Surving heavy loss

Like many other people, I love Facebook and I’m always here asking questions, mentoring people or just laughing at funny jokes.

I once asked this question in a Facebook group, “How many hours do you spend in a day working online?”

I was shocked!

Guys spend up to 16 hours working ONLINE. Consistently from day to day.

I thought we work online for the freedom it gives.

But the irony is this:

That you quit your regular job so that you work less online, but you are actually working more.

Why should you free up your time?

With more free time, you end up:

– spending more time with God, your family and friends

– having time to make an impact in the society through various social initiatives e.g. going to children’s homes, visiting your sick cousin etc

– having more time to read, learn and get more ideas on how to grow your business (learning is very important in your growth in the industry)

– having enough time to actually implement what you learn (just having information in your mind or computer won’t help you unless you actually take action)

With some extra free time, you’ll be able to have that time freedom, money freedom and location freedom that you’re looking for.

Here’s how you free up your time while still earning well (or even better) than what you’re earning right now:

1. Keep scaling your business

If you’re now writing for $10 to $15 per article and already have a client, start aiming to get to $50 per article soonest. How? Using number 2…

2. Your next client should pay you more than the previous

So once you get a stable client, start looking for one who pays double (or just significantly more than the previous).

Keep repeating this cycle of going for higher clients e.g. client number one can pay $10 per article, client number 2 pays $20 per article…client number 10 pays $300+ per article etc.

You get such clients through bidding sites, cold-pitching, job boards, social media, referrals and blogging. For you to get those very high paying clients paying $500+ per article, the best methods are blogging and cold-pitching.

3. Drop your low paying clients

Once you’re way off the mark with a specific client, you can let them know that you’ve increased your rates. For example, if you now have long-term clients paying $50 per article but your regular, $10 per article client wants to come back, tell them you can’t go below $50.

This may keep you dropping 30% of your old clients every month for higher paying clients. Some may actually agree to be regularly increasing your rate (like my client who’s been on and off since 2013!)

4. Invest in learning

Spend at least an hour of your day learning something that will help you scale up.

Books like “The Richest Man in Babylon” and “Think and Grow Rich” actually go for less than $2 (KSh. 200) in Amazon Kindle but can really change your life and way of thinking.

If you can’t spend $2 to grow your business, you need to think again.

5. New streams of income

When you feel like you’ve plateaued i.e. you’re unable to get higher paying clients (or the process has really slowed down), add another stream of income.

For example, if you’re a writer, you can decide to create a blog, monetize it and market it, or even to train beginners. Add both active and passive streams. Aim to keep increasing your passive streams (e.g. affiliate marketing where you earn without necessarily doing lots of daily work).

6. Note down those big ideas

Since you’re always learning, always note down ideas you feel like you’ll one day implement. Have BIG dreams e.g. one day owning a company as big as, say, Netflix.

Big ideas come when you’re in a shower, driving, watching a movie, relaxing etc. If you don’t note them down they’ll be gone forever. You’ll just be shocked to see someone else implementing them and living YOUR dream life.

Case study: Here’s how I was just before I lost EVERYTHING

In 2013-2014, I had been able to scale my business using the above methods to the highest level at the time. I would easily work 4-6 hours a day and still earn way more than I ever had.

Funny thing is I’d actually written about how to be a millionaire way before I even touched a million (plan like a billionaire and work towards it). If you choose to read that post in FreelancerKenya, note that I wrote it in 2013 (hehe). Once you see it you’ll understand why I’m saying that.

Anyway, back then I scaled up and had so much free time. Due to that free time, I was able to:

– Take care of my family. I was humbled to even get a Parent of the Year award!

– Become a board member of USP (Users and Survivors of Psychiatry) in my 20s. I also led a mental health support group. Here we supported so many guys in dire situations, including some who were on the brink of suicide. All this was volunteer work.

– Play important church roles such as leading teens and being in charge of media projections (songs, bible verses, PowerPoint presentations etc) during church service

– Set up groups for my former schoolmates, PayPal to MPESA agents and many other interest groups where guys could share their knowledge and support each other

– Have on-location training sessions in programs initiated by NGOs such as Rockefeller Foundation, Samaschool, and some other private entities e.g. a training session in a church at Eldama Ravine.

etc.

I loved the income I was getting at the time, but what mattered even more was that I had FREE TIME to support and mentor many many people.

Sadly, I lost it all.

What I learnt when I LOST EVERYTHING

In 2014 September I was living in a 3 bedroom house, driving a nice car and able to support all the above free and paid initiatives, both in cash and in kind.

By 2015 October I had lost it all, and even lived in a bed sitter for a while.

What happened?

– One of my businesses (not writing) failed miserably due to some of my major miscalculations (not yet fully recovered from this loss)!

– 2 of my family members were hospitalized

– I was bereaved

– I was hospitalized as well (so now I’m walking around without an appendix)

Imagine I even missed an opportunity to meet a senior VP of Facebook since I was out handling the very difficult challenges above at the time. Yes, I missed that Facebook email since I was planning a funeral (and it’s in that funeral where I met my bestest of friends).

Back then I was totally devastated and couldn’t work almost the whole year. I’ve never cried that much. Got even suicidal at some point. I didn’t post much on social media (or my blog) for most of 2015.

I thank God I had made so many friends online and offline who literally sustained me. And I mean literally since I felt like a cabbage.

And here are the lessons learnt:

Lesson #1: When you lose everything, you expect to lose friends

I wasn’t surprised when I lost a chunk of my friends. I expected it all. And you should expect the same when you get into losses and a flood of life’s challenges.

Lesson #2: My biggest surprise was those who stayed!

I was literally sustained by God through my friends and family. I was going down, fast – financially, medically and in every other way.

But there are friends who refused to see me going down. From then, till now, I still have very close people who’ve stood by me.

Lesson #3: Those people you help on your way up will matter to you in astronomical ways

Remember what I just shared above?

I had started lots of initiatives on my way up. I helped more people than I could count – at church, home, my online work/business, mental health institutions, former schoolmates, and all over the world from stuff I did that was featured on TV, newspapers, websites, forums and social media among other places.

I was shocked to note that these people remembered me and actually have been there till now, lifting me up step by step as I pray and work for restoration of all that I lost (and more).

I’m no longer part of some of the above groups, but we’re still real tight with some of the divine connections I made.

Always be good to people on your way up, you’ll need them later, and they’ll stand by you like you’ve never imagined.

Lesson #4: You can start from scratch

As you’ve clearly read above, I lost it all and didn’t earn anything for most of 2015. Even with close to nothing, I started online work again in late 2015 / early 2016, praying hard for restoration.

I was so down that I even went back to getting work iWriter in March, 2016 (never thought I’d ever go back there but yes, good to stay humble and do what you’ve gotta do, right?).

Lesson #5: What you build in your free time can build you in your worst time

After all was said and done, all I had was God, family, my best friend, a truckload of helpful friends, my ability to write, and the skills I’d gained over the years.

Yes, I had no money (just unimaginable losses), but this was all I needed to start all over again. And that’s why you need free time, to build all these things that money can’t buy.

Results

Between 2016 and now, I’ve been able to get clients from my blog, Upwork, Fiverr, pitching, job boards, social media, my networks and much more.

On the business side of things, I revived FreelancerKenya, started PenStars (with Spike Wyatt), started Bloggaz (with Samedi Amba) revamped and upgraded my course, sold ebooks, and have other sites/courses coming up.

Best of all, I’m doing my best to impact many more lives.

If back then I’d influenced guys to go from zero to earning high six-figures, I’m now aiming to influence guys to go from zero to being billionaires.

We’re doing this together

So this is something we’re doing together, working hard now to scale our businesses so that in future we’ll all have businesses that will give us money freedom, time freedom and location freedom.

Prayerfully, we’ll also be philanthropists who do our best to help other people rise up as well.

Hehe…I’m actually praying for some of us to become billionaires. Of course I’d love to be one of those, but even if it’s YOU or someone else here who reads from me, I’ll be a happy man.

Like you, I’m also a student of life, learning a lot and sharing a lot. Let’s all be good students who keep sharing with others so that we all succeed.

Aim to REALLY BE FREE!

My definition of freelancing is not just living a lifestyle where you’re your own boss. This can still mean working 16 hours a day, right?

In my view, you should also be REALLY FREE. By this I mean you should:

– earn enough money to be able to pay your bills, save, invest and help others

– have enough free time to spend with God, family, friends, and even the needy

– be able to travel and work from literally anywhere without breaking a sweat (this will need you to earn well and also have TIME)

And you do this by carefully learning, starting from somewhere, scaling up and creating more (especially passive) streams of income. Whenever you get an idea, have a notebook or a notes app and write it down. Use your free time to implement those big ideas.

As you create more free time, do your best to impact people’s lives. I may not have gotten many blogging awards, but the biggest award I’ve gotten from all this, apart from the pay, is closeness to God and my family.

I also cherish the Parent of the Year Award, and the tons of blessings I get from you. Just Google “God bless you FreelancerKenya” and you’ll see the people who were impacted by FreelancerKenya and left behind showers of blessings.

CREATE MORE FREE TIME SO THAT YOU CAN MAKE A CHANGE IN THE SOCIETY

I¬†wrote this in all caps so that you never forget it. Remember that when you lose it all, it’s those people you impacted that will support you to get back up.

I’ve already shown you how to create more free time while still increasing your active and passive streams of income.

One of us reading this will one day be a billionaire. And you’ll vividly remember this day!

Thanks as always for your time.

Your friend,

Walter Akolo
Founder of FreelancerKenya

PS: For those who still want to know more of what I learnt, see below:

– If you lost millions, maybe you’ll soon become a billionaire so that you not only recover your loss, but also help more people

– If you were once hospitalized with extreme pain, appreciate the fact that you’re still alive with the chance to help others deal with what you overcame

– If you’ve been bereaved, look around you and appreciate all the people who you actually have. Give them the very best of you while you’re still alive.

– If you’re always busy, note that you’re missing out on life. Use the tips on this post to free up your time and do great things, one step at a time

– If you’re desperate for a job/money, take time and learn a lot from here and elsewhere. Don’t make bad decisions my friend. Learning will shape your mind for success. Take action with what you learn. And when you succeed, help others.