Truth-be-told, freelancing is fun. Yes, I think it is sha. The thought of waking in the morning, running off to nowhere other than your laptop and just working away, sometimes in just pajamas. Cool huh? Well, that side of freelancing is cool. But overall, is freelancing in Nigeria an easy ride?
Some days back, I actually shared a post on techpoint.ng, it went live yesterday, and to say the least, I felt so honored that my article could be published on such a platform. I don’t know, but that feeling is really overwhelming. And going towards the end of that article, I promised to get you guys into the life of a freelancer in Nigeria, at least for one day.
Personally, freelancing is cool, I resigned from my day job because I felt I could put more effort into freelancing and I can actually get more from it. I was earning not-too-cool something from my former employer, but as the case is with most people, the fear of the unknown makes us just want to stick to that boss that sucks even when we don’t enjoy the job.
So, I resigned, and my days have basically been spent in a small corner of my house working every day.
The biggest challenge has been power. It is really challenging as I have had to deal with running the generator. This is one of the most challenging points of every freelancing career, and I will never encourage you to even attempt taking the dive if you haven’t been able to sort out your internet and power problems. I personally used to work at night, so I took my laptop to my workplace and then used the company’s power…talk stealing.
Power aside, then you have to come down to time management. I have always said that it’s a lot easier to manage your time when you’re working with your boss, but it’s not easy to control what you do with your time. When you’re working for yourself, it’s a whole lot of work to control and manage your time. And that’s one of the first lessons I learned working as a freelancer, and I am still learning.
Motivation and accountability
Staying motivated to work is another challenge. When you’re accountable to a boss, it seems like you’re always motivated, but alas, that’s never the case when you’re freelancing. No one is holding you accountable except your clients, who would obviously not give you return jobs if your first job sucks. You have to always stay accountable to yourself and find a way to always stay motivated…that’s now your job. So if you are someone who likes to sleep, honestly, freelancing won’t allow you sleep as much as you want, but I guess you will be able to sleep when you want.
Finding clients is one of the biggest challenges. All you knew was to go to work, get to your desk and continue to check, check and check. The activities of the marketers or the accounts dept. doesn’t concern you. That’s never the case with being a freelancer. You have to be your own marketer, your own sales team, your own accountant and your own supervisor. So you thought you’ll be free being a freelancer? Hell no! More work awaits you.
Freelancer job security
Insecurity also comes in. This point is somehow linked to finding clients. There is always that time of the year when clients are hard to come by. It’s easier to find clients around the holiday season, but what about that time of the year when everyone is just low-key? You’ll have to deal with the harshness of being out of a lot of clients.
That simply means that you should pursue having long-term clients, which will make it really easy to live past that time of the year when things are really tight. Insecurity is one of the many things you should consider in freelancing. Honestly, if you have a job that pays you around 500k every month, you might not want to go into freelancing in the long-term.
How much to charge
Charging clients is one thing we have also had to deal with. Honestly, I have charged clients a lot higher than what many freelancers charge, and guess what, I still get their jobs. But that’s obviously because I have worked overtime to build a reputation. Charging your client is directly related to your reputation, and that simply means that you have to work and work and work on lesser paying jobs (not a rule) to get the reputation you crave. The bigger your reputation gets, the more you can command…simple.
Still, on charging your clients, many of us undercharge clients. The main concept behind charging your clients is to remain as competitive as possible. Imagine charging your clients 100k for a job that others are charging 10k; yes, your reputation is sky-high and surely there are clients that will pay that much, but being competitive is charging not super high, so clients can find it easy to go for your service.
Being competitive also includes not under-charging. Now imagine everyone is charging somewhere around 10k, but because you want the job, you decide to charge 1k. The client might feel your service is cheaper, and I can tell you that he’ll look down on you. He will feel skeptical about hiring you (if he is looking for quality) and you may have to work more and earn less, and that’s never fun.
So I have had to create a balance around what to charge for my service, and that’s one of the biggest challenges of being a freelancer here.
How to receive my money
Payment is one other challenge. I have seen a lot of you decide to not go into freelancing because there are no ways to receive payments. Some of you have heard about Payoneer, and I think it’s a great option. I will be making an article that will get you through the hurdles, and I will even share some of the best freelancing platforms I have personally tried, ones that Nigerians can work on seamlessly.
Here is a list of the best freelancing websites that Nigerians can work on. You can register, and if you experience any issues, feel free to contact me, I would want to help you.
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John follows everything happening in the tech industry, from the latest gadget launches to some of the big-name moves in the industry. He covers opinionated pieces and writes on some of the biggest names in the industry. John is also a freelance writer, so he shares articles on freelancing every now and then. email: [email protected]