The year was 2014, during the cold month of July, and a decision was finally made that the corporate lifestyle was not designed for me.
Being tied in the office for hours on end, playing Candy Crush and Tweefing using the company’s free WiFi was not what I went to campus for. It was killing me inside out. I’d leave the office feeling guilty that I had not accomplished much.
I had to do something or I’d end up an automaton like some other colleagues that I used to see reporting into the office just because they were supposed to do so. It is as if their lives had lost meaning. They didn’t have purpose or direction. The little that they did by way of work was meant to keep their supervisor’s from their necks.
At the end of August in 2014, I handed in my resignation letter, to the surprise of my supervisor. Why was I leaving the job? She asked. Wasn’t the salary enough?
While it is true the salary was not enough, and even though I was promised a raise if stayed, my mind was already made up. I didn’t want to be locked up in the office browsing Facebook for the better part of the day.
I didn’t know whether I had what it takes to work online in Kenya and never look back to the dreaded pursuit of corporate employment and the constraining office cubicle. It was a leap of faith.
It is now one year and 4 months since I quit my job, and you know what? I cannot regret that I chose to work online over being employed. True there are times when the going is tough. Jobs go missing or my self-discipline lapses and I find myself losing important contracts, but I made up my mind to never go back to the dreaded pursuit of employment. I made a commitment to myself that I either had to make it through online jobs or die trying.
It is now 2016, and I still love working online. Here are my top 10 reasons why I still love working online in Kenya:
1. I am an Introvert
I’ll admit it now. I don’t know how to deal with people on a one-on-one basis. My brain processes instructions so slowly that one-on-one conversations become a nightmare to me. The internet and working online save me from this.
If a client sends me an email or message in Upwork, I’ll have my 5 minutes to think over the response I should give, and make sure that it is well-worded to avoid sounding awkward.
2. I am my own boss
Being your own boss is probably the greatest advantage of working online. But, please, beware. This is a double-edged sword. If you lack self-drive, motivation and discipline, this will bring your online career tumbling down before it’s even started.
Working online means that you’ve to set your own schedules. You have to push yourself to complete projects within their stipulated deadlines, and it is your sole responsibility to ensure the satisfaction of your clients.
In essence, you are the chief whip of your empire, and the Big Boss never sleeps. The biggest mistake that many online job seekers in Kenya make is thinking that working online affords them the opportunity to be lax. Woe unto you if you start working online with such a mentality.
3. I Decide How Much I want to Earn
I will steal you into a little secret. There is no other job in the world that will let you decide how much you want to earn, and how frequently you should get a pay rise… But working online does!
Normally, when you go for an interview, you’ll be asked what your salary expectations are. The wise employee will have already done background research on how much the company pays, and will simply echo their findings (whether or not it is what they are comfortable being paid). This predetermined salary is unlikely to change, regardless of how hard you work your a$$.
This rapidly changes when you start working online. You can change your monthly earnings in so many levels:
You can decide that you do not want to work for clients who pay below a certain wage range or
You can decide to increase the number of projects that you work on in a month, which translates into more monthly income
Putting more hours into your online biz means that you earn more. If you work your a$$ hard enough, and you are diligent in your dealings with clients, you’ll soon be earning top bucks for your services.
4. My Dress, My Choice a.k.a Work in My Boxers
One of the agonies that casual-loving employees have to go through is being forced to adopt a formal dress code. I was lucky that my former job had less stringent rules on dressing.
But come to think of it, it must have been awkward going to the office in t-shirt, jeans and sneakers (and there I was, always wondering why my salary was a big joke and no promotion was forthcoming!)
With online jobs, I can negotiate a $1000 project with the CEO or president of a small banana nation in my boxers, and I wouldn’t feel awkward.
I don’t have to dress to impress when I am working online. I can survive with my outdated wardrobe for close to two years, and I’d never feel as if I was falling behind on anything. Take a look at the guys who work in offices in Nairobi. Most of them have expensive designer suits that you can tell is above their means.
5. No office politics
Have you ever worked in an office? I know a few people who do, and when they complain about their jobs, they rarely cite the meager salary or complexity of the job as the main source of their agony; most of them point their fingers at office politics.
Your work at the office can be what you’ve always wanted to do, the salary could be on the same range with what Bob Collymore earns, but if the people around have a repulsive energy, trust me, you won’t love waking up to that job.
I am a poor politician, and I thank God that I don’t have to deal with office politics. I’d die, if I had to!
6. No traffic jams to beat
I hate traffic jams with a passion. If I was in a personal car, and I got caught up in the mad Nairobi traffic jam, I’d simply abandon my car for the Kanjo to tow. That’s how impatient I am, and it is the other reason why I will continue working online in 2016.
P.S. I usually give the excuse of traffic jams as the reason why I prefer to live in the diaspora (Nakuru!)
7. Working Online=Working Anywhere in the World
Although we often refer to our online hustle as working from home, the truth is that you can work from anywhere in the world. There are so many advantages of this including the ability to choose in which town you’d like to live in. Working online has given me the freedom to choose where I work from. I can go on a two-week vacation in Watamu or Mombasa, but with my laptop, I’d still be making dollars on a daily basis.
There goes my 7 reasons why I will continue working online in 2016. Now, up to you. Why would you love to work online in 2016? Leave your comment below.