I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; Kenyan writers are some of the best in the planet. But most of us are making a huge mistake.
I have been giving free consultation via my contact page. Over the last couple of months, I have been monitoring what people are asking the most and realized that there is one big problem that is hindering the progress of most Kenyan writers.
It was funny to note that I was also making this mistake till a couple of months ago. Before we go far, below are my affiliate links for two of the biggest bidding sites. Sign up through those links and read on to know what you will lose if you don’t.
Make sure you completely sign up; it’s okay, I’ll wait.
Thanks for being kind to me and using those links. Now, let’s continue.
What is this big mistake that Kenyan writers are making?
The mistake is avoiding bidding sites for sites like iWriter, ArticleTeller and Fiverr.
Is there a problem with these sites?
Yes and no.
These are great sites that have helped me and many other Kenyans to make a lot of money.
My only concern is the fact that avoiding bidding sites is only hindering us from making more money and having potentially great, long-term clients.
Reasons Why Kenyan Writers Avoid Bidding Sites
- It is tiresome to wait for bids to be accepted
- It takes time to create a good portfolio
- They’ll get conned
- Sometimes you need to do exams (don’t we all just hate exams?)
- You need to get interviewed (arrghh didn’t you start freelancing to avoid interviews in the first place?)
- You can’t earn immediately after joining. You have to create this huge profile, put your photo, take an exam…
- We’re plain lazy and love fast cash. Don’t worry, in this day of instant gratification, the whole world is getting lazier.
And many more…
I believe you must be thinking of some right now if you’re a Kenyan freelance writer.
What I did
I started off with Freelancer where I made thousands of dollars. I was then conned by a couple of guys and life almost stopped… or at least that’s what I felt.
I then discovered iWriter and put all my resources there. After a while, I was making enough money with iWriter only.
I then started blogging so as to ensure others don’t make the mistakes I did. I also bought AffiloBlueprint and started being an active affiliate marketer.
After a while, iWriter started having fewer jobs than usual. Rejection rate increased and later Kenya was banned for a couple of days. Later on, Kenya was reinstated but some IPs remained banned. . Good news is that you can now use your Safaricom modem with iWriter without the need of a masking software, although this goes on and off.
iWriter is great but two major problems are the IP blocking thing and the fact that it is so easy for clients to reject articles. In fact, I think it is the site with the highest rejection rate.
What do you expect though? I am also a client there and rejection only takes the push of a button. There are no milestones set, clients don’t struggle to get writers and there is no option of a dispute unless a client uses a rejected article.
It therefore makes it the easiest site to reject articles. I have never rejected an article there though since I normally hire via special requests to already established writers, some being people I know personally.
After seeing these iWriter problems, I joined Fiverr and started getting quite some orders. The same story happened here, orders reduced at some point for all sellers across the world. I still get some orders here and there but not as much as the beginning.
According to me, Fiverr is one of the best freelancing sites out there. It has the lowest rejection rates since once the client makes an order, you get the cash, even if they give you a bad review. Most good writers there have 98-100% gig rating; meaning 98-100% positive reviews.
After Fiverr, I started looking for local and international clients (who approach me directly and not through any broker site) for big time writing jobs. I have managed to land some, who pay up to $50 an article but these kinds of jobs come once in a while so can’t be counted on for daily bread.
I still advise new writers to start with Freelancer since it has a softer approach. The pay is low but it acts as a training ground for other better sites like Elance. Otherwise, you may stay for months without getting a single job in Elance.
What about the pay?
Yes, some people argue that you get paid better in non-bidding sites.
Is this true? Yes and no.
Yes because the price per article is higher. If you are a Premium or Elite writer in iWriter, you’ll get between $4 and $8 per article. In Fiverr, you can decide to be paid whatever you want, even if you’ll say you’ll write 100 words for $5, meaning you get $25 per 500 words. I personally get $5 per 300 words or $10 per 600 words in Fiverr.
For some, the pay may not be as great because of the high rejection rate and low job count at some points. In fact, if you purely rely on iWriter, you’ll find that you will have a lot of $0 days, where you don’t get a good article to write about or the ones you write are rejected.
When it comes to Fiverr, orders are unpredictable. Therefore, even if you charge high, you’ll still have many $0 days when no one orders your gig.
Freelancer tends to pay lower than iWriter and Fiverr but if you get 2 or 3 good clients, you’ll never have a $0 day. Highest paid writers in Freelancer get $2 per article or at most $2.5 but have bulk work that keeps them busy the whole week. The work needed there is not top-notch quality so you can easily pull off a 20 minute article and get the $2.
In Elance you can get jobs that pay between $5 and even $25 per article. It is harder to get the jobs and the articles you get may take at least 2 hours for a professional to write. The good thing here is that the workflow can also be constant when you get 2 or 3 good clients.
Back to Bidding Sites
The good thing is that by the time I got here (after the whole story above), I was making money from blogging, iWriter and Fiverr and private international and local clients, but this still didn’t cut it.
I therefore decided to try out the bidding sites again. I got back to Freelancer as a client and on Elance as a writer. I started bidding on 1-3 jobs daily on Elance. Of course it was extremely difficult to get hired on Elance but finally I did, and with great pay.
I know I am guilty of once advising people to get out of bidding sites. I still maintain this advice but also maintain that you should completely get out of bidding and broker sites once you have enough local and international private clients.
Note that this could take years.
Therefore, below are some reasons why you should get back to bidding sites.
Reasons Why You Should Go Back to Bidding Sites
1. Clients value you more
It is not as easy to get jobs but since both you and the client will have worked hard at it, clients tend to value you more and as long as you meet your end of the deal, you can easily get long-term clients. This is unlike the easy come; easy go clients on sites like iWriter.
2. Long term work
You can count on the site for your daily bread and even plan with the site’s cash. For example, one of the clients I’ve landed needs thousands of articles. We have therefore agreed on a minimum number of articles per week. As long as I meet this minimum, I’m guaranteed of the pay.
In other sites, you may get fewer jobs on the queue or fewer orders.
In fact, back in my Freelancer days, a single client could fund all my needs and all my clients had an average working life of 6-12 months.
3. Lower rejection rate
As stated in point number 1, clients value you more in bidding sites. This is because you go through a rigorous interview before getting assigned a job. In fact, in Elance, just completing the profile is another long story. But once you’ve landed a client, most of your work will be accepted. In fact, most times instead of rejecting, they will ask you to make revisions.
4. Milestone/Escrow and hourly payments
As long as you insist that clients pay you via milestone/escrow, you are guaranteed of getting paid. This is because the money gets out of their hands to the site. Therefore most will not mess up knowing that they have no control over their cash.
In Elance, when you get hourly jobs, you are paid automatically every week as long as the client approves your timesheets.
Both the hourly and escrow system guarantee you of payment.
5. Affiliate Program
iWriter recently started an affiliate program though I am not sure how well it works.
On the other hand, I have earned quite some dollars as an affiliate of bidding sites. Most, if not all, have active affiliate programs that have been running for years.
This way, apart from writing articles, you also earn as an affiliate of the sites.
6. Bulk Work
Most entrepreneurs, online or offline will tell you that there is value in bulk work. For example, as stated above, I have a client in Elance needing thousands of articles. She pays me $5 per 500 words. On the other hand, there are millions of excellent writers in Freelancer who are elated at the site of $2 per 500 words.
Therefore, I can easily outsource the Elance work to Freelancer and make a lot of cash on the difference.
What to do now
If you have followed the entire story above, you’ll realize that right now I am making money from iWriter, Fiverr, Elance and through blogging. I also earn from Freelancer as an affiliate.
Once again, I know it takes time to set up an account and start getting jobs in bidding sites. I just thought of writing this post when I realized most Kenyan writers are telling me they don’t want to venture into bidding sites.
Yes, you don’t have to, but you could be losing out on your big break. I always advise writers to spread their wings and have at least 4 streams of income. Note that as long as you ask for milestone/escrow payments, you’ll never get conned. On the other hand, it is not too strenuous to do one bid a day.
Since we all hate bidding, just do one bid a day and soon you’ll land your first client. Continue with this trend and you’ll always be getting better clients to replace the poor paying clients.
Below are my affiliate links for two of the bidding sites that I’ve mentioned above so you can sign up through them if you want to be kind to me:
Join the two bidding sites above and start doing at least one bid per day. Report back to me in a couple of weeks and tell me if you are not making more money. Do not ditch the iWriters, ArticleTellers, Fiverrs and stuff; you can still continue using them whenever there is great work. Also, have your standards, even if you are in Elance, still aim to be paid a certain reasonable minimum. See you in the comments section.