When you begin freelancing in Kenya, the first aim is to make money.
I got enticed by the idea of waking up to a job rather than travelling miles before I get to work.
But before you make any money online, you have to realise it’s more than making money but having a reputable freelancing brand, that’s where the real money is.
So, how did I get to earning $5000/month online as a Kenyan and what can you do to earn more money as a freelancer in Kenya?
Before you begin freelancing in Kenya, you’re going to pass through the need for a freelancing account.
Then after you’re going to ask yourself, Am I going to die working 2-dollar jobs all my life as a freelancer?
Before you know it, you give up and get employed in a 9-5 and you will say that freelancing in Kenya is a scam where no one makes money.
Before you accuse anyone, I want to show you how to increase your net worth as a freelancer, make more money, travel more and build a freelancing recognised brand.
You’re going to examine yourself and what you’re excellent at, I realised that very early on.
What could I do very well and better than anyone else?
I’m a natural-born writer, but that doesn’t make money online for you.
You’re going to choose a specific niche, an area of specialisation.
Before choosing a niche, you’re going to ask yourself, what topics do you like to read, write, research and you could do this for a decade without stopping.
It took me 9 years to truly take freelancing seriously. I believe in niching out, though at first, I thought it was a ploy to discourage me from utilising all my God-given talent.
I ONLY chased clients.
It took a lot of self-talk to earn good money, I had to let go of so many topics I wanted to write about.
And I had to let go of writing about every topic on this blog and write what matters to me the most after years of being broke – MONEY and making money online for Kenyans.
Since niching out and focusing on a niche, it feels I walked aimlessly without a road or vision and that somehow hurts. It’s great to find a focus.
My previous years of aimless meandering (writing about everything under the sun) taught me that everything happens for a reason.
If you stay long enough, in the pursuit of your success or goals, the lessons you learn become invaluable and help you achieve success.
Over the years, I accumulated more than 1,000 rejections but I kept on going because you know what? You cannot ever give up.
I thought the writing field was oversaturated, it sure is, but with writers earning below average, or just over $200 a month for slaving away.
I didn’t want to slave away because I knew I bring value, creativity and drive. I became a VA over the period when I couldn’t stomach the rejections.
This article will walk you through the process of earning more than you imagined when starting out as a freelancer in Kenya.
You’re going to learn about building a credible freelance brand recognised worldwide.
You are going to make others yearn for the freedom of working at home – and they will ask questions because you’re making bank.
And you will NEVER miss your boss.
I Make $5000/500k a Month as a Freelancer in Kenya: This Is How I Do It
This is how I make my living online as a freelancer in Kenya.
I am a freelance writer who for years struggled with how to earn money online. In this guide, I will show you how to earn more money online as a Kenyan freelance writer or freelancer in any niche and the steps include:
Define your value proposition
A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered, I believe I got this definition from Wikipedia and it was the simplest.
I define a value proposition as a promise of uniqueness or what people call USP (unique selling proposition).
For example, what are you bringing to a business that’s unique and different?
Then, ask, are there customers/clients to buy your unique services and products? In your USP, you always define the benefits you bring.
Brand yourself as an expert within your field
You have to realize that branding is nothing hard. And for freelancers in Kenya, you want to stand out among the noise.
Have you ever checked the blog, Writers in Charge and seen how Bamidele brands himself?
His blog is visited by freelance writers from all over the world and he’s a rich man, isn’t that the biggest aim of freelancing? To get recognition worldwide and command an audience you wouldn’t reach in a 9-5?
In branding, you identify your voice, your marketing message and your mission and vision.
Who are you selling to and why?
Where do they check their information and why?
How will you be of benefit to them? Also, in branding, you identify your USP. Another branding like logos can come after you answer the simple question of satisfying your customers.
Related: How to Build a World Recognised Freelance Brand in Kenya
Hard work and smart work
I’m all for smart work, this is where you choose what converts and sticks with it.
It’s all about not working 100 hours per week and making $200 a month. I always say, smart work alone makes you sound like a conman and hard work alone makes you look a farmer without a plan. Have both. Smart work is about leveraging your talents (knowing how to price and asking for it, having a freelance contract ready and building a recognised freelance brand).
Hard work, on the other hand, is putting in the effort. Knowing that no one will hand you free things, even God, in manifesting doesn’t like laziness.
And in Napoleon Hills book, Think and Grow Rich he stated that dreams aren’t born of indifference laziness and luck. They’re born of the consistent pursuit.
So, are you inputting both smart work and hard work in your freelance brand to enable you to earn more money?
All smart work gets life from hard work. You have to put in the work to be able to afford a 4/hour work week.
Be specific about your role.
Since I niched out and began talking about making money/freelancing in Kenya/creating an online business/e-commerce, I have seen exponential growth on my YouTube channel and this blog’s traffic.
In a matter of time, I believe I’ll earn my first ever $1000 or more from blogging and become a force to reckon with as I keep creating.
You have to ask, before choosing a niche, is my market ready for the information I want to share?
If it isn’t how am I going to solve the pain points/questions my customers keep asking?.
A niche must have a market size that will pay you back.
It starts from the first 1000 customers or even 100 customers.
If you cannot sell to that small market how will you appeal to millions? Start small, think big is my mantra always.
Who is your ideal client
Some of the questions to ask yourself include what type of business has/needs your services?
How much does your ideal client make so they can pay you good money?
Does this business want your services long term or short term?
I have realised establishing relationships in this freelancing business is so crucial.
Can this business(es) afford your services?
What is the age range, gender, location, websites this demography frequents, and their interests?
Will they engage with the type of content you will be producing?
You may find clients scattered all over the internet on Upwork, via cold emailing, Freelancer, previous employer, Flexjobs, Angellist, Facebook groups, Linkedin.
Learn where your ideal client hangs out then learn how to pitch them your idea.
Have a portfolio that shows your expertise
An excellent portfolio shows your past experiences and their relevance to the current position you seek.
A portfolio also says who you’re and why you’re working in the chosen field.
You have to gloat a little about yourself if you have worked for the serious publication, I have but as a ghostwriter, I have signed some serious Non-Disclosure Documents. Some do expire.
The greatest achievement though is getting my blog from hobby to business and being proud of it.
Include your contact information in your portfolio.
You want your clients to be able to contact you when they love your style of writing/ work.
Your portfolio, in other words, educates, sparks interests, convinces potential clients you know what you’re doing.
A portfolio is your sales pitch.
Learn how to run a freelancing business while working ie. on tight schedules, short leashes, angry clients are what you will meet as a freelancer.
You have to be able to use tools and time management tools that save
Acquire skills relevant to your niche
I have learnt over the years I love creative writing/fiction writing a lot.
But, to earn money as a creative writer, I had to show my books/book sample to get gigs as a ghostwriter.
That’s what I did, after a few rejections, I got to write for a client who loved my work and referred me to another and word spread.
You have to know what your value is for the skills to pay off.
Is it your communication, is it that you have recently acquired a new skill and would want to show it off a little bit?
If you have acquired a new skill, you have to start from the entry-level position and charge according to your skills.
As you gain more experience, then you can charge more and clients will happily pay.
There are some freelancing skills which pay more than others.
Related: Freelancing skills paying more money to Kenyan Freelancers and while at it read the most valuable tech skills to have in 2020 and beyond according to Linkedin to get an insight into what skills you must acquire if freelancing is something you salivate for.
Never give up
I often ask myself what if I quit freelancing 5 years ago or immediately after starting would I have made it this far?. Would I be regretting? Would I have learnt what I have learnt so far?
The thing with quitting is realising how far you’ve come.
If you cannot see the stretch of road you travelled to where you are, you haven’t travelled long enough and quitting will be too easy for you.
When I’m about to quit, I ask myself, my God, you mean I wasted five years learning about that for me to just give up? I ask myself: What can I do to improve? what can I do to make me get paid so that I keep enjoying the journey? Have I learnt enough about this job for me to quit or is it because I know nothing about the reason why I’m not getting ahead?
No way in the world am I quitting!, I find myself retorting so hard and before I know, I’m back on the grind.
Or you can ask, why did you begin your freelancing career and what you were determined to achieve?.
Build your credibility
Credibility for freelancers is built in several ways.
Credibility is built using a blog, creating content because these days content is where clients begin a connection with you.
Collaborate with influencers. I don’t know so many influencers in Kenya who are proud writers.
I’m filming a day in the life of a freelance writer in Kenya to show you what I do.
Influencer collaboration can take your brand far if done with an influencer in your field.
Since writing an Airbnb book in 2019, the need for writing books grew in me a lot.
I got discouraged after earning so little from it.
But, since getting $5 in royalties the other day, a light bulb went off. I’m going to write more and more books and market them widely.
Authors don’t quit plus it’s easy to get a speaking gig easily when someone finds your book. Books are an inspiration.
You can build a whole new career as an author where you teach new writers, create a writing accountability group, create printable writing planners. The endless ways of earning are created with a book!
Create an e-course
Yes, e-courses are the centre of online businesses these days. What’s your field?
Can you create videos so that other would-be learners can learn from you?
You can begin on YouTube or Udemy or via your platform. Most courses pay you $99 – 999 and this is recurrent passive income.
People online like learning from experts.
Book speaking engagements
If you want to earn more money as a freelancer, book a speaking engagement.
To get a speaking engagement, you must be an industry guru, people must know you either through your books, social media pages or through your online content. You can organise conventions/exhibitions.
You will be surprised at how much people are willing to pay to learn.
Determine your pricing
The biggest fear in almost all businesses is the fear of price.
I was afraid of pricing my pillows.
But I realised that the more scared you are, the more you won’t pay yourself or you end up undervaluing your work.
What’s a price that your clients are willing to pay?. No wonder it pays to know your ideal customers.
If you’re determined to set the price, get ready to do an impeccable job. No one gets paid for mediocrity.
Since I was a teen my dad talked about excellent networking.
He said to me, ‘Talk with people enhancing your quality of life – those above you, those whose position in society you admire, not those beneath you pulling you down’. My dad was and still is brutal!
After realising the importance of what he said to me two decades later, networking is so important that it became a part of my life as a freelancer.
I join groups of people, not necessarily freelancers, who I want to be like and more.
I don’t waste my time on people pulling me or others down and the content I assume has to be uplifting.
You have to fix every area of your life to properly network.
When you properly network, you get others to recommend you and think of you when they have job openings. Be in the mind of greater clients.
Know how to perfect your pitch
I remember when I heard pitching, like branding, I almost peed my pants.
No, it doesn’t have to be hard.
You go for companies or individuals who align your vision and don’t stop asking for recommendations/chances to show what you can offer.
It also pays to know your industry in and out so that your pitch stand out.
Research the company, determine their needs and their voice. Provide upfront value in form of recommendations.
Learn how to form meaningful partnerships.
Focus on your productivity for example by having dual monitors and putting social media notifications off when working.
Productivity is an often discussed topic on every freelancing platform.
Productivity comes from prioritising, realising what comes first, what brings in the most chances/revenue and what must go.
You have to identify what areas of your life or business waste time for you.
Learn to delegate duties so your energy gets shifted to the advancement of your business.
Related: Productivity Areas Every Freelancer/Business Owner Must Pay Attention to While Working Online
Diversify and learn to have side hustles
I almost fainted when in 2017 I lost a client of mine who paid me a chunk of my income. I learnt to create side hustles.
The same year I started my pillow business. You cannot sit on one income. NEVER.
Your income can be diversified by teaching, selling your products/services, affiliate marketing among other ways, we discuss all the time on YouTube.
Related: 35 or More Side Hustles That Pay Freelancers in Kenya
Ask to be paid more
If you cannot price well, then ask to get paid more. In order to get paid more, you have to develop confidence in the services you provide.
Tell your clients about it – the increase in your rates.
Some will agree some won’t. Overall, do what you feel is best for your business – you can choose to retain or fire the clients who don’t agree with your rates.
When new clients come to your freelancing business, those are the ones I charge more.
I find I upsell services for my repeat clients.
I have always been told to have a social way to communicate and market my business.
The problem is, I said I’m not a very social person.
You don’t have to be on every social media platform on earth, choose the ones where your customers are, then learn and utilise the heck out of that social media.
For example, if your customers hang out more on Pinterest, post visuals on there.
Also, make a point of commenting, liking, answering questions on all social media you’re on.
After all, what’s the purpose of social media when you don’t communicate?
Show every aspect of your business – business owners must overcome shyness.
You’re the face of your business and people want to connect with that (your face, your voice, personality).
Have a website
In 2012, if you told me a website cost so much, I’d understand you.
I bought my domain in 2012! When you have your website, build a following, you’re better off than those entrepreneurs/freelancers relying on social media.
What happens when social media is no longer a part of our lives/livelihood?
You have control of what to say and when to say on your website. Isn’t that why you started freelancing?
To have freedom without getting controlled?. See how the Kenya Film Board keeps censoring content, if you don’t insult anyone on Google, your website won’t get shut down. And the KFB, cannot censor your song because it’s too gay or too nude or for whatever flimsy reason they give.
You can build so many strong relationships via your website where people connect with you one on one. It’s establishing your freelancing brand.
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Are you a Freelancer in Kenya? How do you plan on adding more money to your income? Do you have earning goals in mind or are you working on autopilot?