Is getting hired by someone from another country the only decent way for Kenyan freelancers to make good money online?

Must a foreigner hire you if you want to make good money freelancing online?

This thought has probably crossed your mind several times before.

You have wondered whether there are well-paying clients in Kenya – people willing to pay well like the foreigners from countries with stronger economies.

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When most people are first presented with the idea of making money online as freelancers, usually they are pointed to resources and destinations owned mostly by people not of Kenyan origin – citizens of other countries.

So, for example, beginners starting out will usually consume more content created by foreigners to grow their freelance expertise in the field of their choice. When it comes time to finding freelance jobs, online freelance marketplaces owned by non-Kenyans will usually be pointed as great destinations to find work.

Freelancing in United States, India, Philippines, United Kingdom & Canada vs. Kenya

I will admit, freelancing is big in many countries out there – United States, India, Philippines, United Kingdom & Canada for example – and being that these countries often have economies more established than ours, their citizens have already put out a lot of resources (blogs, websites, books, courses & marketplaces) compared to what we Kenyans have created.

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But there are great blogs now. Great ebooks and online courses. Owned by fellow Kenyans. So, even though most platforms owned by Kenyans might not be as big as the ones out there, they are growing steadily.

And so is the pool of Kenyans (businesses, individuals and organizations) willing to bet good money on freelancers from within the country to help them accomplish various tasks – like some listed in the various categories on Niabusiness’s homepage.

And I am not talking about people who run outfits that are more agency-type than the typical business looking for a freelancer to help them in one way or another. The people getting work from clients abroad and subcontracting the work certainly have their place. They play a big role in advancing freelancing as a way to make an extra income (or even replace your existing income) but often you will hear people complain that they pay too little to the people they subcontract to.

Which is why I think most people believe that the only decent way to make good money online working as a freelancer is to get hired by someone from another country – countries like the US, UK or Canada.

Countries where the exchange rates work in our favour, even if the freelancers in said countries would refuse the rates we are paid (for being too little or because the amounts fail to meet the minimum wage standards set out by their countries).

But looking at the local players, one can tell that if you take your time, do your research, you will find that there are plenty of persons willing to pay well for good work.

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Problem is, people are sometimes just impatient.

It is easy to just go on a big marketplace like Upwork, create a profile and start bidding for jobs than to sift through lots of resources to get local clients who are willing to pay good rates.

Or sometimes it is just fear, fear of reaching out – say via phone or email – that just pushes people to take the path of least resistance.

If you are willing to look, you will find that Kenyans can afford the rates typically associated with foreign nationals. They can outsource profitably, at least there is quite a sizable pool of people who can, people who see no need to pay peanuts.

Evidence of this can already be seen in the following areas:

  1. Media houses using freelancers to create content for their newspapers and websites.
  2. Startups hiring freelancers of Kenyan origin to help them with content creation, web development, design, marketing, customer support, outreach among other things.
  3. Digital marketing agencies with big teams doing really great work for companies and organizations registered here in Kenya. You see these agencies advertising online when you look for internet marketing related material all the time.
  4. Niche site creators of Kenyan origin hiring writers to create review articles for their sites.
  5. Small businesses outsourcing things like business plan rewriting, website Creation and management, accounting, bookkeeping and taxes to freelancers.

Where to look for well paying clients in Kenya if you are a freelancer?

Niabusiness. Check the listings in the various categories on the homepage. And do place your own ad as well. You never know who might see it. Placing an ad about the particular freelance service you offer is free.

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Business directories. Just search for business directories in Kenya and from there just write tailor-made pitches to different small businesses and organizations listed there. Tell them about the pain you can solve.

Tell them about the results you can get them. This will open a discussion on how you can work together – if they are interested. From there, it is all a matter of closing a few sales, doing the work and getting paid.

Most directories already display contact information of all businesses listed prominently. So, it isn’t hard getting the email address (or phone number or postal address) of a business and pitching them.

LinkedIn. You can use the platform to connect with other freelancers in Kenya. You can also use the tool to research which Kenyan companies they have worked with. Then if you are offering a similar service, you can reach out to related companies and see if they’d be interested in the results you can get them.

So, again, there are countries where the freelancing / gig economy is far more advanced compared to what we have in Kenya – and clients from these places are usually known to, and expected to, pay freelancers decent rates.

But there are many Kenyan businesses that can match those rates – maybe even pay more if they like working with the freelancer.

All it takes is carving out time out of your day to look for such Kenyans. All the Kenyan companies with ads on Google Display Network – all of them are potential clients.

Find the right ones.

Reach out to them and see if you can establish a good work relationship with them.

Browse the ads on

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