Of parents to men & women who do online freelance jobs to make a living

Online freelancing has not been around for a very long time. It is been around for just a few decades. But now thanks to the gig economy, more and more parents are seeing their children turning to freelancing online to make a living.

I mean, it is all new to them. This idea of someone sitting in front of a computer / laptop at home working and getting paid right there (via PayPal for example) for their work.

It is new to them, the idea that someone can just stay at home and offer all their services on the web and still.make a decent monthly income.

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In this post I share some of the things parents of sons and daughters doing freelance work online should know.

What can you do to support your child if they are doing online freelance jobs

Know that doing freelance jobs is a viable way to make an income. So, even if you are not for them working online because of your beliefs and ideas on what constitutes real work, respect online freelancing. And respect the people who make the choice to pursue freelancing on the web as a way to make their living.

If you don’t know what to do to help, just get out of the way. Instead of trying to offer your assistance and coming off as a stumbling block, a person making it difficult for them to reach their goals, just go about your business. They already face enough opposition. They don’t need more friction coming from you. And here is why. On a daily basis, they have to:

  • Deal with their own insecurities while still trying to deliver the best work possible to clients
  • Deal with rejections and nasty attitudes from some clients
  • Engage in activities that drain the brain a lot. Coding for example. Designing something. Doing online research. Putting up an article from scratch. These are just but a few examples.
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So, become a source of positive energy for them. If there is something they need your help with, they will ask. If they need your opinion, their mouths work – they will ask. Just don’t force your ideas on them. Use them in your own life.

Be patient with them. To gather some steam takes time. To gain motion, enough time is needed. To keep the momentum going, time is needed – a lot of time. So, you can be patient with them in two ways:

  1. By not encroaching on the time they allocate to their online freelance activities
  2. By just not piling any type of pressure on them to hit certain income goals at certain set intervals

Be an accountability coach. Help them clear things of their simple to-do lists. Just check in daily to hold them accountable. To see how much work they did. To see if they are generally pushing in the right direction with their work.

Mistakes you want to avoid as a parent when your son or daughter tells you they want to start making money online doing freelance jobs

Being a nag, constantly telling them to get a real job. I dislike nagging, especially when I know what I am doing is good (and can bring many many rewards).

Most freelancers (your own children as well) are the same. If they know what they are doing is good, they don’t like it when you try to push them in another direction.

If the job they choose to do makes them happy (and it is legal – they are not involved in any criminal activity), let them be.

Long-term the bond between you and your child will become stronger than any kind of bond that may result from you nagging them into a job / career they don’t even like – even if it pays well and they are able to do it.

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Seeing online freelancing as a waste of their degree or whatever course you paid for after they completed high school. Here is what I can tell you right now. If you are just looking at things from a financial standpoint, know this: there are many many people in the world who didn’t go past high school and are way more stable financially than you or anyone you know.

So, go easy. You never know, that degree / diploma you paid for may come in handy when they niche down (narrow in on a segment of the market) or try to get in touch with various companies in and outside Kenya looking for projects / tasks they can work on.

If they want to be self-employed, let them be. It is not a must for them to get a job in a company / organization you approve of. Generally it is not a good idea to think of online freelancing as being beneath them because they have a university degree or a college diploma.

Thinking Kenyans can’t make good money working online. That these are just mzungu things. Don’t sell this lie to anyone, your child especially, because many Kenyans (of different ages from both genders) have figured ways to make a good living helping clients who outsource various tasks on freelance marketplaces like UpWork.

Rather, tell them to take their time learning how to marry their skills to the needs of potential clients out there. So, instead of misinformation, rather embrace education.

Wasting their time trying to guide them through things you don’t even understand. Nobody likes it when someone comes to them pretending to offer guidance when they can see clearly that it is just their time being wasted with tall tales and general ideas that can’t even motivate them to take action – and gain mastery.

If you can’t offer guidance, just get out of the way, period.

Things you might want to do as your son’s or daughter’s freelance career / business grows

Encourage them to keep learning more about their skill and niche / industry. Simple Google searches on a regular basis can open them to lots of free resources that can help propel their career or business to a whole new level (and income bracket). So, encourage them to keep learning by listening to podcasts, buying ebooks, taking online courses and watching videos on YouTube.

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Encourage them to diversify their income sources. So, for example to use some of their earnings to explore other ways to generate more profit online: running their own websites, offering coaching / consultation services or creating and selling digital products.

Encourage them to save and invest some of their income in offline businesses. For example, using some of their earnings to start pig, dairy or poultry farming. Or using some of their money to start an M-PESA shop / a general store. Or a delivery business. Or rental properties. Or pursuing a business venture reselling items on online classifieds sites in Kenya like Jiji or PigiaMe.

Encourage them to create a course, class or book on what they do. The reason they should do this is simple. When you teach, you get to learn more about what you are teaching – structuring the content, taking in questions, breaking down complex matters into simple easy to understand concepts, all these things will help with mastery. And your son or daughter will keep getting better and better at what they do. The material can be free or paid.

Last but not least, tell them to place their ad on Niabusiness Classifieds.

Placing an ad on the site is free. Tell them to increase their chances of being found by potential clients by taking a few minutes to create a listing where they give details about what they can offer individuals and businesses looking for people to outsource work to.

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