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Daniel Ongera, a Kenyan freelance writer, tells us about his freelance writing journey. He’s been writing full-time for the last four years and created content for hundreds of starts ups.
He’s also a Top Rated freelancer on Upwork. He blogs at www.thecopywiz.com, where he shares his online freelance writing experiences.Take it away Daniel!
1. What do you do exactly?
I had worked as a security guard for seven years, and to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it much. I craved for change but since I only had a high school certificate, my options were limited.
After completing a course in computer packages in 2013, someone (a stranger in an event I attended) pointed me to Upwork (then Odesk). I created an account six months later (yes, I ignored it for a while) and started bidding.
At first I bid for any kind of job I thought I could do, but a few weeks later, I narrowed down to article writing. And in late 2015, I narrowed further to writing only about cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology.
Read: Why should writers pick a niche?
3. Where do you usually get freelance writing work from?
I still get work from Upwork (About 50% of the work I do), but I have now diversified to getting gigs from online forums, especially where enthusiasts of the blockchain technology hangout. I also now get a lot of referrals.
4. How has the experience been as a Kenyan freelance writer? What have been your challenges and joys? Ever wanted to give up?
I would say that I have never had such a satisfying job as what I do now. I love being freelance writer. I love the fact that I control my schedule and that I can directly influence how much I earn. However, to say that it has always been a smooth path isn’t accurate.
The major challenge I have faced over the years is producing content that meets the client’s anticipation.
There are many times when a client has basically told me that my quality is terrible. Some of those moments are so discouraging that you want to quit.
However, that is often balanced out by clients who keep coming back for my service, and especially those who tell me that they can’t get a similar service elsewhere.
5. How many hours do you work in a day?
On average I do 30 hours in a week. Some weeks have more and others less.
6. What opportunities have you come across as a result of working online as a Kenyan freelance writer?
I would say the major opportunity I have come across as a freelance writer, working online,is being able to learn from different people with different expert knowledge.
Also, one of my very first clients used to send me materials to study on writing. And he asked me to clock the time I took to study and he paid for that. I would say he is the one who put me on the road to becoming the writer I am today.
7. As a full-time Kenyan freelance writer, would you encourage people to quit their jobs and freelance full-time?
If you have a skill that you can sell online, yes.
You would probably sell it at a way higher price than what your 8-5 employer is paying. I would say, though, that we are all unique.
You need to do a self evaluation to see whether you have a skill that would compensate as well as what you currently earn or even more.
8. What is the ONE thing that you would like to tell newbies in the freelancing space?
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t give up after being rejected on the one bid you made. This is my rule: I bid on ten jobs, and out of those ten, five will reply. Usually, three of the five will give me an interview, and one of the three will hire me.
You also need to increase your chances of getting hired in other ways, for example, I mentioned earlier that I also get work on forums. Freelancers should try cold pitching as well.
Work on the quality of the skill you are selling, craft good proposals for clients and become an expert in a niche.
That was awesome Daniel. Dear reader, I hope you’ve been motivated and encouraged! If so, drop a comment below.