THE BEDSITTER: NURSERY OF DREAMERS

THE BEDSITTER
I moved out of my Father's house in the cold rainy month of July. I remember the first night, it was extremely cold and I did not have a blanket. But I had one curtain. I was torn between the option of covering myself or covering the window and safeguarding my privacy. It was raining heavily. I did not want my neighbors to see my misery so I elected to cover the window and survive. In my head I was like even Nelson Mandela and Jomo Kenyatta went through this. It's my turn.

BEDSITTER
I came across these photos on the internet and they had a striking resemblance to my own bedsitter. It was in such a room that I slept hungry, but refused to borrow. It was here that I, like many young men and women in Kenya, constantly thought about what to do to better my life and make an impact while at it. You can choose to pity yourself or use your scarcity to innovate. Many successful people today started here. Get out of the present. Just don't give up and don't lose sight of the prize.

How to Become a Freelance Writer – My Story


It’s been several years since I started freelance writing.

When I first learned how to become a freelance writer, I made the mistake of finding work on iWriter, which is a content mill.

Content mills provide cheap content jobs and they usually batch orders. Their goal is to get a lot of content for cheap. After I earned a measly $2 from my first writing job, I gave up.

This wasn’t for me.

My time wasn’t worth that. I had twins to take care of and a house to run. I almost quit for good back then.

But, I didn’t. I re-grouped and started fresh. I started a writer's website, searched for freelance writing jobs, and over time was able to land high-paying clients. Okay, I glided over the important parts, but I’ll break it down for you in a moment.

With persistence, motivation, and hard work I now am able to have freelance writing jobs from home! Learning how to be a freelance writer doesn’t have to take a thousand steps.

If you want that for yourself, here are the steps on how to become a freelance writer you need to get started.

How to Write Online With No Experience in Kenya


How does one become a freelance writer with no experience in Kenya? Very easy, you need a laptop and a writing niche.

You need stamina – the stamina that NEVER relents until you see results. Importantly, you need to know about yourself and what excites you.

What do you love reading? The following are various strategies for becoming a freelance writer in Kenya without experience and they include:

  1. Never give up 

Yes, I have to start by telling you to never give up. Whether you get a million rejections, a hundred million, stay on, keep on walking until you get there.

I never realized I’d make an earning this amount as a freelancer. My ultimate goal is to earn $30,000 a month then $30,000 a day! And I know I can!.

So, I’ll walk with you along the journey of being a freelancer/freelance writer until you get the money/income you want.

Honestly, it won’t be easy, you have to work hard and smart as I explained in the article, becoming a rich/earning more as a freelancer.

You will get rejections, but in rejections, you will get better at knowing what works and what employers look for in freelancers. 

You will learn what’s best for you and what isn’t.

I realized early on it exhausts me to write SEO articles for clients, I opted for ghostwriting. I get lots of SEO articles, and I have learned to adapt.

When you give up you won’t ever know what would have worked for you. Plus, I believe everything is hard because we cannot all win so ONLY those willing to put in the work are the ones who get rewards/success.

Before giving up, what is success to you and why did you start freelance writing? 

2. Does Online Writing Pay in Kenya? 

I asked myself the same question in 2012 when I worked in 2-dollar jobs. Does online writing really pay?

I know I’m a writer but how can I make money online writing as a Kenyan?

My search landed me on the smart blogger blog about knowing what my worth is as a writer.

The website talked about the niche, knowing what your area of the specification is.

I thought, what a waste of time to learn something I already know. This blog isn’t telling the truth, I want to write about anything under the sun in order to make money fast. Wrong Answer, I realized so soon.

You have to start with and from a niche.

You find your niche by asking a few simple questions, what do I love reading?

What topics am I passionate about writing and can write non-stop?

What are the writing niches that I must write online for?

There are various types of writing to do online including blog writing which requires your knowledge of SEO, SEO Copywriting, this means, writing with the user in mind.

Technical writing or instructional writing. There are some writing niches more lucrative than others. 

3. How can I start writing online in Kenya? 

Before you begin to write online or think about writing online, you have to begin by asking yourself what niche will you be writing in.

Focusing on a niche makes you hone your writing skill as a specific writer. So, ask yourself what writing makes me happy?

What can I read about and write about easily? You can learn other types of writing by taking writing classes.

What I discovered with writing, you don’t need classes but consistent and constant practice.

Writing online is not explained in Kenya for the writers in the Kenyan market.

I started by searching for writing opportunities on Elance and Freelancer.com and iWriter.

I thought those were the only places to search for freelance writing opportunities.

No, you don’t have to begin from bidding/content mills site where clients milk freelance writers.

You only begin from the sites to gain a bit of experience on how writing online works.

But don’t stop there, know and learn how to charge your worth because you cannot make much money when you charge $1 for a 2500-word article.

Value your worth as a writer. 

4. Track and set your earnings 

I didn’t know this thing about setting my earnings.

In simple terms, what do you see yourself earning and why?

If it’s $30, 000, using my example here, how many articles or ghostwriting opportunities am I willing to take?.

Am I willing to work to get to that level of the income I want?.

Plus do you charge your clients enough money?

Do you know how to correctly price your services as a writer? 

5. Networking still works

I insist all the time whether you’re building an online business or starting work from home/freelancing, networking is crucial.

Network with people in your niche then branches out to other fields. Why is networking so important?

When someone has a role, they’ll think about you and employ you.

I got my VA work through my network, a good solid connection.

It also pays to always tell people proudly what you do.

A long time ago, I’d say I’m a freelance writer accompanied by a very low volume to my voice. These days, I say it does help me pay my bills and I’m working in my hobby! 

6. Build a freelance writing website

For many years, I thought this website/blog is my freelancing website/brand.

I never bothered to build one, in 2020, I’m building one without hesitation. When you build your website, you’re building your brand.

Plus you’re creating niche content to educate your followers or readers. A website is a great way of getting brand recognition. You have control over your materials.

Remember what you write for is for clients, in the case of ghostwriters, disappears into thin air. It’s not yours.

But when you write stories on your blog, you build a brand, it doesn’t hurt anywhere to earn more money via a blog.

Diversifying your freelance writer income is crucial!. It’s too easy to build a website with Bluehost in 2021. 

7. Your confidence will make you earn clients 

I had so much confidence that I was a great writer back in 2012 because I knew I could write about anything.

The problem with online writing, it’s not about confidence alone but knowing about your niche, your industry, and what you can write about.

Your confidence makes you pitch to clients. It only crashes you when you get rejected but getting past rejection is so important. Rejection makes you confident in your work and you get to pitch to better-paying clients.

How does one develop confidence as a freelance writer?

Knowing what you write about, researching your industry, niching out then writing samples. Practice, as well, makes perfect which helps build your confidence. 

8. Learn how content marketing works 

In the early years of writing, I was too shy to show my Facebook friends what I was up to.

These days, I have a YouTube channel where I teach others how to build online business brands by starting their own online businesses or working from home as freelancers or freelance writers.

Social media is the simplest and surest tested way to market your work.

Why? Because it’s free, you have ready customers.

On social media, provide value, gear to educate. They say it’s not about cat and dog dancing videos anymore, it’s building a brand that lingers/ it’s people bringing value who go viral. 

9. You have to proofread your work 

I’ll confess, most of the time when posting here, I don’t proofread my work.

I’m mostly exhausted from lots of client work. These days, though, I reread and write my work with a critical eye. 

10. Practice, practice makes perfect 

When you do something over and over, it becomes easier if not easy to do it.

When I first started writing here, I’d take hours upon hours to write, finding out what words people would read. I spent times on analytics, to learn how analytics work.

These days, I know I write 1000 words in a few minutes and 2500 in an hour. I have become seasoned at writing content about making money online in Kenya.

I know when I write for three straight days it becomes easier for me to rest for the next three days where I dedicate time for research. 

Keep on practicing your writing, they say, write every day.

I say, find your frequency and be consistent.

11. Freelance writing boards with quality clients are what you must search for 

If you want to earn money writing online, you must know where high-paying clients are.

Before a high-paying client pays you, they pay attention to your writing and branding, that’s why it’s crucial to build a website.

Also, you must have your writing portfolio ready and your samples in the said industry.

These high-paying clients are found on websites like Problogger, Freelance Writing, TheWriterFinder among other sites, like Upwork or iWriter or even Freelancer. 

12. The working hours aren’t usual but strange enough to scare you 

Working as a freelance writer comes with its positives, for me, the dollar signs I saw were amazing.

Then, back to reality, the odd working long hours wasn’t. I had to work for so long neglecting my personal self-care. 

13. There are various types of freelance writing 

Writing online isn’t different from magazine writing.

You have to know what kind of writing you can do.

Don’t restrict yourself by writing articles that you charge 1000 shillings or 200 shillings just to make quick money.

Beware, you’ll work like a donkey and never have free time.

There are writing niches which you can learn how to write on by reading or practicing.

And they include technical writing, blogging, SEO writing, B2B writing, white paper writing, report writing, case studies writing. 

14. Choose and start writing from a niche

I started freelance writing without a knowledge of what my expertise was. A not good way of beginning freelance writing.

Sometimes, even now, I find it hard to say what kind of writing I love the most because my topics are varied I love parenting, sex, dating and relationships, making money online, investing, technologytravel, self-development.

My love for different topics made me call myself a ‘professional writer’ for years but freelancing websites like Elance or Upwork as is known now don’t love that.

You have to choose what articles you could write 1000 words about without research – closing your eyes. I landed on talking about making money online.

This doesn’t mean the freelance writing niches end here, in fact, there are lots of niches you can write for and they include technical writing, SEO copywriting, parenting, travel, health, and fitness, beauty and fashion, cooking, finance/budgeting, crafting/DIY.

All these are ‘rich niches’ not to tell you that you cannot write for another niche apart from the ones listed.

I found it so hard to begin writing from a niche, you find a niche as you go along don’t beat yourself up. 

15. Why should you consider freelance writing? 

Freelance writing is easy to begin therefore you can begin immediately after high school, university, or as a side-hustle. 

Begin freelance writing from a topic you’re passionate about. Freelancing writing is about writing a topic you love.

If you love parenting, talking about blogging, making money, you can write about anything under the planet. 

Freelance writing is awesome, I never wanted to be a teacher after university – you can freelance write without a degree!

16. You need to be committed to succeed 

Everything I teach you about beginning an online business, I insist on commitment.

I remember times when I wanted this blog to work so much I gave up and went on to have side hustles, my pillow business. You cannot win when you keep jumping from one business/job to another plus I never wrote consistently.

Believe it’ll work out and see the results.

Commitment comes from learning all there’s to learn about freelance writing jobs and developing a love for writing.

You have to begin from a niche. 

17. Set your financial goals and earnings 

It was in 2018 October that I learned about setting my financial goals as part of my plans. I never knew this kind of financial tracking existed.

I was used to cashing in and moving on.

If the client was interested in long-term work, as most of my clients are, I expect a certain income after 2 weeks or at the end-month.

Then I learned why my finances weren’t increasing. Ask yourself how much do I need at the end of October 2020?.

What kind of writing will you provide for your clients to reach your monthly goals?

What plans do you have in place to earn money daily or weekly? I learned that you cannot rely on one source of income, well, because clients lose their incomes as well.

Learn to diversify your income by teaching online courses about becoming a freelancer, write books. 

18. Define yourself

Before freelance writing, ask questions like who are you?

What topics are you passionate about, a great way of gauging what kind of writing you love.

What are your areas of expertise and do you have samples prepared?.

When I heard about work samples I felt like fainting, I thought it had to be samples from reputable companies like NewYork Times, after all, that’s what the blogs I read recommended.

No, clients want to know about your writing style and weigh it, literally.

They want to know if you can reflect their voice.

Know about your skills, expertise, what you love talking about, what you love reading/writing.

As a writer, you find yourself reading all kinds of materials, what do you miss reading the most? 

19. Did you know there are freelancing writing boards? 

Do you know where to search for good-paying roles as a freelance writer?

The best sites I love include ProBlogger, blogging pro, freelance writing jobs.

There are other freelance writing job boards like Upwork, iWriter or TheWriterFinder. 

Find one you love, learn the heck out of the platform and how to get the most out of the platform, now, apply for jobs.

Hopping from site to site doesn’t save time for you. And most of the job boards, have the same type of jobs uploaded.

20. Have multiple streams of income 

After losing one of my best-paying clients in 2018, I felt a dent in my pocket and life.

Though I knew about having multiple streams of income, the reason for the pillow and Airbnb business, those were growing businesses, so I had to invest. I felt like an idiot.

My client has recovered from the losses since the tax evasion cases. Pay your taxes.

Ensure you create not one but a million side-hustles so that when your client gets sued, it doesn’t affect you when you are at the centre of a big investment like I was. 

21. Have SEO knowledge 

Though I love writing SEO articles, I took up a lucrative SEO role which didn’t serve me well because I was already swamped with work.

SEO is writing content with keyword knowledge, like knowing what content will go viral, in other words.

Don’t overstuff keywords in order to rank on Google, ensure you have great amazing content and you consistently write.

I know Google awards consistency.

But, doesn’t mean you mustn’t know about SEO when there are free SEO schools beginning with YouTube school.

When you begin writing for the internet, you will have to learn about keywords and user intent.

There are many basics on writing to the user but also for the user, which can become a little bit confusing.

You want your content to get recognized on Google. SEO is about pleasing the user with amazing content more than Google.

When you provide value, at least, I have learned, your users reward you more and Google steps up.

22. Develop and think of your freelance writing as a business 
Honestly, I was pursuing my hobby in 2009 and 2012.

I started viewing freelance writing as a business in 2018 when I read extensively about what branding was about.

And until now, I haven’t built my website, September 2020, but it’s underway!

You cannot think of making money without a strategy.

I consider my freelance writing earnings as a success but a learning curve, for the sweat and tears.

But to build a brand that earns me $30,000/a day, I have to build a brand with a name, reputation, reviews.

I have to showcase the kinds of writings I love to do and why in order for me to get more clients. That’s my vision for October 2020 to March 2021. 

23. Learn How to Pitch 

I just couldn’t think of pitching clients. But, stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t easy.

You have to do an uncomfortable thing/task to get to where you desire to be.

I learned, though, free online resources including YouTube show how to create pitches.

My pitches go something like this, Hello Sir/Madam, or if I know the person’s name, I use it.

I said in a previous article that I’m a natural-born sleuth, I do detective work on clients until I find their name.

I’d like to be addressed by my name and not as sir or madam.

After finding the name, I write, I found your brand when online when looking for a particular product not sold in the Kenyan market.

I was intrigued to find you distribute the product.

It was a hard search and I believe, if I searched high and mighty, then there must be someone else searching.

I’d love to connect with you to talk more about making your product visible to other Kenyans searching for the product.

I love to pitch brands in the travel industry. I also love to write in the green niche and ecology niches/conversing the environment.

And lately, since blogging on here, I get confident pitching to a newspaper like Standard Digital about me writing content for them about working from home opportunities for Kenyans. I haven’t heard from them yet.

See, the reason why finding a niche is crucial? You get to see a gap and fill it.

Pitching to clients directly means, you don’t compete for opportunities.

Also, give them a reason to get back to you.

In fact, writing pitches is so fun, learn the art and use copywriting, always.

Then ask yourself, how am I solving the headache for this brand?

It pays when you follow the brand for a while in order to know what they’re missing. You get to hear lots of NO before you hear a YES.

Meanwhile, keep on honing your craft by finding clients available online on websites like Problogger or Flexjobs. 

24. Have and Build Your Writing Routine

Yes, at first you will work for others.

As time and years fly by, you need to create a writing routine.

A writing balance where you take time to write for your clients and yourself to improve your portfolio.

The life of a writer never stops with writing.

You find yourself taking a lot of time researching, writing, editing, pitching, taking courses to keep improving your writing, or taking courses in order to get started in a new writing niche.

You must establish a routine in order to keep a balance between all the activities and work you have and still have time for yourself. 

25. A writing portfolio

Honestly, I didn’t know how to make a writing portfolio, the only kind of writing I do is ghostwrite romance novels.

I learned how to integrate my other writing samples so that I produce a world-class portfolio for advertising on my freelancing website. And I’m still working on it.

A portfolio is your resume, make it powerful. 

26. Research 

Before determining your life as a freelance writer, kindly research.

You want to research the amount of money others get paid from beginner to advanced to self-employed levels of freelance writing.

You want to set your financial goals and what you want your income to be.

Get acquainted with which sites pay freelance writers lots of money and learn how to pitch to high-paying clients.

I’d also advise in branding yourself as a freelance writer, where branding shouldn’t be complicated.

Find a name for your freelance writing services, this can be your brand name too, create a logo and let your logo tell the story.

The one regret I have in my freelancing life is not creating a brand, which I’m working on since September 2020.

You want to get recognized as an expert.

You’re a boss and all bosses build brands. 

26. Have patience

I often ask what would have happened if I gave up freelance writing or freelancing as a whole?

I wouldn’t be here but where would I be?

Sunk into depression or gone back to employment or started a creative business and regretting the heck out of my life?

Would I have reached the earning bar I have and look forward to making more as I take more tasks and charge my worth? 

Have the patience to withstand and keep learning all there is about freelance writing.

If you give up now, you will never know where you would have gone.

Everyone struggles in their first years of freelancing because you’re learning.

I don’t want you to struggle, the reason I create these freelancing blog posts, so you can see what must be done and what to avoid. 

In conclusion, if you want to become a high-paid freelance writer in Kenya, you have to begin by research.

What do you want to write about and is there a market for what you want to write about?

Establish a freelance writing brand – you want to get recognized as a writer and get paid for what you are worth. After all, reputable businesses have brands why not you?

You are creating an empire, right?

You have to know how to pitch and must have portfolio samples that help you win clients from all over the world who respect your work as a freelance writer.

Know and learn how to charge your worth and never ever give up.

Have patience and dedication to keep on learning your craft as a writer.

No one gets anything by being a quitter. You can’t stop. 

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