HOW TO FOCUS ON YOUR GOALS, TAKE ACTIONS, AND MAKE A LIVING AS A FREELANCE WRITER IN NIGERIA
In this short guide, I'll show you how I conquered all odds, discovered writing, and now make a living as a freelance writer in Nigeria
Well, I’m AbdulGaniy Shehu, a freelance writer for hire, content marketer, and chief content strategist of Winsome Writer Services.
About two years ago, I couldn’t have thought that I’d ever write, nor make a living as a freelance writer in Nigeria.
Do you know why?
I was literally the last person who’ll ever think of becoming a writer “conventionally”.
You might be wondering, why this is so:
Okay, let me tell you why…
I graduated with a degree in Mathematics from the University of Ilorin.
Are you surprised?
Perhaps, you’ll be thinking (just like many) that I should be in the classroom differentiating, integrating, and solving unknown equations.
But you know what?
That’s not the case for me.
Today, I work in the comforts of my room doing what I love most.
I write for a living and am so proud of it.
Now, you might be forced to ask me how I became a freelance writer.
It’s a long story, but I’ll tell you shortly.
How I discovered writing:
About 14 years ago in faraway Ebonyi state where I had my secondary education, I was so much interested in writing.
To actualise my dream, I joined the school’s press club where we took turns to read the dailies on a weekly basis.
This shaped me, as I became so passionate about journalism, writing, and so on.
Then, something big happened…
While I was in Junior Secondary School, I came up with an idea.
I’ve read a lot of novels written by different authors, why don’t I come up with mine. I never thought of how that could be done, but was just interested in doing it by all means possible.
The opportunity came knocking:
I had just finished my Junior Secondary School exams (Known as Junior WAEC) and was waiting to begin Senior Secondary School in earnest.
Then, I had to stay at home for close to three (3) months and was mainly assisting my parents with the home chores, and going to the shop too.
Whenever I had the time, I stayed back at home to achieve my aim. Yes, I wrote until I completed the book.
A eureka moment right?
Yes, it was definitely But… It was short-lived.
Do you want to know why?
So after writing the book, I informed my Mum about it.
She requested that I should present it to a family member when next we travel home on holidays.
We were living in the South-eastern part of the country, but indigenes of Osun state in South-west Nigeria.
Hence on our next trip home, I informed my relative about the book, gave him the manuscript, and expected it to be published.
But you know what? That wasn’t meant to be.
I didn’t do a follow-up and didn’t hear anything about the book afterwards till date.
Devastating isn’t it?
Here was an opportunity for me to become a published author at a young age, but that didn’t see the light of the day.
I had quite a lot of plans for the book, but they all went down the drain.
I continued in this cycle until I graduated from secondary school, and gained admission two (2) years after.
This heralded a new chapter in my quest to becoming a writer.
UCJ Unilorin: The Starting Point:
In my second year in the university, I got to know about the Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ).
The UCJ was an umbrella body of campus journalists in the university then.
It was a grooming ground for aspiring writers, authors, journalists, and so on to share ideas, learn, and grow.
At first, I was clueless about the activities of the union.
All I did was attend meetings, and leave afterwards without making any meaningful contribution. This wasn’t what I expected, but with time I got used to it.
I learnt from the members, began writing, and making my voice heard too.
At a time, I was writing articles on a friend’s laptop, print and paste it in my department’s notice board.
I was that passionate!
From there, I honed my skills and began submitting entries for essay competitions. This taught me a bigger lesson.
Series of Failures then…
The first essay competition I entered was an international competition. It was about the fight against corruption in Africa.
This was during the second-semester break, so I wrote it with all my heart, spending days and nights to gather materials for it.
In the long run, I wasn’t contacted for the next stage of the competition.
That was my first failure from essay competitions.
Afterwards, I entered a national essay competition organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), yet I didn’t pass the preliminary stage.
Was that all, I thought to myself.
But like a determined and courageous Nigerian soldier in Sambisa forest,
I kept on pushing until…
I won a National essay/quiz competition during the Centenary celebration in 2014. In fact, I was the second-runner up in South West Nigeria.
My joy knew no bound then. I couldn’t imagine that it’s possible to earn over #100,000 (Hundred thousand naira) through writing.
So, I was fired up and wanted to do more.
A year after, I was among the seven (7) finalists for the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPMN) essay competition.
Yes, out of the over 100 entries received throughout the federation, my essay was adjudged as one of the top seven.
Unfortunately, during the defence, I wasn’t selected for the top prize, but it was a nice experience.
Since then, I’ve gone ahead to win some notable essay competitions on campus and beyond, though I lost out in many too.
I could have called it quits with writing since I’ve won essay competitions as a student.
But like Oliver twist, I wanted more challenges.
An attempt at blogging:
It was around 2014 or so.
One of my mentors Abdullahi Muhammed asked me if I had a blog. Although, I’ve followed him on his website Naija Writers Coach then, I never thought of starting my own blog.
Within some days, we worked together and the website Naija Inspirational Hub, came live.
I was so happy about the blog and was enthusiastic to tell anyone who cares to listen that I now own a blog.
Immediately, I got to work…
I worked round the clock on the blog, publishing original articles on Inspiration and education regularly.
It got to a time that the blog was taking much of my time.
Yet, I never called it quits.
Then, the problem…
While I was putting in lots of efforts in blogging, I wasn’t achieving any results at all.
In fact, despite hitting the publish button severally, my blog statistics remain the same every week.
It was just static.
Yet, I kept on working…
Through the blog, I landed two (2) juicy interview opportunities then. I was able to get my mentor Abdullahi Muhammed to feature on my blog.
Likewise, I was able to convince an influencer in Nigeria then and now, Mr Suraj Oyewale (Jarus) of JarusHub, to feature on my blog too.
While these were juicy interviews by all standards, it didn’t translate into any meaningful result for my blog.
The final straw that broke the camel’s back:
Having blogged for a year, I had nothing to show for it. (Safe maybe for the experience).
So, I was contemplating calling it quits.
Here I was, reading testimonies from those who’ve made money from blogging, yet I’m unable to make a dime.
Almost at the same time, my web hosting company then IPage, began sending email notification of the imminent expiration of my one-year hosting.
Where will I get the money from? I asked myself…
I’ve been a blogger for a year, without making a dime. Now, the web hosting company wants me to pay for the renewal of my service.
Does it make any sense? Even if it does, I was a broke student who could barely afford my living expenses then. I had to struggle with a lot of things.
So, I wasn’t ready for any renewal.
And you know what… When it was time, I lost ownership of my blog.
Twelve (12) months of hard work, sleepless nights, determination, and patience disappeared just like that. It was a painful moment, but I had to let go.
Then, it dawned on me that I had to find an alternative to blogging.
My first shot at freelance writing:
After the failure of my blog, I was only preoccupied with my studies and my job as a campus journalist.
Then one day…
A friend introduced me to freelance writing.
He met a client via Nairaland, and she outsourced writing projects to him.
At first my friend was writing solely for her, but at a point he couldn’t continue. So I was assisting him to write the articles for the client.
Whenever she pays, he’ll pay me too.
We continued this way until my friend introduced me to the client.
After the introduction, I became one of the writers for her writing agency.
Anytime there’s a project, I write and afterwards get paid for it. This was an eye-opener for me initially.
I never thought I could earn money writing articles, but here it’s happening to me.
Not only that, the opportunity made me a bit financially independent.
I had enough money then to cater to my immediate needs monthly.
The woman stopped sending writing projects to me. I asked my friend, and he complained of the same issue.
After a while, we realized that she’s decided to move on, and we parted ways eventually.
My quest for writing opportunities continued
How a Nigerian client humiliated me:
Working for this client really opened my eyes to freelance writing.
Immediately afterwards, I began seeking for writing opportunities on my own.
My first point of call was Nairaland, and after a thorough search, I stumbled on a client.
He’s a member of a writing agency, and they get offers from clients on a weekly basis.
So, I thought I had hit a jackpot, and ready to make real money from freelance writing. The pay wasn’t that much.
But as a student then, I was just looking for any side hustle that I can use to sustain myself.
Our agreement was that I’ll get paid #2 for every word written, with a lot of strict conditions. Hence, for every 500 words, I’ll be paid #1,000.
So, I got started with the first project but got distracted in the middle of it.
Although he gave me 24 hours to complete the project, I missed the deadline by some minutes.
And guess what? Hell was let loose…
Not only did he fail to compensate me for the work I did, he also accused me of making grammatical errors.
After an exchange of emails from both parties, I decided to let go after learning a bitter lesson.
Humiliated? I had to move on.
A blessing in disguise: How I met my MVP in freelance writing
After my encounter with this Nigerian client, I began searching thoroughly for writing opportunities where I can get paid.
I realised that it’s time to work hard to get my own clients who’ll pay me directly without any intermediary.
Yet, I was clueless.
After all, I had an experience in blogging, and have written articles for a writing agency, and possess a laptop of my own.
But, I don’t know where to start, or who to run to.
I was in this quagmire for a while.
Confused and dejected.
Then one day…
I stumbled upon a young man, who’ll later become my coach in freelance writing.
This was a Nigerian who’s been making waves as a freelance writer since he was 16 years old.
Amazingly, all he’s got were international clients who paid him in dollars, pounds and euros.
Not only that, he was so popular and respected internationally that, he was featured in Huffington Post and Forbes. (Globally recognised as top publications).
I learnt a lot from him…
My coach opened my eyes to what freelance writing truly is.
I never knew that I was labouring in vain working with this client, and I thought I was making it as a freelance writer
Through my coach, I learnt the step by step guide to setting up a real freelance writing business
He showed me how to become a contributor to top publications in the world. Today, I’ve been published in the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Middle East, Tweak Your Biz, Tech Cocktail, Engadget, Tweak Your Biz, and so on.
After meeting him, I realised the power of LinkedIn and learnt how to use it effectively
He informed me that I can earn foreign currencies as a freelance writer in Nigeria. Yes, he guided me on how to earn foreign bucks even if I live in Nigeria
I became independent. He showed me how to source for foreign clients myself without depending on Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, and so on.
He revealed the secret of expert freelance writers to me. He showed me how to get clients’ emails anywhere in the world, pitch my services to them professionally, and follow up systematically till I got responses
I can go on and on.
Indeed he’s had a tremendous impact in my writing career.
How my coach changed my freelance writing career
There’s this similitude of a Good Samaritan used by many, whenever someone does well for the other.
My coach means more than that…
He literally and single-handedly took me from confusion and dejection to becoming a six-figure freelance writer in Nigeria.
Not only that, he empowered me with the right knowledge that can stand the test of time.
After meeting my coach, I’ve been able to:
Create and design my Writer Website
Publish my first ever written book on freelance writing via Amazon
Get featured in top publications in the world
Organise a free training on freelance writing
Publish a free report on making 100k monthly as a freelance writer in Nigeria
Consistently earn six (6) figures monthly as a freelance writer in Nigeria
And so many more.
Learning from my coach was an awesome experience, and I’ll be an ingrate if I hoard the valuable tips and information learnt from him.
The tactics work, and is definitely all you need to make a living as a freelance writer in Nigeria.
Since then, I’ve been engaged in teaching others about freelance writing.
I started with my blog, and social media platforms.
Hence, I’ve received several questions and enquiries from friends, and colleagues on how to make a living as a freelance writer in Nigeria.
Truth is, most of them know that a goldmine exists in freelance writing, but don’t know how to go about it.
Yes, they are as confused as I was before I met my coach.
In most cases, I explain to them the different strategies used in freelance writing, yet I get similar questions from others.
Then, I organised a free WhatsApp training, but deleted the group almost immediately after the training.
Afterwards, I created a free report from the WhatsApp training where I detailed the lessons learnt during the training.
But since then, I’ve been asked questions such as:
How do I build my social proof
What is cold pitching?
How do I get clients’ email addresses
How do I identify businesses that need my services as a freelance writer
How do I get international clients
And so many more.
To be frank, these are areas which my free training and report couldn’t cover.
So, I came up with the idea of a course that can answer these questions in detail and many more.
Hence, the creation of my life-changing course
Discover. Write. Earn. (DWE) Course:
An Intensive Course On Freelance Writing In Nigeria
LEARN HOW TO CONSISTENTLY EARN SIX FIGURES MONTHLY AS A FREELANCE WRITER IN NIGERIA
The Discover Write Earn Course is all you need to get started as a freelance writer in Nigeria.
In the DWE Course:
In fact, the course is all you need to kick-start your career as a freelance writer in Nigeria.
The DWE Course is a 10-day course, which will be launching on Monday, 26th March 2018, and commences on Monday, 2nd April 2018.
To be a part of this amazing opportunity, and be among the particpants in this eye-opening course, do click this link now.
I will personally inform you of details of the course when it launches on Monday via WhatsApp and will send all the details needed to you. Don’t miss this for anything.
Winsome Writer Services