Work Online Success Story 5 – Meet Daniel Ongera, A Successful Kenyan Freelance Writer

Last updated on July 11, 2020

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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 do article writing, copy writing and content creation, mostly for startups in the cryptocurrency or blockchain sphere.
2. What led you to start freelancing? When was this?

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.

Read: What is Upwork – Check out the review

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.

Read: Here are some of the mistakes that newbie writers make

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.

Read: Tips to help you quit your job and freelance full-time!

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.

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!

  • Wow! This is encouraging. Actually, I have an upwork profile that is complete but I’ve never been able to bid for a job. I then gave up on working online as I thought of them as Scams. I’ve been waiting to get at least one testimonial of a success story to Phyche me up. I must say am feeling great! Thanks for the inspiration, I hope things work out for me too!

    • Hello Ndekere, Happy to hear Danie’s story has inspired you. Just click on the ‘Work Online Success Stories’ category, and you will find more inspiring stories.

  • Thanks as always Sheeroh, been thinking of trying out writing and Daniel’s story has really motivated me. Asante sana

  • Hi Sherooh i have read Daniel’s story and I have been so motivated I will strive to work hard and be someone also oneday thanks Sherooh.

  • Thank you Daniel, for sharing your story,
    I will share your story with many, especially those who are looking for jobs.

  • Thanks a lot Sheeroh. That story of Daniel is very motivational. I had shelved my Upwork account for lack of replies from clients. Unless you hear from someone else, you think it is only happening to you. Now I will go back there.

    • It happens to a lot of people, Grace and rejection, for lack of a better word, is never easy. It took me about three weeks before I was finally hired by a client on Upwork. It may take less time or more, and it depends on a lot of factors. So go out there and do your thing!

    • Don’t give up. It took me 8 months to get my first client way back in 2011 and i was bidding almost daily. Now i turn clients away. Don’t be discouraged and yet don’t fall into the myth that online work is a get rich quick endeavour where you create an account, log in and start earning. It takes hard work, it takes time and it worth every effort. In a few months if you do it right you’ll have more work than you can handle.

      • Agreed. It’s not a get rich quick scheme at all. It takes time and consistent effort. Thanks for that great comment!

  • This is quite encouraging. I love writing and I have always been interested in it. Daniel, congrats for doing well. Kumbe hata wewe, you had been rejected at first. My story has started that way too, but you have encouraged me not to give up.

  • Encouraging. I have an account on Upwork but there is that fear which keeps holding me back.Now I know what to do.

    • Awesome. Probably the fear getting your proposals rejected, or account closure? No matter the fear, it’s usually magnified ten times than what it actually is. And everyday you don’t bid, you lose the opportunity to connect with a potential client. You can do this my dear!

  • Sheeroh!
    I have received your latest email,that led me to your interview with Ongera Nyairo.I’m going to find time to read cryptocurrency and block chain .On the other hand,I must congratulate you for the good work you are doing.l usual receive great feedback from people i have referred to you for training on transcription.I have noted a lot of improvement on your
    site,in terms of structure and design. I have scrolled through your posts and found in-depth,informative,high quality,engaging content that most of us readers look for.
    I have also seen Amazon native ad(superb monetization)

    • Thank you Cyprian. Yes, please research on it. I intend to do the same, and research on other coins, like Dash, Monero and the like. And thank you for your good words about my site.

  • A man starting from the bottom and now he is an inspiration to many, probably role model to others. Congratulation Daniel and thank you Sheeroh for creating true inspiration articles to current and aspiring freelancers like me.

    I would love to create a success story like Daniel’s and more of the like especially on transcription work. I am requesting from anyone who does transcription training, or know of a person, website, even tutorials that do transcription, to lead me towards this path.

    I do appreciate ion advance.

    • Annastasia, First things first, which freelancing field is a good fit for you? My background was in secretarial and business administration, and transcription immediately became a great fit when I researched more about it. Other people find that they love writing, while others have an interest in design and software development. There is so much one can do online, but you need to first identify which field.

  • Wow! This is amazing Sheeroh. The stories you publish always wake me from my slumber. I promise this time to listen to my inner voice and start working. Please pinch me so that I move with the flow….God bless

  • Joseph Kinoti here, a holder of Bsc. Computer Science and with a great interest in freelancing.

    I mean, I’ve always desired to exploit the FREEdom in FREElancing.
    I already have accounts on Upwork, Freelancer and TrascribeMe.

    Problem is anything I bid for never gets any reply.

    Something tells me I need a good mentor in this. I hope I can get one around here.

    Thank you.

    • Hello Joseph. I can tell that you have a great deal of enthusiasm, and that’s very important to be a successful freelancer. There are several factors that may hinder you from getting hired when you bid on freelancing sites, and you can read about them here. I’m happy to mentor you Joseph, and feel free to email me at sheeroh@workonlinekenya.com for any questions that you may have.

    • Hello Wilfred, Sending a bid is as simple as clicking on the job post, reading it through to understand what the client needs, writing your proposal and including your rate.

  • Hello Sheeroh,

    Nice and inspirational story. It shows how slowly but steadily you can grow.

    Thanks for sharing and have a great day ahead.

    • For freelancing? At least a form four education. One should be able to operate a computer/laptop confidently too. Education and skill is important, but a positive attitude, coupled with lots of determination and persistence is critical as well.

      • Thank you for your response.Am grateful. For so long I have been thinking that it is something that requires a masters degree!!!Please help me know where I can get light/training about freelance writing even if it means for a fee.

      • Thank you for your response. Am grateful.For so long I have been thinking that it requires a masters degree!
        Please help me know how I can get light/training about freelance writing even if it means for a fee.

  • Hi sheeroh, am really amazed by the potential in online work. i appreciate your generosity in sharing and enlightening us. I recently opened accounts on I-writer and Upwork. I plan to specialize in article writing as this is what i feel comfortable doing. I would appreciate more necessary tips to help me grow in this area. Thank you.

    • Hi Sheeroh, thanks for the article. It is an eye-opener indeed. I tried Upwork in 2016 but wasn’t able to get through. They say they gotta check your profile before they allow you in. That was the major problem that made not go through. I tried something funny though. I made an account with a white man’s face and the account was opened (similar details with the denied one). I felt like they were being racist so I never used that account afterall. What do you think they look for in the profile?

      • Those complaints are common. I heard of similar issues in a Philipines freelancing group on FB. They will likely not approve your account if you are looking for writing, transcription, data entry and graphic design jobs, you know, those common freelancing gigs.

  • Am so interested with working online but am being maimed by the fact I have no laptop and I can’t afford…what can I do Sheeroh

    • Hey Becky. I know that can be discouraging and frustrating. Any friend you can reach out to hire/borrow a laptop from? Consider starting off at a cyber cafe too.

  • I was searching for “cryptocurrency writer success story” on Google and this article turned up as the first result. Great work Sheero. I found the inspiration I was looking for.

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