2019 was a big year for me as a remote Nigerian freelancer, I finally decided to base in Abuja and get my things in order. I traveled more and spent more time with family. I also was able to attend a friend’s wedding. I slept in a fancy hotel without worrying about the cost of everything. I had fun.
But why last year was exciting was because it was my full year I worked as remote freelancer by choice and freelanced for clients that I met only online. I have dabbled into this freelancing for three years now but last year was the first year of having high paying clients and deliberately pitching for work online and not in the office or face to face. It also was the year I decided to start my digital agency which is still in development. I also mentored two students on the remote Nigerian freelancer path and I`m glad both are doing well.
It has been a year of real highs and lows, good and bad,I worked damn hard to flex and afford this new life, I saw my efforts for the work I did pay off, the long hours spent looking for a stable power supply, a good position to sit in the room, working alone at home, for the sleepless nights and the turn of my general health. But I also had mostly periods where I was broke and my baby girl can attest to the time she had to bail me out. To my amazing and ever-supportive family, and I also got rundown and sick more times than is acceptable.
It is from all of this that I got my experience, my mistakes and successes have taught me some valuable lessons. But, because of this, I don’t wish I had done anything differently as everything has taught me so much.
And isn’t that what is all about?
So without further ado, These are my lessons As Remote Nigerian freelancer
Take payment in advance. As a Naija boy who is still starting, this should be the most important takeaway from this article. Let me tell you clients hate paying you, even if they are happy with your work. So my advice make sure to take payment in advance after the agreement and all the pleasantries are done. Then you know you have settled the burning tingle in the back of your mind about not getting paid after the gig.
I have a client who owes me a lot of money which was due to be paid before December. This was money I counted on for my Christmas trip home and this caused me not to reach Abakaliki and the flexing money to do “part after parte”. My December wasn’t as “detty” as I wanted it.
I also wasn’t able to buy the items I need to help with my business. There were also medical appointments (and pay for) that I wasn’t able to do. Ruined my favorite holiday and taught me a very valuable lesson.
Lesson learned the hard way, payment me upfront from today.
A contract helps, but it’s just words. Endeavor to have a contract of terms with every Single Client. It doesn’t matter if the gig is small, big, etc. Make sure to lock it down. The contract exists to lay out the terms of your partnership, it covers handling intellectual property and conduct on both sides. It’s highly unlikely you will ever use it to sue a client (LOL who gets that time and money to sue you for that!) but it is there to refer to for your base agreement.
To Be Continued.