Does your Non-Native English Speaking Status Harm Earning Potential?

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Yes. It does.

Perhaps, not always but sometimes there is an unavoidable sinking feeling, a kind of sixth sense intimidating you, “hmmm….I lost the work because I’m a non-native English writer”, right?

It happens and will happen in the life of every non-native English writer, sooner or later.

I won’t get into a lengthy debate on the merits and demerits of native vs. non-native writing or how non-native writers are treated but will tell you ways of bypassing the stigma and start earning handsomely.

I know what I’m saying; I am non-native English speaking content developer, content manager and consultant myself. I have been there and done that!


Bypass Non-Native English Speaking Stigma & Start Earning

Here are my personal recommendations.

1.     Don’t Apply to “Native Only” Projects

Unless you’ve loads of time to waste on disillusioning a client about native and non-native choices, steer clear of freelance projects with “native writer only” status.

The saddest thing is many non-native English speakers advertise for “native only” freelance writers. Isn’t that totally discouraging?

The ideology of demanding “native only” writers speaks of a herd mentality, an alliance to a dubious thought process that native writers are excellent while non-natives are just a cheaper option. The mettle of a freelance writer is based on his/her work portfolio ONLY.

2.     Communicate through Clear Writing

The way you communicate through writing is an important factor in getting freelance writing projects.

If you claim to be an “experienced and professional blogger”, and your bidding proposal to a blogging project goes like “Hey, I blogger, I write many a blog for you’re sites”, bid that project adieu!

The point is be very clear about how your represent yourself in the online world. Write messages on forums clearly, reply to client emails comprehensively, don’t use chat lingo with clients (ex. “hw r u”, showcase your knowledge level and display your grasp over technical writing skills.

The idea is to let your writing shine; to let the writing reflect your personality. How else can you get freelance writing projects?

3.     Be Knowledgeable in a Niche

Don’t be a Jack of all trades but master of none!

Our century is a world of specialization. Choose a niche and excel in it. If your interest lies in the fashion writing industry, you need to know about recent trends, global fashion development, and ways to generate responsive content on fashion and so on.

This knowledge will always help you to get good clients and earn money.

If you’re able to manage multiple niches, its fine but specialization never hurts.

For heavens’ sake, never be a writer whose punch line is “I can write on any topic, just pay me $1/500 words”. You can never ever earn well. This approach works in the beginning of a freelancing career but if you stick to this even after a year or two, there is something seriously wrong somewhere. Getting my point?

4.     Market Skills, Not Your Country

Stop feeling sorry for yourself because you’re from India or Bangladesh or Philippines. A genuine and unbiased client will always look for credible and effective writing skills and not judge on the basis of the country of your origin.

Thus, always keep a portfolio ready, few samples and a rocking bio highlighting your skills. Here, let me also mention that do not boast of skills which you do not have even if you’re a good writer. It will harm your reputation in the long run if you can’t deliver the skills you proudly mention in resume and/or portfolio.

5.     Don’t Lie

This is my last but perhaps, the most effective tip. I have seen many non-native writers giving themselves a fake “English” name, using fake email I creating fake social media profiles and morphing images with the intention to get more work and more money.

I understand the desperation which makes you do this. The world out there is very unfair. You will have a hard time getting work as a non-native writer but please, do not adopt fraudulent measures.

Be true to yourself, most importantly.

Do not go for fraudulent measures if you really want to establish yourself as a credible, well known, professional and highly sought writer.


Thus, I depart with my pearls of wisdom. Freelance writing is not a copy-paste work. The success of many business models depend largely on our writing skills – always remember this.

Please share your feedback, comments, and ideas through the comment section.

About the Author: Chitraparna Sinha is a 5-year veteran of the global freelancing industry. She is a content developer-cum-content manager at various small business and blogging platforms, a freelancing consultant and a huge lover of social media marketing. Catch her on Twitter @SocialVani.

  • Chitraparna Sinha

    Thank you for publishing :)

    • worknhire

      Its really great to have guest bloggers post their experience on for other members to understand the art of freelancing. Thanks for sharing your experience. WorknHire team would love to see a few more posts from you and other bloggers as well.

  • Victor Onokpasah


    This article was a good read,I am non-native English speaking content writer and I agree with all that Chitraparna have said. I must say thank you for putting together this articles it give us the non-native English speaking writers guidelines and encouragement in putting pen to paper.

    • Chitraparna Sinha

      Thank you for visiting Victor :) I am glad that you found it useful.

  • Lucky Singh

    Hi, I understand your predicament, but if you look at your article closely, you will notice that there are many proofreading and underlying sentence construction errors. Of course, I have seen thousands of native English speakers with lousy spelling and grammatical skills but people like us have to be extra careful.

    • Chitraparna Sinha

      People like us have to be extra careful because the freelance writing industry is biased. Native or non-native, no one is a “perfect” writer. At least, everyone should be able to bid on projects…otherwise, it isn’t fair competition. BTW, if you can contact me via my blog and let me know the errors, I will be grateful, thanks :)

  • Jonah

    This is such BS. I am a native speaker (Canadian) and I cannot even begin to describe how many native speakers here and elsewhere butcher the language and can’t speak eloquently to save their lives. Sure, they may have slightly less of an accent but they can’t write for beans. So sorry to hear about your predicament.

    • Chitraparna Sinha

      Writing is universal. It is we who bring the native and non-native distinction. Of course, not every native English speaker can write…but when you browse freelance marketplaces, a large number of clients specify the need for native writer…and it is not fair competition. Give chance to everyone and take your pick.

  • danny1964

    This whole ‘native English speaking’ fiasco has come about because there is a bunch (actually a lot more) of so called writers from India who have really spoilt the market for genuine Indian writers. They charge a miserable $1 and deliver a lot of garbage. I am sure many of my fellow Indian writers who don’t belong to this gang will share my sentiments.