Freelancing in Kenya: A Comprehensive Guide and Strategies for Success

Stick to the end as I expose freelancing strategies for success.

Carson O.
15 Min Read

Freelancing has rarely been about being a virtual assistant or transcribing a one-minute audio online. Many people open their browsers to search for “freelancing jobs in Kenya” and end up being frustrated because most of the results that pop up on Google or Bing rarely work.

Quite frequently, you find transcription websites or content writing platforms ranking on the first page of Google, promising you financial freedom, but on applying for that job, you probably never get a response. Even if you do get a response, it’s usually about how you never met the required criteria. This can be very frustrating, especially in these tough economic times.

This is a problem that has a really simple solution.

If you are looking for a freelancing job online in Kenya or any international remote job, stick to the end as I debunk myths and teach you proper ways of tackling freelancing.

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First of all;

Understand the meaning of freelancing

Freelancing is offering a service, informally. Unlike traditional systems where you have to be employed by an organization or company, freelancing is literally, freestyle. You choose to work with any client and provide your highly needed services.

In a healthy freelancing ecosystem, clients look for you, and not the other way around.

Therefore, you should understand that freelancing is flexible and not formal employment.

As you continue processing this, let’s dive into deeper affairs…

Why choose to be a freelancer in Kenya?

There are many perks of diving into freelancing as a Kenyan. One of them is freedom and a lot of time to enjoy your hobbies, family, or anything else that you love doing.

In freelancing, you set up your own time to work. You decide when to wake up and when to sleep. Further, you decide the number of clients you want to work with and set your terms of service.

In simple terms, freelancing is filled with versatility and freedom.

Freelancing has its demerits and they include:

  1. Fluctuating monthly earnings – Clients come and go, and with this, your earnings will have a peak and trough period. Having many clients may flatten the cycle and make more steady earnings but this doesn’t completely shield you from the earnings fluctuations.
  2. Some clients may fail to pay you if you fail to set proper terms and conditions of service.
  3. You have to be extremely good at your service lest you risk losing your client to a better freelancer.

With that proper introduction to freelancing in Kenya out of the way, how do you get started with freelancing?

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How to start freelancing in Kenya

Here is a step-by-step procedure…

#1. Learn a valuable skill

In today’s competitive world, skills are what set you apart from the crowd. Whether you’re looking for a job or trying to start your own business, having the right skills can make all the difference.

Let’s say you’re a company looking for someone to build a website. You could hire a university graduate with a degree in web design, or you could hire a self-taught web designer who has a portfolio of impressive work. In this case, the self-taught web designer would likely be the better choice, even if they don’t have a degree.

This is because skills are more important than degrees in today’s job market. Companies are looking for people who can get the job done, regardless of how they learned the skills.

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Of course, having a degree can still be an advantage. It shows that you can learn and that you’re committed to your career. But it’s not the only thing that matters.

The more skills you have, the more valuable you’ll be to employers. And the more valuable you are, the more opportunities you’ll have to succeed.

Here are a few more tips you should employ as you build skills:

  • Be curious and always be learning – The world is constantly changing, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies.
  • Network with people in your field – This is a great way to learn about new opportunities and get your foot in the door.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks. Sometimes the best way to learn is by doing. So don’t be afraid to take on new challenges and step outside of your comfort zone.

There is a wide array of skills that have a high market value. These are skills that will always be needed today and in the coming years.

Based on the criteria of the complexity and dependency of the skills, as well as their foundational nature, here is a list of some that you may want to dive into:

  • Cyber security
  • Machine learning and AI prompt engineering
  • Mobile app development and programming
  • Website design
  • Graphics Design + UX/UI design, image manipulation
  • Video editing and animation
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Digital Marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Content creation

More on this in a subsequent article, keep in touch.

#2. Identify your target market

Like any other business, starting a freelancing gig will need you to target a specific niche. If, for example, you have a portfolio and on it, offering graphics and design services, including an affiliate marketing service will deter customers away from you.

People need professionals to handle their business, and this is only built with specialization. Of course, you can have more than one skill to offer, but keep them in two different portfolios online.

This will help you maintain a professional look and at the same time, give an impression that you are reliable and know what you are doing.

If you decide to target forex traders, build your content and marketing around keywords that relate to these people.

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Further, if you are a tutor looking to sell online courses to, say, engineering students, focus on them. This will make PPC advertising, email marketing and Search engine optimization a lot easier for you than tutoring anything that can be tutored online.

You get the picture, right?

#3. Set competitive rates

Now that you have set up a target market and worked on it to provide awesome services to people online or offline, the next thing for you is to structure a good and reasonable rate for your services below.

Take for instance this example:

FreelancerRate per Hour (in USD)ExpertiseTurnaround Time (in days)
Makena$75UI/UX Design, Responsive Design7
Omondi$50Front-end Development5
Wanjiku$35Template Customization3

In this scenario, we have three freelancers, each offering web design services at varying but competitive rates. Let’s delve into their dynamics and what sets them apart.

  1. Makena:
    • Rate per Hour: $75
    • Expertise: Makena specializes in UI/UX design and responsive design. She has extensive knowledge and experience in creating visually appealing and user-friendly interfaces. Her work is known for its attention to detail and creative design solutions.
    • Turnaround Time: Makena takes around 7 days to complete a project.

Makena might be considered the most expensive freelancer among the three, but her high rate is justified by the quality of work she delivers. Clients who value top-tier design and are willing to invest in a premium experience would be inclined to choose her services. Her longer turnaround time reflects the meticulous approach she takes to ensure every aspect of the design meets the client’s requirements.

  1. Omondi:
    • Rate per Hour: $50
    • Expertise: Omondi specializes in front-end development. He possesses strong coding skills and focuses on building functional and interactive websites. Omondi is well-versed in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and various front-end frameworks.
    • Turnaround Time: Omondi takes around 5 days to complete a project.

Omondi offers competitive rates and is ideal for clients who prioritize solid coding and seamless functionality. While his hourly rate is lower than Makena’s, his expertise in front-end development makes him a valuable choice for clients who require a strong technical foundation for their websites. With a shorter turnaround time compared to Makena, Omondi can deliver projects relatively quickly.

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  1. Wanjiku:
    • Rate per Hour: $35
    • Expertise: Wanjiku specializes in template customization. She excels in working with existing templates and tailoring them to meet clients’ specific needs. Wanjiku is skilled in modifying layouts, integrating content, and customizing design elements.
    • Turnaround Time: Wanjiku takes around 3 days to complete a project.

Wanjiku provides an affordable option for clients on a budget. Her expertise lies in efficiently adapting existing templates, which can be a cost-effective solution for small businesses or individuals looking for a professional website without extensive customization. With the shortest turnaround time among the three freelancers, Wanjiku offers clients a relatively quick delivery without compromising on quality.

In summary…

The three freelancers in this example provide a range of web design services at different price points, catering to various client needs and budgets. Makena offers top-tier design expertise at a higher rate, Omondi specializes in front-end development at a moderate rate, and Wanjiku provides template customization services at an affordable rate. Clients can choose the freelancer that aligns with their specific requirements and budgetary considerations.

#4. Establish a professional brand & strong portfolio

Brand management is an entire topic in itself.

Personalizing and designing your brand portfolio will need you to come up with theme colours for your business, a good logo (if applicable) and a well-designed website that your clients will interact with online.

An easy way to do this is by setting up a WordPress portfolio website using the following brief procedure;

  • Purchase a good domain and hosting service from providers such as Hostinger or Go-Daddy.
  • Visit Themeforest and buy a professionally designed portfolio theme. This may cost you between $20 – $70.
  • Install your theme, customize the site and add relevant information including contacts and the services you intend to contact.

In case you face problems related to WordPress site customization, contact us here.

#5. Develop a marketing plan

Marketing is critical for any business that intends to survive in this online-centred world.

As described in our previous post, digital marketing is not just about creating a website or social media account.

Instead, it encompasses a wide range of strategies and techniques designed to reach and engage with customers in the digital space.

These techniques include:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Paid advertising (PPC services)
  • Search engine optimization
  • Networking and collaborating with other freelancers and learning from them

#6. Learn about sales and conversions

Every successful deal you close with a client counts as a conversion.

For this to happen, you must possess the skill to pitch a sale to a potential client. Klipfolio, explains that the process of generating leads is the responsibility of marketing, and that team will engage in lead-generation activities.

This marketing team can be you or a group of employees who will engage in activities that ensure the conversion of sales. Activities may include free e-books, online workshops, discounted services etc.

#9. Focus on client satisfaction

A satisfied client will always come back for more services. So, to ensure that your clients are content with what you offer, provide a feedback system where the clients will air out their issues and reviews.
Make sure you respond to every query or problem raised by your clients. A support system will always boost your future sales by converting one-time customers to recurrent clients.

#10. Keep track of finances

As you keep running your business, you should make sure that you are making a profit. All capital and re-investment should yield more.

Further, as you set your service prices, remember not to over or undercharge your clients. This has been discussed earlier in this post.

#11. Continuous learning and improvement (Rinse, repeat)

Once you find a working strategy in all the steps mentioned above, rinse and repeat! However, if you hit an obstacle in your freelancing gig, change your technique and measure the positive return.

Good Luck.

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I am a multi-faceted professional with a strong foundation in Business and Finance, honed since 2020. Additionally, I possess a deep passion for automobiles, serving as an avid car enthusiast. In parallel to my diverse interests, I am also a dedicated student pursuing a career in the medical field.
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