Is freelancing a thing for you?

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Digital Publishing / Personal Branding Podcast

Is freelancing a thing for you?

The Rise of the Gig Guys, Are you in?

“You have no idea how many people may require your services if only you could muster the confidence to put your skills to use” – Bernard Kelvin Clive

I’d been up all night trying to memorize a slew of notes for a mid-semester exam. My eyes were heavy with sleep at 3 a.m., and my head couldn’t take it any longer. As I contemplated whether to go to bed or go for a walk to get some fresh air, the door flung wide open with a boom! He was hot and sweaty, and his clothes were dirty with clay from his ceramic work at the Art Shed. KKD, my roommate, rushed in and yelled, “chale, we have to go to town; Asafo Market, Kumasi, this morning at six o’clock and back for early morning classes at seven o’clock.” “Huh!?, I am tired!”, I replied.

“Believe me, it’s a good deal!” he retorted!

When he announced the news, sleep fled my eyes and my energy was quickly restored…

The concept of side gigs and freelancing was extremely popular among students at KNUST’s College of Art & Social Science. Particularly in the Rural Art Department(IRAI). The course’s innovative and robust nature not only provides individuals with academic information to earn diplomas and certificates but also prepares them for the world of work.

The course was challenging and rigorous, requiring students to study six main art disciplines in addition to other necessary semester courses.

Other extracurricular activities would be difficult to fit in. Perhaps this is why I graduated ‘4 – 0’ no ‘intɛ’ (girlfriend).LOL.

As difficult as the course was, so was the delight and satisfaction that came with the side gigs where students get to sell the products they created. We dubbed it ‘comɛ’, after the word “commercial.” ‘Man must survive,’ is a common slogan we chant during the gigs.

Several of my classmates were ‘comɛ’ experts. Sandy Gyimah, often known as Toa, bursted with enthusiasm and versatility. Toa could sell anything, including the jute ropes used to make Macrame goods. (Toa is a serial entrepreneur at the moment.) George Preko was a brilliant carver and designer; I still have one of his sculptures at home (he now operates a creative advertising agency). Saka was a natural entrepreneur who saw money practically everywhere. (Saka, now a real estate mogul of Saka Homes). My roommate Kwame Kyere Diabour(KKD) was multitalented and creative; just give him an idea and he’ll make it a reality, be it wood, clay, or whatever. (Dr. KKD, now a senior lecturer at the University of Education, Winneba (UCEW)).

These individuals had the potential to generate money right on campus. I recall KKD landing a big gig back then, manufacturing citation plaques for one of the municipal assemblies. That’s why he dragged me to town that morning to obtain some supplies for the work.

We had a feast that weekend when we delivered the completed work. Chale, the feeling was gooood!

Later, using my leatherworking skills, I began making stunning backpacks out of ‘tye&dye’ leathers. (The first of its sort on campus.) I remember making one of these backpacks for my Massdrama colleague, Michael, aka ‘Pocho’ (now CEO of Team1000words). Instead of the inscription ‘pocho,’ the words turned out to be ‘poche,’ a story for another day.

The point is, in all of these situations, I noticed a common success factor running across with these guys: their ‘comɛ’, side-gigs were in areas where they were talented and had some degree of competence. [What are your present skills?]

The lesson here is that there is always something extra to do, whether it is a side gig, freelancing, or running a full-fledged business. The catch is to rely on your natural abilities and things you are proficient at or can potentially develop, this, then becomes the first point of entry. All of my friends mentioned were gifted in some way, and the course had also helped them develop their talents, making it quite easier to monetize.

The second point is that there existed a demand for their services, and they generated that demand. ‘Man must survive,’ was the driving force.

If you are thinking about living a luxurious and exciting life, or if you need to survive the pressures of life, have expenses to pay, and numerous needs, you would not minimize your talents – your expertise. You have no idea how many people may require your services if only you could muster the confidence to put your skills to use.

Are you prepared to start a side hustle?

Here are some Benefits of Freelancing

1. Work from home or anywhere in the world

Asabea refers to herself as the nocturnal guru. She enjoys staying up late to write. Early mornings are not her thing, and she battles with it all the time. So working a full-time job in Accra’s city center is hell for her.

Freelancers are free to work from home or anywhere in the world at their own pace. You are not obligated to work from a particular location within a particular time frame. You choose your schedules. It’s also possible to freelance as a part-time job, which makes it easier to balance with a full-time role. While flexibility is key for many workers, so is working with people you enjoy and trust. Remote jobs allow you to build your reputation by working on small, personal projects before moving on to larger ones. Plus, since the other person isn’t in your office or in the same state or country, you don’t have to worry about office politics or being disliked—the only things that matter are the quality of your work and relationships.

2. Build your portfolio and proofs

Bellerin wanted to pitch corporate institutions for photography jobs, but he didn’t have any references —portfolios, or endorsements to display.

This is why portfolios are so important—your portfolio serves as proof of your expertise. And when you’re a freelance writer or designer, it’s your portfolio that convinces clients to hire you. Building a killer portfolio isn’t easy, but it’s possible if you put in some work early on. Focus on building a strong foundation and then spend time growing from there. Start with smaller sites like those that aggregate freelance jobs and pick up your momentum from there. It takes time to land bigger gigs, but over time you will build your portfolio through projects for smaller companies—and also establish yourself as an expert in your field with your expertise and experience, not to mention contacts in other fields which may lead to more opportunities as well.

3. Less or No more commuting

What I dread most, is the heavy traffic in Lagos and Accra. Hikes in fuel prices are affecting every aspect of our economy, freelancing can save you a chunk of your income just by staying and working. Freelancers can make some big bucks from home and take advantage of more flexible hours than if they were confined to a traditional 9-to-5. Beyond that, not having to get dressed up in a suit and tie (or even wear pants) is a huge perk for many people who like spending their mornings lounging around in pajamas. This flexibility also applies to your work schedule: If you don’t need to hit specific deadlines or rush into an office at 7:30 AM every morning, working on your schedule lets you set your own rules and decide when (and how much) you want to put in. The possibilities are endless!

4. Set Your Own Goals

Kpodo is a naturally creative person, and the difficulty for most creative people is that they struggle to fit in. For a few years, he worked in a variety of corporate positions. His enthusiasm is sapped by cultural rules and business attire. He likes to be more relaxed and work with flexibility and creativity. Nonetheless, he is always at odds with himself and the kind of life he wishes to live.

Freelancing may be the greatest option for him.

As a freelancer, you are the one calling the shots. You set your own rules and make things happen, without answering to anyone else. Freelancers find that they can work hard and play hard while they’re at it. They have no boss breathing down their neck or colleagues to distract them. As a freelancer, you get paid for your time. Freelancers love being able to set their hours and take vacations whenever they please. No more late nights in the office just because everyone else does it; if you want the afternoon off for that beach day you’ve been planning, go ahead! There’s no dress code: Dress however you like!

You decide!

Remote Work: is Freelancing a Thing for Me? Buy on Amazon

Remote Work Book

Bernard Kelvin Clive is an Author, Speaker. Lecturer and Corporate Trainer. Africa’s foremost authority on Personal Branding and Digital Book Publishing. An Amazon bestselling author of over 50 published books. As a speaker & trainer, he has been known to simplify complex ideas about branding and life and present them to audiences in clear, actionable steps. He has over a decade of experience in digital publishing and has globally consulted entrepreneurs, pastors, and people like you to write books and build brands. He hosts the number one ranked Career & Business Podcast. Bernard is a brand strategist at BKC consulting and runs the monthly Branding & Publishing Masterclass. visit

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