When you get into something, usually there is a reward you are expecting. If you put in effort, there is a potential reward you’re always eyeing. If you get a job, it is usually because you are skilled and can deliver on the work your employer gives you. But usually there is something else motivating you to keep working hard, to keep delivering great results for your employer – that salary that comes in every month.
With the salary, you know you can afford a lifestyle that you like, pay for the things you want and have some little money left to invest or keep in your savings account.
People also get into online freelancing with lots of expectations.
And you too will have lots of expectations when you start searching for freelance online jobs.
Your expectations will likely fall under the following categories:
Income you want to make weekly or monthly.
So, how much you want to make every week or month. Is the amount you have in mind Kenya Shillings 50,000 (500 US Dollars) per month or are you comfortable with half of that? Or do you expect to bring in over USD 1000 (KSh 100,000) per month?
The amount will often be subject to how much you are willing to work. Or you may arrive at a number just by looking at how much extra income would afford you the lifestyle you want.
Flexibility in terms of the hours you wish to spend to make the amount of money that will help you hit your income goals. So, for example, are you going to spend 2 to 3 hours a day working and expect that to amount to an extra 20,000, 30,000, 40,000, 70,000 or a 100,000 Shillings per month?
And then there is the flexibility that you expect will be afforded you once you start hitting your income goals and get to a place where you can decide on the number of hours you want to work overall (on your day job, side hustles and freelance business).
Things you are going to give up to get the time to find and do freelance jobs
If you are to meet your expectations (and hit the income goals you have in mind), some things will have to give space for your new freelance career / business.
Since you have 24 hours a day, and all those hours were already occupied with other activities not related to freelancing, you are going to find things to cut out from your day, so you can get enough time to invest in starting and growing your freelance business.
Here are some things you can cut back the time you spend on: Watching TV, movies and TV series. You can also cut back on the time you spend on social media and various messaging apps.
The kind of clients you want to work with
Do you want to work with people who check in all the time? People whose approach to criticism doesn’t sit well with you? Do you want to work with freelance clients with the same personality / worldview as you?
Do you want to work with companies and businesses that promote your ideals in the way they interact with their customers? Or are you just okay working for anybody as long as you make good money?
Spend some time to think about the kinds of people you’d be willing to work with – because freelancing is supposed to be fun. It is not all business and being serious all the time.
So, take a piece of paper and try to come up with a list of things you’d like your ideal client to have.
Finding the clients
How do you want to go about getting clients? Will you focus on one method to get them – bidding for jobs on sites like UpWork vs checking listings on Entity vs sending cold pitches via email? Will you use multiple platforms to get work? Or will you just put all your hopes in one freelance marketplace?
Here at Entity.co.ke, you are encouraged to place an ad on the site, with details of the service you want to offer clients.
Things you want to avoid like the plague
Is it low pay? Or clients giving too much work but don’t want to pay half of the money upfront (even after you have demonstrated to them that you are trustworthy)?
Is it other Kenyans getting work then subcontracting to others and treating them almost like slaves (piling lots of pressure on them with really tight deadlines week after week)?
Take a piece of paper and note down some of the things you won’t entertain once you start looking for online jobs.
Where your freelance income is going to go
How will the money you make freelancing enhance your lifestyle? How will you use what clients pay you? Will you save some money for emergencies?
Will you explore ways to compound your money by investing a portion of your income in other ventures – offline businesses for example? How much will you put back into growing your freelance career / business? Or will all your money go towards paying rent, buying food, paying for your education / school fees, servicing debt (repaying bank or Sacco loans for example)?
Figure this part out early. Because once you start making money but have no concrete plan about how to keep it, it will usually just find legs. But if you have a plan, it will be a lot easier to avoid making frivolous purchases. You will be motivated to save as much money as you can as you explore ways to invest it into assets that will yield more long term rewards for you and your family.
As you start working online as a freelancer, expect to be disappointed. Just make sure you have a plan that will help you deal with these disappointments, whenever they arise.
One disappointment most people have is usually related to how much time they have to spend to make a good income. Some hear how you can just sit in front of your computer, tap on the keys and make money and think that it is just that easy.
They don’t take into account how time they have to spend educating themselves, building their network, buttressing their portfolio, and doing the actual work outsourced to them. So, just be ready. Be flexible. Learn as much as you can.
Put in the work. Make changes you deem necessary as you gain more experience. And enjoy yourself. Have fun – finding new ways to get in front of potential clients. And deliver to their expectations.