How to Apply for a Freelance Writing Post and ACTUALLY nail it!

Nailing a freelance post is all about tact, tact and some more tact. Editors set quite some bar, and we all hate them for that, but unless you are ready to rise high and above it, you are roast goose.

Late last year, I had to hire a few extra hands to help me push some work. For that, I floated a few ads all over the place and awaited the applications. Did I receive applications? Yes I did, and in good numbers. Suffice to say, I was quite the happy man. But all that changed when I actually got down to reading the applications. Long story short, most of the applications were a real pain in the ***. So good fellas, grab yourselves pencils and some paper, this is a 101.

Tip 1: Professionalism

Yes, it is freelance and you run your own schedules and such, but freelance writing is a JOB like any other. Your application MUST reflect professionalism. No fancy fonts, no fancy styles and no fancy formatting; stick to plain old formal. No editor will hire your sorry self if you manage to sell that professionalism eludes you.

Tip 2: A story for an application counts…NOT

Editors and hiring managers are a busy lot. Short put applications that hit the nail on the head are quite attractive. Do the math.

Tip 3: Portfolio, Portfolio, Portfolio

Samples are quite IMPORTANT. In fact, an application is not complete without one or two samples. Refrain from sending in everything on your hard drive. One or two first-rate samples will reflect well on your application.

Tip 4: Grammar

Having grammatical errors and careless mistakes in an application is just SAD.

Tip 5: Not following Instructions

It speaks volumes about YOU!

Well, that’s about it, five tips to get you started. Now go and write a short interesting application, throw in two samples, check grammar, check again, make sure you are within the remits of the availed instructions, mail your application and pray.

See you around.

How to Withdraw Money from Online Freelancer Sites in Kenya

The life of a freelancer can be quite unnerving. It is a life fast-paced, clogged to near-suffocation by deadlines and unrelenting emails from worried clients. So it was all pomp and celebration when I made my first $ online. Well, it was nothing big, just $75 from a writing gig. All the same, it was good enough a wand to throw a few rounds of latte. First things first, I had to withdraw my earnings.

I made my $75 in less than a week at Freelancer. You have to wait for 15 days before your first withdrawal is processed; has something to do with security reasons or concerns of some sort. That was not an issue though and soon enough, the 15-day waiting period was confined to the past. But still, I did not have my money.

No, Freelancer had processed everything right but the amount sat jailed in my PayPal account. Withdrawing to the said platform was a grave mistake I should have known better to avoid. Technically speaking, PayPal suffers from multiple organ failure as long as the Kenyan market is concerned. Luckily, a friend of a friend living abroad came to my aid and I got my earnings, though painfully lesser than $75 via Western Union. Boy, oh boy was I DISCOURAGED. I gave myself an indefinite break.

Then one late afternoon, someone special mentioned Moneybookers, which I gather is currently being married off to Skrill. She also mentioned another payment platform, the first of its kind, that is based right here in Kenya. I decided to give both a try. I set up a Moneybookers account, which I must admit was very simple and straightforward. Then I moved on and created an account with ePay-Kenya, which also was simple and relaxed.

Simply stated, ePay-Kenya allows you to withdraw funds straight from Moneybookers to your M-Pesa account. The whole process takes less than an hour (as long as you do not withdraw at night).

Well, it is at the formative stages and the whole thing is somewhat running on manual, plus ePay has to rely on third party gateways to process the payments. That should explain the ten-minute-to-one-hour wait. Overall, it is quite effective and probably the only system in Kenya that allows you to withdraw instantly from online freelancer sites through Moneybookers. All that you need is an active Moneybookers account for clients to make payments and a verified ePay-Kenya account.

Nonetheless, there are fees that will need meeting. Before withdrawing to M-Pesa, you will have to make a deposit to your ePay account from Moneybookers. Every deposit attracts a 10 percent fee that is claimed from the amount deposited. There is also a 3 percent fee taken by Moneybookers. Finally, to withdraw to M-Pesa, you have to part with a $3 fee. For illustration purposes, let us withdraw $50 you supposedly made this week.

  • 10% of $50 = $5 (By ePay)
  • 3% of $50 = $1.5 (By Moneybookers)
  • $3 M-Pesa charge (By ePay)

Amount that goes into your pocket = $50 – $5 -$3 – $1.5 = $40.5

With the garbage that is our economy, the hypothetical $40.5 in hand is better than $50 held up somewhere on the internet. I did what I love doing most and complained about the fees. One seemingly well-trained fellow nicely informed me that fees would eventually come down with the expected expansion in membership. Projections by ePay pegged that at about 6 months from now, hopefully. I later learnt that the seemingly expensive rates are due to high fees charged by the aforementioned third party gateways.

On the bright side, the customer care team is on point; quick, courteous and well composed. All is not lost if you have some money trapped away in PayPal. EPay-Kenya has a way of withdrawing the same. For this, you will need to contact them directly at epay-kenya.com

Well, I will continue using the service if for nothing else, its reliability. Of course, I will be looking forward to lower fees.

Ok mateys, that there is how to withdraw money online if you are a freelancer in Kenya. As a certain literature tutor used to quote, there are many ways of killing a rat, so if you are privy to any other way, I would be delighted to put a few words to that as well.

Star gazing, Cats and Hedgehogs

Every so often, and at what you would call un-Godly hours, I look up to the heavens in the hopes of locating at least one or two of the many constellations people spoke nineteen to the dozen about in Astronomy. And no, I am not that overly-enthusiastic, telescope-in-hand stargazer who claims to know everything there is about Venus, Mars and everything heavenly. I am that other type, you know, the simple notepadin-hand type.

The night was tranquil; clear skies, quiet, warm and with a slight zephyr; the perfect night for stargazing. After several strong coffees and tossing a heavier-than-necessary scarf around my neck, I led myself to the ‘observatory’; an abandoned tarmac parking area located to the furthest East of my residence. I lit a stick, smoked in strong and then looked up. In the exact moment of struggling to isolate constellations from billions of sparkle, instinct whispered to my ear that I wasn’t alone.

An old wrought-iron gate that appeared to have been lastly used during the pre-colonial times stood to my left. On the other side of the gate stood a cat, frozen, cautious and seemingly, a bit out of orientation. Across the road and from the other side of a thick, well-trimmed natural fence, fierce dogs barked away. To serve no other reason but that of illustration, we shall call our cat Ka-Puss. I hate cats.

Ka-Puss is no fool. He took time to survey the situation while I sat put as if affixed to the ground. After a while, Ka-Puss reluctantly ventured towards the gate, but for a few steps. Again, he/she/it took time to determine whether it was safe to venture further. Let me mention that I am a very peaceful person. As such, I held still and sat solid you would have wagered that I was sculptured from marble. But Ka-Puss stayed put, surveying and looking around. Finally, probably after figuring out that I am the peaceful being I claim, he crept, as if staking prey, to the furthest side of the gate and cautiously, almost without breathing, squeezed through the bars. Once on my side, he zoomed away faster than I can remember.

I went back to stargazing only to be interrupted, two or so minutes later by the arrival of the night’s second guest; a hedgehog! Yes, apart from rogue students, you also get to see hedgehogs at and around UoN. And yes, I know what a hedgehog looks like. We will call this one Ki-Nose.

Now this is what surprises me. Ki-Nose knows no caution and if he does, then he is dumber than dumb itself. This is what he did: Ki-Nose approached my position from the right side of the parking lot. He came in fast, carelessly and as if blindfolded, passed right by my FEET! I must say I was tempted to stomp on all that stupidity. I laughed instead.

After which I pulled hard on my then dimming cig and looked up. Clouds! Damn Nairobi weather!

Also, steal me a telescope.

Cute, She Just Stood There, and She Was The One

We have been together, thro’ ups and down, together from day one,
When she visited, unannounced, a few past, a few minutes past one,
She was sexy, she was cute, she just stood there, and she was the one,
I would not have another for her; no, none, we would always be one,
Every day, every minute, every step, everywhere, put together, as one
She loves me, and me her, nobody can keep us apart, no one, none,

I romance her, I care for her, I reveal to her the treasures of my soul,
Together, she gets the ink drops to quench her thirst; I became her all,
She is my sanctuary, she is my comfort, she is my energy, she is my all,
Hands in hands, I am her Bonnie, she my Clyde, her and me, against all,
She always loves it, it when I ride a finger over her; she says give me all
I do not hold back, we play it like ball, we are perfect, it is always a go-al,

She never will leave, she promised, she points out, I got her caked, me,
I will never leave her, I promised, she is mine to keep, forever, for me,
She has many forms, she has even more styles, she is wild, even to me,
She is addictive, very addictive, she is my love; she’s Written Art to me,
I lay her on paper, with my pen, I drive her crazy, she says, go go, do me
Put me on anything, I will write, the Written Word I’ll hold onto, for me,