Things are really changing for the better online these days, and the number of Kenyan online entrepreneurs is steadily growing.
Some people are still too busy looking at closed doors than checking out the legitimate, awesome opportunities that keep unveiling themselves right in front of our eyes.
See, life is made in such a way that whenever doors close, there are always multiple doors opening up.
How did the whole Kenyan online entrepreneurship come about? What is shifting the minds of Kenyans from being mere online workers to being astute online business people?
Let me tell you a story.
I started working online in April, 2011. I used to write articles worth $1 per 500 words. Those days, there was no one talking about freelance writing online. There were a few doing it, but they kept it top secret.
So, I thought I was earning quite well with those $1 pieces. After all, I could do 10 articles a day ($10) and earn 30k in a month. Soon the client doubled it and started paying $2. I was in heaven.
Having a little entrepreneurship mindset, I started hiring others for that $. The client would pay me $2 and I would make $1 profit per article.
Within a few weeks, we had a team so strong that we could produce up to 75 articles per day. That was a whole $75 per day for me. It was the highest amount I had ever earned or even dreamt of earning.
Note that a few months before that, I couldn’t afford much in life. I was struggling to pay rent and buy food for my family. In fact we all hated being sick because we couldn’t afford medication.
One year later, this little online entrepreneurship enabled us to have some little financial breather.
I stopped the agency thing because of issues managing clients and writers, and after even being conned in the process. I then decided to go for higher paying clients and have only a few writers.
After writing a lot, I started asking myself, where are these clients taking all my articles?
I did some little online digging and realized that the clients were paying me just $5 or so per article, but they would post these articles to their websites and earn thousands of dollars from their sites.
I then started my blog, which has also enabled me to earn thousands.
Since then, many other people also started doing online freelancing and after laboring for a while, the same question lingered in their minds.
So, entrepreneurship starts with that question below:
What are clients doing with all these articles, graphics, websites, apps and transcripts among other things? From that question, many Kenyans are diversifying from just freelancing to being online businesspersons.
Below is what these entrepreneurs are doing and raking in big moneys online.
Almost all online entrepreneurs need to have a blog. This has now become a basic need online. Check all your favorite sites and you’ll see they have some form of blog. To create one, you can simply follow these steps:
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You can download my free blogging eBook here for tips on blogging.
This is where you promote other people’s products through special links or coupon codes. It is a very profitable business when done well. Kenyans are earning millions yearly (yes millions) as affiliates.
To become an affiliate, below is what you need to do:
- Join an affiliate network. Some do that on platforms such as Amazon, but I prefer joining independent companies that have an affiliate program, such as HostGator and AWeber. These tend to have higher payouts per referral and, depending on how you look at it, they are easier to market. In fact, with AWeber, you get recurring monthly commissions. How cool is that?
- It is better to recommend products you actually use, especially when it comes to independent companies with affiliate programs. For example, I’ve earned lots of affiliate commissions from Payoneer, HostGator and AWeber, which are products I’ve used and loved for years.
- Heavily market the products through your blog, social media and email marketing among other internet marketing techniques.
- Create courses, journeys or challenges that people online can follow. As they go through these, you can recommend products they can use.
Affiliate marketing can get you huge profits when done well. But, just like freelancing websites, affiliate sites have all these rules that can change any time. In short, you’re earning at the mercy of others. So, it’s best not to just be an affiliate for long. I talk about this in the last part of this article.
Before then, let’s see how shrewd Kenyans are getting their clients.
Going straight for the clients
Right now, most successful Kenyan freelancers get their jobs through freelancing websites.
But, let’s be honest. All these freelancing sites have their own issues. They are more interested in their own profit, than making you succeed.
But, necessity breeds invention, right? Freelancers all over the world are now moving more towards entrepreneurship, where they get their own clients.
Since I’m a freelance writer, let me show hard-working Kenyans (and freelancers worldwide) are getting high paying clients TODAY:
1. Pitch to high paying clients
Many writers who use websites end up earning $5-10 per article of approximately 500 words. Experts will tell you that this is too little, and from my research, it’s best to strive to get to at least $25 per 500 words for you to live a comfortable life.
Pitching straight to clients will help you get clients who pay way above that. In fact, if you do it well, you can earn even more than $100 per 500 words through cold pitching. See how it’s done here.
2. Build an audience (create a smashing blog)
Remember when I told you that almost everything will need a blog? Well, here we go again.
Personal branding is huge today. People are revolving around a few personal brands. Think of guys like Eric Omondi who have a huge audience and get called (and paid) for everything. They earn millions for simple things, just because they pull crowds.
Freelancers can do the same thing; build an audience through the combination of blogging, email marketing and social media marketing.
This way, many clients will FIND you. Yes, when well done, blogging combined with the above can get you lots of high paying clients knocking at your door. Some usually end up making long-term arrangements.
I’ve gotten so many direct clients right here from this blog.
3. Pitch to brands
Now that you’ll be earning from the clients you pitch to and guys who find you through your blog, consider pitching to big brands in your space.
Remember to do proper personal branding where you can tell a client you’ll get their post seen by your 10k email subscribers, 20k monthly blog readers, 40k combined social followers, their possible shares etc.
There’s power in the numbers.
This will not just be for freelancing jobs, but for a complete marketing experience. Tell them you’ll not only write for them, but you’ll also spread the word to your followers and deliver instant, measurable results.
A client who would pay you $50 for an article, will be happy to pay you $300 to do all the above. Just look through some of the blog posts here keenly, you’ll start noticing that some of the posts I’ve done here are actually sponsored posts.
The only extra effort in this method (apart from writing) is to do an email to your mailing list, and a post on your social media scheduling tool! I use Social Pilot for social media marketing and AWeber for email marketing at the time of writing this.
While at it, you can also do affiliate marketing in your blog and market any other service that you do and love.
Think big and increase your freelancing income. When you follow the methods above, you’ll not only be a freelancer begging for jobs in online sites, but you’ll also be an expert entrepreneur.
Creating a big online business
Now this may be new to many, but, well, not so new.
We interact with brands daily. Maybe Safaricom is your mobile service provider, Zuku does your internet and you buy gas from Total. When relaxing you probably watch movies on Netflix, or go to your favorite spot using an Uber cab.
All these – Safaricom, Zuku, Total, Netflix and Uber – are brands that were created by someone like you and I.
Have you looked at the Forbes rich list? Guess what? In the 20 richest people list, there are a couple of online entrepreneurs:
- Jeff Bezos of Amazon
- Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook
- Larry Page of Google
- Sergey Brin of Google
I’m sure if you properly scrutinize the list you’ll get more billionaires who have online enterprises.
In Kenya we already have Fatboy Animations which is earning millions. The owner is still in his twenties. In fact we grew up in the same hood. And now he is a multi-millionaire. There are many more Kenyan online entrepreneurs wh are also doing well.
This is the best time for online business. Even Richard Branson recently talked of 2017 as the best time to start a business and leverage on the internet.
Make this your long term plan. I am. Let’s make sure that by 2020, we have Kenyan online billionaires doing big businesses. Not guys in their rooms or basements making millions today and tomorrow it’s gone.
Let’s think beyond being freelancers or affiliates. I believe we can do this. Even if it’s not me, I’ll be happy to see a Kenyan earning billions from their internet business.
What do you think about this great rise of Kenyan online entrepreneurs? What is stopping you from becoming one? Leave a comment and let’s continue this very important conversation.