Back in 2011 I discovered a goldmine in form of freelance writing. There are two possible things that may happen when you discover a goldmine:
1. You may keep it to yourself, mine all the gold and become rich, wrongly assuming you’d be able to mine all the gold. Or that others won’t catch up and overtake you at some point.
2. You may shout it from the rooftops, get other guys to mine the gold, and you all succeed together, knowing very well that you can’t possibly mine all the gold. and that when you grow together, you’ll do good for your family, neighborhood, country, continent and the world at large. With more people earning and less crime in the hood, you’ll have brought more peace and blessings to yourself and others.
I went straight for number 2.
Here’s exactly how I got my first trainees
1. My confidence was way up there so I’d spend ALL my bids every month and get droves and droves of clients. One of the clients even asked me to build a team to outsource work to.
2. I built the team of excellent writers, starting with my friends and family.
3. I’d train these guys either physically or online – absolutely free of charge. Training was just sending a bunch of notes and telling guys to write a sample articles. It was FREE after all! Sometimes I had to have people come to my home to learn all these things, which would be quite overwhelming.
4. I hired ALL successful trainees and gave them lots of work.
But there was a big problem.
The people interested in the course/job were way more than those I could hire. And at some point I had issues with a few clients who refused to pay and writers who weren’t delivering.
If you’ve ever offered anything free, you know how it can be time and energy consuming. Draining even at some point.
My home would be full of either people wanting to learn about online work, mental health or guys from church coming for choir practice or to just hang out. I had some minor leadership roles in church.
To avoid burnout, I cut down my clients and writing team. I went back to writing alone and was so picky on clients to avoid disappointments. I increased my rate to about 5 times what I was charging. This made up for the income I was getting through writers.
The passion never died
I still had this deep PASSION IN ME to see PEOPLE succeed. Many wanted to do what I was doing. Poverty and lack of jobs is such a big problem in this country. I think there were just a few hundred writers around back in 2011.
Very few had the time to mentor others. There were just 2-4 Kenyan blogs that talked about freelance writing and earning online.
Sadly, the bloggers just couldn’t keep up with the help requests. Most of those blogs went dormant or were pulled down altogether. I felt really bad when one of my favorite blogs, called Making Money Online in Kenya, was pulled down. It was owned by Kevin Njoroge (Kevin Nganga on Facebook).
Due to my deep passion, I had to do something to help change the situation. Just what would happen if Kenya had hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of online workers? Less poverty, less crime, happier people, wealthier people, great marriages, awesome families, hope, etc.
I decided to train people en masse
This involved a couple of things:
1. I registered a free WordPress blog and called it FreelancerKenya
2. I immediately started sharing posts on how to make money online in Kenya
3. I responded to all comments on the blog to help people understand everything I taught
This blog became blazing hot. News about it spread like wildfire. Would I allow myself to be drained like my predecessors? Would I soon pull it down? No! I kept going and going!
The shocking call
I remember getting a call from a friend who was earning very well as an article writer. It went something like this:
“Walter, stop sharing all these things. You’ll flood the market and take our income to the toilet.”
My response was:
“No, bro. It will actually open up the markets. Soon we’ll have people making 6 or even 7 figures online! Including you.”
A few more told me to pull my blog down but I insisted that it was the way to go to see the markets open up. It’s just how the economy works. The more people would succeed, the more the market would open up to new skills, innovation, trainers, consultants etc.
I kept encouraging my readers to start blogs as well. This would keep me from being drained as successful guys would start blogs and also teach/mentor others. Guys would keep paying it forward and soon Kenya would have a vibrant online community.
The requests for in-depth training and mentorship kept trickling in
Here’s what I did to take care of that:
1. I wrote my first eBook, “How to Make REAL Money Online in Kenya” and sold it for KSh. 500 ($5). It sold like hotcake. I earned KSh. 8,000 ($80) on my first day! This enabled me to self-host my site i.e. take it from free WordPress to being hosted in HostGator at a fee.
2. I created my “Article Writing and Blogging Training” course and sold it for Sh. 500 as well. This did even better than the eBook.
3. I hosted a couple of seminars in town. Here we trained many who were interested in this new wave of online work. All the seminars were a smashing success. The prices ranged from Sh. 500 ($5) to Sh. 1,000 ($10).
4. I started doing email marketing – where I’d send frequent FREE emails to my subscribers. I still do at the time of writing this. Anyone can subscribe or unsubscribe any time using any subscription form on my site FreelancerKenya.
5. I created and gave out my FREE eBook called “How to Start a Blog That Will Make You Money” to my subscribers. This made so many people start blogging.
6. I created Facebook groups such as Awesome Transcribers in Kenya, Remarkable Freelance Writers in Africa and Savvy Internet Marketers so that people can keep teaching others about this goldmine (online work and online business). Having people teach each other makes learning easier and faster as opposed to only having one “guru” teaching everyone.
7. Since most people tended to take action in freelance writing than blogging, I changed the focus of my course from “Article Writing and Blogging Training” to “Complete Freelance Writing Course“. This now has more tips on freelance writing than blogging. There’s a Blogging lesson for those who want to implement it, and I still guide them through it. The price keeps going up.
…and many many more
I may do a purely blogging course one of these days. Or just give free tips about it via some of my new sites.
My grandpa’s professor
When I was a kid, my grandpa used to call me “Professor”. He still does.
When I dropped out of campus, I thought his dream was gone. His grandson wouldn’t get to be a professor in anything. However, as you see above, I ended up teaching so many people, and enabling them to teach many more. In fact, it’s funny that I teach more for free than at a fee.
Those who have somehow learnt from me are probably hundreds of thousands. My blog, FreelancerKenya has had over 1 million views since inception.
Remember the story above about the guy who called me to discourage me from blogging about these things?
Well, his business is still intact and he even earns more.
Did the industry get flooded? No!
Do people earn more now than when I started? Yes! We now have people earning 6 to 7 figures working purely online. I project we’ll get to 8 to 11 figures soon. And my personal projection is that we’re now over 300k Kenyans working online (unconfirmed statistic).
To me, all this is way better than being a professor, right? My grandpa is still happy with his grandson.
Why I train purely online
“Walter, why are you only training online? Why not meet people in town for a one on one?”
As you see above, this is what I used to do when I started – training guys both online and physically.
In fact this went on for quite a while. I’d charge people extra for physical meetings.
Such arrangements work great when you have a few trainees. But when your number of trainees blows through the roof, it’s unsustainable for an individual. And can be expensive to both the trainer and trainee.
Since it’s a course for an online job, online training remains my preferred mode of training.
– No commute: You don’t have to go to where the trainee is, they don’t come to where you are.
– Saves time for both: My freelance writing course is on my training site. You can literally log in any time of day or night to learn. Therefore you don’t have to wait for a meeting time to get any lesson.
– Scalability: I can train 1 person or 100 people at the same time online. They basically each go through the notes, do different tasks and submit for review. My experienced team and I do our best to respond to issues as soon as possible. Training 100 people offline would need me to rent a space or take months going one by one.
– Teamwork: My course is done by a whole team. Some aren’t even in Kenya. There are experienced guys who will check and score your samples, guide on your proposals, help set up your website, answer your questions as you start working with clients etc. I remain the mind behind the course but I hire excellent guys to do some of the above tasks.
– I get trained online as well: From when I was a newbie till now, I always get trained online. One of my trainers is so busy that if I was to meet him in person for coaching, I’d cough $9997 PER MONTH! It’s his TEAM that trains us.
– Longevity: An online trainer can work with a team to deliver excellence for years since he has enough time to grow himself and his team. An offline trainer may not have much time to grow himself. They mostly work solo, which in itself is not a good idea for both the trainer or trainees. When they get sick, they can’t meet you. Also when they have to leave town for some reason. An online course done with a team weathers almost any storm.
…and many more reasons.
The next goldmine and my call for the future
Now, the next goldmine is in the emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics and nanotechnology. In case anyone has a breakthrough in this, feel free to start sharing. Artificial intelligence will soon bring in the world’s first dollar trillionaire. I pray that one of these trillionaires will be from right here in Kenya or Africa.
My call for the future is this; that we can strive to be entrepreneurs, job creators and philanthropists. In short, let’s not just work online. We can also innovate great online businesses the likes of Uber, Netflix, Facebook etc. Let’s use these opportunities to hire people and create a stable livelihood for them. And let’s keep giving a helping hand whenever we can.
Regardless of where you’re reading this from, whether in Africa or beyond, I hope you become immensely successful in all you do. May you also become a trillionaire. If not, a billionaire. You can do it. Just start taking action now!