Kenyans on Freelancer – Part 3

If you’re just stepping in, please have a look at the first and second parts.

My GAF ( account has just hit the $100 mark and I’m pretty excited! I’m still very winded, and inside my head, I can’t stop dancing. I’m doing some dancing outside my head too, and quite a bit of screaming. Luckily, my house is soundproof, so no one has come to my rescue … yet.

I didn’t have any online work today, so I caught up with an offline client [though ironically, I needed to do the project with internet] and spent some time boosting my chances of getting hired on GAF. One way to do that is by sitting exams.

Relax, they last just 15 minutes and are multiple choice.

For writers, there are only two exams you can sit. There’s the English proficiency exam, which anyone from 8-4-4 can sit. I took 332 seconds and scored 98%. I’m sure they rigged it, because I don’t see how I got anything wrong. The test costs $5 by the way.

The second test you can sit is the Freelancer test. It’s free … and I failed it 3 times before I passed. Don’t ask me how I failed, just chill in the FAQ section before you start. You’re allowed to sit the test as many times as you like, but there’s a catch. If you have no feedback, you can only do the test once. After feedback, you get 6 tries for every feedback.

There are over 20 tests for accountants, designers, programmers and etc. But you can only sit 3 exams a day, so by failing the same one three times, I was really pushing it. Lucky for me there are no other tests for writers, so I wasn’t missing anything.

Perhaps I should explain feedback. After you’ve finished a project and been paid, you get an option of reviewing your boss and vice versa. You have to do this within 90 days. When you give feedback, it remains hidden until the other person responds [or until 14 days pass]. Your boss [client] can choose to block your feedback if it’s negative, but I don’t know if freelancers have the same option.

The more feedback you have, the better your chances of getting new projects. The top freelancer currently has almost 1500 reviews, and he’s been on the site since 2007. He’s a graphic designer. Number 2 has around 1420, is a designer as well, and has been on GAF since 2004. I think it’s a girl.

As I was browsing the stats, I noticed something. Despite being on GAF for years and having earned more than anyone else, they still lose bids, and they still get jobs worth $40. I don’t know if this makes me mean, but I found that very consoling.

I’ve learnt some of the GAF tricks, but I’m sure I’ll learn more every day. I’m trying not to cry every time I lose a bid, or to stalk the profile of the writer who won my lost bid. I’m learning that some people play dirty on the site, and that it’s immensely satisfying when you get the last laugh … which I’m still waiting on. It’s coming; it’s kharma.

I’m learning not to bid randomly. You can use a strategy so you can get paid without necessarily being a driven slave. And I’m learning that you don’t have to like a client to work for them, which is a massive lesson for me, especially when a potential client asks you where you’re from, and when you say Kenya, they ask, ‘What’s that?’  I did a search for Kenyan freelancers on GAF, and got over 1500 hits. There are a lot of us on there, and we’re all pretty active. It’s interesting to know.

…  to be continued …

Crystal Ading’ is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through

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  1. hi, this is good info. am new on elance and freelancer by the way, got no bids on elance yet. send some myway if you are overwhelmed ;-). keep us posted. nice job.

  2. wairimukuria says:

    Hi, iam encouraged by your post. i joined GAF in 2009 but got really frustrated by lack of jobs. i have gotten back in this week and iam more determined to push through. i had to reset my password since i had forgotten it and guess what? i found to mails in my inbox from employers who had offered me jobs in 2009! can you believe it? i wish i had more patience then but no need for tears now am ready to do it!

  3. wairimukuria says: the way, i failed three times on the freelancer test 🙁

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