyed more than 21000 freelancers in 170 countries to calculate the average hourly income for different freelance services
Here's what they found
But those are just the average rates.
Experienced freelancers earn a LOT more than that, trust me ;)
In short, there's a lot of money to be made in freelancing.
But how can you find freelance clients that pay well?
To start with, you can try exploring the most popular freelancing job portals
Here's a list to get you started
General Freelance Job Portals
Web and Graphic Design Jobs
Programming and Software Development Jobs
Freelance Writing Jobs
The key to getting high paying freelance jobs is to build an impeccable brand image and a solid portfolio
The following infographic by Due has some really useful branding advice for freelancers.
Even if you're not interested in becoming a full-time freelancer, it's still a great way to earn money and keep the cash flow running while you're setting up your affiliate site or any other online business.
The only hurdle that freelancers in Asia and other developing regions used to face was the lack of payment options available to them.
Thankfully that's also improving quickly.
Let me elaborate more on the next point.
11. Receiving International Payments Is Getting Easier
You work to get paid (all of us do)
And getting paid outside the U.S (and especially in Asia) has always been a hassle.
This is why marketers in developing countries face difficulties in working online.
PayPal doesn't work in many Asian countries and bank transfers are just too expensive.
Thankfully, though, things are changing
Payment services like Payoneer, Xoom, and AliPay (along with several others) have made it much easier for marketers in Asia and other developing countries to get paid quickly and safely.
There's room for improvement, of course.
But things are much better than they were a few years ago and are constantly moving in the right direction.
Stop Using Your Language & Location As An Excuse Not To Make Money Online
No matter where you live in the world, there are opportunities around you that you can turn into profitable online businesses.
Don't let your doubts, fears, and limiting beliefs hold you back.
Nobody cares where you live and what language you speak.
All that matters is whether you, as a marketer, are promoting the right solutions to your target audience or not.
So instead of complaining and making excuses, identify a profitable niche and take advantage of the lack of competition in your region right now.
Because trust me, in a few year's time many emerging online markets would be as competitive as the U.S market right now.
So take action before it's too late.