“Freelancing is the best thing in my life!” You’ve seen and heard similar lines, and you’ve wondered why you don’t share the sentiment. There are a thousand reasons why freelancing might feel challenging, but by the end of this piece, you’ll be armed with surefire ways to stay motivated as a Freelancer in Nigeria.
No doubt, working as a freelancer can be liberating, rewarding, comfortable, unique, and just great. This isn’t always the case, though. What do you do when you’re just not feeling it? How do you cope with the stress of rejection and unfavourable conditions? How do you manage when you start doubting your decision ever to become a freelancer?
Freelancing in Nigeria
Freelancing gets hard sometimes, especially if you are a freelancer in Nigeria. Being your boss is not all gold and roses as people make it out to be. There’s no boss to get pissed at you if you don’t achieve the set daily goals. There are no corporate rules to inspire or force you to do your job. You’re just there wondering how it went from fun to frustrating.
You’re not alone. It could be terrifying not knowing where the next gig is coming from when you’re new to the platform. And by the time you’ve sent multiple proposals on different platforms with no response, you will be tempted to give up. But ask anyone; giving up never solves a problem.
In this article, you’ll find some tips that you can experiment with before figuring out what works for you. However, experience has shown that once you can achieve the first tip, the rest are just pieces of cake.
8 Easy Ways to Stay Motivated as a Freelancer in Nigeria
1. Focus on who you want to be
Motivation can be difficult if you’re focusing on the wrong thing. It’s normal to get stuck listing everything you have to do for the day or the week. Sometimes, this list gets so overwhelming that you completely ignore it altogether. The solution to this is to remind yourself of who you want to become.
Why did you decide to start freelancing in Nigeria? What do you do as a freelancer in Nigeria?
You’ll realize that the plan was never to find work and get paid when you do this. There’s something much more important than that. I want to be a father that my children look up to because I can provide for them. The goal is to be the son that took a burden off mom’s shoulders. I want to be the most sought-after freelance web developer in my state.
There’s always something more significant than making money. Once you can identify it, you’ll realize how much easier it is to keep moving, no matter how slow.
That’s your motivation.
2. Get comfortable hearing and saying, “NO”
Some people are so scared of rejection. So much that they avoid any potential rejection situation at all costs, this is not an effective work ethic, especially as a freelancer in Nigeria. Know this and know peace.
Your proposals will be ignored. Some interviews won’t go as beautifully as you imagined. Some offers will make you feel undervalued. All of these are normal. You only need to remind yourself that no one is to blame.
You may not be a perfect fit for every job you apply to; it’d be suspicious if everyone loves your profile. That should indicate that you need to learn more about selecting jobs and possibly handling objections. Remember that you can also say no to clients when you’re not comfortable with the offer. It would help if you didn’t have to work on something that makes you feel underpaid. If you don’t think it’s worth it, say No, politely of course, and move on to the next job.
Most times, rejection is redirection. And accepting that “NO” is a valid response is a valuable skill to have.
3. Dedicate time to getting better
The fancy word for this is “upskilling”. Freelancing is not and should not be about getting paid only. Think about it. Is there any skill on freelance platforms that is immune to change over time? I strongly doubt that.
Here’s something you might not know: most of your clients keep tabs on these changes. They might not know exactly what the changes imply, but they’ll know the questions to ask that would require you to mention those changes. If you can’t, it is automatically assumed that you’re not conversant with changes in your field.
Follow trends in your industry, invest in online courses, and attend workshops or webinars. You could be exposed to a new coding language, plagiarism tool, SEO plugin, marketing automation tool, collaboration tools, design manager, social media trick, etc. The list is endless. When clients perceive you as a professional, either from your proposal or your profile, you won’t be needing much motivation. The invites will keep flowing like water in a stream.
This isn’t just about satisfying clients either. It’s about you too. First, if your goal is to be the most sought-after freelancer in your field, this is a surefire way to get there. Then, if you love what you do – you’ll feel happy learning all the paths you can be better.
Curiosity and the willingness to grow are the most effective ways to stay motivated as a Freelancer in Nigeria. You’ll get comfortable sharing your experience and achievements with your network. There’ll be something relevant to mention while writing your proposals on any freelance platform. You’ll get a better sense of creating unique projects or contracts that make you stand out. And eventually, you’ll draw the proper attention to your skill and your services.
4. Practice self-affirmations
Affirmations mean saying positive things out loud to yourself. “I’m amazing”, “I can handle any project on infographic design”, “I’m good enough to make $2000 per hour” (okay, maybe that’s a stretch… or is it?). The more specific you can get, the better. The mind gets tricky sometimes. You could feel like you won’t do a good job or you don’t deserve to earn as much as you want. You might also feel like you need to compete with upcoming freelancers.
Freelancing is not a competition. As long as you know the services you offer and the results you can produce, Put a number on it, and stick to that number. You’re worth it!
Not a lot of people believe in this habit. That’s okay. But if you have the slightest feeling that it could do something for you, then try it. Get a mirror if you want, and watch yourself say those lines into existence.
5. Understand your environment
The life of a Freelancer in Nigeria is a unique one. Ideally, you should have two critical things as a freelancer: 24-hour access to light and parallel internet connectivity. But, as you know, that’s not the case in Nigeria. This condition is enough to cause frustration and demotivation.
Imagine waking up, ready to send multiple proposals and complete outstanding jobs, and there’s no light to work with, or the network keeps fluctuating. The thought of it alone is stressful. This is one of the cons of freelancing in Nigeria, so you should be ready for days like this. Be deliberate about how you’ll handle these situations so they don’t sneak up on you and dampen your day. Some people might have the privilege of owning a generator or having an alternative means of internet connectivity. If you’re not in this category, there are other things you can do.
For instance, if you have books that you’ve always wanted to read for fun or personal development, it’d be good to dedicate that time to it. There could be downloaded videos that you need to catch up on. It doesn’t have to be so serious; you can see a movie or relax for a while. This will take your mind off the problem and possibly open you up to creative solutions at that moment. You know the most brilliant ideas come to us in the weirdest places.
Whatever you do, expect these days. They’re inevitable in Nigeria.
6. Get up and get ready
Being a freelancer means you have flexible hours. You can wake up anytime, dress up anytime you want, or not dress up without consequences. The problem with this freedom is that there’s a high potential for laxity. You could get too comfortable with your bed and your PJs that you spend an entire day doing nothing productive. Then at the end of the day, you feel bad and probably beat yourself up.
A practical solution to this is first to wake up early. Starting your day early increases the chances of your productivity, as affirmed by this study. The next thing is to dress up for work. This shifts your brain from comfy mode to critical and problem-solving mode. The garment you wear almost always influences your state of mind. Then, move to your designated workstation. It could be a corner in your room, the dining table or your home office. Wherever it is, change your location once you’re ready to do some work. If you’ve ever heard of or read the book titled “Atomic habits”, you would’ve come across the part that emphasized how much effect your environment has on the things you do. If not, I’d recommend that you seek it out and read it.
Therefore, to stay motivated as a Freelancer in Nigeria throughout the day, week, or month, create an environment that supports progress. Make it work for you, not against you.
So, what if you’re not a morning person? Maximize the nighttime. Nothing stops you from taking advantage of your strengths, especially when your drive is running low.
7. Follow freelance celebrities for valuable tips
There’s a very slim chance that you just stumbled upon Fiverr, Upwork or PeoplePerHour, and suddenly you’re making huge money.
Very slim chance.
Most times, you’d have gone through different kinds of training to be a successful freelancer. How to create the account, negotiate, write a proposal, and have skills to have before you can freelance; there are many angles from which you get trained. Follow your trainers on social media, especially Twitter or WhatsApp – chances are they’ll occasionally or frequently share valuable nuggets with their followers. Pay attention to specific mentions and try to follow those people too. If you’re not good at staying updated on Twitter, check for those with a website and go feed from their blog sections. There’s plenty, like a lot, of information on blogs that you can use without spending a dime.
Nobody is an island. There’s always something new to pick up as you travel the freelance world.
For this, I would recommend Danny Marguiles, the owner of freelance to win. He shares useful tips on his Twitter page and also via email. There are tonnes of gold on his website also. And of course, there’s insight’s freelancing and career section to browse through and learn from.
Resources are numerous, and now, they’re at your fingertips. Don’t sleep on this.
Some people still need to hear it. It’s not unusual to ignore the job entirely when you add rejections, feelings of unworthiness, and other factors. Here’s the thing, though: if you’re not out there looking for the clients you can help with existing problems, you won’t feel any better about freelancing. If you’re not responding to questions and invites, things won’t miraculously get better either.
The joy of freelancing and the energy to keep pushing comes from seeing needs you can satisfy and jumping on the offer. You might not get the job, but it’s a subtle reminder that there are people out there that need your services. What better way to stay motivated as a Freelancer in Nigeria than knowing that you’re needed, that people will always need you?
Feeling demotivated is not peculiar to you. Every freelancer experiences it now and then.
Some of the best approaches to that feeling are to focus on the bigger picture and getting better at what you do. Always remind yourself that rejection is redirection. Follow successful freelancers, or better yet, successful ones that offer the same services as you do.
Go out there and remember how valuable you are to the world.
- An experienced SEO content writer and an author of several short stories. She helps individuals and businesses communicate effectively with their audience; by writing, proofreading and editing. She believes in the power of words; the structure, tone and flow. And she's a devoted lover of the paranormal and fantasy world.