Doing business with international clients

Ok I’ll try to simplify my very complicated situation. My question has two parts:
- How do I get American clients?
- How do I handle contracts when I’m thousands of miles away from them?

I have dual nationality so I’m a US citizen as well, I set up my personal website and I’m about to start freelancing. I’ve been living outside the US for 2.5 years (unfortunately) and I want to get clients from the US and from a particular city because I want to move to that city within a year. We’re always told to go after local businesses, this is a great advice however I want to get out of here as soon as possible and I want to build business and network contacts in the city I want to move to, so how do I go about finding clients in that city and how can I earn their trust? Also I will be charging what they charge in the US so this will not be a cheap outsource to India/Philippines kind of business.

Secondly when I do get these clients how am I going the handle the legal stuff? A contract will be useless in an international setting. I don’t have the money to hire a lawyer. I do want to set the rules beforehand so that people don’t take advantage of me. My projects will be very small and short term (2-4 weeks). Should I send them a contract or would an agreement suffice? I’d like to add that although I live abroad I still have to pay US taxes and show my earnings.


It’s very easy now to maintain relationships with clients in any part of the world thanks to the developments in the Internet technology and you can do your business successfully. Like you can interact with them by chatting, video conferencing and E-mails. Don’t worry you can do this and once you get into you will learn more.

I have dealt with several international clients. We generally communicate daily via e-mail and jump on skype at least twice a month