In one of the blog posts, I shared here, I listed a number of ways youths or the unemployed could beat the skyrocketing unemployment levels in Kenya.
Well, today I want to focus on one of the ways listed namely online jobs in which youths can use to overcome lack of jobs in Kenya.
“A good player they say plays where the ball is, but a great player moves where the ball will go next” Adapted from Be Inspired Before You Expire by Pepe Minambo
If the above quote is anything to go by, then you seriously need to consider launching an online business or going chest front into freelance writing and transcription services. This is because the internet is more vibrant, lively and social than ever before in the history of humanity.
Back in college, while still a third-year student, there was much hype and talk about online writing jobs. At the time, I did not pay so much attention to the whole story until when I visited a coursemate and found one of his roommates busy on his laptop.
On further inquiry, it dawned on me that the guy was actually writing a 500-word article worth $2 on iWriter. The laggard in me died that very moment.
With no standard desktop to launch my writing career, I borrowed a laptop from a close friend and got cracking. However, down the line, my sudden burst of zeal and energy just dissipated. I could not bring myself to write a 500-word article on a given keyword within 3 hours. I shut down the laptop in frustration and that was the end of the story.
More discouraging, was the fact that I was riddled with fears and worries of losing on my coursework.Besides, my meager pocket money could not allow me to purchase the much-needed bundles for researching the article to be written. I would worry more about food than anything.
Towards the end of 2015, I met a good lawyer friend, who was running a personal blog hosted by Blogspot. All I knew about blogging was the name blog. On further discussion with let us call him Tony, I opened a free WordPress account on WordPress. As they say the rest history.
I am yet to make good money like the big boys and girls in blogging but I must say I feel proud of myself for coming this far. Furthermore, I have the surety in me that I will make it with persistence, time-framed goals and the right strategy in my blogging venture.
Writing in itself is not rocket science but can be an uphill task for a novice. On the contrary, no one was born a writer and you can always learn on the job. Here are the basic qualities of a good writer:
- You are an avid reader
- You have memorable imagination
- You pay attention to detail
- You love writing and it is a passion in you
- You have good grammar and punctuation skills
- You have a knack for observing things and people
Towards the end of 2016, a year after leaving college, and after having gone around looking for a job for some time, I gave freelance writing a try again. While searching for online jobs, I bumped into a site called Upwork.
Upwork is a global freelancing platform that connects business clients with independent professionals who are commonly known as freelancers. These independent professionals include programmers, web developers, writers, virtual assistants among others.
Freelancing is considered more of a business than a job because you are not tied to one client for the rest of your freelancing career. You could be dealing with more than three clients or more at ago who will terminate your contract once your done working for them. A contract could be as short as few hours or as long as 6 months or more.
Initially, I gave Upwork a try in vain. My Upwork profile was rejected not twice and not thrice. I was getting frustrated and on the verge of giving up until I met a mentor and trainer in Walter Akolo
Prior to meeting Walter, I made some silly decisions including blowing up $100 in online scams that promise riches within a short period of time. Most of these scams disguised themselves as network marketing platforms but were mere pyramid schemes that left you pocket dry and crying for your hard-earned money gone too soon.
After subscribing to Walter’s mailing list, I kept receiving steamy email posts from Walter on the ins and outs of online jobs. Needless to say, he awakened in me the burning desire and potential to make money online.
At that time, I was still running this blog and earning peanuts from wordAds.
After enrolling and getting trained online by one of the top freelance writers’ blog in Kenya and outside the country, I got registered on Upwork and other freelance writing platforms such as Fiverr.
Given that I was still a rookie freelancer, I landed my first client on Upwork within no short period of time but got conned of my hard earned $124. This happened even after being warned of cons and scams online by Walter. Overexcitement can be your worst enemy in life.
Here are some good ways to know scammers:
- Promise you heaven but deliver hell.
I was conned by a client with the identity Oxford Guys. They purported to be an Indian-Writing Service Provider and even send me work samples and writing guidelines including the Terms and Conditions template. They promised to pay me every end of the month and I should not worry about payment at all. Liars they were!!
- Their payment method is not verified
Later on, when I checked their profile on Upwork, their payment was not verified and was as new to Upwork as July 2017.
- Encourage New Writers to apply in a bid to con them
For those who have an experience with Upwork, you will note that their some considerate clients who are good and encourage new writers to apply. That is not to say new writers cannot land clients.
However, in my experience, this was one isolated case whereby the same cons came back with a different identity namely -Help me Write Some Articles and still encouraged new writers to apply.
Their job advert was later scrapped off Upwork for not being in line with Upwork policies.
- Hire you out of Upwork
Upwork has policies that ensure the connection between business clients and independent professionals is well protected. For any client to hire you, he or she must first deposit money on Upwork’s Escrow account and sent you an offer via Upwork.
Once you receive and review the offer you can choose to accept or decline the contract.
A client can only hire you out of Upwork if he or she is willing to pay you upfront or sends you a down payment before you begin working for them.
- Their writing is wanting
Whenever they send you emails, you will notice poor grammar and broken English here and there in their communication.
Despite the regrettable experience at the hand of scammers, I dusted my sleeves, bade for more jobs and landed trustworthy clients. You may want to have a look at my Upwork profile here
You may be one determined soul out there wondering how that single mother never gets out of her home to go work yet pays all her bills. Well, I have just told you my freelance writing journey. It is never too late, whether in your 20’s or 50’s you can freelance from any part of the world. Personally, I am still on a journey to be better than I am today.
Many have done and in fact, have better experiences and great stories to tell than me.
If you have any questions or would also like to share your experience you can let me know in the comments section below. Besides, you could also shoot me an email through my contact page.
I have also launched a freelance course for beginners at only $25. Click here to submit your payment and start right away.