Henry Ibeleme | Marketing Content Writer

How To Become A Freelance Writer [2021 Guide]

Last Updated on December 15, 2020 by Henry Ibeleme

How To Become A Freelance Writer in Nigeria

You’re probably on this page because you have some writing skills and want to become a freelance writer in Nigeria.

If that is the case, allow me to give you the red carpet treatment. You know why? We need more creators like you.

You’re the reason the earth is spinning, the reason our so beloved internet exists.

red carpet treatment for freelance writers

If freelance writers don’t exist, you won’t be reading this very text.

Perhaps all you will be watching will be shapes and pictures. Don’t tell me about videos, as they can’t exist without a script – A writer like you!

Have you seen the reason for the red carpet treatment?

You are a precious darling, and it is time to help you discover your hidden magic. Not only would you be one of the most terrific writers in Nigeria, but you will also make some mad money along the way.

My mother died when I was pretty little, so I fended for myself ever since my father wasn’t always financially stable.

I was able to wear clothes, feed myself, solve my university, and basic needs through writing. Not only was I living fine, but I was also sending money home.

That is to show you the worth you’re carrying when you utilize your skill or gift.

As a writer, you can live elegant and stable. One thing with us writers is that we’re a simple specie.

We are often minimalist!

We don’t concern ourselves with the buzzing world. We love our lonely moment, simple clothes, and keeping just a few friends.

We don’t like crowds, as it drains our magic and creative power.

In all my articles, this is the only moment where every spirit is alive. Could it be because we’re on the same team? Maybe!

But one thing is clear; I am going to lead you by the hand and show you how you can become a freelance writer in Nigeria.

You don’t need any magic eBook formula sold by some blogs. I am going to guide you from start to finish, without withholding any information.

So, grab your lamp and shoe as we embark on this exciting journey.

1. Know Your Craft

freelance writer in Nigeria by knowing your skill

Before you start peddling this path, you need to ensure you’re what you claim to be. You must be a WRITER.

You must know your way around words, and how to influence and alter your readers’ state of mind.

Many are of the notion that writers are born. Hell to that! You know why? Cause I am a no born writer.

So far, in this article, how would you rate my writing? Awesome?

Well, I was that young lad who couldn’t even write his name in High School. If you’re in Nigeria, you’ll understand that the education system is in shambles.

In such a dreadful environment, what is the hope of a teenager with no solid foundation in English?

But you know what; I decided to improve, to indulge in a rigorous personal development.

There is one thing about writers that you must know. They are individuals who are particularly interesting in growth, personal development, and evolution.

Since writing is a fantastic skill that I could benefit from, I made a conscious decision to improve my literary usage. I began to read tons of materials, and I was doing lots of writing too.

After devouring loads of text from different authors, I am often compelled to create mine.

The more I devour, I discovered that I was unconsciously learning some writing and life lessons. With tons of practice, I began to express myself in writing.

There are tons of people who were born with a unique brain makeup that makes them exceptional in writing.

Trust me, there is nothing unusual with my brain. But you will agree with me that practice makes perfect.

To become a freelance writer in Nigeria, you need to be a writer, at least.

You must know your craft, and be a beast at it. If your writing skill is not well polished yet, this should be the time to improve by reading and writing more.

Knowing your craft is the first and most important key.

If you’re a mediocre writer, client retention would be incredibly hard. That is because they would never want to deal with you if your delivery was terrible.

But when you’re able to deliver an impeccable service, you get a client for life.

2. Create A Portfolio

Create A Portfolio to become a freelance writer in Nigeria

In my many years in the writing world, I have discovered that the brain often perceives the word “portfolio” as hard, technical, serious, and boring.

I have seen myself read lots of guides on the internet. But when I come across anything rrelating to portfolio, it seems as if my brain freezes for a moment.

Why am I telling you this? Do not allow the word to trick your brain.

Creating a portfolio is a fun task and very simple and easy. Also, you don’t need to pay a dime.

Now the question is, how does a fantastic writer like you create a portfolio? In fact, what is a portfolio?

Em. Let’s not rush, as we have all the time to tackle this. To become a freelance writer in Nigeria, you need to create an attractive and simple portfolio.

What Is A Portfolio?

A portfolio is merely a compilation of your materials, skills, qualification, or samples of your expertise, experience, or training.

To a freelance writer, a portfolio is a compilation of writings done.

Often, the aim is to convince a potential client that you’re the right person for the job.

Now that you’ve learned what a portfolio is, how can you create one?

There are numerous ways to go about this, and I am going to share tips that wouldn’t cost you a dime.

How To Create Portfolio

1. Start A Free Blog

To become a freelance writer in Nigeria, having a blog where you showcase your works would be commendable.

Guess what?

You don’t need to pay a dime to open a blog.

There are lots of Free Blogging Platforms that you can use, like WordPress.com and BlogSpot.com.

You don’t need to be a badass web designer or developer either since it comes with a lot of free beautiful themes that you can use.

When you have set up a blog, publish most of your writings as blog posts.

They would serve as evidence for your skill to potential clients.

2. Start A Nairaland Thread

As a Nigerian, you might want to take advantage of the Nigerian Biggest forum, Nairaland.

One way to do this is to join the platform, go to the literature section >> writing & ads, and create a new topic.

You can post samples of works you have done so that any potential client would be convinced you’re the one.

3. Open a Facebook page

Another incredible way to create a portfolio is through a Facebook page. It is free and doesn’t require any technicalities.

You see, it wasn’t very hard, right? Creating a portfolio is something you must do because clients always ask for them.

One of the ways is opting to write for a blog for free. That way, they publish your content with you as the author.

Not only would you improve your writing skills, but you will also amass a vast portfolio.

3. Client Hunting

Client Hunting

After creating your portfolio, the next step should be getting real gigs that make you money.

There are numerous ways you can hunt for a client.

However, I am going to share only tips that worked for me. In other words, I am going to share my techniques without asking for your soul in return.

Here are some ways to hunt for clients.

1. Nairaland

When I began, I started from Nairaland.com.

In case you don’t know, that is the biggest forum in Nigeria. Since the forum has millions of users, I figured that potential clients would be lurking around too.

I created a thread in the webmaster’s section since my target clients are mainly webmasters or bloggers.

Few days upon creating that thread, someone contacted me with a job.

The client asked to see samples of my work. Unfortunately, I had no portfolio then. But I told him not to pay me if my work was below expectations.

Since he had nothing to use, he gave me the job.

It was a 500 words article, and within an hour, the job was done and delivered.

At first, he was surprised at the fast delivery. After going through my work, he gave me the full project to handle.

Since you’re starting with a portfolio, you don’t need to worry about convincing clients anymore.

Your portfolio will handle that while you focus on rates.

Freelancing Sites

There are lots of freelancing sites like Fiverr.

Fiverr is a website that acts as a market place for freelancers and businesses.

This platform comes with intense competition, and only the toughest survive. Also, being a Nigerian is a massive hindrance.

Aside from being the number one in internet scamming, they are afraid that our command of English is weak due to the state of education.

Most often, they are looking for native English speakers.

If you do not meet the requirement, don’t bother applying, they would automatically reject you.

But as an aspiring freelance writer in Nigeria, how would a fantastic writer like you break this barrier?

You must be ready to build your profile. Promote your gigs, work for as many people as possible at a very cheap rate.

The aim is to get tons of positive reviews that would increase your rank in the market place.

When you have tons of 5-star ratings, foreign clients would be more confident to do business with you. It doesn’t happen overnight, as you would need to work from the ground up.

Other freelancing sites you can check out are Freelancer, UpWork, etc.

Contact Potential Clients

To become a freelance writer in Nigeria, you need to be able to walk the extra mile.

Instead of waiting for potential clients to hit you up, why not go to them?

There are lots of blogs or websites that you can apply to and work as a freelance writer.

If you’re pretty good, they will retain you for a long work together. All you have to do is discover blogs in any niche you prefer.

It could be entertainment, health, legal, cooking, etc.

When you discover them, send them a well thought out email, and state how you’re ready to help improve their business through quality articles.

You need to master how to pitch yourself, so you will always get a positive response whenever you send a proposal.

Social Media

Another great medium to find potential clients is social media. Facebook now boasts of over two billion users.

When you join relevant groups, you will be able to come across crucial figures who might need a freelance writer.

Aside from Facebook, other great sites include LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

4. How Much Should You Charge?

How Much Should You Charge?

It is probably the most exciting part – how much should you charge? When I began, my first client was paying me #350 for a 500 words article.

That was five years ago and trust me; it’s a peanut. However, I was improving and building my portfolio.

After a ton of improvement, I started charging #2 per word article. In that case, I make #4000 for a 2000 words article. In a month, I was making more than #100,000.

That was because I was getting consistent jobs from my numerous clients.

After a while, I delve into freelancing sites, and I began charging $50 for a 1000 words article. That was incredible, and please, it didn’t happen overnight.

I had to build my reputation in these freelancing sites to be able to earn that much.

So, how much you charge your client depends mainly on your skill and the type of clients. I have discovered that Nigerian clients find it difficult, paying beyond #3 per word.

Even getting such a gig is almost impossible. Most often, their budget is #1 or #1.5 per word.

The plan is to use them to build your portfolio so that you can climb to another level. Growth is significant, and it would have an impact on your earning.

To become a freelance writer in Nigeria, you need to learn how to negotiate. Start with #4 per word and then allow the client to talk about his budget. Keep the conversation friendly and professional.

And please, avoid using emojis.

5. Set A Regular Working Schedule

Set A Regular Working Schedule

To become a successful freelance writer in Nigeria, you must make sure you set a working plan.

You don’t need to work round the clock, no matter how desperate you’re in making money. Aside from that, your social life or personal treat should not suffer.

You must learn how to maintain a life-work balance for the sake of your happiness and health.

Aside from this, a working schedule helps you focus on your main business or education. If you have a regular job, don’t quit because you’ve started earning a few pennies via freelance writing.

You need to make sure you can sustain yourself before taking that step.

Most Nigerian freelance writers are terrible at keeping to a working schedule. I am very guilty of this very flaw to show you how serious this is. You must not dabble in that route, as it won’t make you any happier.

Set out time to hang out with friends, family, and never forget to always reward yourself. You do not need to miss your favorite TV show or some latest blockbuster movies.

You don’t need to work round the clock to make money; you just have to find the right client and gig. You make money doing little, while you have more time in your hands.

6. Get A Mentor

Get A Mentor

When starting as a freelance writer in Nigeria, I made a significant mistake. I began without a mentor or guide. It caused me to fail numerous times, trying to learn the ropes, tips, and tricks.

You do not need to pass through hell to understand what works and what doesn’t. With the help of a mentor, he would guide you on the path, and share some years of experience with you.

You don’t need to experience failure; you simply learn from the negligence of others. There are lots of coaching classes and courses.

But you don’t need those materials; what you need is a personal guide who is ready to help you take your first baby steps.

Most of these mentors might have a blog where they share some freelance tips. Cultivating a good relationship would help them guide you on this exciting journey of becoming a freelance writer.

Without a mentor, the road might become gloomy and impossible. A good mentor would motivate you, inspire, and teach you the tricks that work.

Start Today!

The last step in this gigantic article is to START! What use is reading this huge epistle only to end up not taking action?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. The first step, most of the time, is always the hardest.

If you can start today to start implementing the tips on this article, you would look back a month later and be grateful for taking action.

Before you close this webpage to begin fighting for your dream, do not forget to subscribe to receive more awesome posts that would help you.

If you have further questions regarding how to become a freelance writer in Nigeria, use the comment box, and I will respond.

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