Ryan Peter. Writer.


Recently, I interviewed a business owner in America who does pretty much what I do – ghostwriting, copywriting, journalism, SEO and so on. She was surprised to hear I was from South Africa and I was equally surprised to hear her mention that she had several great clients from South Africa. It made me wonder, why did those clients not look for a freelance writer in South Africa? Why did they choose an overseas service provider instead?

She’s very good at what she does and those clients have made a great choice by hiring her. But I couldn’t somehow feel that the reason why they didn’t hire someone locally is because they couldn’t actually find them. Or, at least, they couldn’t find someone who actually knew what they were doing.

Then I thought about my own business. Most of my freelance writing clients, at the moment, are from the U.S. These clients are in the media and communications industries, and I wonder if I’m sometimes writing for clients of theirs who are actually based in South Africa! It seems strange for the work to go out of the country only to come back in, but this is very possible.

This has made me think about the way South Africans use the Internet and, even more, how ineffectively businesses are using it. One of my U.S. clients are an SEO content company who have an SEO strategy for clients that really, really works. As a result, they’ve got some pretty big clients! Sitting in meetings with them over Skype I’ve realised that the difference between how the U.S. makes the Internet work for business compared to South Africa is huge!

As a result, even when you do a Google search on, you often find overseas businesses popping up first (unless you search for a business or individual’s name). I don’t know how much is supposed to find local business, but it certainly does present more local results than The only time you really get a completely local result, however, is if you tell it to only search for pages in South Africa – but most people don’t know how to do this.

I’ve often looked for writing jobs on the Internet at South African sites but there’s not much to choose from. A site like Gumtree occasionally has work but it always leads to a dead end – you email the client through the system but only get silence in return. As a result, freelance writing in South Africa is more about competing with overseas writers than local writers. That’s the global market, but I think there’s lots of South African talent who can really help South African companies with their Internet presence; or truly help South African individuals with writing their book. We’re just more about networking the old fashioned way than the new way, perhaps.

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  • avatar image
    Damaria Senne
    November 24, 2013

    Oddly, I’ve had a vastly different experience. The majority of my clients ( and my best paying clients) are based in SA. They mostly came by word of mouth. I’ve found that I do better when I do marketing (very soft) instead of applying for advertised jobs. For the advertised jobs, the competition is very stiff, and usually, they offer much less payment. The people who come through my marketing are already convinced they need a good writer or they find out during our initial talks that I expect very reasonable rates and decide to hire someone else.

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  • avatar image
    Ofentse Lephoko
    September 3, 2015

    Good day Ryan
    My name Ofentse Lephoko. Need help in writing some Christian, Leadership and Success books.
    How soon can one see you?

  • avatar image
    June 2, 2016

    i realy wish to, to write some article about the bible verses ,realy i do, to let the christianS to understand the Interprets of the REVELATION …..the last massage from the lamb of GOD ALMIGHTY

  • avatar image
    November 26, 2017

    Hey, are you a freelance writer in South Africa?

    I have a few questions I need answering if you don’t mind

    • avatar image
      Ryan Peter
      February 27, 2018

      Sure, just use my contact form on my home page and send me a message 🙂

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