As a freelance marketplace, Entity has created lots of different blog posts targeted at those interested in freelancing in general. And then there have been a few posts that have been published targeted at those that just want to pursue freelance writing online as a way to make a meaningful income each month.
I write these posts, that sometimes look similar, because there are a lot of people that hear about freelancing online get excited and then never do much with the information they get – until a time when they find what they already know presented in another different post using different words.
So, I am using this article to convey the same message to all those interested in working as freelance writers in Kenya.
In this article I am going to show you some of the things you need to get started. I am going to share four questions to help you think deeply about areas you need to work on so you can get in front of potential clients and land your first job online.
Can you deliver the results your clients are after?
Here is where you have to gauge if your ability as a writer can be turned to a service that people are willing to pay for.
You have to practice enough and reach a level where you can demonstrate to people you pitch that your writing can add value to their business, blogs or websites.
If you can’t do this, you will have to postpone creating a writing service until you are better overall at the top things clients look for:
- Being able to do thorough research
- Being able to create well-organized pieces of content out of what you already know and what you learn by doing research
- Being able to create something that matches or exceeds the quality of the top content out there targeting similar keywords
So, if you know you really want to make money writing and believe in your ability but know that there just a few things you have to master first before launching, you can give yourself a few weeks or months to get those things down so you can enter the freelance space when you are well prepared.
Of course, if writing online as a freelancer excites you but you hate writing, you are going to have a big hurdle that may take even a longer period of time than just a few weeks to remove.
Once you are done with your preparations, you will have to create a few samples to add to your portfolio. The samples can be blog posts or headlines or even lead magnets you create. You will use to demonstrate to potential clients in the niche you choose to write in that you can deliver the results they are after.
In my case what I did was just use a blog I had started. I published a few blog posts on it to showcase my expertise. Then every time I emailed someone looking for writing work, I would just link to 3 to 4 posts on my blog from the emails I sent.
So, create something that potential clients can quickly check to determine if they would be interested in hiring you to write for their blogs / websites or not. If you don’t have a blog of your own, you can use Google Docs to host your documents / article samples.
How can you go about getting content writing work?
What I did when starting myself was to just send out emails to people who I thought would be interested in hiring me. It is the approach that I thought was the best back when I started. I just went out there and found contact information for blogs that already published blog posts in similar topics as the ones I was blogging about.
And that is how I started getting work and getting paid.
So, to work as a freelancer writer in Kenya, you are going to figure out what you need to do to get your first, second and third client.
You don’t necessarily have to follow what I did (sending emails to get direct clients) to get work. There are several other ways freelance writers all over the world use to get work. For example, you can turn to freelance marketplaces like UpWork or Freelancer and bid for jobs in categories related to freelance writing / copywriting. Or you can go to Fiverr and create gigs related to content writing.
If you don’t want to do all these, you can start a blog, grow it and then use it as platform to attract people would be interested in hiring writers in your niche to get in touch with you. You can look for writing gigs on classifieds sites or use this site ( Entity.co.ke) to place an ad with details about your writing service in the Freelance Writers / Content Creators category.
How will you take payment for work you do for clients online?
When I first started writing online I used PayPal because I had heard about it in the blogging world. It was recommended a lot for bloggers that were either offering their own services or selling ad spots directly to clients. And it was also recommended sometimes for bloggers that wanted to start simple online shops to sell their products (like ebooks and online courses).
So, when I started offering my freelance writing services on the internet, I already had a PayPal account, but I had not yet used a debit card / credit card to complete the verification process that new account owners are required to do.
When I wrote my first blog post, the person who hired me just sent me the amount we agreed on directly to my PayPal account once I sent the complete article to them.
The clients that followed later did the same. But some required me to send them an invoice (there is a feature inside PayPal for this) before they could pay me.
So, I’d you are working with foreign clients, you will need to have a PayPal account. The good thing is that it is free to sign up for an account.
But if you are working for a local client here in Kenya, you can just ask them to send you your payment directly to your Safaricom M-PESA account. Just give them your number and they will be able to send you whatever amount they owe you to your phone number.
Other popular services I have seen freelance writers resort to to get paid are Skrill and Payoneer. Payoneer is similar to PayPal and it is really big with people who sell niche websites and blogs, affiliate marketers (who prefer it as a way to receive payments from affiliate networks) and online freelancers as well.
How will you get the time to learn new skills and improve your career / business?
Once you are up and running, and making good money, you will need to find time to keep improving your skills as a freelance writer. To become a better writer, you will just have to go online to find free articles, ebooks and courses you can go through to learn new things you can use when writing future posts for clients.
You will also just need Google Search in most cases to learn all the marketing skills that will help you get more clients. To get the time to keep educating yourself, you will have to allocate time everyday (or a few times every week) to learn new things from say YouTube or from other blogs (about freelancing, blogging, sales and marketing).
If you can make it a habit to finish client work quickly you will usually have enough time to learn as much as you want every single week.