Online freelancing and the Nigerian mindset

November 16, 2017
5 min read

I received my Payoneer income survey doc the other day, and I was not quite surprised at the report. One of those things I expected was the gap between male and female freelancers.

I also wasn’t surprised to see that the number of freelancers in Africa is seriously behind what we find in most continents, because “they” have hardwired us to believe anything on the internet that brings you money is Yahoo Yahoo, “except” MMM, which even pastors didn’t think twice before joining.

The report doesn’t give a complete breakdown by country, but I can imagine how low the numbers of freelancers in Nigeria will be.

That average Nigerian has been hardwired to finish school and then go about looking for a job, and when you can’t find a job in your line, you start teaching, earning real peanuts. You tell someone you’re a freelancer, they’ll be like… “What’s that?” You make things clearer by saying you work online and they start imagining all sort of things.

I had a really hard time convincing the girlfriend and my dad that I was ditching my day job for freelancing, and months after, many of my friends still ask, “How’s it like to always be at home?” Well, it’s cool. Yes! I choose when to work, how to work and who to work for -- talk about freedom.

payoneer report

Let’s take a closer look at the key findings I have attached above, this is actually a report that was sent privately, so I might not be able to share the complete document publicly (at least not until I confirm that I wouldn’t face any legal trouble from Payoneer).

Charging your clients

cash register

Worldwide, the average freelancer earns somewhere around $19 per hour according to the report -- way above the United States minimum wage which presently seats at $7.25. Many freelancers in Nigeria have actually changed their online profiles to that of foreigners because they feel they will be able to request higher rates or get more jobs, but the truth about the freelancing industry is that you are hired and you earn based on what you can deliver, not where you come from.

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So, my Naija pals, the funny mindset that your Fiverr profile has to be that of a white lady doesn’t bring you return jobs if your skills are not good; that’s the truth. Indian freelancers are ruling the IT & programming freelance niche online, you know why? They charge less and offer stunning services which lead to more jobs. So carve a niche for yourself, be a master and the jobs will come.


boy techie

Freelancing has nothing to do with age! The freelance industry is dominated by the under 30s like me and you, and again, no one cares about how old you may be, unless they need writers for an older audience. So rather than under-pricing yourself because you’re younger, I believe that it's best to just go into it; be your real self and the jobs will come.

Educational qualification


Most of the freelancers with advanced degrees are those working in consultancy, legal and some other niches. Most of the freelancers working in legal earn more and work less, while those in consultancy work more and earn more.

One of the best ways to raise your rate is to work on yourself, make yourself an authority in your niche and the jobs will come faster. Know though that 90% of what clients are looking for doesn’t include your qualifications, they honestly just want to know that you can do their jobs, and that’s all they ever care for.



I mentioned this point previously; no one cares about where you come from. What you should be most concerned about is where your clients come from, because that determines what you will earn for your work (I think).

I have personally ruled Indian clients, Pakistani and some Asian clients out of the list of people I’d like to work for, unless they are based in America or Europe. I am not being an *sshole, I just understand that the living standard in most Asian countries are below par, and most of these guys under-price my skills.

That’s one thing you enjoy in freelancing, it gets to that level where you pick who you wish to work for and not the other way around.

Work rate

dreamer woman

If you’re the kind of person who likes enjoyment more than work, freelancing is obviously not for you. On average, I have slept around 1-2 AM. It’s not because I can’t just close my PC. I have to deal with finding clients, handling over 10 projects at a time, and still having to write for my blog. On average, I put around 12 hours per day into work; can you calculate how many hours that becomes in a week?

So freelancing isn’t a get-rich-quick-scheme, it’s a career, a journey, a job, but one with the freedom to choose who to work for, when to work and where to work.

That’s where I’ll draw the curtain for now. I will love to share an article with you again, and this will be “on surviving as a freelancer in Nigeria”. I hope you’ll want to see that piece.

I will also be having a section on my blog called “MMO (making money online).” Freelancing is just one, I’ll be sharing so many other actionable content and I’ll always be ready to help you out.

I am sure you guys have questions. Please ask away in the comments section below.

About the Author

john adeJohn Ade: Loving everything tech, taking one article at a time. Eating my biscuits, writing my reviews and playing my games. Find more of me here

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