Challenges, they say every area of life has them. That there is not even a single place where you can go without experiencing some sort of friction. Whatever it is you want to attain, whatever goal you want to achieve, will present you with challenges you have to go through before you lay your hand on the price.
Freelancing online, works that way too. It comes with a myriad challenges. When you hear stories of freelancers making good money doing online jobs, if you ask them what they have gone through to get to the place where they are now, you’ll get quite a story. Something interesting, colourful, dreamy even will reach your eyes and ears – and your brain.
And if you leave things there, you will go away excited and maybe tell yourself that you can become a freelancer too – which is not a bad idea. But when you probe further, when you take your time to read between the lines you will go away having learnt about some of the struggles they went through to get to where they are.
And so, you may go away half-excited but your brain will push you to start to think of strategies you will have to implement to overcome similar challenges, in case they present themselves later down the road.
I remember when I started freelancing. By then all I did online was write blog posts for my own blog, read a lot, and just play with WordPress on my computer.
I read about different ways to make an income online, but I wasn’t keen on becoming a freelancer then. I just spent most of my time creating content for my own blog – improving my skills in various areas (writing, SEO and paid ads). I just concentrated my effort learning as much as I could about inbound and outbound marketing.
I used to subscribe to the email lists of blogs in a variety of niches. Blogs about blogging. Blogs about small business. Blogs about personal growth. Blogs about online business. Blogs about writing. And learnt a lot about all these niches so by the time I wanted to get into freelance writing, I didn’t have to go far to get my first client.
I remember just replying to some of the emails I got from the blogs I was subscribed to. And that’s how I got my first gig online. A fifty dollar gig.
So, as a person who has worked on quite a number of client projects / tasks, I know how dreadful it can be taking that leap and staying the course. I know how tiring it can be doing all the things you are told to do to increase your chances of getting hired – in an area where competition is rife.
Challenges are good…
- They toughen people.
- Takes care of the competition. … Chews and spits people out. Leaves only doers. Driving out people who are risk averse to the point that their knowledge and whatever paralysis they may be experiencing only allows them to fantasize about things but not to live them.
- They promise, if you have a good attitude, a fun ride from where you maybe now to the end, right where opportunities wait for overcomers
List of challenges freelancers in Kenya face
At the beginning (when they don’t have work yet)
When a person is new to the idea of making money doing freelance jobs, usually there is no one offline they know doing this. So, they are forced to fill all the knowledge gaps they have themselves. They are forced to learn things by themselves – all online. Which needs a different mindset.
They have to learn to be self-driven, to not wait to be told what to do and to set their own limits (to learn enough). It is not like school where things are structured, where you know which lesson awaits you at a particular hour in the day.
Educating yourself, especially about things you didn’t learn in school can become quite a challenge. Figuring little ways to implement daily to put the theory into practice is a big challenge.
And the evidence of this can be seen by the thousands of people joining freelance marketplaces (creating profiles) and then doing nothing else. Or people who go to week-long workshops offline to learn about this stuff who just take their notes and push them somewhere in their bedroom or sitting room.
Getting the theory in, that is usually easy to many people. Turning that knowledge into a process that can lead to an income, that is another story.
And then there are people who worry about all these things they need in order to get started. So, some people see no having a desktop computer / laptop as a hindrance.
And they get absorbed in their what ifs, telling themselves of they could only raise the money and be able to afford a good computer, they’d be set. So, figuring a way to get started when you don’t have a computer (or reliable internet access) is also something hindering many people from realizing their dreams online.
Figuring a way to get that first client is also another challenge many go through. Some wonder whether they should go to freelance websites and bid for jobs or use cold pitching (sending emails to clients or calling them), or use both approaches.
Which means that there is usually a lot of time being wasted when their efforts are scattered, when they are all over the map with different tactics hoping and praying that something pans out soon.
When they start working (growing after getting that first client)
Scams. Knowing how to differentiate legit opportunities from the stuff scammers out out there.
Dealing with procrastination. So, how to keep things moving in the right direction while limiting as much distraction as possible.
Putting the money they make into good use. So, it doesn’t all go into purchases online and offline. Some have a hard time disciplining themselves to the point where they can start saving a good chunk of their income every month.
How to go from the first to a second and a third client is usually another challenge many go through.
How to overcome these challenges as an online freelancer
It is all about having the right mindset. That if you don’t know, there is someone who probably was in your position. And that you can learn from them. So, you don’t have to get stuck and stay stuck. You can usually hop online to find a solution to whatever challenge you are going through.
Read lots of article, case studies especially. Read lots of books on sales and marketing, so you can improve your pitching game. Watch videos on YouTube. Take courses. Don’t allow a challenge you are experiencing stop you from moving forward.
Always know that there is something freely available to help you get unstuck and keep you moving forward to having a wonderful career / business freelancing. And you can find these from blogs on blogging, online business, freelancing and even on Facebook groups.
Learn from others. Tailor their advice / tips / tactics / strategies to your needs, and then see what works. Test lots of different things. Then stick to what works, while being open-minded and consuming content on a regular basis that can help you adapt to the changes being experienced in whatever niche / industry you choose to work in as a freelancer.
Learn how to become more self-discipline in every area of your life. Learn how to save and invest.
Learn how to be patient. And enjoy yourself – whatever that means to you. Spoil yourself once in awhile. Buy yourself something nice. Or share the fruits of your labor with those you love / those less fortunate than you.
Usually there is a lot that can be learned from the experiences resulting from such moments – from the time you spend with others sharing what you make online with.
And when it comes to getting more clients, do more of what you did the first time while testing other approaches. For example, here on Entity.co.ke, you can take some time to create an ad listing advertising your freelance service and then putting it in the right category so clients looking for people to outsource work to can see it.
Placing an ad on the site is free.