How to become a freelance writer in Kenya and make money online – START with this beginner guide

Contents

Welcome to ForeverKenyan.net – a blog and website on freelance writing in Kenya . Read on to learn more about the resources available on this site. Start by reading the content on this page – to learn how to become a freelance writer in Kenya and find clients who hire you to write articles, blog posts, ebooks, sales pages, essays, email campaigns, guest posts, product reviews, business plans, proposals, magazine articles, list posts, news commentaries, how to tutorials, lead magnets, whitepapers, online course material, PDF guides, profiles, Amazon Kindle books, product descriptions and website content for them.

The tips and strategies below should get you started making money online in Kenya writing for clients who want to outsource content creation to writers and bloggers for hire here in Kenya, like you.How to become a freelance writer in Kenya - ForeverKenyan.net - How to be a freelance content writer in Kenya

If this is your first time on ForeverKenyan.net (or if it is your first time going through this page), I recommend reading everything available here. Keep scrolling down… keep reading.

This way, you’ll learn more about what I have to offer you, as someone who wants to be a high earning freelance writer in Kenya, through various resources I have created on the website for:

  1. beginner freelance writers who are looking for online work and high paying clients to hire them
  2. individuals who want to have their own team of writers working together under their content writing agency business and,
  3. seasoned freelance writers who want to get back in the game – and make it big writing part time or full-time

If you have been to ForeverKenyan.net before, and read everything in this article

… I recommend checking the following pages instead:

  • free freelance writing ebooks and online courses (enroll for any of the free e-courses to improve your writing and marketing skills – to get more consistent and regular jobs from new prospects and clients),
  • ForeverKenyan.net blog for Kenyan content writers (read recent blog posts and success stories of other Kenyan freelancers published on ForeverKenyan blog for more tips and strategies to use in your professional freelance writing career or side-business),
  • content writing ebooks and online courses to buy (spend a few hundred Kenyan Shillings via Safaricom M-PESA to purchase a course or ebook to further improve your skills, get more reliable clients who pay you well and give you consistent work),
  • the services page (to hire me for various services I offer freelance writers like one-on-one training via email and phone, being one’s accountability coach, helping you create your writer blog / writer website to showcase your writing portfolio, consulting on matters to do with writing rates, cold pitching via email, growing your writing business, investing the money you make as a contract writer, among other services to help writers get un-stuck),
  • the resources, tools & recommended products page (for premium WordPress blog themes, plugins, software, domain registrars, email marketing service providers, web hosting companies, ebooks and online courses I recommend you buying and using).
  • the FAQ page (for answers to some of the questions I get frequently asked about online writing in Kenya, choosing a writing niche, habit change, creating blogs, charging clients, advertising on ForeverKenyan.net, ForeverKenyan.net ebooks & online courses, online business ideas in Kenya, and, getting more high-paying clients in Kenya, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada among other countries)
  • the Shop page (for all products and services on sale online via ForeverKenyan.net Shop like ebooks and e-courses which you can buy, pay for via MPESA, debit card or PayPal, and access immediately I receive your payment), or,
  • the Affiliates page (where you can join ForeverKenyan.net affiliate program and make money online promoting the products and services I sell in the shop section of this site. Commission payments to affiliates are made in Kenyan Shillings via M-PESA and US Dollars via PayPal. Sign up, start promoting ForeverKenyan.net products you like and earn)

Now, remember, when I said that if this is your first time on ForeverKenyan.net – or if it is your first time reading this page, that you should read everything? This is because I am using this page as an introduction to the most fundamental things you are going to need to succeed in online freelance writing in Kenya.

Different Kenyans approach freelance writing differently, that is why I have provided you with lots of things to mull over – knowing that, with good judgment, you will pick what is right for your situation and immediately start taking action – consistently – to achieve your online writing goals.

All the information is intended to prepare you, to help you along in your journey.

If you are serious about making it as a freelancer in Kenya, in the online writing space, which I hope you are – otherwise you are just wasting time you should spend doing other things – take your pen and a notebook or piece of paper and take notes as you read along.

It will be a better use of your time doing it this way (taking notes) instead of reading on passively.

Some of the sections will look like a repeat of what I have just said.

Believe me I am doing this on purpose.

To get you digging deeper.

To get your mind to commit and to minimize the distractions likely to be caused by your fears.

Distractions that will try to frustrate and stop you once you make a serious vow to give this freelance writing thing a go.

At the end of reading this page, you should be able to answer questions like:

Why do I want to be a freelance content writer? What is my mission here? What do I want to achieve? What do I want to help the clients who hire me achieve? What are my strengths and weaknesses – and how I do deal with both to make my online freelancing writing efforts in Kenya profitable? What foundation do I need to build when I start doing this?

How will I handle low offers, difficult clients, invoices, taxes, PayPal and M-PESA withdrawals? How many hours a day will I dedicate to this? How much will I work every week writing for clients? What are the most important tasks to focus on daily to make this freelance writing thing work – for me and my clients?

How do I get my first client? How do I get the second one? And the third, fourth, fifth and the seventh one? And how do I get them to give me more consistent work? How do I build my writer blog?

How do I write my samples and build my portfolio showcasing my work to prospective clients I pitch via email or social media and invite to come check my samples? Is there a point to buying ebooks and online courses to improve myself as a writer for hire? How do I increase my rates as a writer?

Online freelance writing is not easy.

Any Kenyan who tells you that it is, is lying to you – or is experienced enough and have many clients and consistent work and money saved up – and are past the doubts and struggles phase newbies face.

It is hard work. But it is also fun. It is something you can learn and be really good at, and work with clients from different countries and get paid lots of money doing it.

That is why I want you to get into this knowing the reality you are going to face:

  • the doubts,
  • challenges,
  • the patience needed,
  • delays in payment by your client or payment processor like PayPal,
  • people who will want to reap you off online after you write for them,
  • sending lots of emails every day looking for work and getting rejected,
  • getting no from clients you hoped would say yes to you,
  • slow and bad internet connection depending on the service provider, data bundles or cyber café you are using,
  • how slow things seem to go in the beginning,
  • wanting to blame people for your failures, near-successes, and your lack of consistent action
  • many hours in front of your laptop, tablet or desktop computer researching and typing away,
  • boredom, and maybe
  • friends & family who see your effort towards making it online as a freelance writer as a waste of time (this coming even from people you most expect to support, encourage and hold you accountable in your journey as a content writer for hire).

What you will find on the freelance writing in Kenya blog, ForeverKenyan.net

As things are at the moment, ForeverKenyan.net, houses a great deal of information, how-to posts and other resources to help Kenyans, young and old, employed or jobless, high-earners or low-earners, degree holders or not, become freelance writers – writing content for clients who hire them, and getting paid well for every project and writing assignment they complete.

There are free resources and paid resources which you can purchase to find more tips and strategies to help you be a better writer, sought after by many clients who decide to outsource their content creation needs to you.

Start by reading this post to the end. It contains links to various sections of the site – and directions on what to focus on first depending on your skill level: beginner, seasoned & intermediate or pro.

Then check the blog section  – to read recent articles filled with tips to help you write better, find more clients and increase your earnings working online from home.

Next, go here to learn from the experiences of other Kenyan writers, who have worked online creating content. Read the interviews published on ForeverKenyan.net to learn from their successes and failures.

After that, check the free ebooks and online courses – these are available to all ForeverKenyan readers and blog visitors. Find a free course or e-book you like, enter your name, email and phone number and receive the content.

To go an extra step, visit the Shop section of ForeverKenyan.net – to purchase the ebooks and e-courses you like. Improve your skills and get better at attracting clients, finding work on niches you like and getting paid well for work you do.

There is no rush consuming all the content published on the site, but the more you go through, the more you will learn and be prepared to handle different aspects of writing online.

Couple your knowledge with lots action, and it won’t matter if you are a beginner or not. You will quickly get better at your craft, land more clients, beat deadlines working on projects you are assigned and get paid for the jobs you complete.

What ForeverKenyan.net freelance writing blog Kenya will help you do

Going through the content published on ForeverKenyan, you will quickly realize that I, either directly or indirectly, hint at the reasons to want to be a freelance writer in Kenya. I talk about the fun parts of being a writer-for-hire hailing from Kenya without shying away from the challenges.

That is because I want you to realize the opportunity you have in your hands as a Kenyan.

The ability to have an extra source of income on the internet – monies which you can use to:

  1. supplement your family’s budget,
  2. pay your school fees,
  3. save and use as capital to invest offline in other business ideas and activities like land, farming or a small business in a sector you want to be involved in,
  4. buy shares in companies listed in the Nairobi Securities Exchange,
  5. build your own high-earning authority niche website with diversified sources of income
  6. save with your Sacco or chama (investment group),
  7. save for retirement,
  8. buy various insurance options for you and your family,
  9. donate to your church, former schools (paying school fees for needy students), a neighbour in need or a children’s home in your locality,
  10. buy books, seminars, courses and consulting that will help you achieve your goals and grow as an individual.

There are lots of content on ForeverKenyan.net to inspire you, to motivate you and to get you to take massive action and give freelance writing a shot.

So, if you have internet access, I want you to know that you can use your time online to make extra money helping individuals and businesses who hire you meet their daily, weekly and monthly content production needs and quotas.

I’ll even be highlighting stories of other Kenyans who have given this a shot and done very well for themselves as content writers. Read the interviews.

If you are a beginner or a seasoned Kenyan writer, this blog will show you how to land more clients. I publish lots of content on this site (in the form of blog posts, ebooks and online courses) showing you how to reach out to companies and individuals who may need to hire a freelance writer.

I show you how to go about proving to them what good things you can bring to the table – and giving them even more reasons to hire you to help them with their content marketing, Search Engine Optimization, brand building, customer support, internet marketing, lead generation and conversion rates optimization needs.

From creating your portfolio, to sending that first email (and more) and getting hired by a client who likes your writing style and research skills, ForeverKenyan has got you covered.

You will find lots of actionable advice you can implement right away to get well paying jobs and clients that pay you well and on time.

If you are a pro, ForeverKenyan.net, publishes interviews and other types of content that highlight the stories, successes, failures and struggles of other Kenyans who decided to become freelance content writers. Through their stories, you’ll learn from their journey, how they go about marketing their writing services and branding themselves. You will learn about:

  • how they handle their assignments,
  • what they factor in when it comes to how much they should charge,
  • how they manage their time,
  • how they keep themselves and their clients happy through all the ups and downs,
  • how far they have come from the day they landed their first client and got paid,
  • the tools they use and resources they recommend – and why they use those tools and resources,
  • how they deal with the challenges they face as freelance writers – and how they have fared this far despite having come across many points in their lives where they seriously contemplated quitting working online as content writers,
  • what keeps them going,
  • what motivates them to keep working hard despite lots of distractions online (online business ideas and ways to earn like AdSense niche sites, Amazon niche sites, authority sites, affiliate marketing, building, buying and selling websites, drop-shipping, selling ebooks on Amazon Kindle store) with the promise of earning lots more compared to the earning they get paid as writers, and,
  • you will also learn about the steps they have taken to diversify their income sources and lots more.

Why is there a huge demand for content writers in Kenya

More and more businesses are marketing their products and services on the internet. Companies are starting and using blogs for online branding, lead generation and customer support.

Which means there is an increasing need for content producers.

Many businesses in and outside Kenya already know that they can outsource content production to different writers and get much more content created faster.

Compare that with only having one full-time employee in charge of creating content. Businesses know that there’s only so much one person can research and type every single day.

To break the limitation, they turn to freelance writers from different parts of the world. Kenyans are blessed as some of well-learned folks who are great at adopting and using new technology.

So, companies from different parts of the world have realized the advantage of using money they could have used in paying monthly salary for one or two full-time content creators / writers / content managers / copywriters to hire one, two, three, four or five part-time freelance writers working online from home while still paying a fraction of the cost they would have paid a full-time employee.

Also some businesses have no need for hiring an employee full-time who just works on content creation. So they contract this bit of their business to freelance writers like you – pay you per project and keep sending more work your way whenever they want something written.

It should also be noted that writing is not easy. It can be a time-consuming and tedious process. There are people out there with money but no time to dedicate on writing blog posts and ebooks every single day.

They’d rather hire out the writing process, get back completed work, publish it on their blog, promote the content and monetize the posts you write for them in a variety of ways to get a return on their investment.

More businesses in Kenya are also launching their own websites and blogs. They are taking their businesses online. Guess what all these new sites need? Great content!

And that’s where you come in as a writer. If you write well and do your best to reach out to the people likely to hire you, you will be in great demand.

Businesses also want not only to rely on traditional media (radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, classifieds, letters, flyers, guides, banners, brochures, books and paper reports), digital marketing agencies, ad networks, sponsored posts, Google AdWords and Facebook ads to reach their audience (get readers and customers) and are willing to pay for original and well-written content that they publish on their own sites and rank to get free organic traffic and leads from search engines like Google.

Some don’t even know how a freelance writer can help them with their mission. And most sites, companies and businesses don’t even advertise that they are looking for writers to hire.

Until you reach out to them and tell them how you can help them get traffic / leads / customers, you won’t know how high in demand you are.

But I’m telling you great writers are in high demand. It doesn’t even matter if you are a beginner or a pro.

As long as you can prove to a prospect how helpful you can be to their cause or mission, in return for some dollars, you’ll start hearing more of them saying yes to you – and giving you work and paying you well.

Who can get started writing online using the resources on the ForeverKenyan blog

Now, I realize having said all the things mentioned above that some people will get into this without the seriousness it deserves. They will get a few NOs when they pitch clients, give up and quit.

They will get into online writing half-heartedly, only motivated by the prospects of making a whole lot more money – to the tunes of tens or hundreds of thousands of Kenyan Shillings after taxes, yet be unwilling to put in the hours and work hard.

For such people I am sorry to say that they will fail big time, unless their attitude changes and they embrace the hard work required to make it in the content writing world. Because, truth be told, there will be a lot of things that will do their best to dampen your drive and sabotage your progress.

Without a strong will, a strong foundation, diligence, prudence, a strong desire and drive to succeed as a freelance writer, your efforts won’t get you what you want.

With that said, if the following define you, there is a high likelihood of you becoming a successful Kenyan freelance writer:

You already have some knowledge about what a freelance writer does and you know that there are individuals, organizations, government bodies, websites, blogs, business owners, corporations, charities and companies willing to hire and pay freelance writers to create content for them in exchange for some money paid by the hour, on a per project basis or on a per word rate basis.

You know you can write and are willing to contact these persons to let them know you can contribute content to them as a paid freelance writer, giving them good reasons why they should work with you.

You are serious about this and are willing to get started right away – and to work daily or a few times a week on your online writing venture.

You used keywords related to how to be a freelance writer in Kenya on search engines like Google, Bing, YouTube, Yandex, Duckduckgo, Yahoo or Ask to find answers to the questions you have about freelance writing in Kenya with a view to use the answers you find to help you improve your writing skills, improve your blogging skills, create your writer blog & portfolio, find writing jobs, get consistent work from clients and get paid for your content.

Which means, and I am assuming here, that you are serious about using all the resources ForeverKenyan has put at your disposal to build a thriving and profitable business offering freelance writing services to people who want to order content.

You know about various freelance marketplaces and job boards, niche writing websites, digital marketing agencies, SEO agencies, classified ads websites, virtual assistant websites and content marketing agencies that make it easy for clients to order content and for writers to find work (by replying to ads posted on job boards, projects listed on bidding sites and content allocated by agencies to writers) and are willing to find work through these sites (like UpWork, Fiverr, iWriter, Textbroker, Freelancer, Problogger job board, Envato, OLX Kenya, The Star Classifieds Kenya, CraigsList, PeoplePerHour among others).

You have previously found work from bidding sites but now want to attract your own clients and get paid higher rates for the content you produce.

Meaning you want to learn a bit about blogging and how to use your writer blog (especially your Hire Me page and your Portfolio page) in combination with cold email outreach to get work – and get paid more than you currently earn bidding for jobs on sites like UpWork.

Meaning you are serious about having more sources to land new clients and work – and not only rely on the jobs posted on bidding sites where you have created your writer’s profile or bio.

You want to improve your skills further using the free and paid resources (ebooks and online course training on blogging and freelance writing). Meaning that you know there’s still a lot of potential in you that you can tap into to give your clients the best content you can.

Which also means that you already know that the more you polish your skills on research, writing, formatting, blogging, WordPress, content promotion, SEO, conversion optimization, email marketing, lead generation, organic search traffic generation, Google AdWords and Facebook advertising, creating long-form content, targeting long-tail keywords with new posts, adhering to clients instructions and creating more well-written and engaging content, the more different individuals, companies, small businesses, marketing agencies, webmasters, editors, institutions and blog owners will hire you to write for them – and pay you well for each piece you create.

You know that improving your skills in different areas will give you an edge over other writers seeking work.

You are new to freelance writing and are willing to learn from someone who is doing it; someone who started from scratch – and are willing to learn as much as you can – then pick the tips that resonate well with you from various ForeverKenyan blog posts, ebooks and e-courses and use them to land yourself clients and get consistent work.

You are willing to apply yourself, without complaining, over the long-haul to make this work as a win-win for both you and your clients.

If any of the above define you then I’m certain the resources on blog will help you get started, land freelance jobs online and get paid well.

In fact, learn below, briefly, how to apply for and get your first client.

How much experience you need to start making money online doing freelance content writing work and blogging jobs in Kenya

If you can whip out coherent sentences and keep a reader engaged, you can do freelance writing.

If you can write original content that is plagiarism-free on a number of topics (even just one topic), adhering to instructions on research and formatting, you are golden.

Below are some of the things you need to have mastered – or be willing to learn quickly – to make it as a content writer in Kenya.

Basic computer knowledge. You have to be someone who is not afraid of trying new things on their computer. I know of many people who own computers but are afraid to use them (beyond playing music and watching movies and TV series).

Why? One, they are comfortable with the computer skills they already have and two, they are afraid of messing things up (or asking for help on how to accomplish a certain task – afraid of being looked at as someone who types slowly, someone who just won’t read the dialogue boxes on their computer screen to figure out what action to take next, someone who keeps forgetting what they have been taught, someone who is a technophobe…)

To work as a writer, the computer is going to be your ally, not something you get afraid of. Figuring things out is going to be something you embrace.

It is one of the best ways to improve your computer skills without having someone seat beside you telling you what to do.

If you are willing to get someone to teach you basic computer skills, there are already many people near you (may be your neighbours, brothers, sisters, friends, relative, parents or child) who may be willing to teach you – if you really are serious about learning, don’t give them a hard time (willing to learn, not whine), take notes and do your best not to forget a simple thing you were taught just 30 minutes ago.

Learn how to create documents, open documents, take screenshots, edit images, resize images, format documents, save your work, use your web browser, create folders, rename files, use Microsoft Office programs (like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Paint, Picture Manager & Notepad for doing basic things), copy and paste, backup your work in flash drives and online to your email as attachments or on Google Drive.

MS-Word. You will use Microsoft Word (and Notepad) a lot to type content, edit content, save content and format your documents. So, learn the basics of it, if you haven’t already.

Typing speed. The faster you write or type the quicker you will be able to finish jobs you are hired to do. The best advice I can give you on improving your skills in this area is to type daily, even if you are just creating content for your own blog or guest posts to give to other sites.

Type daily.

One thousand words minimum.

Three to five thousands a day would be ideal.

There are some free software you can download and install on your computer to help you improve your typing skills and gradually increase your output (number of words you type per minute).

Download one.

And practice typing daily.

I recommend this even for people who can already type fast enough.

Using the internet. To improve your skills in this area, you are going to need a computer with internet access. You can go to a cyber café near you and use their computers to improve your skills.

Or you can use your own laptop or desktop computer, your USB modem (or fiber) and data bundles from any of the internet service providers in Kenya (especially popular ones like Safaricom, Orange Kenya, Airtel Kenya, Zuku, Faiba by Jamii Telecom among others).

Learn how to open and use popular web browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Yandex web browser, Opera among others. Focus more on Firefox and Chrome.

Learn how to use your web browser for research using Google, Yahoo, Bing, Wikipedia, YouTube, Duckduckgo and other search engines. Know how to retrieve information and save it to your computer for use later on – e.g. as a source you reference when writing content for clients. Learn how to use these popular websites to do your research on the internet.

Learn how to create an email account (like Gmail or Yahoo, and one with your writer blog domain in it via cPanel). Learn how to compose, send and reply to emails. Learn how to add email attachments.

Learn how to use WordPress, how to add posts and pages to it, how to add links and subheadings, how to publish posts and more. You can practice this by creating a free blog on WordPress.com before you pay money to create your writer blog on a self-hosted version of WordPress.

Learn how to create a PayPal account, how to link your card to PayPal to verify it, and how to send invoices.

And of course learn how to use popular social networking sites. Create profiles on at least Facebook and Twitter.

If you are willing to explore further, learn how to create accounts and publish content on websites like Quora, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn Pulse, Instagram, Medium, SlideShare and Amazon Kindle.

Managing your time. Find out what works for you. Do you want to be an early riser and write in the morning, late in the afternoon or late at night? What is it you want to focus on at any given hour in your day?

What are you going to do to make your writing process smooth and efficient? How much time, per day, will you dedicate to pitching new clients and how much time will you allocate to working on the assignments from people who hire you?

Which habits do you need to do away with? What distractions do you need to deal with? Which processes do you need to streamline or automate? What is the best use of your time? How can you do your work efficiently in less time?

All these questions will help you come up with answers that will prepare you for working online, writing as a freelancer.

Types of jobs to start looking for as a beginner content writer in search for well-paying clients in Kenya

When you are just starting out doing freelance writing, you will quickly realize that there are a variety of content formats you can focus on.

When I first started out, I chose to start with blog posts / articles. So, I sought out clients who had their own blogs, and who I knew would be interested in having someone write posts for them.

My first and second client, all I ever did was write articles for them. Some they published on their blogs. Others they used for other things.

Going into this, you are going to have to make up your mind what you focus on. You can choose from the examples below:

Reviews: These can be in the form of articles or not.

To find work writing reviews, seek out individuals, businesses and companies that have blogs and websites that publish reviews for various products and services (sometimes even doing comparisons of similar items), using various affiliate programs and display ads to monetize their content.

Look for Amazon niche site builders. Target owners of niche sites who use Amazon affiliate program to make money from their sites. Target buyers of done for you Amazon niche sites.

Target new owners of niche sites being sold on marketplaces like Empire Flippers, FE International and Flippa. Also look for blogs that are clearly using affiliate marketing on their blogs and websites to make money online.

How-to tutorials: These can be in the form of articles (to be published on a blog), a guest post (for another popular site with more traffic), email series (to be sent out to email subscribers using an email autoresponder service as a free course monetized by affiliate links or one’s own product sales), graphics, screencasts or PowerPoint presentation.

Content types like these usually involves you showing others how to use a certain thing (device, system, software, app, plugin, theme, product, service, extension, website or recommendation) to achieve a particular aim.

Why posts: Here you write content explaining why something is the way it is. In creating content like this, your job is to give to readers explanations that answer a why question to help them understand a topic they are interested in and want to know more about.

Your goal, with this kind of content, is to be informative.

Lists posts: Here you take a topic, outline it and format the information you give to readers in the form of a list.

Usually the content is titled with a number of the listed items included in the headline.

For example: 25 Best WordPress Themes for Freelance Writers OR 20 Reasons to Make Extra Income Doing Freelance Writing Jobs in Kenya OR 30 Quotes on How to Make it Online as a Freelance Writer OR 20 Entrepreneurs Who Started their Businesses with Only 5,000 Kenyan Shillings and Made Millions.

Sites that publish listicles always use Google AdSense, Media.net, BuySellAds, Propeller Ads, Taboola, Outbrain, Amazon Associates Program, RevContent, their own products and other affiliate programs (ShareASale, Jumia Kenya, Rakuten’s LinkShare, CJ, e-Junkie, Walmart, ClickBank and JVZoo) to monetize their content.

Web 2.0 content: As more businesses and individuals try to diversify their web traffic resources, so as not to rely only on the traffic Google and Facebook sends them, they have realized that they can take advantage of the audience some websites (that accept user generated content) attract.

Some of these sites include Quora, WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Medium, LinkedIn Publishing, Reddit and Slideshare.net.

For Quora, a client may hire you to write a detailed answer, to a question asked on Quora, in the form of an article.

Medium and LinkedIn Pulse also allows many leaders, business owners, bloggers and professionals to publish their own articles on these websites.

On Slideshare, you can publish videos and detailed PDF files (in the form of PowerPoint presentations, articles, how to guides, reports, sample chapters, reviews and graphics). A client may hire you to help them create such content for them to upload on their Slideshare account.

A client may hire you to help them put out one-off or regular content for these sites with a view to attract some of the users of these sites back to their website or blogs.

Guest posts: If you already have an account and are writing for popular blogs like Forbes, Huffington Post or TechCrunch among other popular authority websites in your niche, there are many people willing to hire you to write guest contributions – to be published on these and other sites they may have in mind.

Academic writing: There are many students and scholars from different parts of the world who seek out Kenyans with university degrees to help them with their academic writing requirements.

The people who hire Kenyan academic writers include secondary school students, undergraduate students, postgraduate students, university lecturers, college and polytechnic tutors, professors, authors, businesses, foundations, charities, government and non-governmental organizations who need help writing scholarly articles, reports, research to be published on academic journals, dissertations for undergraduate degree and Masters, PhD theses, essays, term papers and course works.

Some people object to doing this kind of online writing for ethical reasons.

But there are many Kenyan academic writers who have found this kind of writing to be highly lucrative.

They love doing their work.

Knowing that there is demand for their expertise and research skills, they are happy to supply their writing services to many in the market who seek the kind of solution they are offering.

Sales pages: To sell online, individuals and companies, need sales copy to increase awareness about their products, services and what advantage they get the customer who buys from them.

Online shop owners, for example, can hire you to write product sales pages for the items they list in their store.

When you are hired as a freelance writer to do this kind of writing, you are expected to create copy that engages and convinces prospects to purchase the product you are writing about.

Apart from sales pages writing, sometimes you may be required to write product descriptions that are not sales-y in their tone.

News commentaries: To do this, a client will require you to be well acquainted with breaking or popular news in a certain niche topic or locality and require you to write your own commentary, summary or opinion piece on the said news item – without forgetting to include a highlight of the most important pieces of information that make part of the news item.

Clients who can hire you to do these type of assignments include owners and editors of news sites, celebrity gossip site, political news sites, business news sites, tech news sites, online media companies, viral sites, niche monthly subscription magazines, newspapers, sports news sites, city news sites, town news sites, newsletters, local news sites, financial news sites, law websites, journals, weekly papers, online newspapers and traditional media organizations with digital properties in different niches.

Email newsletter content and email autoresponder series: Here you will be required, as a hired writer, to create content which will predominantly be transmitted to and made accessible to readers via emails sent to their inboxes.

Many individual marketers, organizations, institutions and companies have email subscribers to whom they send email updates from time to time.

The owners of these email lists can hire you to create content that they in turn send to those who signed up to receive updates from them – sometimes sending updates in the form of a series of related emails (that can also act as a free e-mail course on a given topic the subscribers are interested in).

Some of the emails may include campaigns introducing the subscribers to new products, new information or stories.

Lead magnets and content upgrades: This involves creating content your client will use to entice their website or blog visitors (prospects) to give them their contact information and permission to contact them (for example via email, SMS or phone calls).

You’ll be tasked with creating content your client uses for lead generation.

The type of work your client will need from you includes creating freebies (like free downloadable checklists, cheat sheets, PDF ebooks and guides, ePub ebooks, free Kindle books, whitepapers, reports, series of video tutorials or even a free email course).

They use these types of content to engage their subscribers – and later on invite the subscribers to make a purchase of one of their products or to check an item they recommend as an affiliate – where they get a commission for every successful referral they get the merchant.

Resource pages: These are very detailed pages blogs and websites in various niches publish to help their audience find the things they need to achieve a particular goal.

Often these pages act as one place where a reader can find links and descriptions of blog posts, success stories, case studies, ebooks, books, videos, courses, software, products and services they need to use to accomplish a goal they have in mind.

A resource page for freelance writers in Kenya, for example, would include descriptions and links to blog posts, ebooks, courses, software, products and services you need to start and continue making an income working online doing content writing jobs.

Interviews, profiles and case studies: Companies can hire you to interview their customers and various leaders in the niches they operate in.

You may be asked to interview customers, leaders, bloggers, entrepreneurs, developers, authors, salespersons and celebrities.

Once you have gathered enough information from the interviews you conduct (via email, phone, Skype calls, online chat via instant messenger and messaging apps) you’ll then be tasked with creating a profile or case study outlining the challenges, failures and successes of an individual, company, product or service.

Plans and proposal writing: You can be hired to write business plans and proposals by companies, organizations and individuals who intend to use the plans and proposals to secure funding from universities & colleges (for research), banks and micro-finance institutions (for loans to finance business growth and expansion), charities, foundations and non-profits (for donor aid money to use for development projects, poverty alleviation and social entrepreneurship).

Amazon Kindle books: These can be short 5,000 to 10,000 word ebooks on a specific topic (offering a solution to a specific problem) that you are hired by someone to write as a ghostwriter or co-author.

The clients who hire freelance writers to write Kindle books for them then go ahead to self-publish the titles on Amazon Kindle and earn monthly recurring income from each copy sold.

Most of these short guides are non-fiction in nature and show the readers who buy them how to do something specific – for example: How to Earn US$ 1000 Per Month Freelance Writing.

Writers who are hired to create these short ebooks often are paid a flat fee – for example 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1200, 1500 or 2000 US Dollars – and the clients who commission these writers often list the ebooks on Amazon (in a specific category) for US$ 2.99 per copy.

When you get hired to do this kind of work, you will be tasked with researching your topic, writing and putting together the information in a way that reads smoothly.

Content for pre-made blogs & turnkey websites: There are people who create blogs and websites on specific topics, adding 5, 10 or 20 articles to it and sell off the sites to buyers who want ready made sites they can develop further.

Know what these two parties have in common? They both need content. The person who creates premade AdSense niche sites or Amazon niche review sites need writers to supply the content they add to the sites.

The people who buy these types of sites (and later flip them for a 10 to 20 times multiple – of a site’s monthly earnings) also need content to keep adding to their sites – to keep them fresh, keep readers coming back and rank for more long-tail keywords on search engines results pages.

Find these people, pitch them, negotiate rates and you can start getting regular work from them – and earning from every writing job they send your way.

Some of these done-for-you site creators also own their content agencies, so there is a high likelihood of finding regular work from them.

A small percentage of them also run their own popular niche sites (in the business to consumer space – B2C) and authority websites (in the business to business space – B2B) and are in constant look out for new writers they can hire to work with them long term.

Summaries and aggregated content: You can also be hired to write content where you are required to dwell more in the main points of a news item, podcast, video, webinar, story, seminar, conference or speech.

Say five different websites write articles (one each) covering a related news item or story, a client can hire you to write one article that summarizes the main points in the five articles in one piece, linking back to your sources – the five sites.

In this manner, your one article will then contain more information compared to each of the other five articles.

This increases your chances of quickly:

  • gaining higher rankings on Google Search for the piece you pen
  • getting more people reading and sharing your article, especially if your client uses Facebook ads campaign, for example, to get more clicks to his website (to the article you wrote) or by boosting your article using Facebook ads once he adds it as an update to his Facebook page.

At other times a client can also hire you to create content similar to another piece of content already out there.

Here you are given, via email sent to you, a link or two to content already published on other sites. You are given a word count limit, and may be links to 2 or 3 more posts to look at.

Then you are required to write a similar article, but it has to be original and in your own words.

You can’t rehash your sources word for word. Because then your content won’t pass tests built into plagiarism checking tools.

How to get your first paying freelance writing client in one week as a Kenyan content writer

The tips I am about to outline here are inspired by my story when I first started writing online for pay.

You may go about online writing differently depending on what makes sense for your situation.

So, take my story as a guide (something that worked for me when I first got started writing online for clients) you can learn from in your quest to land your first client.

Choose a niche

When you first get started as a writer, you may have a tendency to write on a lot of different things, hoping that way you cast a wide net and increase your chances of finding work quickly.

But being a jack of all trades at this point may (and I repeat may) not work well in your favour especially if you establish your own self-hosted WordPress writer website (with a Hire Me page and Portfolio page) and pitch clients via email (or the contact forms on their blogs and websites) inviting them back to your site to check your sample articles, PDF guides, ebooks or whatever content you use as writing samples to help clients gauge if you are a good fit for their content needs.

The story may be a little different if you are using bidding sites. If you go the bidding sites route to land your first client, it’s not a must to have your own writer site, though you’ll still need to have some samples of content you have written to show your clients before they hire you.

Landing your first client this way (bidding for jobs) seems easier but the disadvantage is that there is a lot of fierce competition for the writing jobs posted on these sites (like UpWork) and many writers are willing to charge really low rates.

The advantage of having your own writer site is that it may take a lot of work upfront (to create your portfolio, Hire Me and About pages), but it is worth it when your first client pays you US$ 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 100, 150 or even 200 dollars for your first article, sales page, blog post, tutorial post, email newsletter campaign, downloadable freebie – like a lead magnet or content upgrade in the 1,000 to 2,500 word range.

When I set out to find my first writing client I didn’t even know that I was somehow following the advice to go niche.

But I was.

Now that I am here in 2017, I look back at when I started writing for clients online in 2016 and see that I followed the advice.

My multi-niche blog that I used as my writer site had blog posts in lots of different topics.

Prior to seeking out my first client, I had written and published blog posts on parenting, WordPress, blogging, content marketing, success & self-improvement, business & entrepreneurship, time & productivity, email marketing, love & relationships, news commentaries, affiliate marketing, writing & book publishing, free ebook creation, watching less television, ecommerce, being an early riser, college & university life, Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education school tips, making money online, web hosting & domain registration, WooCommerce shopping cart plugin, and personal finance.

Some of these topics only had 1 or 2 posts.

Despite the array of topics covered on my blog (which was not getting many unique visitors per day or per month: less than 100 visitors a day), when I pitched my first client (my first paying client), the samples (articles published on my blog prior to even me thinking about getting work as an article writer for other blogs and websites) I linked to in the email I sent them were on the topics of WordPress, blogging and online business.

Why? Because in the industry (niche) they were operating in these were some of the most sought after topics.

How did I know? I was a reader of their blog and was subscribed to receive updates from them via email. So, I knew that content on these topics were well liked by their readers.

When applying to write for their blog, I didn’t even visit their site. I just replied to one of the emails they sent me months ago as their email subscriber.

In less than 48 hours (may be even less), he gave me work (to write a review for a particular premium WordPress plugin) which I did in a cyber café over two days (spending a few hours on research and writing each day).

I sent the completed review article in MS-Word document format.

He liked the work and asked me to send him an invoice for the work via PayPal to his PayPal email address.

And then he paid me 50 US Dollars (to my PayPal account that always read $ 0.00 since I created it – and only recently verified via a debit card: KCB Pepea card MasterCard) for the work.

I withdrew the money using one of the PayPal to M-PESA withdrawal services websites in Kenya – and used the money to buy airtime to keep prospecting for work from other blogs and websites using my feature phone (yes, I was sending my cold pitch emails using a Nokia 110 mobile phone and Safaricom internet – no fancy equipment).

Later, I used some of the money I made for daily internet data bundles by Orange Kenya on a Dell laptop with Windows XP as its operating system when, in about a week, I landed another client (also in the WordPress & blogging space) who started giving me consistent work.

Note though that a few times this second client asked me to write on two other topics unrelated to the WordPress and blogging niche.

Why am I telling you all this? To show you the importance of deciding to look for a certain type of client – depending on topics you are knowledgeable and like writing about.

When you have a niche topic to focus on when you first get started looking for your first client it gives you the advantage that the client, comparing you to other writers who may have pitched them, will look at you as someone with abundant knowledge in their chosen niche topic.

Couple this with in-depth articles you use as samples in your portfolio, and you increase your chances of getting hired.

The people you pitch to will know that you are capable of producing well- researched and well-written long-form content for them.

That’s one way to have an edge over other writers.

Also having a niche topic will also have the added effect of giving you more time to research the players in your niche.

You’ll come across more blogs, websites, authors, writers, companies, leaders, entrepreneurs, developers, marketers and businesses in your niche and learn what it is they are trying to help their followers (customers, clients, prospects, membership subscribers, email subscribers, affiliates, joint venture partners) achieve.

And then, in your email pitches, you’ll show them how you can help them achieve some of their goals by hiring you to write for them.

You’ll be able to come up with ways to show them how you can help them offer their customers and clients the transformation and solutions they desire.

So, lesson number one is to look at all the topics you can write about then settle on one.

Or two or three – as long as they are closely related.

You are guaranteed to land your first client quicker if you do things this way.

So, choose a writing niche. Whether it is: love and relationships (which can still be narrowed down further: relationship advice for women over 40; relationship advice for Christian singles, relationship advice for single mums, relationship advice for newly-wed couples…), parenting (can be narrowed down to: tips for parents with toddlers, tips for parents with teenagers…), personal finance or any other topic that you like reading or writing about.

Your niche can also be location-specific instead of being topic-specific. For example, you can create your writer’s blog and decide to brand yourself as: Bristol small business freelance copywriter for hire or Small business freelance content writer for hire in Nairobi, Kenya.

Choose a niche. Narrow it down a bit if you deem it to be too broad.

Then go out there sending cold emails offering to write for websites, blogs, brands, online media companies, app developers, startups, newspapers, magazines, professionals who are self-employed, small businesses, institutions, journals, publications and organizations as a freelance writer for hire.

Deciding on a niche will help you know which websites and blogs to send your pitch to and increase the likelihood of you finding work in 7 days or less.

It will also help you learn more about how much other freelance writers writing on the same topic charge for their work (and what rates clients deem reasonable).

The information you gather from this will help you negotiate better rates for your work.

It will also ensure you don’t ask for too little or too much when asked for a quote by a prospective client.

Knowing how high or low writers in your niche charge will also help you in determining whether you should charge more for ghost-written work compared to content where the client agrees to you including your name and a link to your site in the author bio area.

You will also be able to find writer blogs of other contract writers writing for clients in your niche via Google Search, and see how they have put together their sites – especially pages such as the Services / Hire Me page and their Portfolio pages.

You’ll learn a lot from their sites – and use what you learn while building your own site.

Write a few sample articles and publish them on your blog

Once you have decided on a niche topic and do some research online using a search engine of your choice, it is time to create some sample writing to publish on your writer’s blog.

These will be in-depth blog posts you write and publish on your own site to showcase your work to clients.

You will link to these posts in the cold emails you send to potential clients. If they are interested in working with you, they’ll click the links to your sample articles from your email that lands in their inbox (junk mail or spam folder).

And what kind of content do I recommend you creating and including as samples in your portfolio? When you are first starting out I say go with list posts.

Create long-form content on one topic – and make your content really good with a great headline and sub headlines.

Format your post titles to mimic the examples below:

  • 30 Reasons to be an Early Riser
  • 20 Best Pinterest Tools
  • 29 Parenting Books for First-Time Parents
  • 40 Best WooCommerce Themes 2017
  • 50 Quotes on How to be a Better Person
  • 35 Things Ivy League Colleges Don’t Want Parents to Know
  • 20 Children Who Got University Degrees Before They Were 17
  • 25 Gift Ideas for Parents with Toddlers
  • 50 Best Podcasts for Entrepreneurs to Listen To
  • 40 People Who Won the Lottery and Made Millions of Dollars then Lost it All
  • 35 Leadership Books for Small Business Owners
  • 105 Blog Post Ideas to Keep You Writing Amazing & Engaging Content
  • 30 Ways to Get a Baby to Stop Crying
  • 37 Self-Hosted Shopping Cart Solutions for Small Businesses

Why list posts? They are easier and quicker to put together.

Also people like reading well-written posts of this nature.

When writing your sample articles aim for at least 2,500 words per article that you write.

Of course it must be good. The flow should be good.

Ideas should be presented well and words put together in a way that is easier for readers to scan, read, digest and click on your calls-to-action. Your readers in this case are the prospective clients you get back to your site via email outreach.

Back your claims with research (and stories from personal experience) whenever possible – and even sprinkle in a few popular quotes – which can be easily turned into tweets or updates to be shared on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ among other social networking sites and messaging apps.

Download free PDF: 205 Blog Post Titles to Help You Come up with Great Titles for Your Own Articles.

Write two to five list-posts to use as samples and you are good to go. You can, if you deem fit, also write and include 2 to 3 How-to tutorial-type posts in your portfolio as well.

Write, edit and proofread all the work you produce.

Register a domain name for your writer blog / website on Namesilo

Why Namesilo? Because you can register a domain name (example.com) for 8.99 dollars.

Go to Namesilo.com and get a dollar off your yearly registration cost by using the Namesilo coupon code BP while checking out.

What does this mean? You will only be charged US$ 7.99 (less than Kenya Shillings 850) for your domain (remember to use the BP coupon to qualify for the discount).

Some writers opt for domain names with their names in them (examples: marywanjiku.com; sharonachieng.com; peterwanjala.com) while others go for domains with one of their names plus a combination of other words (examples: marywritingplace.com; freelancewritersharon; contentpete.com).

It is up to you how you want to brand your domain name and writer blog. That’s why I advocate choosing a niche topic, researching your niche and seeing how others name their blogs and domain names.

Research your niche and get more inspiration, then register your .com with Namesilo (and pay for it using you free debit card like KCB M-PESA MasterCard which can be topped up with moneys in your M-PESA account and used for online purchases).

See here step-by-step instructions on how to register a domain name with Namesilo.com.

If you opt for a domain name with a .co.ke extension, register it with Kenya Website Experts (and pay for it via your M-PESA mobile money wallet).

See here step-by-step instructions on how to register a domain name with KenyaWebExperts.com.

Pay for web hosting and change the nameservers the domain you register at Namesilo or Kenya Web Experts points to

Your site will need hosting – a place where your site’s files are stored and made accessible to people who visit your site – like the prospective clients you’ll want to click the links in the emails you send them to come back and check the sample posts you’ve included in your site’s portfolio page.

To get a hosting plan, pay a web hosting company for their services. You can pay monthly, but I recommend paying your hosting costs for a year so that you don’t get worried about monthly payments – and focus more on cold pitching via email, writing for your clients and getting paid.

Some of the web hosting companies I recommend you consider when starting your WordPress blog include: HostGator, Bana Hosting, Interserver, Kenya Web Experts, Squidix, Bluehost, InMotion Hosting, A Small Orange, DreamHost, A2Hosting, StableHost, Media Temple and MDDHosting.

Learn more about each one of them here (features they provide through their shared hosting plans, bandwidth, disk quota, pricing & cPanel setup).

Setup your freelance writer website / blog on WordPress self-hosted version (the CMS popular amongst bloggers, businesses & freelancers)

Once you have registered a domain name, paid for web hosting and changed your nameservers (here is how to do this: for Namesilo | for KenyaWebExperts) it is time to install WordPress CMS to your domain name.

Log into your cPanel dashboard – and use the free software auto installer provided by your web hosting provider to install WordPress.

Also remember to create an email address with your domain name in it while still logged into cPanel. I show you how to do all this here.

Once you have installed WordPress, install a WordPress theme (free or paid). This will determine your site’s layout, design and feel.

Then install the necessary WordPress plugins and configure them. Check that you have installed everything correctly and that everything is working properly (here is a checklist of what to look out for).

Once you have completed this part, it is time to start adding content to your writer blog.

Publish the sample articles you wrote to your site + the following necessary pages

Log into your WordPress admin area.

Tap Add New Post.

Publish your first sample article.

Repeat the same process for your second, third, fourth and fifth post.

Also write and publish the following pages to your WordPress-powered site.

About: This page is where you tell your site visitors what your blog is all about. You can also tell them a little bit about yourself, include links to your samples and hire me pages and add your contact information (like your email address).

Basically, it is a page where you tell prospects what you can do for them – how you can help them with their content production needs.

You can use sales language as long as it’s not that strong. Use words that make them want to hire you and try some of your content writing services.

The aim of this page is to get prospective clients to get to know you, to get to like you and be convinced to check more posts and pages published on your blog – with each page or post viewed increasing the likelihood of them hiring you to write for them.

Contact: This is the page where you include your contact information. If someone visits your site and they want to know how to contact you, they will find all the information they need in this page.

Include your email address as well as a contact form in this page.

Hire Me: In this page, you will provide details about the content writing services you offer.

If you want, you can also provide details about how much you charge for different types of writing you do: blog posts, sales pages, product reviews, ebooks, free PDF downloads etc.

If you opt not to share your rates upfront, you can add a call-to-action in your Hire Me page asking interested clients to ‘Get a Quote’ from you – which paves way for negotiations and an agreement on how much you should be paid for your work.

In this page, you can list the ideal client you are looking for.

You can also state your minimum rates. This way, clients who want to pay you less will either decide to increase their content budget allocation or look elsewhere for a writer within their budget.

Terms of Service: This can be a generic page where you share guidelines the people who visit your site should adhere to. Check examples of terms of service pages used by blogs and websites in your niche for inspiration.

Privacy Policy: In this page, you’ll share with your blog visitors’ details about how you use cookies to improve their experience while using your site.

You will also provide details about how you use the information you collect from them when they use your contact forms or subscribe to your site via email.

How many pages and post samples do you need in total then?

Ten.

The 5 pages (which includes mandatory and legal pages like the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use pages) and the 5 blog post samples.

Publish the ten pieces of content on your site and you are ready to start sending email pitches to clients looking for writers to hire.

Remember that it is not a must to also write guest posts to build and bulk up your writing portfolio.

You can do a few guest contributions every month if you like on websites and blogs with high domain authority and the kind of audience you want to hire you to write for them.

If you want small business owners in a specific city in the world to hire you, search for the kind of blogs they read and pitch its owner or editor your guest post.

When your post is published, make sure it has a strong call-to-action that will get some of these blogs’ readers to come to your site and check the copywriting services you offer people just like them.

Write sample cold pitch emails & start prospecting for article writing jobs

At this point, you will be excited but also doubt yourself wondering whether you are ready to start pitching potential clients or not.

Now that your writer blog is ready and your sample posts have been published, start by finding the domains and email addresses of some of the blogs, websites, companies and online businesses operating in your niche or locality (if you choose to offer writing services to local businesses in your area).

Then simply begin sending them emails asking them if they want to hire you – offering reasons why they should use your writing services.

Show them the value in working with you.

Below is a sample cold pitch email I sent to dozens of clients (with minor variations) when I first started doing freelance writing work.

Hello [first name of client ]. My name is Philos Mudis.

I’m a WordPress user (for several years now) and I’d like to contribute regular IN-DEPTH content to your sites as a paid writer (at a rate of US$ 0.04 per word) on topics like WP, personal development, publishing and online businesses.

For examples of how detailed I go, check this eleven thousand post sample I published on my blog: http://fifthblog.com/reasons-to-start-a-blog/.

It’s really good.

Of course if you don’t want articles I can also write ebooks or guides which you can turn into Kindle books or online courses.

I really want to work with you contributing content to various projects you handle. Looking forward to your response.

PS: On the blog you can also see my sample posts on reducing TV time, becoming an early riser, becoming a better person, deciding whether to go to college among other topics.

Philos Mudis

The subject line I used for these emails was: Writing for your site as a paid freelance writer.

On occasion, I’d change the subject line and body a bit. For example by mentioning the name of the site or domain name in the subject line instead of referring to it as just ‘…for your site’.

For the body, I’d include more links to some of the content I’d created and published on my blog (I used to have a different blog with a longer domain. I have since switched to ForeverKenyan.net)

Since then I have refined my template a bit – and continue to do so as you can see in the example cold email outreach pitch here.

When you are just starting out, I recommend sending at least 20 of these emails every day. That is, sending outreach emails to at least 20 new potential clients each day.

It’s a numbers game. And you will quickly learn a lot from each email you send. You will learn from every NO, near-YESes, counter-offers and YES replies that you get.

From your interactions with these many potential clients each day, you will quickly learn what works and what doesn’t and therefore iterate your email copy and subject lines accordingly to increase your chances of more prospects saying YES to you.

Some individuals, businesses, websites, blogs and media companies won’t even reply to your emails. That’s OK.

Some will tell you that they don’t have work for you now but will let you know, at a future date, if something pops up.

So, prospects like this might not hire you right away, but may have work for you weeks or months down the road. So, don’t write-off them off.

Just continue reaching out to new people and you will start to get more and more people saying YES to you and offering you work.

Reach out to blogs and websites you already read. Reach out to the owners of companies making products and services you already use online or offline.

Contact their marketing division if you can’t reach them (by getting contacts of their marketing team from LinkedIn, their website or via a quick search on Google, Duckduckgo, Bing, Facebook or Twitter).

Some prospects who say YES to you will agree to work with you without any need for rate negotiations. They’ll just accept your rates and give you work.

Some will say YES to you but negotiate for lower rates.

It is up to you to decide if the rates are too low for you (and therefore not work with the client if they are not willing to increase the amount they pay you) or not (and accept the work but agree that the more you work with them the more they will gradually increase your rates).

How much to charge for your first freelance writing assignments

When it comes to your first assignment, you have the option to charge a certain rate you have in mind (based on the complexity of the project, time needed to complete writing or word count).

You also have the option to take anything the first prospect offers you.

When I got started, I quoted my rates in the emails I sent prospects I pitched. But now, I don’t do this.

Once a prospect sees my pitch and shows interest in working with me, we negotiate – and come to an agreed rate (per project or weekly / monthly payouts if they opt to give me on-going work).

When I first started, I charged US$ 0.04 per word. That means that for a 500-word article I wrote, I was paid 20 US Dollars. For a 1000 word blog post, I was paid $ 40 or KSh 4000. For a 2000 word post, I was paid 80 dollars.

But when my first prospect showed interest in working with me and said he only had $50 for the review article (1000 to 2000 words) he wanted me to write, I accepted the amount.

You can opt to do this as well when you are just first starting out. To have a per word rate.

Gradually, you can move from this and decide to charge on a per-project basis instead of using a per-word rate.

If you follow this route, I advice to charge a minimum of US$ 0.05 per word. Your writing still needs to be good, well-written. Charging per word shouldn’t be an excuse to pour into your document words that can be done away with.

Write the best you can. Write your way, still adhering to your client’s instructions. Be concise in your writing but still give readers what is promised to them in the title of the piece you are writing.

If you opt to charge 5 US cents per word (there’s nothing stopping you from charging more) that means that you will charge the following rates: 25 dollars for 500 words; 50 dollars for 1,000 words; 75 dollars for 1500 words; 100 dollars for 2000 words; 125 dollars for 2500 words; 150 dollars for 3000 words; 175 dollars for 3500 words; 200 dollars for 4000 words; 225 dollars for 4500 words; 250 dollars for 5000 words…and so forth.

Use the 5 cents as your minimum per-word rate for your first writing assignment.

If your client is willing to pay you more from the get-go, great.

If not, do your best to stick to the 5 cents per word rate base.

To those who think 5 cents / word is too little, let me restate the point I made earlier. This amount is what you are charging for your first writing assignment.

You can adjust your rates as you land more clients – and get more work.

So, if the money you are offered is reasonable to you, take it.

That is how you start growing your PayPal balance – and getting more money you can reinvest in buying internet data bundles, power backup, modem and laptop to make your life as a Kenyan freelance writer easier.

Another thing you might be wondering about is this: Should you write the first article for free to demonstrate your writing ability and adherence to client instructions?

No.

Assuming you have great sample articles in your portfolio,  anyone who hires you to write for them should pay you for the content you write for them – even for that first piece of content that acts as a test to help a prospective client decide if they want to keep working with you or not.

So, don’t go writing free articles for people just because you didn’t know better.

There are people who con Kenyan freelance writers this way. Be wary and insist on working with legitimate businesses, blogs, websites and individuals – and insist on getting paid for your work.

Writing takes a lot of work, research and creativity, so make it clear to your prospects that you are looking to contribute content to them as a paid freelance writer – to differentiate yourself from the people who send them emails asking if they can, for example, submit free content to them in the form of guest post contributions with the aim of getting traffic and links back to their sites.

How much content to write to make real money online in Kenya

Once you start earning some income from your writing, you’ll be wondering about these two things: how to scale your efforts (content production capacity) and increase your earnings so that you earn something substantial every single month.

How much money is considered real money is relative depending on who you ask. But let’s assume you want, working part-time, to start making 60,000 Kenyan Shillings per month (after taxes) and then take things upwards from there, here is what you need to know.

You will need to make US$ 1300 per month. That means every week you’ll aim for around 325 dollars – the equivalent of making around 43.34 dollars per day for 30 days.

Why US$ 1300 per month? Why strive to make this much per month?

Because I’m assuming around 50% of the 1300 will go towards:

  • paying your PAYE (pay as you earn) taxes to Kenya Revenue Authority + other statutory deductions like NHIF insurance cover and NSSF payments
  • transaction costs PayPal charges you
  • commissions and transaction costs PayPal to M-PESA services charge you or what your bank charges you (if your clients decides to pay you via wire transfer to your Kenyan bank account or you use Equity PayPal withdrawal services)
  • tithe and donations
  • purchases to help you improve your online work like apps, equipment like laptop or better internet, premium themes and plugins for your blog, ebooks and e-courses on freelancing, business, leadership, sales and marketing.

50% of USD 1300 means $650. The amount you’ll be pocketing per month (hopefully saving a huge chunk of it – if you already have another source of income like the salary from your job or jua kali – to let the power of compounding take effect as you think of more ways to later invest your online earnings).

So, here is how you make the 1,300 dollars a month.

If we are using my $0.04 rate that I started with and mentioned above, you’ll need to divide 1300 with 0.03. Why 0.03? I have subtracted 0.01 from 0.04 as a rough figure to cater for what PayPal charges for moneys you receive every time you send you client an invoice and they clear the payment.

So 1300 ÷ 0.03 = 43,333.333 words

Let’s just make it 43,334. That is around 87 500-word posts or around 44 1000-word posts or around 29 1500-word posts or 22 2000-word posts per month to reach the $1300 per month income goal.

If you use the US$ 0.05 per-word base that I recommend, here is how much work you’ll need to do.

Let’s divide the 1300 by 0.04. The result is 32,500 words.

To achieve this, you’ll need to write 65 500-word posts or around 33 1000-word posts or around 22 1500-word posts or 17 2000-word posts to make the 1300 US Dollars per month.

Once you reach a point where you can make this amount every month, you can quickly increase your earnings by doing the following:

  • charging your new clients on a per-project basis instead of using a per-word rate
  • negotiating with your existing clients to increase your rates
  • sending more cold pitches via email outreach to get new clients – who you will charge more
  • asking your existing clients for more work, as long as you can handle the load
  • recruiting your own team of writers here in Kenya and sending them some of the assignments you get (provided they can write quality content that matches or exceeds what your client has come to expect of you) and profitably paying them some of your earnings
  • starting your own content writing agency
  • offering complimentary services like virtual assistant work, outreach manager, social media manager, customer support etcetera
  • registering your freelance writing business as a limited company in Kenya, under the Companies Act, to enjoy the benefits that come with this type of incorporation
  • spending a few hours a week to start one niche authority site that you gradually grow to earn income from diverse revenue streams. Yes, just start one. Not two. One niche authority site. And add really good content to it weekly

Note that the rates above are on a per-word basis. If you choose to charge on a per project basis, you can earn more and reach – even eclipse – your goal of making $1300 a month faster and by working less hours!

I use these per-word rates because some people start writing online, immediately ask for high pay rates and get turned down. Which leads to a lot of frustration and many Kenyans giving up on freelance writing.

The objective here is to help you land steady work (and pay) for a few months before you start testing the waters and charging newer clients more. You know, to learn how to walk before you hit the ground running.

As you get more experienced and learn more about the accruing long term benefits your clients get from the content you write for them, the easier it will be for you to get a YES when you ask for say 100, 150, 200 or even 250 US dollars for a piece of content that is less than 1,500 words long.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an article, sales page copy, a product review, a Kindle book chapter, a download in the form of a PDF file, a guide in ePub format or pillar content for a niche site.

Setting up your PayPal account

To receive your payments, most clients will expect that you have a PayPal account – where they can send you your money depending on your agreement on when they should pay you:

  • at the end of the week,
  • at the end of the month,
  • every two or three days, or
  • after the completion of a project – e.g. once you complete an article they tasked you to write and submit it back to them via email, Google Docs or by uploading it to their WordPress admin back-end.

Of course, they have to review the content and ask you to make a few reasonable rounds of revisions (if necessary) before they release the funds to you.

So, briefly, here is what you need to create a PayPal account to receive your payments.

First of all note that creating a PayPal account is free.

You will need the following:

One – Internet access so you can go to PayPal.com website and sign up for a personal PayPal account (you can upgrade this to a business account later if you want) using your email address (create your email with Gmail or using an email with your writer blog domain in it).

Just follow the prompts. Enter your details like name, working email address, date of birth, your mobile phone number, your P.O. Box, your physical location address, gender and your postal code.

Two – A credit card or debit card to verify your PayPal account. You can get one by VISA, MasterCard, Discover or American Express from any of the local banks, saccos and microfinance institutions in Kenya.

I recommend getting the KCB Pepea card.

It is free and you can add funds to it via M-PESA – enter paybill no. 522522 > enter your card’s 16 digits number> enter amount you want to add to card from M-Pesa > complete transaction.

Apart from M-PESA, you can also add funds to the Pepea card via KCB Mobi or at a KCB Mtaani agent.

Go to a KCB bank branch near you and get yours.

I got mine in under 10 minutes.

Activate the card using your phone – there are instructions on how to do this in the packaging that comes with the debit card – dial *522*2# on your phone > press call button > follow prompts to activate it.

Once it is activated, load it with about KSh 300.

Go back to PayPal (log in) and click the verify account / add card link, then enter your KCB Pepea card number (the 16 digits in the front), the card’s expiry date (12/19 for example) and then the 3-digit code at the back of the card.

Click done / add card to complete.

Wait a few hours, then call KCB Card Support Centre (0711087222 – calls are charged at normal Safaricom rates) and ask them to read you the PayPal transaction code you need to verify your PayPal account from your card’s statement.

Write it down.

Log into PayPal. Add the number the KCB guys read to you and complete the verification of the card / PayPal account.

Three – Add a profile picture of yours to PayPal by clicking the grey profile area. Make sure it is a picture that shows your face.

I recommend using this picture as well in your Gravatar, Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ accounts and emails – mostly to make it easier for your clients and prospects you come across online to know it’s you.

Four – Also go to your PayPal settings area (by clicking the gear icon) and add more details such as your national ID or passport number, your main phone number and any additional emails you regularly use. Just one more of each is enough.

Once your PayPal account is verified and you start getting paid, you will be able to withdraw your money in PayPal to your M-PESA account using various PayPal to M-PESA withdrawal websites in Kenya and taste your first fruits (money) working online in Kenya as a writer and getting paid by clients who appreciate the work you do for them.

Note that you can also withdraw money from your PayPal account to your Equity bank account and get the moneys (in Kenyan Shillings) in about 3 days from the time you initiate withdrawal from your PayPal account.

If you don’t have an Equity Kenya bank account, visit an Equity mobile money agent (some M-PESA shops also double up as agents for Equity bank) and open an account with Equity bank right there.

This account is called Equity Eazzy 247.

Open yours free and then load your account with at least 100 Kenyan Shillings. Give the KSh 100 to the Equity agent to load to your Eazzy account.

Once this is done, you can then visit the Equity Bank Kenya website to connect your PayPal account to your Equity bank account. So, when you withdraw money from your PayPal using this method, the moneys will be added to your Equity bank account.

Once the moneys are in your Eazzy 247 mobile bank account, you can access the funds in a number of ways.

For example you can just go to your nearest Equity bank agent (or an M-PESA shop that offers this service as well) and withdraw money – just like you always do with M-PESA when you need to withdraw cash.

Getting better at freelance writing by training

As the days go, keep improving. Keep getting better at your craft. Keep practicing. Keep training. Weather the storms, big and small – and keep growing, improving your processes and being more efficient no matter what project you are handling.

Keep improving your typing speed.

Keep improving your research skills, and creating content without issues of plagiarism popping up.

Learn how to use WordPress, both the frontend and backend. Learn how to upload and format content using WordPress editor.

Get better at creating well-written in-depth long-form content as well as short posts. Learn on-page and off-page SEO.

Also learn how to quickly get over prospects and clients who are not a good fit for the sake of peace and calm.

And of course I’d like to publish your success story on ForeverKenyan.net (get in touch with me via the site’s contact form here).

Meanwhile, read posts on the blog. Share your experiences, struggles, wins, failures, questions, observations and answers in the comments sections of blog posts I publish on ForeverKenyan.net.

Know that these little nuggets of wisdom from you motivate and inspire others to start and have lucrative careers and businesses as professional freelance writers. Which I do believe is one way for you to help Kenya reach Vision 2030.

Also when getting into freelance writing, think long-term.

Take some time to really answer some of the questions I listed in the beginning of this page.

Take your pen and some papers and write down your answers to these questions.

I tell you writers who take time to deeply think about these questions, get into freelance writing with a different mentality than those who hastily try getting paid to write only to give up in a week or two.

It is this difference of mentality that will see you want to quit or keep going. It is this mentality that will motivate you to keep learning and improving instead of staying complacent.

So, really take time to deeply think about the outcome you are really looking for as a freelance writer in Kenya.

Doing this will prepare you for unforeseen challenges.

It will help you during the times when people close to you think you are just wasting time seating in front of your computer trying to dig for gold using your keyboard.

It will help you trust that you can make this thing work.

It will help you stop dreaming and actually put in the hard work to achieve the outcomes you so desire.

It will help you become organized. To be a writer with a plan for the present and the future.

It will help you stop yapping about how much you make online to your friends and family. Hint: keep quiet about your finances.

No one needs to know every detail about how much you are worth or how much you are making – unless you are married – and have to share details about your finances with your husband or wife.

No need to stir envy or jealousy or swear that now is the time to compete with the Joneses by ballooning your monthly spending. Just stick to your plan, keep grinding and let the wise sayings in the book of Proverbs guide you.

If you do take freelance writing seriously, as you should, you will become someone who just doesn’t spend every penny they are paid on frivolous purchases.

Instead you’ll opt for:

  1. reinvesting money back to grow your content writing side hustle. Using some of the money you receive, buy plugins (like MailMunch, OptinMonster, Smart Slider, Thrive Leads, Bloom and Thrive Visual Editor) and a premium theme for your WordPress site from Thrive Themes, Theme Forest, Elegant Themes, Theme Country, Genesis Themes or My Theme Shop. Buy ForeverKenyan.net paid ebooks and online courses listed here. Pay for an email marketing software provider like GetResponse and tools like Snagit & Camtasia. Also buy and read countless good books from Amazon…and awesome themes like Divi, Perfomag, Avada, X theme, StudioPress themes running the Genesis Framework or Kleo.
  2. saving money for: a rainy day (having an emergency fund), your children’s or siblings school fees, next month’s budget
  3. building up capital to invest in other things – like your education, property, shares, turning your writing venture into a content writing agency with its own writers or investing in another solid idea you are serious about turning into a profitable business
  4. launching complimentary freelance services like VA (virtual assistant services), transcription services, editing and proofreading services, graphic & web design services, SEO services for local businesses or business in a particular niche, social media management services, paid traffic or content repurposing services
  5. finding and listening to podcasts to learn from other writers, bloggers, freelancers, leaders and online business owners
  6. increasing your revenue streams gradually, for example by launching your first niche authority site and working on to make it profitable – by diversify traffic sources and monetizing it by offering your services, selling ebooks, selling membership subscriptions, using display ads, earning from affiliate marketing, providing coaching services, offering consultancy services or by launching and selling online courses
  7. updates by ForeverKenyan.net to keep learning and growing your hustle. Subscribe for free to get email and SMS updates here. As a subscriber, you can also opt to take any of ForeverKenyan’s free online courses listed here
  8. reaching out to more prospects and landing new clients while you keep working with your existing clients as well. You will continue prospecting – hunting for more work from clients. And you will quickly realize the advantages of having a daily or weekly quota – doesn’t matter if you just send ten emails a day or 10 a week. You will know that it is in your best interest (and the interest of those who decide to work with you) to keep reaching out

Some blog posts on freelance writing you should start reading now

To read some of the recent and most popular blog posts on ForeverKenyan.net, go here.

Or read these five that have been recently published on the site:

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Read the articles to learn more ways to continue improving your skills, getting more well-paying jobs and giving your clients more value for their money.

Read the blog posts to find more tips and strategies to use to grow your freelance writing business.

If you are new to all these freelance writing ideas, check ForeverKenyan.net recent and popular articles on this page. Or better yet take one of my free writing courses (sign up via email to do so).

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