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How To Earn High Income As A Nigerian & West African Freelancer

Introduction:

A freelancer is an individual who works independently and offers their services to clients on a project basis, typically without long-term employment contracts. 

Freelancers are often self-employed and have the flexibility to choose their clients, projects, and working hours. They may work remotely or from their own office.

Freelancers contribute significantly to the economy of a country. 

In the United States alone, freelancers generated $1.2 trillion in earnings in 2020, as reported by Upwork and Freelancers Union.

The number of freelancers in the United States also reached 59 million in the same year accounting for 36% of the total workforce.

In this article, we’ll be sharing deeper insights into how to get started as a freelancer, the importance of high-income skills and the challenges faced by a Nigerian freelancer. 

We’ll also delve into the step-by-step processes to take to become a highly sought-after Nigerian freelancer.


What are high-income skills and which high-income skills are great for freelancing

High-income skills are specific abilities or expertise that are in high demand and command a higher earning potential in the job market. 

These skills typically require specialized knowledge, training, or experience and are highly valued by employers or clients who are willing to pay a premium for them. 

As a freelancer, offering high-income skills can significantly increase your earning potential and enhance your marketability. 

Having mentioned that, here are some examples of high-income skills that you can begin to offer as a freelancer:

1. Programming and Software Development:

If you’re proficient in programming languages like Python, Java, C++, or JavaScript.

Or you have expertise in web development, mobile and web app development, or database management.

You can offer these as a freelancer

Skills in software engineering, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are also currently in high demand and can pay you up to $4000-$10,000 on a monthly basis

No-code app building is also a recent improvement to software or app building that can help you make money, where you offer clients web and mobile apps and you build it for them without writing any code. 

Related: Easy For Newbies, the 10 Best no-code app builders in 2023

2. Digital Marketing:

In-depth knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.

Or expertise in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, or content marketing is also in huge demand as business needs these to generate customers.

If you also have the ability to analyze, do reports and optimize digital marketing campaigns, 

You can also charge a premium for these services.

3. Copywriting and Content Creation:

Exceptional writing skills for creating compelling and engaging content that drives customers to a business- is also in huge demand,

If you have knowledge of copywriting techniques to do persuasive marketing and you can write for sales materials- more business owners will seek you out.

Also, ample experience in creating high-quality blog posts, articles, and website copy, as well as email newsletters is also in high demand.

See how much I charge for copywriting here

4. Graphic Design and Visual Communication:

If you’re proficient in graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, Canva, Adobe Illustrator, Figma or InDesign.

Businesses and business owners will seek you out due to your ability to create visually appealing designs for logos, branding, marketing collateral, and user interfaces.

An average designer can charge up to $4,000 monthly for their services due to their skills in illustration, typography, or user experience (UX) design.

5. Financial Planning and Investment:

If you have expertise in financial analysis, budgeting, or financial planning for businesses.

Knowledge of investment strategies, portfolio management, or retirement planning is also well sought after by many businesses.

Experience in providing financial advice or consultancy is a skill that you can charge a premium for.

6. Project Management:

Strong organizational and leadership skills for managing multiple projects have recently seen a huge demand.

Exhibiting proficiency in project management methodologies such as Agile methodology and skills in using project management tools like Jira, and Trello are also in high demand.

This often involves your ability to coordinate teams, set timelines, inspire members to contribute to the project and ensure project success.

On the list above, these are high-income skills that you can pick up within 3 months to 6 months that can start earning you up to $4,000 or more on a monthly basis.  

But since you can do freelancing with any skill, what then is the importance of getting a high-income skill for freelancing:


The Importance of High-income Skills in Freelancing

1. You Have An Increased Earning Potential: 

High-income skills allow you to charge higher rates for your services as a freelancer. 

Since they are often in high demand, clients are willing to pay a premium for specialized expertise and valuable skills in the field.

2. Competitive Advantage: 

Having a high-income skill sets you apart from other freelancers and positions you as an expert in your field. 

This can attract more clients and give you leverage for charging premiums for high-paying projects.

3. Demand and Marketability: 

Since high-income skills are often in high demand, it means you have a steady flow of job opportunities. 

And according to the law of demand and supply, by offering sought-after skills, you increase your marketability and market value 

Which also allows you to expand your client base with ease.

4. Adaptability and Future-proofing: 

High-income skills are often aligned with emerging trends and technologies. 

By continually developing and offering these skills, you can adapt to evolving market needs and ensure long-term viability in your freelancing career.

5. Professional Growth: 

Acquiring and honing most high-income skills requires that you have a continuous approach to learning and professional development. 

This not only enhances your earning potential but also enriches your knowledge and expertise, and helps you build your character to learning leading to immense personal and professional growth.

In a nutshell, high-income skills are valuable assets for freelancers, enabling them to earn more, stand out in a competitive market, and stay relevant in an ever-changing business landscape. 

Investing in acquiring and refining these skills can significantly impact your success and financial well-being as a freelancer.


What Are Some Challenges That Can Be Faced By A Non-Foreign Freelancer (Nigerian or West African)

If you’re a Nigerian freelancer, your freelancing business is not without challenges and you need to be warned about these so you know what to expect and exactly how to meet these challenges. 

Here is a list of challenges you are most likely to encounter as a freelancer who is offering their skills in the global market:

1. Racism and Bias: 

Nigerian freelancers, like freelancers from other countries, may face discrimination or bias based on their nationality or ethnicity. 

Some clients often hold prejudiced views that can impact the opportunities of a Nigerian freelancer or the way they treat you in the freelance market.

Some of which include:

2. Underpricing of Services: 

Many clients from first-world countries may offer lower rates compared to the prevailing market rates in the freelancers’ home country. 

This may be due to a difference in the cost of living or usually, some clients seeking to exploit lower-priced services from developing countries.

3. Perception of Unprofessionalism or Language Skills: 

Some clients often hold biases or assumptions about the professionalism and language skills of Nigerian freelancers. 

Some assume Nigerian freelancers of freelancers from non-English speaking countries have terrible skills when it comes to speaking English language. 

And it can manifest as scepticism about your ability to communicate effectively or deliver high-quality work, particularly in areas such as copywriting or content writing.

4. Payment Challenges: 

Freelancers in Nigeria may encounter difficulties in receiving timely and secure payments from international clients.

Issues like payment delays, non-payment, or complicated payment methods can adversely affect your cash flow and financial stability.

5. Limited Access to Opportunities: 

Nigerian freelancers may face barriers in accessing a wide range of freelance opportunities, especially those exclusive to specific geographic regions or platforms that favour freelancers from certain countries.

6. Infrastructure and Connectivity: 

In some cases, the challenges you’ll encounter are related to internet connectivity, power outages, or inadequate technological infrastructure that can hinder your productivity and efficiency.

7. Limited Support Systems: 

Compared to freelancers in developed countries, Nigerian freelancers have limited access to supportive networks, professional associations, or mentorship programs that can help you with enhancing your skills, navigate challenges in the industry, and expand your professional networks.

Suggested Solutions To Become A Highly Sought-After Nigerian Freelancer Despite These Challenges

To increase your competitive advantage in the global marketplace and make sure you’re still well sought after and paid properly, here are some ways to go that can greatly improve your chances

1. Enhance Your Skills: 

Invest in continuous learning and skill development to become an expert in your chosen field. 

Acquiring higher proficiency in these high-income skills can help you differentiate yourself and command higher rates. 

Stay updated with industry trends, attend webinars or online courses, and seek certifications to showcase your expertise.

2. Build a Strong Portfolio: 

Develop a strong portfolio that showcases your best work and highlights your capabilities. 

Make sure to include diverse projects that demonstrate your range of skills and expertise. 

If you’re new to freelancing and you need to build your portfolio, consider offering pro bono or discounted work initially to gain valuable experience and build a strong portfolio.

3. Network and Collaborate: 

Attempt to engage with other freelancers and professionals in your industry through online platforms, forums, or social media groups. 

Networking can help you access opportunities, learn from other’s experiences, and gain valuable referrals. 

Collaborating with fellow freelancers can lead to partnerships, shared resources, and increased exposure.

4. Market Yourself Effectively: 

Try to create a professional website or online portfolio to showcase your services, portfolio, and testimonials. 

Use social media platforms to promote your work, showcase your working processes, share industry insights, and engage with potential clients. 

Craft a compelling pitch and customize it for each client, emphasizing your unique value proposition and how you can solve their specific problems.

5. Research and Set Competitive Rates: 

Conduct thorough research on market rates for your skills and experience level. 

Set competitive rates that align with your expertise while considering the cost of living in your country. 

Be confident in communicating your value to clients, explaining why your services are worth the investment.

6. Communicate Effectively: 

Enhance your communication skills to overcome any assumptions or biases about professionalism or language skills. 

Focus on clarity, promptness, and professionalism in all your interactions with clients. 

Good communication builds trust and can help dispel any preconceived notions.

7. Diversify Your Client Base and client Acquisition Strategies: 

While international clients can be valuable, also focus on building relationships with local or regional clients.

Also, don’t limit yourself to freelancing platforms, seek out local businesses, startups, or organizations that may require your services. 

This diversification can help you mitigate the challenges of underpricing and biases from certain clients.

8. Use Secure Payment Methods: 

When getting paid for your work, try to utilize secure and reliable payment platforms that offer protection against non-payment or fraud. 

Research and choose platforms with good reviews and a track record of supporting freelancers’ payment needs ahead so you can create ease of payment for your client.

9. Seek Supportive Communities: 

Look for online communities, forums, or professional associations that are specifically catering to freelancers in Nigeria or West Africa. 

These communities can provide valuable support, advice, and mentorship opportunities. 

Additionally, consider joining global freelance communities to expand your network and access a broader range of resources.

10. Provide Outstanding Customer Service: 

Go above and beyond to provide exceptional customer service to your clients and don’t just limit your relationship to the work you did. 

Deliver high-quality work on time, communicate effectively, and proactively address any concerns or issues. 

Satisfied clients are more likely to refer you to others and provide positive testimonials.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, embarking on a freelancing career opens up opportunities for independence and flexibility.

However, as a Nigerian freelancer, you may encounter unique challenges such as bias, underpricing, and limited access to opportunities.

To overcome these hurdles and become a highly sought-after freelancer, it’s crucial to enhance your skills, build a strong portfolio, network and collaborate with fellow professionals, market yourself effectively, and set competitive rates.

Additionally, communicating effectively, diversifying your client base, using secure payment methods, seeking supportive communities, and providing exceptional customer service are vital steps towards success.

By continually developing your skills, expanding your network, and staying resilient, you can overcome challenges and thrive in the global freelancing market.

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Temitayo Michael

Clients and customers acquisition expert. Digital Marketing Freelancer and copywriter. Lover of Christ and a fan of Lhasa Apsos

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2 Responses

  1. Bryan says:

    Hi temi, kudos for the write up. Great content out there. If i am to drop few cents i will suggest you write for a streamlined audience. Lets say Nigerian youths…if thats the case…then the figures and quotations will have to be 90% relatable. 10% might be on top earnings but are those 10% your audience? I believe if you can get it streamlined then you are off to a great market. Much love.

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