With the level of unemployment growing steadily in Nigeria, it is a total waste of time for one to sit around looking for someone who is going to employ them.
Even if you have just graduated from the University and are in search of a job, you need to understand that getting a degree in Nigeria is not a prerequisite to getting a job, rather it is a means by which one can acquire some form of knowledge that will go a long way to help them develop or improve a skill.
When you look around Nigeria today, you will discover that those who are making the most money are without a college or University degree, rather they spent a few years learning a skill or more that they are utilizing on a daily basis to make money.
Take for example, a vulcanizer who is able to amend a minimum of 5 tires a day is going to make nothing less than 7500 at 1500 each. And as we all know vulcanizing does not require a college or University degree.
Now all thanks to the digital era we are living in that has created so many avenues for people to make money of which freelancing is topping the list.
In this article therefore, I am going to walk you through the basic steps that will help you to know how to start freelancing in Nigeria, but before I do so, let us first get to see the definition of freelancing.
What is freelancing?
Freelancing is simply a process where a professional or expert is hired to perform and deliver a project or task without being employed or placed on a salary scale.
The good thing about freelancing is that you can work from home for a client or company and get paid without getting to meet them one on one. This form of freelancing is known as remote freelance.
How to start freelancing in Nigeria.
To start freelancing in Nigeria, you must first and foremost be able to identify the freelance job that corresponds with your present profession or expertise, and if you don’t have one you can undergo a form of training to acquire one.
Below are the basic steps you have to take if you want to know how to start freelancing in Nigeria.
- Identify and choose your freelancing job.
- Develop or improve your freelancing skills.
- Learn about the industry.
- Purchase freelancing equipment.
- Set your goals.
- Establish an online presence.
- Promote your freelancing business.
1. Identify and choose your freelancing job.
To start freelancing in Nigeria, you must first and foremost have a service you are going to render to potential clients.
Some freelance bloggers will advise you to seek a freelancing job that is highly in demand so as to get a steady flow of clients. But in as much as I align with this kind of advice I also would like to add that you ensure the job that is highly in demand corresponds with your profession or expertise.
For example, I started a photography and videography business known as Taculia Entertainment in 2012, and back then I wasn’t into blogging nor did I know anything about freelancing.
But when I began blogging in 2019 and later got to know about freelancing I took Taculia Entertainment online and built a portfolio that showcases either trailers or full projects I have shot and edited over the years and that has really made it easy for me to get clients who have already seen my professionalism in the field.
And as you can see, I’ve already been an expert in photography and videography, having worked for more than 7 years, so when I started freelancing it was easy for me to identify and choose them as my freelancing job.
The biggest advantage of identifying and choosing a freelance job based on your profession and expertise is that it will help you to use the experience you’ve had so far to deliver projects and tasks to the satisfaction of your clients.
I have an article that will show you the kind of freelancing jobs that are highly in demand and you can read it:
2. Develop or improve your freelancing skills.
There are freelancing skills you must have and exhibit notwithstanding the freelancing job you have chosen.
For example, communication is a vital skill for freelancing because you must understand how to use various tools that will help you to interact with your clients at any given point in time or place.
I know that everyone is conversant with making phone calls, but if you track a client from another country and Facebook Messenger chat is the means of communication with such a client, you must be able to use that medium, hence the need for communication skills.
For a list and explanation of the best skills needed for freelancing, you can read the article: Best Skills Needed For Freelancing.
3. Learn about the industry.
Never make an attempt of diving into the freelancing industry if you do not understand how it works, and the only way to understand the freelancing industry is to learn about it.
I realized that most of the reason so many people give up on anything they want to embark on in life is because of the trial and error they are bound to face.
On the flip side, however, those who succeed in anything they embark on in life are those who continue to try and fail and are able to identify the mistakes that brought about the failure and correct them in order to attain the anticipated success.
Thus, instead of attempting to try by yourself and give up when the failure and error are too much to bear, look for and learn from those who weathered the storm and became successful.
Below are some of the ways you can learn about the freelancing industry:
- Read blog posts: You can Google the term ‘freelancing Nigeria’ and read the topmost blog posts to learn the basics of freelancing in Nigeria.
- Watch YouTube tutorials: YouTube is a great platform that will enable you to watch tutorials on any topic of your choice and learn. It has its own search engine that will help you to search for any keyword you want to learn about. And in this case, use ‘freelancing in Nigeria‘ to discover and watch tutorials that will help you to learn about the freelancing industry.
- Online courses and webinars: Some people choose not to give out their idea for free, and for that reason, they would want you to pay or perform some other form of benefits on their part before you can learn whatever you want. This mentality is the reason we have online courses and webinars which are oftentimes in-depth step-by-step tutorials that will help you learn about whatever you want. Therefore, search for courses and webinars on freelancing in Nigeria to learn about the industry.
- Connect with professionals in the industry: Freelance professionals are everywhere online, you can find them on personal blogs, social media, forums etc. And you can reach out to them by sending emails, DMs, chats, etc, and requesting to learn all you need to know about freelancing from them.
5. Set your goals.
Once you are satisfied with all you’ve learned about the freelancing industry, you have to really settle down and figure out how best you are going to go about becoming successful as a Freelancer in Nigeria.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you should attempt following the steps of some person you learned from, rather you need to carve out your own roadmap and keep to the track you have chosen to explore.
It is however not a crime to adjust based on how things are turning out for you in the industry.
6. Purchase freelancing equipment.
As a freelance photographer and videographer, the basic equipment I need is digital photo and video cameras, tripod stands, photo and video lighting, a computer/laptop, editing workstations, etc.
So based on the job you have chosen, you really need to figure out the equipment that will enable you to deliver every project or task you will be given by clients.
However, there is no way you are going to become a successful freelancer in Nigeria without internet accessibility, and for that reason, it is a must to have a computer/laptop or mobile phone that has an internet connection.
This will enable you to achieve the remaining points I am going to show you on how to become a freelancer in Nigeria.
7. Establish an online presence.
You will never become a successful Freelancer in Nigeria if you are not getting clients that are giving you jobs, and the only way to do this is by establishing an online presence.
Below are some of the ways you can do so:
- Build a portfolio website: Building a portfolio website as a freelancer in Nigeria will enable you to showcase the projects or tasks you have successfully completed and use it as proof or evidence to show potential clients that you are capable to execute and deliver their services.
- Join freelancing sites: The advantage of joining freelancing sites is that it will help you to connect with clients who are already there in search of the services you are offering. There are lots of freelancing platforms you can join here in Nigeria but I usually recommend Fiverr.
- Create social media accounts: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok are the best social media platforms that will help you to showcase your projects or tasks and use them to interact with those who are using them. When joining this platform, you have to ensure your profile is updated to help someone immediately recognize you as a freelancer.
- Business listing/directory sites: You can also create a business profile on a business listing/directory site where people who are searching for your kind of job in your locality will be able to discover you. You can create one now at businesslisting.ng.
8. Promote your freelancing business.
After utilizing the points above to establish your presence online, you don’t have to sit back and expect clients to fall from the sky, rather you have to start promoting your freelancing business to reach potential clients.
Below are some of the ways you can do so:
- Paid Ads: You can use Google AdSense or social media ads to promote your freelancing business. Google AdSense is expensive, Facebook and Instagram cost a dollar per day; so the best way is to share your portfolio link on either Facebook or Instagram and boost the post.
- Content marketing: Content marketing is the process of doing keyword research or analysis to discover queries you can create articles around to rank on search engines and bring organic traffic to your site. Even though it usually takes some time, around 8 to 12 months for new blogs, it’ll be worth it at the end of the day. So what you should do here is add a blog to your portfolio and publish the articles there.
- Direct messaging: You can identify potential clients and companies from their social media profiles and send them direct messages.
- Network with other established freelancers: You will find them via their personal blogs where you can call, chat, send messages and emails, etc. Also on their social media accounts where you can send DMs.