Freelancing in Kenya is a great way to make money, but it can also be overwhelming.
This post will give you the roadmap to freelancing and getting started. Here are 9 tips on how to get started:
1). Identify a skill
Freelancing is all about skills.
Identify a skill that you can use to make money on your own; whether it is graphic design, writing, or programming.
The first step is determining what kind of freelancer you want to be and which skills apply.
2). Find your niche
In order for this to work, you need some sort of specialty that helps attract clients.
Freelancers in Kenya who specialize in one or two things tend to have an easier time finding clients than those who offer everything from logo design to web development.
3). Polish Up Your Skills
Once you have identified the skills that you want to use, spend some time polishing them up.
Make sure they are good enough for anyone to hire you without hesitation.
Remember: It is better to err on the side of caution and have a portfolio full of quality work than it is to be known as ‘that guy’ who has a half-assed resume or website filled with mediocre projects that don’t really show off what he can do.
You can also share blog posts you’ve written about freelancing on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This could help others who want to start their own business too!
4). Get known
It is important that potential clients know about your skills before they decide whether or not they want them on their team.
You should explore avenues such as social media marketing and networking with other freelancers at conferences and trade events.
You can also make connections with other freelancers in your area who are writing about the same topics as you on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter!
Social media sites are a great way to make connections and establish yourself as an expert in your field, whether it’s coding or copywriting.
Or even write guest blogs for other websites that specialize in the same topic area as yours does, which will put you out there more.
5). Create A Portfolio
The 5th step to start freelancing in Kenya is to create a portfolio.
Make sure you have a portfolio of work to show off.
This is one area where many freelancers in Kenya drop the ball because they don’t think about it until afterward- when potential clients look at your site or resume if there aren’t any recent relevant samples, things can get pretty awkward really fast.
The best way to create a portfolio is to have a website.
If you decide to pursue online writing in Kenya, you can create a website where you will share your writing skills.
This is also a place where clients can contact and hire your services.
Start blogging about what you know or write guest blog posts for websites that specialize in the same topic area as yours does, which will put you out there more.
While this is not necessarily mandatory when starting up, having content on your site will always be helpful when it comes to SEO!
6). Find The Right Freelance Platform
There are plenty of platforms to find freelance jobs in Kenya, but finding the right one can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
One platform that is worth its weight in gold is Upwork.
This site has helped me grow my business exponentially and I would recommend anyone who wants to start freelancing to give it a try!
Make sure to create profiles with links back to your website so people can easily find out more about what services you offer if they are interested!
7). Charge The Right Price
This is an important step for any freelancer to take.
The right price not only shows potential clients your value but also helps you stay competitive in the long run.
Remember that if you undercharge now, it is going to hurt more later when other people are willing to charge what they are worth and you don’t have a large enough client base or portfolio yet.
Here are some popular ways freelancers in Kenya price their services;
- Hourly: A standard rate for each hour worked for the client. Hourly pricing is used for both ongoing and short-term projects and requires the freelancer to track their hours.
- Retainer: A flat, monthly fee. Usually, this is based on an hourly rate and a prediction of hours spent on a monthly basis. Retainers are used primarily for ongoing projects.
- Fixed project fee: A one-time fee based upon the agreed-upon scope of work and project deliverables. Fixed project fees are used primarily for short-term projects.
- Value-based pricing fee: Similar to a fixed project fee, but based on the value of the work to the client, not the amount of work done by the service provider. This has the highest potential upside but is the hardest to sell to the client.
8). Send Your First Proposal
You have done all the legwork, you have a portfolio and website to show off your work.
Now it is time to send out proposals!
Don’t be afraid of rejection or hearing no- most freelancers hear that word more than they want to in their life when starting out.
Remember: Every ‘no’ is one step closer to finding a ‘yes’.
9). Deliver Beyond Expectations
When you finally get that client, make sure that you deliver beyond expectations.
Not only does this help build a solid relationship with your new client but it also helps them spread the word about your service and builds more opportunities for future work!
Other things to do when starting freelancing in Kenya are;
Set up your home office
This is an extremely important step. If you’re new to freelancing, it is probably not worth renting or leasing a space for yourself just yet.
You can be more successful if you invest in some good equipment and start working from the comfort of your own couch (or bed).
Set up your business
This step is also very important.
Think about what you want to name the company, how will it be organized (LTD? Sole Proprietor?), and where are all of its assets located.
Reasons to start freelancing in Kenya
If you are thinking about starting freelancing in Kenya, there are a few reasons to get started now:
- It allows for more freedom and flexibility in your schedule- The beauty of freelance work is that it can be done anywhere and at any time.
- You no longer have to take orders from someone else or wear a uniform; instead, you set up your own hours and rules as an independent contractor!
- Work on projects that interest you. If the only way you are going earn money is by doing something that interests you (and hopefully never gets old), then why not?
- Making regular income with one client. It may seem like having just one client wouldn’t make much difference than working full-time somewhere else but if they love what you do for them and want to pay you for your expertise, why not?
Reasons NOT To start freelancing
Freelancers in Kenya have a lot of freedom but they also have more responsibilities.
If you aren’t organized or diligent with keeping track of expenses and filing taxes, you are probably going to end up paying the government quite a bit at tax time!
This is one reason that it is important to set yourself up as an official business entity (see step above on how to start freelancing in Kenya) before starting out.
Not having any work can be very stressful- If you don’t know where your next check will come from, it might make working difficult…
Just remember there are plenty of opportunities available once word gets around about what kind of service/product you provide!
Where to find freelance jobs in Kenya
There are tons of places to find freelance work online. Here are some to get you started:
Upwork (formerly known as Elance & Odesk)
This is where I found most of my clients when I first started freelancing full-time.
It is an excellent resource for finding jobs, but be warned- it can become very competitive so make sure that your profile/portfolio stands out!
What kind of freelancing jobs are there?
There are tons of different kinds of freelancing opportunities available on sites like Upwork:
- Graphic Designers/Web Developers
- Digital Marketing Experts
- Web Developers
- Writers & Translators
- Virtual Assistants
- Social Media Experts
- SEO Specialists
Craigslist and Digital Point Forums
These sites aren’t just good for finding work; they are also great ways to network with other people in the same industry and gain valuable knowledge about their experiences working independently.
This is a great site if you’re good at creating art, selling products online (such as ebooks), or offering services such as logo design and business card designing.
You can also promote your own personal website here!
This is another great place to find freelance work but be careful- it is getting more and more competitive these days due to the success of Fiverr!
If you decide that this site isn’t for you then try out Elance & Odesk again; they have rebranded themselves into one company called Upwork.
If you don’t know which site would best fit your business or if one isn’t compatible with what type of service you provide but you’re still interested in finding work then it would be a good idea to create an account on all of them and then decide from there!
Starting out as a freelancer in Kenya is difficult but rewarding.
Make sure that before starting your business, you do some research about how much things will cost (equipment/supplies), what type of clients are available for the services or products you provide, any legal requirements for running a business, etc.
Once those details have been worked out-jump right into it! As long as you continue looking for new opportunities and always give 100% effort towards each project then success should come soon enough.
Remember: Every ‘no’ is one step closer to finding a ‘yes’.