Brian, Outsource Yourself

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Brian Gordon, American born and raised, just moved from South Florida to Cambodia, and I am trying to help him reverse the outsourcing dilemma you might be worrying about in your own job.

Dude!

It was good to hear from you, and I was glad to see that the move to Cambodia was trouble-free, given how problematic the months leading up to it were.

Now that you are settled in, and want to find work, consider marketing yourself in a way that takes full advantage of your situation.

First, I think that your story is compelling. The Great Recession + the Florida housing bust wiped out your equity, and then you got laid off. I used to live in Florida, and so I know you weren’t unusual. It was just bad luck – you weren’t sub-prime, you got crushed by falling prices, like millions of other people. And getting laid off during this recession happened to millions of people too, not just you.

But what you did next is what makes the story so interesting. You picked a place you visited once before and liked, gave yourself a September 1 deadline to find a new job in America, and when you didn’t, you left.

Now, you can geo-arbitrage. You can work for American companies (or really any company, anywhere), undercut your on-shore competition by 20-30%, and take advantage of the lower cost of living in Southeast Asia.

Not many people could make the kind of change you did. And even fewer would even try. But you did it.

So, now, how do you find clients?

This is the weak spot in your strategy, since ideally you would have lined something up before leaving, but I don’t fault you for it. A big change like that means sticking to a date no matter what. Otherwise, maybe you would have never had ‘enough’ clients, and therefore never moved.

The situation is what it is. Let’s just get started.

1. You have a domain name, and an email address (brian.gordon@kronosreports.com). Put your story on your website, along with the type of reports you have done and can do for clients. Keep it friendly. (Note: Brian’s specialty is creating database-driven reports for HR systems)

2. Decide on a rate schedule you can live with, and stick to it. If possible, be the second-highest cost provider among your competitors.

3. Get someone to send you a MagicJack, so you’ll have a US number that you can use and a voicemail box for the calls you can’t take (sounds simple, I know, but it matters). While you are at it, sign up for Google Voice.

4. Email everyone you know, individually. Especially former clients. Tell them your story, give them your contact info and website and let them know that you can handle their work easily from where you are, at prices they won’t find locally, at least not with the experience level you offer.

5. Record some high-quality video and upload it to YouTube or Vimeo. At a minimum, record a 1 minute introduction to your website, again telling your story and how you are able to offer American-style work in a way that benefits the client. Then embed  the video on the front page of your website (this is easier than you think, honest).

6. Set up Google Alerts for keywords that include your specialty, former employers, and former clients, and when you see new business deals announced, contact the people mentioned and offer to supplement what they are buying with your own offering. We both know the crazy markups that services like report creation have. Some of those companies will be happy to reduce their costs and get the same results.

7. Subscribe to Help A Reporter Out. Yours is a story that is extreme enough to get media attention, and that sort of publicity will help you get clients and make them more comfortable with you.

8. Start a blog on WordPress.com, and write about your career adventure. Posts there are picked up by search engines very quickly. I just googled ‘brian gordon‘ and I am pretty sure none of the top results was you. Even ‘brian gordon reports’ didn’t return anything about you. You have a common name (sorry, it’s true), so you need to start getting noticed by Google, buddy. We can’t all be named ‘dean waye‘.   🙂

9. If one exists, join a group on LinkedIn for people who either do what you do, or are in industries you have sold into. I joined my first 3 groups the other day, and I was blown away by how many project management jobs are listed. Also, post either your website address or this post to Facebook/Twitter, and ask your friends there to pass it along. Mainly for the Google search results help, but it also might you pick up something.

10. Finally, take a look at the freelancer sites like elance, guru, odesk, and TweetMyJob. They can get you started on something until you get established.

Also: Dear Reader… yes, you, you right now, reading these words… What do you think? Got a comment, or a suggestion to help Brian?