Self Employment: The Way to Go to Solve Joblessness in Kenya


I’m an introverted and reserved lady. I display perfectionist tendencies but I procrastinate a lot. Perhaps this explains why my blog which I launched in the year 2015 has only one post that was published two years later. I speak less and express myself better on pen and paper. Mary is my name.

My journey that led to self-employment through online writing started way back. I can’t really give a specific date, but I’ll tell you that I have tones of scribbled work that has never seen the light of publication. In fact, most of my pen and paper kinda writings are still in my matrimonial home. I guess I should make a date and collect them soon.

Yesterday, I was having a ‘convo’ with my best friend, who also happens to be my lifetime partner. He had spotted a guy who according to him, has been in the ‘boda boda’ (motorbike) business for as long as he has known him. The ‘jamaa’ was stout, well cleaned, and looked extra sharp.

My bestie was like; ‘heh kuna vile mtu hufanya kazi inamkubali’ (there is a way your hustle can become part of you, so much so that everything you do falls into place effortlessly).

I got to learn that this ‘jamaa’ owns a fleet of ‘matatus’ and several plots of land. Still, he has chosen to remain in the ‘boda’ sector. This progressed to another chapter which we are yet to conclude.

Here I am wondering; what would you choose between formal and informal employment? According to my ‘bestie;’ formal employment is better. He argues that it comes with some ‘typa’ security. While I respect his views, I’m of a different opinion. Both formal and informal employment comes with certain struggles.

Whether you choose formal or informal employment, you’ll agree with me that you’ll need to work hard to maximize your chances of succeeding. After all, Theodore Roosevelt summarized it well when he said “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” according to me, self employment is far much better than formal employment and I’ll tell you why.

I stumbled upon freelance writing at a time when I was getting constantly broke. I’d sat and thought about a part-time activity that’d generate some money. It had to be something I loved doing, one that I’d do pleasurably. To say that this really had me scratching my head would be an understatement. It was not until I joined a certain facebook group of writers that I took the initiative to begin my writing career.

At first, I proceeded to create my freelancing profiles without getting any training. To my utter shock, the first bid I placed on Freelancer.com gave me my first job. I’ll tell you for sure that I was doing it for fun. I didn’t expect to earn anything whatsoever. I spent an entire night working on a 2,000-word article. The pay was measly, but it was pay all the same, and it was worth all the struggle.

Fortunately, my client was very kind (I always meet kind clients and for that I feel extra blessed, and I am triple thankful to God). He guided me accordingly, gave me more work, and paid me! I’ll never forget how ecstatic I was when I withdrew my first dollars online. I did get another client on freelancer.com with whom we worked for a long time and I earned real dollars. At this point, I deeply contemplated on what I wanted to do with my life. While I’m yet to assume full time freelance writing, I strongly believe that self-employment, particularly online work is the way to go for Kenyans to solve joblessness.

Why opt for Online Work?

The world today has greatly evolved. The emergence and continued growth of the digital platform came with numerous opportunities for potential online workers. There is a myriad of options to choose from if you are really seeking for that extra coin. These vary from graphic design, programming, article writing, transcription, blogging, and vlogging which many individuals are taking up.

All these options give you a flexible method of earning money and having fun while at it. So, should you venture into self-employment with special reference to online jobs? I’ll give you a big YES backed by the following reasons

·         Continued Learning

The online platform is fast overtaking conventional methods of learning. If you’re frequently online, then you’ll agree with me that you learn numerous new stuff everyday, and are more informed on current happenings around the globe.

·        Money

Have you cleared campus and have no idea how to earn? Don’t wonder no more. Start an online hustle and nurture it all the way to success. I’ll not promise you that it’ll be easy, but your efforts will be worth it. You only need to be consistent and patient. I should know better that this is easier said than done. However, you can do it.

I remember when I started, I’d read about writers who’d been in the industry for more than 5 years, and wonder; how much patience do I need to be able to achieve success, and experience? At some point, I wanted to give up, but the voices in my head urged me on. I’m not yet where I’d love to be, but I’m glad that I’m still holding on and learning more with each article I write.

Are you employed and looking for some extra ‘chums?’ who doesn’t anyway? Start an online hustle. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about freelance writing. You can sell stuff or market products online. You’ll not believe how much of a difference that extra one hundred Kenya shillings can make. You’ll be able to save up and buy that electronic gadget you’ve been eyeing for ages.

I don’t know whether I’m alone on this, but I have realized that there is some unique joy I derive from earning online.

·         Saving

Have you calculated how much you spend every day if you are on formal employment? Now, assume that you are self-employed and working online from home. Imagine how much money you’ll be able to save. From your bus fare, to lunch money, to that irresistible impulse purchase you make from ‘malimali’ or ‘mtumba’ guys along the streets. You’ll eat healthy and clean food prepared from home, and save up the money you’d otherwise have spent on other unimportant things.

·         Flexibility

One of the joys of working from home has to be flexibility. You’ll have the opportunity to ‘panga’ your time accordingly. Working online doesn’t come with a stipulated schedule, you can choose between working during the night and resting during the day and vice versa. However, when it comes to working online, the more you work the more you earn.

Finally

Like my ‘bestie’, the one I mentioned up there says, self employment offers you no guaranteed income. And I add; neither does formal employment. You could be employed today, and dismissed tomorrow. But I agree to some point that formal employment can give you ‘kidogo’ income guarantee.

When it comes to self employment, it doesn’t matter whether you are sick or not, you gotta find a way to wake up and do something, ‘la sivyo, utalala njaa my friend.’ However, ‘ukijipanga poa,’ you’ll be smiling all the way to the bank, have numerous investments to show for it, and above all, demystify the naysayers who are of the opinion that online work does not pay.

If more of the skilled and talented people in Kenya can seek to employ themselves,  joblessness can be hugely reduced.

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