How To Make Money Online As A Freelance Writer

Last updated on July 11, 2020

This article contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase!

I love writing.

What makes it feel even better is the fact that I make money writing. Trust me, it feels great to earn from your passion.

You can also make money writing in Kenya and I will explain how you can do that.

I’d like to just mention that the tips below are best for people who are good in writing. If you can write interesting, helpful and grammatical content, then this is for you. If you can’t, then you need to hire someone who can.

Below are the tips that you can use to make money writing.

1. Writing Online Articles

This is one of the fastest ways of making money online as a writer. This method entails signing up to a freelancing website and looking for writing jobs.

What makes it a faster means of earning is the fact that once you complete a writing task, you get paid instantly or within a few days. If you get to a level where you are really good at it, you can even get paid BEFORE you write.

Some of the websites that you can join for article writing jobs include:

Note that there are many more sites that you can use to make money writing. These can start you off as you continue searching for others.

Don’t just depend on websites for your writing needs. You can still get awesome clients through cold-pitching, blogging and social media marketing. These will give you awesome, high paying clients. Freelance writing is one of the most lucrative freelance professions in the world, with top international writers earning 6 (dollar) figures.

2. Academic Writing

Academic writing basically involves writing essays, research papers, assignments etc. for clients. Some people say this is unethical but others are fine with it. It is unethical since you’re doing homework for students.

It is also seasonal. Therefore there are times when there are no jobs, especially when students are on holidays.

There are different academic writing sites out there. Some of the popular ones include:

Just as above, you can do some more research and add to the list.

Note that it’s also difficult to get an academic writing account. Some require you to have a degree and to upload quality samples or take tests. If you don’t have these, your application may be rejected.

This is in fact what gives rise to all the account buying and selling that goes on in the social media circles (unethical as well). Don’t just buy an account if you don’t know what you are doing. You may either get conned or buy an account that cannot give you the kind of orders you were looking for.

Once again, this is unethical and I don’t recommend it, regardless of the fact that many Kenyans do it and earn from it.

3. Transcription

Transcription is fun!

…but it’s an online job just like any other therefore it requires smartness and expertise.

It involves listening to audios and videos and typing out what you hear.

Just like article writing, transcription sites have little to no barriers to entry. This means that anyone can join without rigorous entry tests and submissions.

You can get transcription jobs in some of the sites mentioned above and a few more. These include:

4. Blogging

Now this is even more fun and an awesome way to make money online. No boss. No deadlines. No funny accents to transcribe – just you and whatever content you want to write.

With your own blog, you write at your own time and in your own style.

Blogging for cash requires you to be smart and organized.

You need to start a blog that you are passionate about. Make sure it falls in a profitable niche, meaning the issues dealt with have been proven to attract paying customers.

There can be a whole book written on how to make money blogging, but some of the basics are:

  • Let it solve problems that people are willing to pay to have solved (profitable niche)
  • Learn keyword research (a keyword is the phrase that people put on a search engines when searching online)
  • Learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – You can do this through paid trainings or free SEO guides
  • Monetize your blog – There is no way you can make money without monetizing. Blog monetization includes affiliate marketing, offering services and selling products among others.

You can decide to create free or paid blogs. Of course paid (self-hosted) blogs have the capacity of earning more than free blogs.

5. Writing eBooks

Once you become an established blogger, you will have a good following. Your followers will keep referring their friends and your network will continue getting bigger.

Boom! You are now an expert blogger.

As an expert blogger you will be receiving hundreds of queries every few days. To avoid burning out, you can write and sell eBooks on some of the most frequently asked topics. This will be great for your income and authority.

You can also write eBooks under a pen name and sell to international markets at Amazon Kindle.

Remember that people still judge eBooks by the cover so make sure you get a professional graphics guy to do your cover for you.

Final Thoughts

Writing is a great profession that can earn you lots of cash. For you to make good money online, you need to work hard and smart. When starting out you may even spend a few sleepless nights trying to beat deadlines and targets.

However, if you hang in there and follow the right channels, things will start getting easier and easier for you. Don’t sleep on your writing skill, start using it today to make money online.

Start writing no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on. – Louis L’Amour.

Wow. What an awesome guest post by my friend, mentor and colleague Walter Akolo. I have learned much from him. And you can too! If you need to be trained on how to be an amazing writer, feel free to get his training here.  If you have a question on the points raised above or you have extra tips on earning online as a Kenyan writer, drop a comment below. I’d love, love, love to hear from you. 

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About the author

Virginia Nakitari is a work from home mom passionate about making money online. She's here to show you legitimate companies offering full-time, part-time and remote jobs from home! Stay tuned!

  • Maybe another tip you should have added among working hard and smart is that you need to read a lot if you want to become a better writer.

    Read works that are in the genre of writing that you want to specialize in, and read works that are out of it. Reading is one sure way to build your writing skills. Read daily.

    • That’s an awesome pointer Patrick. I’m a sucker for quotes and your point reminds me of one of Stephen’s King’s quotes. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Good one.

  • Yes, Patrick. One needs to read a lot to be able to write. I can add that it pays to read the right things, stuff related to your niche. General reading is okay but have a schedule for niche-related reading and you’ll keep growing and growing….

  • Yes if there is something I don’t want to miss is how to write. Especially in Kenya. I think I will be a good writer in several years to come. For now I am trying to get things together. So far this writing has given me fun I have never thought about. By the time of writing this comment it was 1:34 am East Africa Time and I have to upload two articles to fivver before I sleep. I will wake up edit another and upload to fivver again and circle continues. Learning how to write continues, I can’t forget that somebody gave me a privilege to write on Yahoo. Definitely I have to go to school and learn how to write news.

  • Quite agreeable brother Walter. Probably newbies that they may be required to take some entry exams for these jobs. Tell them that they may fail the exams many times as we have but persistence will give them success.

    Make aware that these are not get-rich-quick-schemes. You must work hard and smart.

    Thank and God keep on holding your hand steadily.I didnt know you mentored Patrick and Sheeroh.

    • He’s a wonderful mentor and a man with a big heart. And thanks for pointing the fact that persistence is needed. Too many times people give up too soon.

  • Yes, I like the way you keep penning down facts or should I say typing down facts :-). Anyway,whenever I take my time to read your posts I learn something new that I had no idea about and believe me you might not have know how this is very encouraging for amateur writers and newbies like me. I hope to try my hand on transcriptions in the near future to see how well it will go. God bless.

  • This is an insightful article. I especially like what Walter says about using the frequently asked questions to create an Ebook. That would surely take care of that and enable the blogger to concentrate on churning out new materials as all he or she has to do is direct queries to the ebook. Great points!

  • Dennis,

    Good to see you here.

    I am happy to hear of your success in Fiverr. I can still remember the other day when you started freelance writing.

    You are destined for greatness.

  • David

    Excellent pointers. Yes, you have to keep going. Of course to ensure success it’s wise to also keep improving our skills.

    Yes, I have helped them here and there. It’s their efforts that made them succeed.

    Thanks for your kind words Sheeroh.

  • Thanks Walter for your informative posts. We always learn new things from you.
    Now I have an issue. I’m planning to buy a uvocorp account in two months and the word on the street is that it can be hacked by the seller and resold to someone else. or you can be conned. How can one prevent that? because it’s very expensive right now. But in life you have to take risks in order to grow.

    • Calvin,

      Thank you very much.

      Let me first get it straight that in my 3 years of freelancing, I have never ever bought or sold an account. I don’t believe much in that.

      However, if you really have to buy, the real key thing (apart from not being conned) is delivery. Forget about the hacking and reselling and stuff. As long as you use a strong password you will be fine. If you buy the strongest client-magnet account and you can’t deliver, it will be closed in a few days.

      On the being conned part. Please please please do your due diligence before giving a shilling to a stranger. Take your time, ask around and engage the seller to a point where you are beyond doubt that he/she is legit.

      If you are a newbie, it’s best to grow your own accounts from the ground up.

      Those are the challenges of academic writing since the other writing types mentioned above are free to join so no need of buying accounts.

      I hope this helps.

      Let me know if you have more questions.

  • Walter you inspire me. I read your articles religiously and each time i learn something new. I hope to make it in writing like you!

  • Great and inspiring post, I have to say that walter is an inspiration. I have been following him for quite sometime now and I can confirm his advice works….Anyway quick question. How lucrative is transcribing compared to writing, especially in terms of effort versus income earned?

    • Hi Kim,

      I appreciate your compliment.

      On transcribing vs writing, there is no straight answer. First it depends on your delivery speed. If you can do, say an hour long audio in 4 hours and end up doing 2 per day for even $25 a piece, you can go far. However if you take long to complete a few minutes of audio, you may not earn much.

      Writing also depends on your kind of clientelle. I have ever been paid $100 for a 500 word article that I did in 1.5 hours. You can hardly get that in transcription but I assume there are expert transcribers who earn more than that.

      My take is that there is no clear winner. It depends on what you love most and what you deliver best.

      I hope this helps.

  • Personally I have never lacked a job coz I have always been a good writer. I thank God first of all but I have to say, writing has money but if its not your passion, you will not enjoy writing.
    N/L Walter, thank you for the information.

  • I am good at transcribing and I have enrolled with freelancer.com. However, when I click on the job I want, I am asked to bid on it, when I bid, I am told the project is invalid. How do I get the job without bidding?

  • Hello Walter,
    Great going here.
    My take on buying accounts.
    As one builds themselves in online business, they create their own character that the clients come to recognize and get ‘comfortable’ with, so to buy one I would say you are cheating yourself out of character building!
    Again just like any other job out there you need to grow step at a time to avoid those those ‘castles build in the air’ so to speak, that might come crashing down! BUILD A GOOD FOUNDATION!

  • As always its such an insightful article you have here. I believe its much better to build one’s own account and make it the best they can instead of buying one. I support you Dorothy and Sheeroh.

  • Dear Walter,
    Thanks for your great and inspiring work. I am struggling finding a way of formatting my poems for uploading on amazon and kindle. Any chance that you have an idea how to.

    • Hi Lilliane

      Write the poems and inspiring work in MS Word. I can help you get a smashing eBook cover at a fee. You can also hire someone on Fiverr or any of your graphic design friends to design a cover. Once you’ve designed one, paste the image on the first page of the document and resize it to fit. Click on “File” then “Save As” then choose PDF.

      Go to Amazon Kindle and upload the PDF file. Amazon will automatically format it to Kindle format.

      Thanks.

  • Thanks Walter. I’ve tried applying for academic writing accounts but i can’t seem to get one, yet I’ve been helping a friend out and it has been fine. However, buying seem like the only option, as they won’t let me be one of the writers no matter how many times i apply, even to different sites.

    • Hi Calvin,

      This is the moment that you have to make a hard decision. Either to buy and go with all the risks or to ditch academic and try out other writing avenues.

      I trust that you will make a decision that is best for you.

  • Hi Walter,

    Thanks for the post. Let me add my voice as well. I’ve been in the industry for a long time now and gathered enough highs and lows of writing. Writers do a good job by delivering appropriate and timely content, but with poor rewards, especially in the local market. How can we fix this? Because you find someone willing to pay only Ksh. 150 for a well written 500-word article. Outside the country, especially in American and European markets, the same piece goes for 7.5 dollars or 5 pounds. Currently I write Concept Product Descriptions for a company in US; they pay 5 dollars for 150 words. However, as you may know, the selection process is quite rigorous for non natives. In summary, we have the ability to deliver. Why can’t our local market pay us in reasonable rates so we stop seeking writing opportunities abroad? Once we address this, we are good to go.

    • Great stuff Tony. Imagine I’m currently doing $100 per 500 word articles for a UK agency. It’s tough to get there but when you do, no more sleepless nights for you. My take as you read above is you can start with the freelance writing to get your daily bread. Put aside some time a week to write for yourself e.g. for your own blog. That same article that you write for $1-$10 USD can give you $200-$1000USD on your own blog. Otherwise, it’s good to challenge yourself to always keep growing in your writing. If you stagnate at any level it gets boring and you lose out.

      • “That same article that you write for $1-$10 USD can give you $200-$1000USD on your own blog.” Very good point Walter. Its all about starting small but refusing to remain at that level.

  • Informative article there, Walter.

    Something else…

    Freelancer writing is a form of business too. One might not exactly appreciate that fact until some unscrupulous client comes along and fails to pay you. That’s when you realize it was important to have some form of agreement or even a small payment prior to delivering the completed work. Fortunately, most freelance job boards like Odesk support the latter in the form of milestone payments.

    Be vigilant. You don’t want to end up calling it quits with your boss only to go right back begging him/her for the o’l job after no payments were coming forth from your online writing efforts.

    I don’t mean to scare anyone of you youngings, we are doing this everyday. Join us…but be smart!

  • I agree with the sentiment against buying accounts. Of course I understand that for some operating n account might be harder than opening but I would advice if one opens an account they try getting one as new as possible. The company I have been with for the past 4 years have never placed me under probation and I would like to think this is because they have my ‘gesalt’. Fooling some of those operators might work for a while but ultimately you might loose more than you gained

    A quick question Walter: when people sell accounts, do they hand over their sim cards or something? I frequently converse with my support department and I wonder how people manage

    • Thanks for your addition about this buying and selling thing.

      Good to hear you’ve been working for a company for the past 4 years without issues.

      About the SIM card thing, most buyers change all their details including phone numbers, emails, PayPal accounts and passwords.

      Of course some get caught and banned and that’s why my advice stands.

  • wow, did I read 100$ for every 500 words? Please advice me on the best freelancing sites out there. I am exclusively into academic writing right now but would like to go back to article writing if the pay is good. I have no problem with starting small or taking a while to get there so long as it is possible.

    • Wawesh,

      The good sites are the ones I mentioned above.

      The $100 per 500 words came from my online marketing campaigns – I built a tight blog, optimized it and sell my services there at very very lucrative rates. Some international clients land on it and give me some good jobs. I’d have to add that these are one time jobs since I do not do much writing nowadays as I used to. I am more into internet marketing, trainings, ebook sales, consultation and PayPal withdrawal.

      Thanks

  • geez, addiction to Facebook at work. I keep looking for the like button after reading comments. Glad to know I am not alone out here.

  • Walter, I have been going through your Facebook wall of late and that interview on our tv just brought me to a conclusion that you are really successful. Your wife especially, had no words to even describe you.For what is man even if he acquired the most valued measures of wealth in the present-day world and failed in the basic unit of the society, the family . Sincerely speaking, I would love you to give me tips on online writing and if possible mentor me into the field as it’s my new love though haven’t ventured into it at the moment.

    • Kim

      Thanks for going through my wall and for the great encouragement about the interview on TV. I appreciate your kind comment.

      Yes, I can give you tips (already given some above). Feel free to ask questions based on the article or anything else.

      Thanks.

    • Hi Chidi,

      You can go to sites like EzineArticles, eHow and other article directories. They have plenty of resources that you can use.

      The easiest thing to start with is to Google the keyword.

      Thanks

  • thank you walter for your informative posts.
    been trying to apply for writing jobs or proofreading jobs or typing jobs but all this need credit card numbers or paypal account to which i dont have. please guide me on this.

  • Have no words, am so grateful for all this blog, have been doing my research on being a writer, i didn’t know where to start…, eventually was planning to buy an account in October, but still was very confused about it !!!. Last year i tried Odesk but never got any client to hire me, i would make several applications every day but was never successful. Am very good in Graphic Design:- Books/Magazines design, i can as well write. Please help me Mr. Walter and others. Thanks Maggy

    • Hi Margaret

      Thanks a lot for your response.

      What kind of writer do you want to become? Article writer? Academic writer? Transcriber?

      You will need to do excellent proposals to get jobs. Also diversify and join different sites such as iWriter, GreatContent, Freelancer and Elance.

      In those sites you can also do Graphic Design jobs.

      I hope this helps Maggy.

  • Hi walter.My name is steve.i recently came across a collection of short stories and poems i had written almost ten years ago tucked somewhere in an old suitcase in my house.I was surprised at how much the writing appealed to me.In fact i was shocked that i had never really pursued writing as a career or part time venture.please i need assistance on how i can sell my writing and whether its good enough to appeal to the market.i will appreciate any assistance from you.thanx.

    • Hi Steve. Nowadays there are sites that allow you to sell your work there. You can try joining writelearnearn.com and dotwriter.com and try sell your work there. All the very best.

    • Hi. You sign up with the sites that have been mentioned above, in the article. You might training. Please contact Walter Akolo.

  • This is just where I needed to be all this time. I love to write and been thinking about blogging. I love writting about life’s happenings – social and political. I am diverse. Glad to be here

    Hello Sheeroh; hello Akolo.

    • Esther hi

      In this business you can do almost anything. However, I’d love to give you some homework. Do thorough research on books that were made with just quotes. See their profitability and marketability. See where they sell more. See how they are done. Then after all that you can create yours. Research is key in any business. And it helps one make the best decisions.

      I haven’t done that research yet so I am not sure about it.

      I pray that it all works out.

      Thanks.

    • Hi Orina

      I personally do not do homeworks. I do article writing. However, if you are interested in academic writing, you can join some of the available academic sites though it’s not easy. Also consider getting trained by the different trainers around so that you can get started on the right footing. One good trainer you can contact is Ren Mumbo on Facebook. Just go to Facebook and look up that name. If you go through the lessons well he’ll give you jobs. All the best.

  • I just love what you are doing big bro. You have inspired me a lot from this blog. slowly am rising and soon i will be there. Big up Walter

  • Hi Walter and Sheeroh, I have never had such an open and helpful discussion. I also like writing stories. I have completed a fiction story and wanted to have it as an eBook. How do i do that?

    • Hi Ambrose. Just convert it from MS Word into an PDF. Additionally, you can sell it on Amazon but you need to convert it to an appropriate format. There are people who can do that for you on Fiverr; very cheaply.

  • thanks sheeroh and walter..im so interesed in all these but want to start off with article writing..you guys are so inspiring..i’ll get back to you walter.

  • Hi all..I am realy glad I stumbled on this blog!..I’d love to be a writer..preferably in academic writing but i don’t know where to start..help..!

  • Is there possibility of any freelancing work or academic writing for high school graduates about to join university ? I really like books, writing and I need to use my knowledge wisely.
    I would highly appreciate anyone’s help.

  • This piece by Walter is a game changer to me… I have aspired to write for the past two years but have not gotten the breakthrough to get going… I think I need to begin with articles as opposed to academic writing… Any advice for me as a newbie????

  • This post is on point and informative about online jobs. Online jobs is now a source of income to thousands of youths. hardworking Kenyan freelancer are now earning more than those permanent employment.

  • A wonderful site! very helpful, am on the way trying to make it. a 4.1 star at iwriter. I must email you for more help. thanks

    • Thanks Virginiah. Only take articles from clients with high approval rates. When done inbox them and tell them something like this:

      “Hi [name]. If the work has issues, let me know and I’ll fix them ASAP. However if there are no issues I’ll appreciate a five star rating. Regards [your name]”

      That should help you get more good reviews.

  • There are so many ways to make money online, yet some people
    still question whether it is possible to make money online in Kenya.
    I think we need to embrace technology if we are to benefit from it. Thanks
    for sharing these.

  • Good article and comments over there . Writing is my passion. Following every bit in this site enlightens me so much, thank you good people for this. I have tasted the sweetness of writing though not online and believe it makes money. My next venture is in the online jobs. Sheeroh and Walter big up!

  • I am encouraged by what I have read on this blog.

    After the unfortunate events following the 2007 elections, I found myself immersed in writing stories. I think I have about ten of these. Do you think I can convert them into e-Books and make some money? Or may be I should have asked you whether there’s anybody out there that might have a look at them and give me some guidance on whether they fit the bill?

    • Hello Sharon. That is a great idea. You can publish them on Amazon and get the whole world to see your wonderful stories. Consider hiring someone from Fiverr.com to design an awesome ecover and maybe an editor to go through your notes.

  • Hi Walter,
    Am good at writing essays about any given topic through research I think I can be of some help to some students and earn money but how will this be possible

  • hey my name is seilah and I have written a play and am now starting on my next book but i need help to get it published hope i could get help the play is called HEART OF A SISTER.

    • Hi Seilah,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Not sure where you want to sell the play – whether online or offline. I do not specialize in plays (or online scripts for plays) so my best advise would be you do more research on it. If online, you can try talk to your friends/contacts in theatre to see if they can help.

      All the best.

  • Hi, am Cy and I love writing fiction. I am 17 and I’d like to write a novel online in the near future. How do I go about it?

    • Hey Chrystn. I’m so glad to hear that. Good to know you have that talent. I’d encourage you to check out a course on fiction writing here and when you’re ready, you can publish your novel on Amazon in order to reach a wider audience.

  • Hae am Mary and i love typing. I am able to type at a high speed. Where can i get a typing job that i can be paid through mpesa?

  • Hey Guys I am looking to work with about 10 article writers. Dets:

    Supervisor name: Mike George
    Email: mikegeorge983@gmail.com

    Job Details
    • Looking for content writers
    • Part-time

    • Payment:
    – Weekly -Wednesdays
    – No min. for payment
    – Paypal / MPESA
    – $4.00 / Ksh. 400 per article (500 words)
    – Tips available (only when offered)

    • Content categories
    – Health & Self Help
    – Law
    – Business
    – Social Life
    – Consumer products

    • Requirements
    – Reliable workstation [reliable internet and computer]
    – Skills [Decent typing speed: 45wpm, Decent mastery of written English]

    • Work ethics
    – Cooperation with supervisor – KEY
    – Reliability – KEY
    – Time consciousness
    – Work ethics and discipline

    If interested, email me at
    mikegeorge983@gmail.com

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