My name is Daniel. One year ago, after graduating from campus, I immediately landed a job as an after-sales services executive with a Chinese electronics company based in Nairobi. Considering the number of unemployed graduates in Kenya, that was quite some luck, and you bet I was over the moon. 2017 was an electioneering year in Kenya, and the economy usually takes a beating in such periods. Electronics are considered luxuries in Kenya. This led to something that felt sad, but was a blessing in disguise…
The Job Loss That Marked the Beginning of My Journey as an Article Writer
You expect the industry to suffer most during hard economic times. These circumstances took a toll on the company, and it had no choice but to let me and several colleagues go. I lost the job in December 2017, but the company was kind enough to pay me until January. At the time I was devastated and lost. Three months later, I consider losing that job a blessing in disguise! Let me explain why.
I have been working as a freelance writer for two months now. I made Sh. 60,000 ($600) in my first month.
I am poised to gross over $1000 this month. I would never have imagined I could make such an amount within such a short time. I have always known people earn online, but I never really took a keen interest until this year. I was not very confident about my writing prowess either.
I used part of the little cash I had remaining to enroll for Walter Akolo’s training. I couldn’t have made a better decision. Once I had access to the training material, I skimmed through it quickly. I must admit I got skeptical at first. To me, it did not seem like I was going to start earning anytime soon (I knew was a wrong way of looking at it, but I was growing desperate). I was in a situation where I needed something to bail me out immediately.
I went ahead and implemented all the recommendations in the course. Upwork has been the best platform for me so far. I did a sample article, got it checked and corrected on PenStars and posted it on Medium. I started applying for jobs with strict adherence to the guidelines provided by Walter on pitching.
Here is the amazing bit. So far, I have only sat down to apply for jobs three times. Each time I sent five proposals and each time I bagged a client. I also cold pitched a website that published content about dark web and made a breakthrough, too.
Note that I joined Walter’s course on 12th February, 2018 and I’m writing this down on 16th April, 2018. Therefore, everything I talk about here has happened within 2 months.
The Awesome Client
One of my clients has offered me a four-year contract. I write Amazon reviews for him. He pays $50 for 3000 worded pieces. The work is available on a daily basis. Initially, he offered me $5 for 1000 words (thank God the rates later increased). I accepted. We hit the ground running immediately.
He needed me to complete four pieces daily. This was a challenge as I was a very new article writer. I worked hard and ensured I delivered quality articles every day. Today we have a much better working relationship, and things keep getting better.
I’m still doing my best and I believe that soon I’ll have some clients paying way higher than this.
Some Quick Upwork Tips
I continue learning and bettering myself every day. I have learned few things about pitching on Upwork that I would love to share here.
Don’t just use one sample, clients love relevant samples
If you are starting out, don’t write one sample and leave it at that. You will have more chances of bagging a client if your sample is relevant to the job posting. Create many samples and send the most relevant ones while sending a proposal.
I personally have several published samples on Medium and LinkedIn.
Only submit proposals that fit the job post
I know, you probably think it is wise to send as many proposals as possible on Upwork. I do it differently. I have been very choosy when sending proposals.
While starting, I dreaded running out of Connects and not getting a client. So, I would write a proposal, compare it with the job posting, and ask myself “If I were the client, would I hire whoever sent that proposal?’’ I only submitted the proposals I had a good feeling about.
You don’t have to start perfect, but continue learning and improving your skills
I continue learning and working hard to improve my writing every day. I have realized you don’t have to be perfect. Nobody is! You have to be willing to put in the hours and concentrate on bettering yourself.
Upwork is a great place to start if you are willing to do what it takes. I am a passive member (please don’t ask why) of the Awesome Transcribers in Kenya Facebook group. I have learned a lot from the group, which has helped me make quick progress.
Keep SHOWING clients what you’re made of
Upwork is awesome because you get to converse with clients directly and show them your work. I have had to do a test article for every client I got, even after they had reviewed my samples. I strived to deliver my best on those tests, and I got the clients.
I have come to understand that your writing, just like any other craft, improves gradually as you continue. Your confidence also gets a boost as you continue getting better. You don’t just convince clients by telling them you’re good. Show them what you’ve got by .
Divine intervention and overcoming fear…
I also believe there has been some divine intervention. I am not a very religious person, but I believe in God. I say a prayer once in a while. There are many in the same situation that I was two months ago. Will Smith once remarked that “On the other side of maximum terror are the best things.”
I was afraid while starting. I remember thinking to myself, “Well, I am paying for this training, and I probably will never be able to write well. Will I not just be wasting the little money I have?” I overcame that fear and everything turned out right.
Try. You never know. You may be the next success story!
As Walter says, people are different and will move at different speeds. However, if you put in the required amount of effort into the craft, you will certainly enjoy some level of success. You need to purpose to get rid of the fear and inspire yourself to start. And of course, you will never know if you are capable of doing something unless you try it.
The first line you get from a trainer advertising their services probably is, “Do you have impeccable grammar and can write with a flair?” I did not believe I had that ability, but I tried anyway. I did not fail, and you probably won’t either. You won’t know if you don’t try.