Work Online Success Stories: Secrets of Six-Figure Freelancers!

Last updated on July 11, 2020

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How much money can you earn working online? That’s a question that I have been asked many times and if you mentor people on freelancing, I’m sure you’ve been asked this question many many times too.  We do know that some of the online job opportunities are downright scammy but there are many legitimate ones as well. If you’ve been asking that question, the stories of these three freelancers will inspire and motivate you.  These are freelancers who are earning Kshs 100,000 and more per month. ($1,000+) doing what they love online. Let’s dive in!

Patrick Mahinge

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When did you start online freelancing?

It is hard to pinpoint an exact date, but in 2012, soon after graduating from campus, I started working in a cybercafé that belonged to my friend. With internet freely available in the café and a few hours of free time, I started fumbling with blogging. I had a vague idea that I could make money blogging, but the money wasn’t forthcoming.

In February 2013, I got a formal job in a multinational company as a media and communications officer. But this did not kill my desire to make money online.  A friend that we had gone to campus with happened to read my blog. It was he who first directed me towards real online jobs.

I can still remember his comment up to date.

“Hey, do you know you can make money writing for clients. Check out oDesk.com.”

That was all the motivation I needed to start.

I checked out oDesk, created a profile, but somehow I didn’t pursue it.

Instead, I began researching deeper into freelance writing. I came across Freelancer.com and Elance. It was in these two places that I finally realised my dream of making money online.  By May or June 2013, I was making a full time income as a freelance writer besides having my daytime job.

In August 2014, I quit my job to concentrate on online jobs.

What do you do exactly?

I consider myself a serial webpreneur; versatile to the core. I run several online businesses and passive income generating projects. My major concentration lies in ebook publishing, blogging and web hosting. I dabble with online forex trading, and I’ll also take an occasional freelance writing gig if it is paying particularly well.

Of all the different things I do, ebook publishing works best for me. It is my main hassle. The fact that it generates passive income month after month allows me to experiment with other online business ideas. It frees up my time and gives me capital to invest in other ventures.

What are your favorite freelancing sites?

I was a diehard fan of Elance until the merger with Upwork sometime last year.

Now that Elance is defunct, I’d vouch for Upwork. For the sake of all other freelancers out there, I’d say the best freelancing site is the one that is currently working well for you.

Do you prefer hourly or fixed price contracts?

I prefer working on fixed price projects. They offer more flexibility compared to hourly contracts. I am mostly juggling more than one task at once, and having a time tracker recording my screen is a no-no for me.

What challenges have you faced along the way? Ever wanted to give up?

Every day is a challenge.  My biggest challenge, one that I struggle with on a daily basis, has to be self-discipline. It is so easy to become lax when you are working online.

Brazen outspokenness… I often find myself openly speaking my mind, which has put me on a collision path with quite a few people. It has cost me business opportunities, but I have tried to tone it down as I grow.

Have I ever wanted to give up? Sure. There are times when a canny little voice at the back of my mind would whisper that I could probably be better working in an office; that I need to create an ‘official career.’ I look at my former college mates getting all form of funky jobs in the media, and I feel like I am kinda missing out.  But then, I remind myself why I quit my job in the first place. If there is any funky job that I want in the media, it is to be the owner of one; not to be an employee.

Revisiting my goals helps me keep on track.

How are you able to make such good money online when people don’t even believe it possible to earn a six-figure income with online jobs? What is your secret?

The answer to this question actually lies in the question.

Believe.

You see, the reason why people do not make enough money online is because they don’t believe it is possible to make a real income working online. There is a lot of power in what we believe. Those who get into freelancing with doubts of whether they can make it, rarely make it.

U.S President Barrack Obama is probably the best example of what can happen when we believe.  How was a black man able to become the president of a predominantly white nation, not once but twice? The answer, I believe lies in his 2008 presidential campaign chant, “Yes We Can!”

Believe you can, and you surely will.

Would you encourage people to quit their jobs to do online jobs full-time?

This one is a hard one… But probably not. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to leave their jobs to pursue online jobs.

The decision to quit should be personal, and I believe that no one should ever wake up and make an impromptu decision to quit their daytime jobs. Before I quit mine, I was double-sure that freelancing would work for me. I was making more money with online jobs than I was making working in an office. On top of that, I enjoy working online.

How many hours do you work in a day?

I mostly work a minimum of 10 hours per day. I start at 8:00 a.m. and stop at 6:00 P.M. I get a break of one hour in between the hours, and take entire weekends off. However, the hours are not something that is set on stone tablets. Sometimes I’ll get a peck from the lazy bug, forcing me to take whole days off. I guess it comes with the job.

What opportunities have you come across as a result of working online as a webpreneur?

Learning.

I believe that the best opportunities are those that we create for ourselves through constant learning. If I wasn’t working online, I wouldn’t know half of the things that I know today. On top of learning, I have met many extraordinary people online. Networking opportunities are aplenty, and it becomes easy to set up online business ventures with like-minded individuals.

You quit employment in 2014 to become a full-time freelancer. How has that been for you?

Quitting my job is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have increased my online income since I quit my job. Before I called it quits, I was making between 30 and 60 K from online work. One year after quitting my job, I had more than tripled this amount, and the future looks brighter.  The most motivating thing is that most of this income is passive. It comes from ebooks that I have already published on Kindle. This year, I am concentrating more on marketing my web hosting business, which is another incredible source of passive online income.

How do you keep track of your finances? Any specific app you use? Excel work sheet etc?

I have a personal finance manager; my wife. I am not sure how she does it, but she’s good at what she does.

Any last words for newbies?

Never stop learning.

Google is your best friend.  Try out different things. Keep yourself challenged!

 

Susan Gichuhi

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What do you do exactly?

I am a virtual assistant, AKA jack of all trade

What are your favorite freelancing sites?

Upwork.

Do you prefer hourly or fixed price contracts?

Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but I do better with hourly.

What challenges have you faced along the way? Ever wanted to give up?

I’ve wanted to give up a number of times but every time I remind myself how far I have come. The first biggest challenge was when I hit a serious writers block and I knew I had to change strategy or quit. Since then I have diversified my skills and that has kept me going since I don’t do the same thing all day.

How are you able to make such good money online when people don’t even believe it possible to earn a six-figure income online?

I began at the bottom like everyone else, with my first gig paying me $1.5 per article. But by determination to not stay broke kept me going. The trick to increasing your income is doing an exemplary job each time, this ensures that clients leave good feedback. In addition, as a VA you need to have multiple skills which will make you much sought after, and that way you can gradually increase your hourly rate.

I also invest a lot of time in my online business,  unlike an 8 – 5 job. I make sure I am available when my clients are online and that creates a solid working relationship.  I would also advise  those interested in online jobs to get sought after skills, since not all skills will pay the same rate.   Train yourself to spot the gem amongst the thousands of clients and when you win them make sure you keep them.

Would you encourage people to quit their jobs to do online jobs full-time?

I would, but with caution. If you cannot work independently or need a supervisor all the time, please stay employed.

How many hours do you work in a day?

On average 10 hrs but as many as 14.

What opportunities have you come across as a result of working online?

I have landed gigs with some real cool clients. I have met many new friends, but I have become a coffee addict.

How do you keep track of your finances? Any specific app you use? Excel work sheet etc?

The upwork app and PayPal are good enough.

Any last words for newbies?

Get hungry for a good income independence, and go for it. If others have done it, you can do it.

 

Samuel Muia

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What do you do exactly?

Virtual Assistant and Technical Customer Support Tier 2.

What are your favorite freelancing sites?

Upwork and Fiverr.

Do you prefer hourly or fixed price contracts?

Hourly.

What challenges have you faced along the way? Ever wanted to give up?

Competition. Freelancers with the same skills offering their service at a low hourly rate.

How are you able to make such good money online when people don’t even believe it possible to earn a six-figure income with online jobs? What is your secret?

Consistency. Be good at what you do. Research and read widely on what your client deals with. I always get promoted in less than 3 months after working with a new client.

 

Would you encourage people to quit their 8 to 5 jobs to become fulltime freelancers?

Definitely. I did it 5 years ago. I don’t regret.

How many hours do you work in a day?

15 to 18 hours a day.

What opportunities have you come across as a result of working online as a  VA/ Customer Service Professional?

Some clients became personal friends. Some decided to hire me on permanent basis, and others decided to pay me a retainer whether I am working or not.

How do you keep track of your finances? Any specific app you use? Excel work sheet etc?

Mostly use Excel. Internet banking enables me to keep track of every minor transaction.

Any last words for newbies?

There is opportunity for everyone. Focus on one thing and master it. When you start making cash; and that will happen soon unless you give up, make sure you put something aside for rainy days. Invest heavily, venture into business if and when you can. I know some of you might be in the same position I was 5 years ago. Living in a single room, being paid a meagre salary as a graphic designer, almost losing hope because the future looked so bleak. I never completed my diploma so I had no hope of getting a better paying job. Then came oDesk, now Upwork and that changed my life. Lastly, whatever you do, remember to put God first.

There we go guys!  You CAN become a six-figure freelancer too. Will you dare believe it?

Please SHARE this post. Let’s debunk the myth that online jobs are a scam!!

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!

  • This is very inspiring, and timely. It’s so great to actually see Kenyans making it online. Great article, Sheeroh!

    • Most welcome Bosibori. It’ll be my joy to one day see Kenyans dominating Upwork the way Filipinos and Indians have. Thanks!

    • Hello, thats an aspiring testimony, i have an account in Upwork but i keep bidding now and then with no response , i have reached a point that am losing hope.what is the best strategy to use to land into one job..kindly help.

  • I enjoyed the article. It is very encouraging. I feel its best to build relationships with the clients on upwork to get higher paying gigs. Sheerah could you do a article on seo for new bloggers who want to start a blog.

    • Good point Desiree. And to increase your fixed or hourly rate from time to time. I’ll consider your last point too. Thanks your comment!

  • This is really encouraging. The points I have taken home are hard work, persistence and the willingness to learn more and more.

  • Sheeroh this is a wonderful blog. I enjoyed reading it, and it really challenged me. Keep up the wonderful blog posts.

  • very insightful & encouraging article..i’m a newbie who is keen on learning & ultimately start earning online.
    good work sheeroh..

  • Thank you for this educative article. I just feel more and more motivated. It gives me an urge to push on to the end

  • Hi Sheeroh, this is quite encouraging. It has built my morale to keep pursuing this dream. Thanking for sharing. Stay blessed.

  • very inspiring to see someone like Sam there. it’s all about pressing on even when you want to give up. i’m enjoying the experience so far.

  • A very inspiring article, especially since one of my goals this year is to finally graduate to a six-figure income. Thank you Sheeroh.

  • I can’t say I am a newbie but this post is very encouraging. Very inspiring and is what we all want to hear so that we can keep going and motivated in our online business.

    • True Nelly. We will face obstacles in our freelancing business but it’s the do or die attitude that will keep us going.

  • Inspirational, insightful. I believe it is possible. I am amazed at the number of hours these guys put in… 10hours, 15 to 18 hours. Guys heko. It is encouraging to hear this.

  • wah! was about to give up,but after reading there inspiring success stories,am convinced i can make it. if they did it i can make it.

  • This is simply phenomenal, incredible. thank you for this. am taking action now. you are great mentors for sure. Ahsante

  • That’s the most inspiring feature I’ve ever read, I’ve been trying upwork for a while now to no avail. I think the reason is because i lacked college qualifications please tell me am wrong!

    • No. That’s not it. The main issues are 1. Your cover letters aren’t written well. 2. You don’t bid regularly or 3. You bid to jobs that already have too many applicants, eg 30, 40 or more.

  • Two quick questions;
    1. What exact skill sets are needed for the different online jobs
    2. What does a Virtual Assistant do?

    • Hello Cheruiyot. It depends on which online job. The skillset needed for a web designer and for a transcriber are very different. 2. A Virtual Assistant is like a Personal Assistant but they work remotely. They may be asked to write articles, transcribe, work on some social media projects and even do more for their clients.

  • Wow, Wow, Wow!!
    This is just what I needed to read to get inspired and motivated. The three that were interviewed, thank you for sharing your stories. What more could someone looking to make an online career ask for?
    Thank you Sheeroh also for sharing this article.

  • Inspiring!
    I’ve been motivated by the stories.
    I have just started working online and it’s a lot of work, I hope
    to reach where they have reached, earn six figures.
    Thank you for sharing the stories.

  • Asante sana, am inspired, motivated and now ready to move from procrastination to transcription as a start. Thanks sheeroh.

  • This is a great insight as i am also one of those earning online. I quit my job to be now full time online marketer with big names like Clickbank and MOBE and other affiliate offers that run in the internet.

    Kenyans should start a culture of believing you can earn money online. There are so many ways of making money online and the tools you need to do all that, but you also have to invest in yourself for high ticket commissions in affiliate marketing.

    This is a great feature and it will open up a lot of doors for people or i can also market this article to kenyans through email marketing by finding the targeted traffic to read the blog.

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