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25 Freelance Businesses You Can Start Today With Almost Zero Capital

Freelance Businesses

“I want to be a freelancer but I don’t know what to do.”

This is a very popular predicament. Lot’s of people in Africa want to go down the freelancing road but have no idea where to get started. We are still stuck in the era where freelancing is just something to keep yourself preoccupied as you wait for the ‘perfect’ job.

As a freelancer going onto my 4th year, I can tell you that it’s as ‘perfect’ a job as any other. You simply have to find what suits your skills and passions.

The good thing about freelancing is that you can start a business from your bedroom or anywhere else without much capital. Most of them simply require a laptop and a good internet connection.

Here are a few freelance businesses that you can start today:

1. Social Media Marketing

Social media is a growing area for businesses. It’s also time consuming and businesses are always looking to outsource the work to an expert. If you love social media, have a creative and humorous side then you can take a few online classes and learn how to manage social media platforms for businesses. You can then earn a tidy sum helping companies run their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linked, Snapchat, and many other platforms.

Investment required: $0 You can easily find free courses on Hubspot and Udemy.

2. Blogging

Blogging is still a popular source of income as many businesses have come to appreciate the power of content marketing. If you’re a good writer, there are lots of blogging opportunities that you can take advantage of and earn a decent freelance salary. You can even start your own blog and write about topics that interest you, then monitize your blog and earn some money from your blogs.

Investment required: $0 If you want to start your own blog you can start by using the free version of WordPress of Blogger and move on to paid versions later.

3. Ghost Writing

This is another perfect job for a good writer. With ghost writing you write content on behalf of someone else. This could be books, online courses, newsletters, blog posts, emails, recipes etc. You however, don’t get any rights to the content. It all belongs to the person you’re writing for and will publish it under their name.

Investment required: $0

4. Magazine Article Writing

There are so many magazines, both local and international, that will pay you to submit articles. If you especially have worked or are working as a journalist or writer, this will be easy to accomplish. Here’s a list of over 100 publications that pay writers. Just check out the ones that cover topics that excite you or you’re well versed in, pitch an idea, and land a paid writing gig!

Investment required: $0

5. Advert Copywriting

Online advertising is big business. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, businesses want to be found online. For online ads to work, they need good copy. With a creative mind and good copywriting skills, you can earn some much needed money writing ad content.

Investment required: $0

6. Google Ads Consulting

Google advertising is pretty complex for most people. It’s a headache that most businesses will prefer to pass on to someone else. If this is something that you’re interested in, you can get Google Adwords Certified free, and start offering your services as an expert to businesses.

Investment required: $0

7. Editing

Good writers are always looking for people to edit their content to ensure that it’s perfect. You can offer editing services and edit books, articles, research reports, news articles and so much more! The amount of money you earn will highly depend on the type of editing work you do.

Investment required: $0

8. SEO Services

People will normally pay attention to websites that appear on page one and two of Google search results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) determines how well you rank in search engines. Learn the best SEO practices and start selling your services to businesses that want to increase their page ranking. You could offer keyword research services or offer to write SEO ready website content.

Investment required: $0

9. Teaching

There are so many teachers who either have no jobs yet or who are looking to earn more than they are from their traditional teaching jobs. If you are one of them, you could use your teaching skill to teach kids online. By using video chat, you can teach kids anywhere in the world. You can teach a language, math, science or any other teachable skill.

Investment required: $0

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11. Stock Photography

Do you love photography? Then you can easily start a photography business. Take photos and add them to stock photo sites such as iStockPhoto and earn royalty fees for every one of your photos purchased/downloaded. You can also run your own online photography store and sell the photos directly.

Investment required: Cost for purchasing a good camera.

12. Wedding Photography

Another great gig for people who love photography is wedding photography. Weddings are a huge affair in Africa and if you perfect your skill you will never run out of work. Work on improving your photography skills so that you can be among the sought after wedding photographers.

Investment required: Cost for purchasing a good camera.

13. Photo Editing

Are you good at Photoshop? Then you should be making some money from this skill as an online photo editor. People are always looking for someone to make all sorts of changes instead of buying their own photo editing software. Others simply don’t know how to do it. Look for such people.

Investment required: $0

14. Translation

Do you love learning new languages? Can you already speak more than one language? That’s a source of income right there! If you speak any global language such as Spanish, French, Chinese, French, German and so on, you can look for translation work and translate content from English to the other languages you speak.

Investment required: $0 Duolingo offers free foreign language classes.

15. Graphic Design

Graphic design is one of the skills that’s in constant high demand. Businesses will always need logos, marketing materials such as brochures and business cards. They are also interested in online graphics such as infographics, memes and images. Graphic design is a skill that you can easily learn if you put in the time.

Investment required: $Get free design courses on SkillCrush and TreeHouse.

16. WordPress Site Consulting

WordPress is a popular content management platform and users are always looking for ways to customize their sites. If you are good in webdesign and you are a WordPress expert, you can create useful WordPress plugins that businesses can buy to customize their sites.

Investment required: $0

17. Virtual Assistant Work

There’s a lot of administrative work that goes into running a successful business. Most soloprenuers don’t have the time to do everything and will appreciate any help they can get. Virtual Assistants (VAs) take on tasks including email management, customer support, invoice management, accounting, social media management, copywriting and so much more. VA jobs are a great start to a freelancing career.

Investment required: $0

18. Programming

Programming is one of the highest paying freelance jobs but not so many people venture into it. If you love numbers and computers, you can easily teach yourself how to code and develop software that you can sell and make tons of money.

Investment required: $0 Learn how to code free on CodecademyCode School and CoderMania.

19. Podcast Production

Podcasts are getting more popular as videos are now more preferred than text. Businesses are running podcasts as a way to build trust and generate business leads. As a freelance podcast producer, you can earn money writing and editing scripts or even assisting the client to manage comments during a live podcast.

Investment required: $0

20. Video Editing

Video editing is one of the popular skills around the world. If you took a video editing course in college you could very well start earning some money editing videos as a side hustle. Video content is now the most popular content online creating huge demand for this skill. If you don’t have any video production and editing skills, worry not, you can take an online course get started in no time.

Investment required: $0 Free video editing courses: Lynda,  Wistia

21. Music writing

Surprised right?! Yes you can make money wring music. With so much competition for online jobs, going against the norm will increase your chances of getting more gigs. Music writing is one of the less explored jobs. If you’re a skilled creative writer, you can start creating songs for advertising agencies and get paid for doing something you enjoy. There are also clients who would rather use original music for their marketing videos so you can target such clients. You can also sell your music on popular micro-stock sites such as MotionElements and ShutterStock or the freelance services marketplace, Fiverr.

Investment required: $0

22. Voice Acting

Here’s another unexplored skilled. Remember how the Safaricom ‘Mteja hapatikani’ lady got famous? If you have a lovely voice too you can use it to make a living doing voice overs. You don’t have to go for huge companies such as telecommunications. Consider doing audio narration for a book or business reports, voice overs for local adverts and more. You can sell your voice acting services any time on Fiverr, Upwork and other freelance sites. You can earn up to $72/hour!

Investment required: $0

23. Travel Consulting

Once you get on the road and learn a few things, you can turn your love for travel into a money making business as a travel agent. For a small fee, you can help people plan and book their trips.

Investment required: $0

24. Accounting

Are you familiar with Quickbooks? Then let that skill earn you some extra money! With this skill you can help clients track and manage their finances. If you’re also aware about how tax laws and filing tax works (June is around the corner Kenyans 😉 ) that will earn you even more money. There are so many small businesses as well as individual who need help with their finances, and you can do it all remotely from wherever you are.

Investment required: $Free accounting coursesAlison, Coursera, Accounting Coach

25. Tour Guiding

Africa is a very popular tourist destination. We have tourists all year round. Now if you’re familiar with any local area you can start a freelance business as a professional tour guide and show visitors around the area. Doesn’t this seem like the perfect combination of travel and work? Seriously, consider it!

Investment required: $0

I have been freelancing for over 3 years now and I have been able to make a decent living combing a few of the above jobs. I offer social media management services, I’m a virtual assistant, a blogger, ghost writer and article writer. I’m also learning Spanish and hoping that by the end of the year I will add English/Spanish translation to my list of services. I’ve also been seriously considering being a tour guide because, hey travel is my main passion and it would be nice to get paid doing it :).

So, if I’m anything to go by, starting a successful freelance business is quite possible. The list of services that you can offer are simply endless you simply have to the passion, discipline and the will to do it.

Are you running another type of freelance business that I missed? Let me know about in the comments.

About the Author Stella Mwangi

I’m Stella, a Freelance Digital Copywriter and expert Virtual Assistant. I write good, simple strategies that get the results you’re looking for. When I'm not working I'm either catching up on the latest episode of...anything, trying to stop pinning natural hair pins or exploring the world :)