For the readers that don’t know, Linda Cherotich is a writer and freelancer extraordinaire. She is available for hire on www.freelancer.com and is already making a decent amount of money working online. Today, we get to learn all her secrets.
Q. You’re quite an achiever, tell us about you
Linda Cherotich is a young Kenyan woman with little to say but a lot to write about. I’m somewhat an introvert. Above all, I have an independent spirit.
Q. How do you make money online?
I write all kinds of articles for online clients; most of them on social issues. I have constant clients who fill my days with work.
Q. How did you start?
WOW…that’s a long story. I have always been reading and writing but until I went to college I considered it a hobby; my favorite pass time. It was in campus that I started writing seriously, being a firm believer in giving my all to what I love. This was the first time I had paid close attention to my writing passion and I sharpened this skill all through my schooling. I wrote short stories here and there and I kept a daily journal for three years. Towards the end of my fourth year, I discovered the potential that the internet had and I decided to exploit it. That was a year ago and I have never looked back
Q. What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
The biggest problems I faced were internet connection, personal organization, dealing with internet clients who didn’t pay me, among others. It was very hard at the beginning and I recall wondering if I was really up to the challenge. Before I got myself my own internet connection it was hell on earth. The first few months were hard but in no time I was on my feet. I had to discipline myself and make time for work everyday. Before these challenges I was very naïve about the market and freelancing as a career, but there is only one way to learn…take the plunge.
Q. What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur in Kenya?
In this field, getting a good client can be hard; akin to sucking blood out of a stone especially if you are a beginner. You really have to prove yourself and demonstrate that you have the abilities the client is looking for.
Q. What was critical to your success?
Success can only be brought by a change of attitude, and I had to learn that.
Q. What about the competition and marketing, do you need to advertise, print flyers participate to conferences or is it mostly word of mouth?
Since the business is internet based, the only way to advertise is having a profile that outshines the rest. Developing trust with a client is crucial to your success when you are beginning
Q. Do you think that in order to “make it big” online you have to live in a Western country? Or does Kenya offer more or less the same opportunities?
Not necessarily, but you have to agree that they have a wider market and better options than us. Some clients, for example will not hire service providers from developing countries and if they do they will pay a fraction of what they would have paid providers from their own countries. Then, there is the payment method issue, which makes it a liability for them to hire service providers from this part of the world. In order to make it big as a freelancer in Kenya, you have to work twice as hard as a freelance writer in the west.
Q. Where do you see yourself and your business (es) in the next 5 years?
I’m going to be a force to be reckoned with…watch this space
Q. If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Maybe I would have started earlier than I did, but I guess everything has its day and time. I never really knew a lot about online writing before I went into it, so I would read more about online writing.
Q. What advice do you have for internet business entrepreneurs in Kenya?
First, consult with people who have tread the path before you; they have the experience and you can learn from them. Second, be realistic, do not expect too much too fast. Third, be positive and fourth, since you need to have a skill to make it in your internet based business, take your time to develop them. If you have to take a course please do, it will be worth your while.