You must have seen those neighbors who do not wake up early in the morning to beat the traffic to town. They rarely leave the house yet they are always the first to pay rent. They also have a car that they drive when the month is seemingly “dry” on most working class Kenyans.
I laugh in my head when I hear people propagate prejudiced thoughts. They have made a judgmental error of thinking that the yuppies are probably oiled by some corrupt politician. Some think these people must be involved in some form of criminal activity to sustain the kind of lifestyles they lead.
Don’t be quick to judge such neighbors if you have them. They are probably working online.
Well, if you thought online work is not work, you need to think again. The world is now a global village where talent competes on a global scale.
If you have been worried why your graduate cousin is hesitant to look for a 9-5 job choosing instead to spend the whole day behind a computer, he’s probably building an empire that will generate revenues thousands of times over.
He may not be able to explain to you what it is exactly that he does but believe me, he’s working. There are legitimate ways of making money online in Kenya. I will share them with you in a little while.
Sadly, many people prefer the easiest route to success, which most of the times turn to be terrible. If you can recall the most recent case of Public Likes, you will know what I am talking about.
Online work is real work and there are legitimate ways of making money online.
Online work is real work and must be treated as such. I have never seen someone employed in a company become a millionaire in less than one year. People work their asses off for 40+ years only to end up with just enough to get by.
They don’t complain when promotions take forever or when they don’t get a salary increment. They will still go to that job religiously and work until they drop yet they do not want to lift a finger when it is online work.
If you subscribe to that school of thought, you really need to wake up. Luckily, the strategies I’m going to share with you today are tested methods. They bring results if you are willing to put in the required work.
Why Should you Start an Online Business?
By now, you must have used the internet for some time. In fact, you are on the internet right now as you read this.
People start online business for different reasons. The best reason for starting an online business is to fulfill an existing need.
Some of the businesses you can start to fulfill an existing need include:
1. Offer Professional Services
If you have a skill you can teach, someone somewhere is willing to pay for it. If you can write, transcribe, create graphics and logos, do voice over commercials, edit animations, offer customer feedback, etc, you can earn full time income working online.
Large businesses are always looking for people to help them with content and other virtual assistant jobs. You need to be really good at what you do and you will certainly get the job. Such jobs pay way better than most employment positions for the same tasks.
Just sign up at any of these online workplaces that suits your skill, create a profile, and start sending pitches.
2. Sell Physical Products
If you have an offline shop that sells physical products, you can expand your market share by levering the internet. You can list your items on Jumia, OLX, or even create your own ecommerce wing of your shop to fulfil orders from the internet shoppers.
You can also start a niche web property to sell physical products such as unique handicrafts. This can be a perfect side hustle for busy people who do crafts as leisure.
With time, dedication, and sufficient marketing, your side hustle will become your main hustle and you can choose to quit your day job. Start by creating your website.
3. Sell Digital Products
Nothing defines passive income than selling digital products. You can write books, audio files, audio books, software, videos, etc, which you list to your subscribers on the internet marketplace.
All you have to do afterwards is marketing and promotion. If you can create a powerful digital product, you can tap into the full power of the internet to generate income for you. It does not matter the time of the day, the internet will work for you without a hitch.
You can sign up for a few courses on platforms such as Udemy and learn a skill, which you can use to create a digital product to sell online.
4. Affiliate Marketing
With affiliate marketing, you don’t even need to create your own product or sell your service directly. Here is where giving away something for free pays big time.
There are many stores that offer partnerships with content creators to help them move their inventory. If you have a popular blog, you can recommend products in your articles and get a commission from every sale your recommendation generates.
The secret here is recommending a product that people really need. Make sure your recommendations are aligned to your blog’s theme because people will believe you more due to your knowledge of the subject.
Be true to your readers and tell them the truth. Don’t be deceptive in your marketing just to get a sale because people will not trust a single word you say if you lie to them.
Many affiliate programs exist to help content creators earn money from their free content. Sites like Amazon, Alibaba, Jumia, Commission Junction, Shareasale, etc are perfect for affiliate marketing.
You can also sell advertising spot on your blog for major brands. If you have sufficient traffic that is targeted to a specific niche market, you are likely to command higher rates.
Google AdSense is so popular among many bloggers. You can also use Infolinks for advertising.
If you have a large email list, you can promote products directly to your list and charge the advertiser for the service.
Bloggers with a large following on social media can also offer sponsored tweets and posts to promote their brand. You can also do sponsored posts in your blog to achieve the same effect.
How to Start Selling Online
I know you might be asking yourself right now, “How do I start selling online?”
The answer is quite simple and straight forward. Once you have identified a product to sell and the market that is willing to buy it, identify the best medium to reach your clients.
First, you can leverage on social media to reach your target audience if that is where they are found. Facebook pages work very well for most people. It has the advantage of near zero financial implications.
For some products, you will need to have a dedicated website. A website will make you appear more professional and believable. After all, there are cost implications with creating a website and only those who are serious with their business will dare spend a penny on this property.
Other people rely majorly on email lists to sell their products. Armed with tools such as GetResponse or Aweber and Lead Pages, they can create an email list running into millions of subscribers to whom they send offers. You can also develop your own email list (start with a free service like Mailchimp).
I strongly advise that you create a website for your product or service and amalgamate it with other channels like social media and email list to drive sales.
Here are the tools you need to start selling online:
- Powerful smartphone
- A computer with access to the internet and right software
- Social media account and product page (free)
- Domain name (averagely $10/year)
- Hosting package (approximately $3.95/month)
- An autoresponder / email list builder service (about $13+ per month).
- Bank account / PayPal / Payoneer / Mpesa (you must be paid, right?).
Please note that you do not need all of these tools together. I have just listed them because they will suit all purposes of making money online.
An autoresponder allows you to send bulk emails to your list at once and each email will be individually addressed to the recipient. He/she will not be copied as is the norm when using free services like Gmail or Yahoo.
If you don’t know how to create your own website, you can take up my offer here. I will create for you a WordPress website that runs on Genesis.
Virtues of successful people who make money online
1. They are focused
This is perhaps the most important virtue of online entrepreneurs. They research their niche very well to evaluate its profitability before dedicating their time and resources into the project.
Successful entrepreneurs have a work plan that helps them achieve their objectives. You need to inculcate this virtue to help you eliminate side shows that may distract you from achieving success.
2. They are honest and open minded
I have alluded to this virtue before. You need to develop a relationship based on trust. You need to tell your readers the truth.
If you are talking about a product, tell your reader the good and the bad of that product. They will appreciate your honesty and trust what you say.
Be receptive to feedback. When your readers tell you something about your product or service, find a way of making an improvement.
It is the only way you are ever going to remain relevant. Always strive to learn something new.
Most importantly, do not fear to admit when you don’t know something. It is easier to help someone who know their weakness.
Look for a mentor and you will accelerate your journey to success.
3. They are patient and industrious
If you think you are going to make millions the moment you start working online, you need to awake from your stupor.
Think of online work as any other work. Give it your all and wait for the results. At first, the results will be slow but will increase exponentially if you keep working hard. This is what has happened to the successful online entrepreneurs you envy today.
Behind that glamorous life, there are many sleepless nights, evictions from rental houses, dejected girlfriends who got fed up with guys who could not take them out, and many more sad stories.
They persisted and overcame the temporary failures. You need to brave the failures and put in the work. You will surely reap the benefits in due time.
4. They are unique and authentic
I am not saying you should reinvent the wheel to be unique. Glean the techniques listed here and many other places online. Evaluate the methods and take what works for you.
If there is something you don’t know how to do but is critical to your success, sacrifice your time to learn how to do it or hire someone to do it.
You can also ask for someone who needs a skill swap. Offer to do for them something they have a challenge with and they do for you what you can’t do.
Both of you will walk away happy and possibly develop a long term working relationship.
If it is a story you are writing, find your voice and tell it in your voice. Everyone has a unique way of telling a story.
Why Do Most People Fail to Make Money Online?
Many people set out to start making money online yet most people fail to make any money. You would be discouraged if you learnt how much some people spent to create their online business.
Here are the costly mistakes to avoid when starting an online business.
i) Not doing enough research.
This is the most common mistake entrepreneurs make when they start their online businesses. If you fail to plan for your online business, you are surely planning to fail.
You must query every aspect of your business and analyze these aspects to confirm their viability.
Do your keyword research to make sure you target the right audience. You will gain visibility by targeting the right keywords.
Also, create social media accounts in the right channels. Avoid spreading yourself too thin.
ii) Undervaluing your product or service.
Learn to calculate your costs and price your product or service in a way that will allow you recoup profitable returns.
The revenues should cover all costs including handling, marketing, taxes, etc. Prices are not static, learn to adjust your prices according to the market and your value.
iii) Spending too much before your business takes off.
As with any other business, start small and grow. Some people spend too much money on inventory and creating the website.
You need to plan your finances in such a way that better part of the budget is dedicated to marketing.
Create a business that will generate orders first before you start getting the inventory. Doing this will help you cut costs and reduce spoilage/wastes.
iv) Majoring on minor stuff.
Many people drain their energy by applying their greatest efforts on business aspects with the least returns. Avoid that mistake.
Evaluate your business and know which aspects bring in the best results. Dedicate most of your time doing these tasks because they are the things that will take your business off the ground.
v) Trying every new shiny object that comes.
This is the commonest time waster for many entrepreneurs. Do not be distracted by new shiny objects that promise to make you a millionaire overnight.
Remember, we said that successful entrepreneurs are focused. You need to do your research, create a plan, and pursue your plan with zeal.
vi) Failing to optimize.
You need to split-test methods. Test and leverage what works best. Discard methods that do not bring results.
Do not fear to change. If you cannot change, think of NOKIA. They were the once greatest mobile phone company in the world.
However, they failed to respond to the environmental changes taking place around them. You and I know what happened to them.
You do not want to take their route. Perhaps it is time to learn something from a beggar.
Legitimate Ways to Make Money Online in Kenya in 2018
1. Start a Blog if you Want to Make Money Online in Kenya in 2018
I don’t mean creating a blog that is full of crap like the ones we are so used to seeing these days. I mean you should start a blog with a purpose.
Niching is the name of the game given high competition that exist these days. People have learnt to game the search engines these days. You need a solid content and marketing strategy to win the stiff competition.
Some of the hot niches in Kenya right now include:
You can borrow a leaf from leading entertainment blogs. I advise that you play your game above board and be the blog that other bloggers consult for the freshest info.
You will need connections and contacts with insiders in the entertainment industry. You can follow them on their social media channels to stay on informed all the time.
People are always looking for the juiciest gossip and celebrity news on the internet. If you can be the person to break the scandals and tell gossip from an interesting angle, here is where you need to be.
Monetizing a gossip blog is easy due to the surging traffic you will realize when your blog becomes popular.
Soccer/Football analysis blog:
Quite lucrative right now given the fanatical following football has. Additionally, the recent craze in football betting has made this niche very attractive.
You can provide a score board, transfers, injuries, fixtures, and other analyses. Soccer fanatics will religiously follow your blog if you are providing real value to them in real time.
People cannot get enough of yummy recipes. If you can create recipes for unique cuisines, especially local healthy cuisines, you will get a huge following from people who are looking for healthy recipes.
Who does not like tech? If you can create a blog that helps people solve their tech challenges in a simple and straight forward manner, you are in business.
Tech is wide, so, you will need to narrow down to a sub tech niche and deal with a specific subject area.
If you haven’t heard of bitcoins, I wonder where you have been all this while. Crypto currency is currently positioning itself to take over international business transactions.
Given its relatively young age in the market, many people still do not know about it. If you are willing to learn about crypto, you can create a blog to document your journey and share tips as you grow in the journey.
With time, you can be reviewing the best graphic cards for crypto mining and earning commissions from sales. You can also monetize the site by selling adverts to crypto companies.
You can charge premium fees for the match making services.
People are always looking for property to buy and / or rent. If you can create a website that will match the buyers and the sellers then you are in business. Yu can list the property at a fixed fee or on an agreed commission per sale.
Politics is a hot button subject in Kenya. If you can serve the political news the way Kenyans like it, you are in business.
People are always looking for new developments and news around the clock. You can curate a specific type of news e.g. financial news.
This website can be a critical asset to financial planners and investors who are looking for viable indicators when trading stocks. Borrow a leaf from Bloomberg.
Many people are actively looking for jobs. Create a website that will link them to the available opportunities in the job market.
This is an evergreen niche and you are highly likely to earn more through premium services such as premium listing that is only visible to highly qualified applicants, priority alerts, CV optimization, etc.
Information resource blog:
Can be niched around any subject of your preference. You need an in-depth knowledge of the subject to provide a comprehensive resource database for the subject matter.
People will associate your site with the kind of information you offer and it will be the first stop when they are looking for that specific information.
2. Make Money Online in Kenya With an Ecommerce Store
If you have the muscle to fight the likes of Jimia, Kilimall, and Masoko, get a website hosting package and create an ecommerce store running on Bigcommerce or Magento. Jumia runs on Bigcommerce by the way.
You may need to partner with a courier service provider for timely deliveries and offer top notch customer service. You may just manage to muscle away a huge chunk of the market from the current players. I am certain about this due to numerous complaints people have raised against Jumia.
Additionally, you can create an affiliate program to help content creators earn income by selling the items on your site for a commission.
By the way, you can also create a digital marketplace where content creators can sell their digital products and allow other marketers earn a commission by promoting these products. Think of platform like Click Bank.
3. Make Money Online in Kenya With a Custom Search Engine
You can create a custom search engine by leveraging on a free search engine and crawler script from Github. You will need a fast web hosting package to install the crawler and modify the front end to suit the needs of your users.
Monetize your search engine by selling ads to make some serious cash.
4. Make Money Online in Kenya Streaming HD Videos and Audios
You can have a contract with film producers to allow you stream their videos to a premium audience for a monthly subscription fee. If you want to learn how this stuff works, read about Kwese network.
If you do not want to manage your own video streaming site, you can create your own video content and share on a YouTube channel. Monetize through adverts and affiliate links.
You can also create a website dedicated to curating a certain type of music for your audience. You can also provide the lyrics to the songs and allow the users to download the music.
Sell ad space on your site to make money off your site.
5. Make Money Online in Kenya by Creating a Social Media Forum
A forum is an exclusive platform where like-minded people come to share ideas. You do not have to make it grand like Facebook or Twitter. If you can find a group that loves to use the platform, you are in business.
The beauty of a forum is that you don’t have to struggle with content creation because the users of the forum will create all the content shared on it.
After finding your niche, install the social media scripts and modify the platform for excellent user friendliness.
6. Make Money Online in Kenya With a Podcast
Though net very popular locally, podcasts are a big hit in the West right now. It is not difficult to start, you can look for top blogs and agree with the bloggers to allow you read their best posts.
With time, you will be hosting all the big shots in the industry. With sufficient audience, you can start charging for adverts in your podcast.
All you need is a hosting, a podcast optimized website, and an audio production studio. You can start with a single microphone and your computer.
7. Start a Classified Website to Make Money Online in Kenya
Allow people to post their ads on your site for free and make money via direct sales, sponsored listings, and advertisement.
You will not have a problem with content creation and marketing since users create the content and market their own stuff on your site. Think of OLX.
Closely related to a classified website is a directory website. If you create a directory listing hotels or destinations then you can sell airline tickets and get commissions from ticket sales when guests book hotels listed on the site.
This works well if there is an incentive such as a discount through online booking.
8. Make Money Online in Kenya With a Stock Photo Sharing Site
Bloggers, marketers, designers, and other netizens are always looking for fresh images to use with their content.
If you can create unique images and graphics and share with your audience, you will certainly have people trooping to your site to scout for fresh content.
You can create high quality images suitable for web use from your mobile camera.
If you want to take it a notch higher, you can get a camera and edit the created shots with Adobe After Effects for stunning images.
9. Make Money Online in Kenya Offering Your Professional Services
Freelance economy is on the rise. Find the perfect platform to start working right away. The best advantage of working on a platform is that you don’t have to look for the client. Additionally, you are protected from any form of scam since the platform has an Escrow protection.
On the flip side, the competition is open and someone else has a chance of beating you to the deal. Again, your account can be suspended or banned for no good reason.
You will lose clients and money since most of these platforms do not encourage sharing personal details such as email addresses or phone numbers. Watch out.
One thing I must tell you, though. Get your own professional freelance website to list all your services and portfolio. You will have full control over everything regarding your website.
10. Make Money Online in Kenya Flipping Websites and Domains
You can start making money online by buying expired domains and reselling at a marked up price. You need to understand factors that make a website domain powerful e.g. domain age, backlinks, etc.
Do not get into this business before doing your research otherwise you will end up buying domains that have been spammed to death.
This business works closely with website flipping. You can create websites, give them a momentum and flip high.
11. Make Money Online in Kenya With a Bulk SMS Website
This website allows users to sign up, make payments and send bulk SMS to a number of recipients. All you need is a hosted website and an SMS delivery system.
The business is still not very common in Kenya but it will be a commonplace occurrence in the near future when ecommerce becomes a commonplace thing locally.
These are just some of the methods you can use to make money online in Kenya in 2018. You can choose any that looks easy to you.
You will notice that I have not listed some methods like data entry and online surveys here. I have intentionally omitted them because they are not a stable source of income for most people.
The surveys are far between that you cannot depend on them to pay the bills. Data entry is just too saturated and the pay meagre that it is not worth the effort.
If you need more clarification about a particular method, please let me know in the comments.
Over to you now.