If you are one of those people who knew their career path (or even better, their life’s purpose) from childhood, just thank God. Some of us didn’t get that privilege. But looking back now, I know that I have many reasons to thank God despite that ‘limitation’ so to speak.
Discovering what I wasn’t meant to do
Just to be clear, contrary to what most would assume, no one forced me to get into med school. Not my parents. Not my teachers. It was entirely my own decision.
I was so excited when I got admitted to university to do the course I thought was meant to lead me to my life’s purpose. But unfortunately, as soon as I began my studies, I sensed that I wasn’t where I ought to be.
On many occasions, I wanted to leave and take another course. But I didn’t know what else to choose since all my life I had dreamt of being a doctor. So I pushed on.
Some days it was easier and I actually enjoyed it and felt glad that I was there. But on most days…man, it was a struggle.
Graduation day finally came. It felt so unreal. I couldn’t believe I had made it through. I was finally a doctor. I was so happy.
After all the excitement had died down, I was once again faced with reality. Deep down I dreaded practicing.
The internship came and when the salary started trickling in, I thought that would give me some sort of incentive. It didn’t. To cut the long story short, one day (in early 2018) I woke up and wrote my letter of resignation.
How I met Walter
After resigning, I felt like I had been freed from a captivity of sorts. I was free to take a new path. Free to start afresh. Free to dream again. The world was my oyster and I was ready to break it open.
But not everyone around me felt the same. I thank God that, having just gotten married, I had the full support of my husband.
I immediately started contemplating my next move. I knew I didn’t want to look for another job but wanted to get into entrepreneurship.
After watching countless YouTube videos about online businesses, I was completely sold. I was going to start a business, an online business.
My journey into Amazon FBA began, a business model I’m determined to pursue to date.
My husband told me he knew someone who does “online stuff”. He suggested I talk to him. That’s when I met Walter Akolo.
I had heard of this guy way back in campus. Knew him as the Kenyan guru of online writing.
He told me he wasn’t doing Amazon FBA but, as expected, suggested I get into online writing. “Me? Writing? Nooo, that’s not possible. I’m not cut out for it. I don’t even think I’m good at it.” That was my reply.
Now I think I should write
A few months later. I had run out of money to complete setting up my Amazon business. My hubby had put in quite an amount and a dear friend had also agreed to invest in it as well. But I realized I needed way more than what I had.
I decided to pause that venture and look for something else that required less capital and later venture into my dream business.
All this time I learned a lot about business, entrepreneurship and especially eCommerce. I believe I can now call myself a self-taught netrepreneur.
I eventually came to the conclusion that I needed a continuous source of income to fund my business dreams. And since I couldn’t think of a job I was willing to get employed for, I decided to take up Walter’s suggestion and begin online writing.
My plan to hit $2,000 monthly income
As I often do before beginning anything, I started my research on online writing. I discovered a number of people only think of academic writing when they hear of online writing. I almost tried that but realized that it wasn’t ethical and isn’t really sustainable in the long run (in my opinion).
I learned about online writing – as in content creation. There were so many inspiring stories about people earning top dollar through writing. I decided I wanted to become like one of them.
My first target was to reach a monthly income of $2,000 through this.
Some of the things I planned to do to achieve that goal were:
- Take a course. You can learn a lot on your own, especially in this current internet era. But it’s much faster and easier to get a road map from someone who’s gone ahead of you.
- Stay laser-focused. I was determined to make this work. I closed my mind to all other ventures and decided to focus on writing alone. This would help me give my all and work hard at it.
- Get high-paying clients. From the little research I did, I learned that you can get really high-paying clients to enable you to earn more while working less. So before I even began writing, I was determined I will only take on well-paying clients.
- Work hard. Experienced writers emphasize on this. Many people think that working online is an ‘easy way’ of making money. It’s not. I noted this and was determined to put in all the time and effort needed to succeed.
I trusted God to help me. By this time, I didn’t have the luxury of many options to earn an income. I had to make this work.
The course that jump-started my writing career
There are several people who offer courses in online writing. All of the ones I thought of taking were too expensive. But Freelancerkenya online training (Walter’s course) was affordable.
By that time though, the different businesses we had tried out had left us in a really dry spell financially. So I had to wait a bit in order to get the cash to pay for the course.
I was pleased with what I got. The course was brief, straight forward and very very informative.
My best part was the writing assignment. You write an article and a group of expert editors assess it and give you feedback.
Anyone can actually pay and use this service offered by Walter on PenStars. But if you take his course, you get the service for free.
When I got my article assessed, I was really excited. It showed me that I could actually write really well. I was now more determined to begin and get premium clients even if I was a beginner.
Another great thing happened. I sent a request to Walter to guest post on his blog and he was kind enough to accept my request. So I got an article sample to use when pitching clients.
My first client
Lucky for me, I realized I had once opened an account on Upwork back when I was in university. I don’t know why, because I never did any writing there back then. I guess it was just out of curiosity after hearing about online writing from one of my brothers.
So, while continuing with Walter’s course, I activated my account and began bidding for jobs.
In a few weeks, before completing the course, I landed my first client on Upwork. I was so excited. But nervous at the same time.
I saw the client’s message on a Saturday night and couldn’t stop thinking about it the whole of Sunday in church. I just couldn’t keep calm.
My mind was focused on getting back home, doing some research on what the client needed so I could negotiate terms with him better.
After a few messages, I got hired on Monday, 15th July 2019. O happy day!
I did my best to deliver a stellar article. And I believe I did a great job because the client gave me a 5-star rating. We all know how amazing that 5-star rating is, especially when you’re a beginner.
The day I made my first withdrawal from Upwork was another one of my happiest days.
Bagging premium clients as a beginner
A couple of writing jobs later, I got a client who paid $120 for a 1000-1500 word article. He was so pleased with the work I did that he gave me another assignment. This time it was a 4000 words article and he paid me $300 plus a $30 bonus.
Shortly afterward, I landed my first long-term client paying $100 per 1,500-word article. Every week I have at least one assignment from him.
Now, you may be wondering why I’m quoting all these figures. It’s not to brag, nope. I’m well aware that there are writers earning much more than these. My aim is to encourage you that even if you’re a beginner, it’s possible to get high-paying clients, provided you deliver pure gold (as Walter would say).
Also, some people despise Upwork thinking that the jobs posted there pay only peanuts. You can see that that is not entirely true.
Yes, there are many clients on Upwork who seem like they are looking for next-to-free content, but if you search patiently and persistently, you’ll get premium clients as well.
Challenges as a freelance writer
My journey as a freelance writer has not been all rosy.
Sometimes I would apply for jobs for several days without getting any work. We all know how discouraging that can be. The solution is to never give up. Just keep bidding. Keep applying for jobs. Keep pitching. God will eventually give you the breakthrough you are looking for.
Another more personal challenge I faced in my early days was dealing with people’s expectations.
You see, having trained as a doctor, most people didn’t understand how I could leave “all that” to become a freelancer. Some still don’t understand to date.
I had to learn to grow a thick skin. This hasn’t been easy.
Lastly for now (since this post has become much longer than I thought it would be), the hard work you put into online writing is sometimes unimaginable.
There are times I’ve had to sit for hours on end to complete clients’ orders. I especially remember a few months ago when expecting our firstborn baby. I had to work for hours until the very end of my pregnancy.
You see, with the baby on the way, we needed the extra cash. So I didn’t have the luxury of “taking a maternity leave” early in order to rest and relax.
With freelancing, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. That’s why it’s essential to create a passive source of income, which I’m in the process of doing (but that’s a story for another day).
In all these, I thank God I’ve been able to avoid writing scams so far (a key problem online writers have to beware).
I could go on and on about freelance online writing and working online in general. But this would end up being a series of books and not a blog post.
At this point, I bet you may be wondering if I have achieved my target as mentioned in the title.
Well, I haven’t yet achieved it. Sorry to disappoint you. But trust me, I’m not far and my journey is not yet over. I’ve had to slow down since I became a new mum. But I thank God that I have a set of long-term clients from whom I’m getting a great income.
So just to wrap up, this post has covered some of the most important things I’ve learned through my journey in online writing:
- Know your purpose and preferred career path. The earlier you discover this, the better.
- Interact with people in your field of interest. Freelancing, for example, doesn’t mean you have to walk alone.
- Have a vision, a target and a plan on how to get there. This will give you the drive to pursue higher heights.
- Learn from the experts. Taking a course will give you the headstart you need especially in online work.
- Celebrate your wins. It will encourage you to keep going and may even inspire others.
- Be resilient and learn to overcome challenges step by step. Nothing comes easy. Even online work and working from home isn’t as easy as some may think.
- Trust in God. With Him, nothing is impossible.
I wish you the very best on your own journey. I hope this has been of help to you. If so, please leave a comment and let me know.
Also, if you want to get into online writing, I highly recommend taking Walter’s course. He not only trains you but also offers some form of mentoring along the way. If you know me personally, I’ve probably already told you this, so sorry for sounding like a broken record. LOL! 😀
You can also begin with his mini-course. It’s free. And don’t we all just love free stuff?