The last meeting of Entrepreneur Café Nairobi was merged with a meeting of freelancers from
Upwork. It’s an online platform connecting people looking for services, with those who have the
relevant skills. Here is what we learned from them:
1. Be personal!
The freelancers bid for certain projects and hope to get the contract. Sometimes more than 50
people apply for one job. If you want to get it, you need to be personal and stress your specific and unique talents.
The same applies for entrepreneurs, because people will not buy from robots. They will buy from people. If your business plan, your business card and your portfolio are deeply personal and unique, people will remember you better and trust you more.
Part of being personal is specialisation. We discussed before, that you can’t sell everything to everyone. The more specific your niche, the higher the potential. You will also eliminate a lot of
If you are a freelancer on Upwork, you may focus on economic analysis for start-ups in Europe in the tech sector. If you are an entrepreneur, you may target families in sub-Saharan Africa in the lower middle class with your educational material. Those are simply examples, but it is important not to try selling everything to anyone.
3. Effort, effort, effort!
Two freelancers from the meeting usually apply with edited videos for the jobs they want to get. And even if they don’t get the job, they always get an impressed comment for that. When they hand in their work, they want to make sure that it’s the best.
Entrepreneurship is not a joy ride. It needs crazy hard work and full power all the time. If your business model or your product are average, there is no reason to pay you. Put a lot of effort, personality and love in your projects and your chances for success are much higher.
4. Be choosy!
One freelancer told us, that he may apply for only two jobs, but he will make sure to get them. Instead of applying for fifty low-paying, not very interesting jobs. It is critical to be choosy. Being personal and unique will help you to do so, because then the offers will be less, but will pay off higher.
Whether it is a contract, a tender or an investor: Be picky and think twice, whether it is really the right thing for you, whether it will take you forward and whether you will benefit in more ways than just financially.
Back to hard work! Successful freelancers and entrepreneurs always give out more than the client expected. This will install trust and make them come back. It helps to get great references and referrals. We had a great time learning from each other and expanding our horizons. Thanks to Shipra from Upwork and the host iHub.
By: Laura Kunzig, City Mayor, Nairobi