Want to do freelance work to get capital to start a business? Ask yourself these questions

Capital, capital, capital, it is one of those things that can keep you wondering how to actually start a business in Kenya in the shape and form similar to the picture you’ve been playing and replaying in your mind lately.

If only you had a certain amount of money you could pick and use to start, life would be really great. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Sometimes the money you think you need is ten to twenty times what you make on a monthly basis.

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Does that mean you only have to see your business inside your head and not in front of your eyes? It depends…on what you really want and what you do thereafter – which hopefully should be in alignment with what you really want – which is to start a business.

In this article, we are going to look at how you can make more money with your skills. This money of course is going to be part of your capital. You have a business to start, so that’s where I want your focus to be.

1. How much do I need to make as a freelancer?

This is the first question you have to give serious thought. It isn’t the only question you should focus on at this point.

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There are many more related to it. For this article, we are only going to focus on this question – and this one: How much would it cost to start a business (like the one) I want?

The second question encourages you to do research, to learn a little bit about the industry you want to be a part of, to listen to the stories of people who have been where you want to be.

In other words, it doesn’t allow you to rely only on your judgment to determine how much money you are going to need to start.

When you do your research, brace yourself for surprises because sometimes you might realize that your estimates were either too high or too low.

2. How do I know my skills, before I get started as a freelancer online?

Different people may have different definitions to the word skill. In this article, we’ll simply define skill as something you do very well.

Take a pen and paper and list down your skills.

See the ones you really do very well and the ones that you need more time to master and then settle on the ones you want to do for pay.

For example, someone who loves reading business books, writing, spotting factual and grammatical errors and correcting them can decide to become an editor and proofreader for the numerous small business websites, whitepapers, tutorials, ebooks and the millions of sales pages getting uploaded / published on the internet everyday.

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This is work they can do both online and offline unlike some type of freelance work.

3. Can people pay for my skills?

The quick and short answer is yes.

If you do your best, then worry not about people thinking that the value of your skills is worth nothing.

Know your skill – and start reaching out to the people, organizations and companies you know / think are a good fit for what you want to do as a freelancer.

4. How much am I going to charge for my freelance services?

That depends on your skill, how well you do your work, the type of clients you meet, how much you get done and what you think your skills are worth.

Study your industry to learn more about the rates other freelancers with similar skills accept, and then come up with your own rates.

Your rates will help you determine how long it will take you before you reach your golden figure and start that new business.

5. How do I get freelance work that pay well?

There are tons of websites that connect freelancers with the people who need their services.

Clients come to the sites to choose who they want to work on their project.

Of course several freelancers with similar or better skills than you will always be bidding for the same work as you (not always the case) and it is the client’s discretion to choose whoever he or she wants to work with.

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Then there are many agencies who recruit freelancers and give them a cut of what they get for the work that comes their way.

When they receive work, they send it to you, you work on it and they give you a fraction of the money they are paid.

A lot of these agencies have their ads on popular classified ad websites  and job boards as well.

These are all great ways to get work.

You can join and get work from Upwork.com, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, Freelancer.com or even place ads under the services category of many classified ad sites like OLX Kenya, CraigsList or Gumtree.com.

Then there is my favourite: starting your own WordPress website to tell the world (the people who can benefit from what you have to offer) about your skills (what you can do for them).

In our example of the editor and proofreader above, you can create a site and write pages about what you do, answer questions your clients may have in in-depth blog posts, include your rates, a contact page, a hire me page and more.

Don’t be afraid to use a combination of all or any of these to get well paying gigs.

You can also introduce prospective clients to your services by writing them short emails about what you can do for them, and linking back to pages on your site (from inside the emails you send) where they can find additional information.

It’s called cold emailing.

6. What if the money I earn as a freelancer isn’t enough?

Use what you have saved to start. If it is not really really enough then borrow some money to make it enough.

Borrowing only takes two things: asking and a solemn promise to return the money on the agreed date.

Do everything you can to avoid any drama that may ruin the relationship between you and whoever loans you money.

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