I have been working mostly online for more than 6 years. Recently a friend of a friend asked for my advice on how to expand globally his company and offer remote IT services. This is what we discussed.
1. Create a portfolio website.
List all the products and/or services that you can provide and present your expertise. It is very important to have a web presence as everyone can look you up online. Make sure you translate your website to the languages of the countries you are targeting and that you are monitoring the traffic (Google analytics). There are many ways to create a website and many tools that can help you with this task. I have used wix.com and I was very satisfied and in the past I have bought a template, developed it and used it.
2. Create Social accounts for your company
Publish articles relative the company areas and company announcements such as discounts or job openings. Try to attract the right followers and maintain a professional image. Start with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and see where your company fits best.
3. Publish articles
Write articles and be seen as an expert on your field. There is no better way to show that you are good at what you do than having an article published. Be aware that distribution of your content is essential. You can put it on your website and nobody will read it. Start with LinkedIn and Medium and look for other more specialised sites. Moreover, try to raise awareness and get the right traffic by using social media to promote your articles but note that quality is more important than quantity. Find the right audience where your writing will have the most significant impact on your target(of growing your business).
4. Get Certified
Get certifications (Java, AWS, MySQL/Oracle, Cisco, PHP, Linux …) and become a certified(premium) partner. Through the partner channels you can be found and you can attract projects at a very good rate. You will be perceived as an expert and as a representative of the company you are certified from.
5. Lunch a product
Create a product and give support on it. There are many business models for a SW product but I propose the simple freemium model where you create tiers of your offering with a very cheap(or free) version in the low end and a paid version for more advanced features. This will give people the chance to try your product and see if they are interested and they might come with a support contract or an tier upgrade.
Find project brokers(subcontractors) in the countries/industries that you want to enter. They usually get a commission and it is very to know a few of them for the rainy days. I haven’t worked with a broker directly before but I helped a friend that was working on a very tight deadline.
Except from you products try to give back to the community. If you have a tool or a library that is sitting on your workspace put it to work. Polish it, write some documentation and make it public. Many tech recruiters are looking in GitHub for real “credentials” and facts, not in LinkedIn where you can say anything you want. Another way to help the community is to answer questions based on your area of expertise. Sites such as StackOverflow and Quora are perfect for that.
8. Specialised Websites
Look at websites that are specialised on remote jobs. Now-days finding remote jobs and contracts is easier than ever — start from here. Just note that the deals are smaller and easier and because of the competition the pay might not be as good as you thought it would be.
9. Hunt and Nudge
Find job posts(for example on LinkedIn) that fit your expertise even if they are not intended for remote work. Then find the HR person that posted the particular job and make your proposal to him — he might be tempted to test you. Not many HR have thought of outsourcing a particular job, you should nudge them by proposing your services and showing your credentials.
Startups are more open to the idea of working with contractors — Try to make connections with VCs/Angels/Incubators/Accelerators/Universities and other startup support institutions or individuals. Try to monitor CrunchBase AngelList and see which startups got funded, what tech stack they use, how and whom they have hired and who invested in them. Use the nudging technique from item 9.
Provide excellent service. It goes without saying that a satisfied customer will either come back or will refer you to another job. Try to be at your best ALWAYS.