Last Updated on July 31, 2020 by Henry Ibeleme
Becoming a freelancer in Nigeria is a decision that would plug you into financial freedom.
I have been a freelancer for five years now, and I have made more than $20,000. That’s over N7,700,000 if converted to the Nigerian currency.
Don’t scream, cause that figure is little compared to what professional freelancers make monthly on Fiverr and Upwork. Yes, I’m not kidding you.
As a Nigerian, I had tons of limitations, especially when it comes to receiving payments since PayPal doesn’t work. Also, getting a client’s trust is a hurdle as a Nigerian, and it has frustrated tons of intending freelancers.
If this is your first time coming across the term, allow me to do justice by explaining who a freelancer is and their job. Ready?
Table of Contents
- Who Is A Freelancer?
- How To Become A Freelancer In Nigeria
- What Is A Portfolio?
- Frequently Asked Questions On Becoming A Freelancer In Nigeria.
- Over To You!
Who Is A Freelancer?
A freelancer is an individual or perhaps, an independent contractor who doesn’t have to commit to a single employer for a long time.
They are specialists in their skills and often get gigs from multiple clients. Some can be short term, while others can be long term depending on the project.
In this article, I am going to guide you on the steps to becoming a freelancer in Nigeria, with some practical tips that would make the journey smooth. Take note; it is going to be a long ride.
However, this article would guide you on everything you need to know about becoming a freelancer.
How To Become A Freelancer In Nigeria
1. Conduct Market Research
The reason for research is to find a profitable niche that will fetch you a lot of money. That way, you will always get clients consistently without difficulties.
If your services are excellent, your clients will stick to you. There are many freelancing skills that you can offer. I started with writing, and the truth is, I was horrible at first.
But with practice and learning, I improved tremendously that my clients couldn’t deal with someone else.
There are many skills today that are in hot demand here in Nigeria. That doesn’t mean you’re going to limit yourself only to the Nigerian market.
The best way to begin is to start locally and gather experience before delving into the international market where you make in dollars. That sounds mouthwatering, right?
Some of the skills in hot demand in the market today are:
- Pinterest marketing
- Facebook Ad Management
- WordPress Development
- Content Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Graphic Designing
- Web Design and Development
- Video Editing, etc.
When you master any of these skills, then you’re a potential millionaire. If unfortunately, you don’t have any of these skills yet, you don’t need to worry. What that means is you need to go an extra mile to acquire them.
There are many computer centers in your locality where you can acquire these skills within three to six months.
That might seem like a long time, but the end reward should be your motivating factor. When you have perfected the skill you want to target, then you’re ready for the next step.
2. Build A Portfolio
Becoming a freelancer in Nigeria is only possible if you can convince clients of your skills. That is why building a portfolio is very crucial in this journey.
What Is A Portfolio?
A portfolio is a compilation of your skills, qualifications, training, or perhaps samples of your services.
When it comes to building a portfolio, and it can get a little tricky. When I started as a freelance writer, I had no professional written work of my own. I had to go the extra mile to convince my clients that I know my craft.
I remember telling my first client to let me handle a writing job, and if my content wasn’t up to expectation, he could forget paying me. Since he had nothing to lose, he gave me the job.
It was a 500 words article, and before an hour, I was through. He was surprised at my delivery speed, and after going through it, he gave me the job.
He remains my client to this day; only difference is that my rate increased, and he was more than happy to pay for what I am worth.
If you’re not able to convince your clients to hire you without samples of your job, create a sample. You could be into logo creation, animation, graphic designing, etc. Make as many as possible, since they are your selling edge.
After creating some samples, what next?
There are many ways to sample your portfolio, perhaps by creating a blog or opening a thread in a forum. You don’t need to spend a dime when it comes to opening a blog.
You can decide to use BlogSpot or WordPress.com that is free. Aside from that, your portfolio could also be a file that you can send to clients whenever they request it.
There are lots of freelancers in Nigeria, and your portfolio will convince your potential client that you’re the right candidate for the job.
3. Get A Freelance Mentor
Mentors are incredible individuals in your industry with an unbelievable experience. At this moment, I am mentoring you on becoming a freelance writer in Nigeria.
In other words, I am your mentor. Do stick around in this blog as I would always be guiding you on this path.
Besides being your guide, you can connect with other successful freelance professionals—someone you have direct access to as they would become an asset to your journey as a freelancer.
A mentor knows the market, understands the competition and mistakes you’re most likely to make. Through their wealth of experience, they can guide you on the right path.
The mistake I made when starting as a freelance writer in Nigeria was starting without any mentor or guide. Due to that, I made tons of mistakes that made me waste both money and time.
You need someone who would serve as your map, who will show you the ropes as you take your first baby steps.
With a mentor by your side, you discover that you’re more confident when it comes to succeeding as a freelancer here in Nigeria. But here is the ugly truth, finding a mentor willing to show you the ropes is hard.
Everyone seems to be busy, with no time to spare. Unless perhaps you’re going to be paying for their mentorship.
For the time being, subscribe to this blog, and you’ll be getting tons of freelancing tips to guide you.
4. Join Freelancing Sites
Freelancing sites are like a marketplace where you hook up with clients interested in your services. There are tons of freelancing sites that you can join, both Nigerian and foreign.
One of the mistakes people make is trying to belong to all and expecting to make headway. It doesn’t work like that
You must discover one where your chances are high, then stick to it. There are numerous Nigerian freelancing sites that you can join and make money as a freelancer.
In the box below are a few of them you should try.
- Gig Nigeria
- OYERR, etc.
After building an incredible portfolio and experience, you can start targeting international clients.
Here are the top freelancing sites in the world that you should join:
Becoming a freelance writer in Nigeria is possible if you can succeed in creating an attractive profile with any of the freelancing sites. Look at professionals’ profiles as it would guide you into creating yours. You must be creative and innovative.
Although I started with Nairaland, many people don’t know the incredible potentials that this forum has. To many people, it is a platform where they can catch fun and deal with boredom.
But if you have a terrific skill, you can get clients from Nairaland and make money.
All you have to do is create a profile and become an active participant in the section related to your skills. If you are a web developer, you can get tons of jobs through the webmaster or programming section. As a freelance writer, I was getting tons of clients through the literature section >> writing and ads.
With an attractive portfolio, getting clients would never be a hard venture.
5. Promote Your Freelance Services
Irrespective of the channel you’re using to get clients, you can go the extra mile by promoting your services. If you create a gig in Fiverr, Upwork, or any of the freelancing sites, there is an option to share your gig. There are many ways to promote your services.
- Social Media – You can promote your freelance links on Facebook groups, Twitter, or any platform where your target market is hanging out.
- Nairaland – If you have a Nairaland account, utilize the signature feature, and use it to promote your services. For broader exposure, always strive to make the front page. When that happens, you will be exposing yourself to thousands of members who might be interested in your service. By all means, do not spam. Try to interact with the post, and chip in your service at the end.
- Paid Promotion – If you have some money, you can use that little money to promote your freelance services on Facebook or Twitter. All you need to do is create a Facebook page, then link it to your portfolio blog. Like I have already said, you don’t need to spend a dime to create a blog. With blogging platforms like WordPress.com and BlogSpot, you can create a free blog where you showcase your portfolio.
- Business Card – Aside from digital marketing, you can also promote your freelance service offline by leveraging on business cards.
Having an incredible skill without adequate promotion wouldn’t lead you anywhere. The difference between successful freelancers and unsuccessful freelancers is how they market their services.
6. Build Your Brand
Becoming a freelancer in Nigeria is a path that would lead you into firing your boss. What do you think will happen if you’re able to make #20,000 daily from your skills?
There are many freelancers in Nigeria, making more than that figure every day doing little to nothing.
Did I say doing little to nothing? Absolutely Yes!
They have grown to the point where they hired skilled individuals who handle the jobs. When a new job comes, they assign them to their workers while they sleep all day.
I once worked with such a person, and it motivated me to fight harder for my dream.
At this stage is where you build your brand, probably register it as a business. How do you start building your brand?
- Have A Dot.Com Domain – Remember, I told you that you could create a free blog? After you have started making a few bucks, you can opt to create a self-hosted blog. No doubt, this will make you look much more professional. If you don’t have any web development skills, you can also hire someone who can.
- Have A Logo – Your freelance business should have a logo, which is the first step into building a brand. A logo would make you stand out from your competitors.
- Ask For Testimonials – Ask clients you have worked with to drop testimonials. You can list them on your website’s homepage, as that would further convince potential clients about your reputation.
When you succeed in building a brand, not only are you on the path to becoming a successful freelancer in Nigeria but an entrepreneur.
7. Learn How To Pitch Yourself (Elevator Pitch)
No matter how skilled you are, you can never become a successful freelancer if you don’t know how to pitch yourself. The fact is that pitching yourself is a craft that will be worth its weight for years to come.
It would be one of the most potent weapons in your arsenal. If you’re bad at this, then succeeding becomes much harder.
Learning to pitch yourself entails mastering how to communicate your strengths, and convert your conversions into paying clients.
I told you how I was able to convince my first client without any portfolio, and that is the kind of pitching ability you need. Here are some tips that would help you make that pitch that immediately converts people into paying clients.
Make a strong entrance with an incredible pitch email that offers immense value
- Sell your strength
- Get ready to answer some questions that might come up
- Attack relevant samples or past projects that showcase your expertise
- Make sure that your proposal is visually appealing
8. Keep Your Day Job
Do not make the mistake of quitting your job just to focus on freelancing. I have seen many Nigerians do this only to regret it in the end. The reason I love freelancing so much is that you can work at any time of the day.
Keep your day job while you work on your freelance business during free time or weekend. You must be very sure that you’re able to survive on your freelancing job before finally firing your boss.
But if you’re uncertain about the future, keep your job and don’t allow it to suffer at the expense of freelancing. Plan yourself and be ready to put in the work.
Frequently Asked Questions On Becoming A Freelancer In Nigeria.
Can I Freelance With A Smartphone?
It depends on the type of freelancing service. I started with a smartphone as a freelance writer in Nigeria through the help of the WPS app.
Some freelance services would require you to use a computer, like animation, photoshop, etc.
Can I Start Freelancing With No Experience?
Anyone who told you that you could start freelancing without any experience isn’t telling you the truth. You need essential expertise in the industry if you must succeed.
How Can I Use Upwork In Nigeria?
Start by creating an account at Upwork, set up your profile, and start sending proposals to potential clients. If you succeed in getting your first order, you get paid through any billing process of your choice.
Over To You!
Becoming a freelancer in Nigeria is possible if only you can follow this guide.
Bookmark this page, so you can always return for in-depth understanding.
Do you have more questions for me? Do use the comment box and I will respond as fast as I can. Don’t forget to subscribe to receive freelancing tips free.