You’re a beginner or veteran who wants to go to the next level. You have a ton of questions, but nobody out there wants to answer you, especially the veterans.
Everyone is telling you how successful they are. But it looks like no one wants to share the intricate details with you.
Worry no more. Today, I’m answering your most critical questions. To make this more interesting, I’ll make this a conversation between you and me. So, picture me seated across the table, and let’s go!
Is it really true that there are people who earn more than KSh.100k ($1,000) per month doing freelance writing work in their pyjamas?
Yes, it’s absolutely true. I’ll give a few examples that you can easily prove online through a simple Google search.
Tom Nyarunda posted about how he earned over Sh. 260k in one month. Chepkoech Ann earns over Sh. 100k per month as a writer. Johnson Gitonga Nderi also wrote about earning $1,268 part-time as a writer.
Search Upwork, and you’ll see many more local and international freelancers doing $1,000, $2,000, and even $3,000+ per month as article writers.
Hehehe 😂😂😂…and yes…you can work in your pyjamas if you want to.
That’s amazing! Would you say article writing is easy?
Nope. It’s hard work, just like anything good in life. In fact, when starting, it requires a ton of hard work and dedication.
The good news is that if you do things the right way, things will start getting easier with time.
Nobody should join if they’re looking for overnight riches, get-rich-quick schemes, or success without effort. You’ll be utterly disappointed.
Whoa! With the numbers you’ve mentioned above, I’m sure people are drooling right now. What does it take to be a successful writer earning 100k ($1,000) and above?
Lol…I’d tell them to stop drooling first and read again. It requires hard work and dedication to make it. For you to cross the 100 KES ($1,000) mark, you’ll have to work for every single cent.
Let’s start from zero. Let’s assume you’ve never written, and you want to hit 100k in the next few months.
You need two things:
- To write content that clients love: First, you should have good basic grammar and writing skills. Second, you should know what clients want so that you’re able to deliver what I call pure gold.
- You need to be hired by clients who value you: You may not be able to hit 100k with crappy clients. Focus on progressive clients who pay well, give consistent work, are easy to work with, pay promptly, and communicate professionally.
Knowing how to write a basic article can take you a few days. You can Google the basics or get someone to train you. Once you know the basics, focus most of your time honing your skills, reaching out to clients, and delivering pure gold.
Credibility is huge right now. Someone won’t just go into their wallet and pay you 100k. To prove you’re credible, you need to quickly create samples and publish them out there.
Reach out to valuable publications and ask for guest posting opportunities. Let’s call these high-quality samples “clips”.
The more awesome clips you have, the more credible you’ll look!
Massively reach out to clients. That’s hard work. You should apply for at least 10 jobs every single day. The more, the better.
Of course, you should keep improving your skills for the rest of your freelancing life. That’s what will get you those top-tier clients that everyone wants.
Nice. What exactly does article writing entail?
Good question since many people get this confused. Hehehehe…even some of my close friends don’t know exactly what I do.
Article writing is creating text-based content for websites and blogs. It specifically means creating the content that goes to the “Blog” or “Articles” section of a website.
Think of content you’ve read with titles like:
- 5 Ways to Lose Weight
- 10 Amazing COVID-19 Facts
- How to Raise Happy Kids
- Why You Should NOT Save All Your Money in the Bank
All these are articles.
Some key features of an article include:
- A catchy title: There’s an enormous difference between a title like “Life Lessons” and “7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can’t Move Anything but His Face”. The first one is boring. The second one is mind-blowing! It’s from an actual article by Jon Morrow, a renowned writer and mentor. Catchy titles heavily determine the success of an article.
- An alluring intro: The intro comes next. It must be so alluring that someone just wants to read more. You can start with great thoughts, shocking statistics, a burning question, empathy, humor, etc. On common topics, NEVER start with a definition.
- Subheadings: Today’s readers mostly skim through stuff. They don’t read everything. Therefore, have multiple subheadings to make your content skimmable.
- Bullet points: It’s good to have at least one set of bullet points where applicable. This is not mandatory but really helps to make content easy to read. Bullets shouldn’t cover more than a third of the article, though.
- An assuring conclusion: Don’t mess up good writing with a lousy conclusion. Close by summing up your main points and give a call to action.
These are just basics. Some clients may want a few more things, but they’ll include that in their content brief.
No matter what you’re taught, always follow clients’ instructions. You’re free to discuss better approaches with a client. But once done, make sure you do what you’ve agreed upon.
How do you get those amazing clients who value you?
We’re so privileged to live at a time when there are tons of ways to get clients. Here are some methods that work for many successful freelance writers:
Upwork: There are multiple freelancing websites out there, but Upwork is the very best. It’s like Google or Facebook. The ultimate king when it comes to getting clients on an online work platform. However, you can get even higher-paying clients through cold-pitching.
Cold-pitching: This is like what Kenyans call “tarmacking”…you know…how job seekers will just wake up in the morning and reach out to multiple companies for job opportunities. With cold-pitching, you identify websites in your niche that look like they can afford your rates, then you pitch them directly. Nick Darlington explains it so well here.
Reddit: Go to Reddit and join subreddits like Hire a Writer.
Social Media: Reach out to clients on Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. You can get fantastic copywriting clients from this Facebook group, for example.
Blogging: This takes more time to build up but can have amazing results and become semi-passive. Create an amazing blog, build an audience, and list “article writing” as one of your services. Clients can start reaching out to you directly.
Other freelancing websites: I put Upwork on its own since it’s amazing. But there are other sites like Fiverr and PeoplePerHour that are fantastic as well. Here’s a whole list of sites.
Networking: If you’re a genuine person who likes helping others and connecting with new people, this can be a wonderful way to get clients. People from your networks can recommend their friends or even reach out to you directly with opportunities.
Referrals: When you become really good, some of your amazing clients will refer you to their awesome friends.
Warm pitching: Simply reach out to people within your circles and see if they need your services. I’ve often challenged people to message their friends on WhatsApp, text, or call. Some have actually gotten huge deals!
There are many ways to get clients right now. These are just a few. Keep your eyes open for opportunities.
Should you buy an account?
No no no no no!
No matter how much you’re tempted to, NEVER buy an online work account. It’s against those sites’ terms and conditions, making it unethical and fraudulent. You get caught, you’re out. Use legitimate means if you want to stay in the game long-term. I’ve listed legitimate means above.
You’re a campus dropout, Walter, right? How did you start? How exactly did you get here?
Dropping out of campus was one of my toughest decisions, but I had to make it, else I’d not be who I am today. I thank God I survived this – my biggest rejection in life.
Guys out there, don’t just drop out for the sake of it. If possible to finish, do so.
For me, life was hard—total pain and tears. I started a family young, became a full-time caregiver, and nobody wanted to hire me for a long time.
I went through some unimaginable difficulties trying to raise a young family.
One day in early 2011, someone told me that they do article writing on a certain site. I joined it, got started, and it saved my life.
At that time, I was earning 15k working at a car hire firm. I couldn’t believe it. When I started article writing, my income quickly shot up. It doubled, quadrupled, and kept rising!
I could finally afford to take care of my family, mentor a few people online, and take up some philanthropic roles.
By God’s grace, my mentorship blew up as well. My site has been viewed over 2M times. My mailing list has over 20k members. And the Facebook groups I’ve founded have over 100k members (combined).
Back to where I started…
My first “serious” client used to pay me $1 per 500 words back in April 2011. Peanuts, right? At the time, I didn’t even know that was low pay. I was just happy I could finally earn a stable income.
I delivered pure gold, and he increased to $2 per 500 words. I was over the moon! I hired writers and started paying them $1 per 500 words. Once again, at the time, I had no idea this was extremely low pay.
Within a few months, I’d grown a little empire delivering over 75 articles per day!
I wouldn’t encourage you to start this low, though. Charge your worth.
I hustled and got even better-paying clients. I reduced my team and did most of the articles myself. As time went by, I kept improving my skills and reaching out to even more valuable clients.
My highest paying client paid me $150 per 500 words for simple tasks. I also upped my skills and started earning through blogging, affiliate marketing, training, writing, selling my own ebooks, etc. The journey has been tough but totally worth it.
Should someone pay for training or just use Google and YouTube?
It’s a free world, so everyone decides what works best for them.
For me, I don’t like starting from the bottom without a mentor. That’s a lonely, unprofitable, and difficult place to start.
See, Google and YouTube have tons of information, but they may not give it to you step by step.
Some of it may be outdated. You may not get Q and As with the experts. And you won’t have an expert literally checking your articles, profiles, proposals, pitches, blog, etc., then honestly telling you exactly what to improve on.
When starting, I didn’t pay for training since I couldn’t afford it. But as soon as I started earning, I’ve always paid for courses and bought books.
A lot of what I know about SEO, PPC, SMM, affiliate marketing, blogging, etc., came from a course I paid for many years from Affilorama.
Tons of my life skills came from books that I keep buying almost every month.
This means that I only started from the bottom once. From then on, I start from the middle with experts who show me the ropes step by step and give me industry best-practices.
If you totally can’t afford to pay someone or just want to test the waters, it’s okay. Go to YouTube and Google Learn, then give it your best shot. Who knows? You may end up doing very well.
However, if it doesn’t work for you or you want to grow faster, please consider getting trained by an experienced trainer.
What are your biggest achievements?
I’m totally grateful to God for the far He has brought me. Here’s a list of what I consider my biggest achievements:
- Getting valuable clients
- Becoming Top Rated Plus on Upwork
- Hitting 20k email subscribers
- Getting over 2M views on my blog
- Training over 3,000 freelance writers, including some of the highest-earning writers in the region
- Mentoring tens of thousands of people through my blog, emails, and social media platforms
- Being featured/mentioned on sites/platforms like Kuza Biashara, HuffPost, Nation, Standard, Family Radio, Homeboyz, WriteWorldwide, Writers in Charge, etc
- Working with big names like KEMU, Samaschool, Homeboyz Foundation, Change Creator, etc
How can someone reach you for further guidance?
I don’t like leaving people behind. I’ve always wanted us to grow as an industry. For that reason, I mentor others through:
- My blog – FreelancerKenya.com
- Facebook groups – Awesome Transcribers in Kenya and Remarkable Freelance Writers in Africa
- Free emails – Anyone can subscribe here.
- Facebook page: FreelancerKenya
- Personal Facebook profile: Walter Akolo
To avoid getting confused by all these platforms, the BEST place where I give guidance is via email. Most of you reading this are already getting my emails for free. If you are not getting them, subscribe here.
I’d opened this post up for comments for a limited time. See more questions and answers in the comments section below.
In case of any further questions, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org (this is currently the BEST WAY to reach me). I strive to respond to all queries.