Being your own boss as a freelancer

You need to fully get your hustle on and sell yourself whenever you get the chance. Click To Tweet

Welcome to the freelance life.

First off, I’ve noticed a Nigerian trend where too many young people are obsessed with the title of CEO on their name cards, and less committed to undertaking the hard work that comes with working for oneself. In an economy that may or may not be in a recession, the conventional employment sector is overburdened as too many people clamor for scarce resources. For some others, the strings of a 9-to-5 or round-the-clock job working for someone else is just not appealing.

Let’s be straight up, here. Freelancing is not an easy path to navigate but there are serious perks to it if you’re actually good at what you do, and if you’re prepared to put yourself out there. There is such a wide range of freelance occupations which includes writers, graphic designers, animators, accountants, MUAs, hair stylists, recruiters, lawyers, models, real estate agents and more.

Statistics tell us that about a third of all working Americans are freelancers. In several parts of Africa, we can expect that more people are also taking up freelance work. There are several perks to working as a freelancer:

  • Your time is flexible
  • You’re your own boss
  • You get to select the projects that interest you

All that sounds super great, so let’s balance it out. There is a downside…there is no guaranteed income stream. This is true especially when you’re just starting out. It means you need to fully get your hustle on and sell, sell, sell yourself whenever you get the chance. Some periods may be a lot better than others. Sometimes, you’re absolutely swamped with work and at other times, you’re almost begging for work.

How to boss it?


Whenever you meet new people or talk to old friends, tell them about what you do. People are always looking for freelancers but you wouldn’t know if you don’t spark up the conversation.

Be super organized

It’s important to respond to clients in a timely manner and to keep adequate records. It helps to have a to-do list and to set hours when you must get things done.

Brand yourself online and offline

Use social media to showcase your skills and highlight your personal brand. Work on a splendid offline portfolio too, get all your marketing tools in check.

Look for opportunities on social media

Forget looking only at the traditional sources! I personally have been exposed to more opportunities on social media. Twitter is a great tool to find work and engage with other freelancers as yourself.

I personally love the freedom that comes with being able to plan around my own time, to travel while I work, to work at odd hours. Just remember, you need to be practical about your goals and expectations, and you need to put considerable time and effort in to get to your ideal place.

Kindly share your tips and experiences from working as a freelancer with us.

Job hunting 101: 6 survival tips for the aspiring Motherland Mogul

Are you feeling personally victimised by the job application process? These tips are for you Click To Tweet

Anybody here feel personally victimised by the job application process? Yeah, me too. I thought having a degree would mean people would come knocking at my door, begging me to work with them. Wishful thinking.

I’ve come to realise the job is not going to find you, you’ve got to go to look for it. The process can be so tiring but it has to be done, you know, if you want food on the table or that life you’ve always dreamt of. First-time job seekers, this one is for you; welcome to job hunting 101.

The devil is in the details

Your C.V is the first thing your potential employers will see. They need to be able to pick out key highlights of your professional experience at a glance. It is also important to streamline your C.V, what about it says ‘I am perfect for this job‘.

Remove irrelevant details. Nobody needs to know you got mad skills with the knitting needles unless you’re applying for a job in the weaving industry. If that’s the case, make sure your portfolio shows all you can do. Make sure your professional accomplishments are distinguishable, that’s how you get your brand out there.

Your cover letter is just as important. Be prepared to write countless versions, each tailored for the company you are applying to. Research the company. Add small details, such as why you like the ethics of the company or how you would be a great fit. This lets them know that you aren’t sending a generic cover letter but that the interest is real.

Apply, Apply, Apply!!!

The application process can be slow and tedious. Set aside a day to focus on sending out applications. The truth is that not everyone will respond. Don’t give up! There is no harm in putting your C.V out there, it is more likely to do good than harm.

Be proactive, drop your CV off at places you are interested in. Don’t worry about your pride, she can’t get you a job, determination though? She is your best friend. You’ve got to be prepared to do whatever it takes to get your foot in the door.

Don’t underestimate the power of resources like LinkedIn. Create a detailed and notable profile that will make you stand out as a viable candidate. You can also use LinkedIn to reach out to professionals in your field to check if they have any openings or ask for advice. The resources are endless, use them to your best advantage.

Apply for your dream job, apply for the practical jobs. The key thing here is to never stop applying. I repeat. Never stop applying.

There is no harm in putting your C.V out there, it is more likely to do good than harm Click To Tweet

Be patient

Easier said than done, right?

Companies are more likely to not respond to your application and somehow actually receiving a rejection email is more comforting than deafening silence. Don’t be discouraged, something’s gotta give. Something will give!

The worst expectation you can have when you start applying is that job offers will flow in constantly. Getting your first job could take months but it will happen, it’s not impossible but it’s not easy either.

Just keep swimming

Getting a job after university or after a slump is hard. Especially when it feels as if everyone around you is getting great jobs, moving forward and leaving you behind. This is on top of the actual overwhelming feeling of job applications.

People sit and tell you to get a job as if you can wake up, snap your fingers and have it. The external pressure is suffocating. Remember, don’t compare journeys, your path is just that, yours. Comparing yourself to your friends won’t get you a job, it will just make you miserable. Focus on what’s important and go get it.

Comparing yourself to your friends won't get you a job, it will just make you miserable Click To Tweet

Go the extra mile

At some point, the job hunt will make you feel like you are going crazy. You’ll find yourself applying to jobs that seem out of your field. And that is okay!

Look at job opportunities that may require you to step out of the traditional thoughts of how your career should look. Each experience should inform and be a stepping stone for the next.

Connection is key

People like to make you feel that asking for help when looking for a job is shameful. Nobody got time for that. Put your pride back in your pocket, you don’t need her. Network and connect. Jobs are often about who know as much as you having the necessary skills for them.

It is key to keep contact with people in your industry, even if it is with your peers or with someone you once interned for. Keep yourself on their mind, so when opportunities arise they think of you first. When someone sees a job that they may not be available for or isn’t in their field, they can refer you.

Make and keep strong genuine connections. Connect with as many people as you can and stay in touch, help others out, the path to employment isn’t one you have to walk alone.

Recently graduated? How to make unemployment work for you

anthea malwandle unemployed jobseeker

In recent years it has become common to find yourself unemployed after graduating. How you spend those few months in unemployment (or years if we are keeping it all the way real), could add a lot of value to your development. Use that time to invest in yourself and begin the journey of personal branding. Before you tune out, these overused buzzwords are always relevant, especially considering the changing nature of the workplace.

To quote Bryan Kramer; “…your personal brand is how you appear to the world. Different than self-promotion, personal branding represents a full-time commitment to defining yourself as a true thought-leader within your industry”. So, here are a few tips to get you started.

Position yourself near the ‘central nodes’ of networks

The most common piece of advice you will get is, network. It is useful to remember that when it comes to networking you must think quality over quantity. When you are just starting out, reach out to bigger or more established brands (companies or people) that you wish to learn from.

LinkedIn co-founder and the ‘most connected man in Silicon Valley’, Reid Hoffman helped shape my thinking in this area. Reid explains that the most effective networks are built when you connect yourself near the ‘central nodes’ of the spaces you want to be in. ‘Central nodes’ here refers to the most influential areas within your networks. Trust me, to avoid endless meetings that ultimately go nowhere, you should be picky. Take time to research key influencers in the spaces that you are interested in and reach out to them.

Ensure your networks are usable

Once you know who you want to, you need to build trust and goodwill with them. This is in order to turn them into contacts that you can actually use. One way to build this relationship is to find out if there is an area they need help with that you can add value to. Show them the quality of your work.

People are far more likely to become usable contacts in the future when you have established a mutually beneficial relationship.

Know your hustle. Know your value

While learning the landscape of the industry you are trying to position yourself in is important, you also must understand how you fit into that space. You need to be sure of the value you bring, and be able to articulate it clearly. It may seem old fashioned but it would be a good idea to sit down and write your personal value proposition. When you’re through,  mould it into a short elevator pitch.

What’s your background? What are your best qualities? What are your strengths? What is your business approach? Do you have any notable successes that speak to the opportunity in front of you? Once you know what you are good at, be able to boldly and clearly communicate it. My advice? As the saying goes, “Keep it humble with a hint of Kanye.”

Mentor your weaknesses

Having a mentorship is a tried and tested way to keep yourself motivated and accountable. However, the relationship is only as beneficial as you allow it to be. Often there is a temptation to put your best foot forward when dealing with a mentor. After all, you can’t have your idol think he/she is wasting their time on you right? We all have areas we need to grow in, so make sure you open yourself up to advice in these areas.

Start something

It almost doesn’t matter what it is; a blog, a book club, a weekly Google hangout, just make sure you create a space for you to learn, grow and focus your passions. Time is your most valuable asset during this period, and that combined with your passion and skill is a formula for a fulfilling way to get through your time at home.

It also helps to show future employers that you are able to take initiative.

Good luck!