Copywriter must be a passion. Nick has this copywriter passion. Doing the research for my e-learning website apps-for-learning.com I met my friend Nicholas from Kenya. He told me the story of his still young life.
Before starting with Nick’s copywriter story, just a brief introduction: What is copywriting? According to Wikipedia, “Copywriting is the act of writing a text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. The product is called copy.” Copywriter jobs are wide spread, e.g. as freelance copywriter. Idem regarding the copywriter salary.
For me, the copywriter story of Nick was that inspiring that I decided to publish a short description of his biography with this edtech article.
Read here now the amazing rise of Nick and why e-learning saved his life!
Story of Nick and How he became a copywriter freelancer:
“I was born in a village in Kirinyaga County, Central Kenya. There, I grew up in a tightly knit family. Me, I was the first born in a family of 4, two brothers and one sister. Our age difference was four years apart, therefore being the firstborn had a lot of responsibilities considering they all had to look up to me.
Growing up, we had many challenges but my brother, the second born, and I had to be strong for the rest of the family.
My parents were peasant farmers. We had half an acre piece of land where we farmed tea and reared cows, goats, and chicken. However, this was not what you would call a good life.
Family and Education Background
My school was around six kilometers away from home. The road to school was rough, rocky and dusty. It was very rare to get a vehicle either personal or public traveling on the road, so walking was the order of the day.
The public transport in the area was just a fleet of five tracks that ferried people and items during specified times and were usually very loaded. If you were lucky to get one, you would have to squeeze yourself in and stand the entire journey.
We used a path that cut through a bush, river streams and peoples’ farms as a short-cut. The path was hilly, but the distance was much shorter thus would reduce the time we used by at least half.
We could wake up before dawn and get ready for school by 6 am to get to school before 7 am. We walked back home in the evening after school and could get home just before dusk.
Being the first born, I had to make sure that my small brother, whom we schooled together, gets to school and back home safely.
We didn’t have electricity, so we used lantern lamps to study and do our homework at night. It was not easy, we would get colds due to the fumes from the lamps, but that didn’t stop me from reading hard to achieve my goals.
I loved to study, and I was fond of languages and technical subjects, I have always loved writing. I was an avid reader, and I loved reading both fictional and non-fictional books, which I still do.
My parents had to sacrifice a lot to pay our tuition fees. Therefore, I worked as a shamba (cow) boy and was involved in herding livestock for money to help raise a portion of my tuition fees.
Despite these challenges, I always pictured myself as a world-renowned author, or at least as a copywriter. My desire and zeal for writing were insurmountable; I could imagine how I will one day write a best-selling book.
I once got involved in an essay writing competition when I was in the primary school. The competition had been sponsored by a certain corporation and was meant to discover and nurture talents. Though I did not attain the top writers’ award, I did not let my dream fade away. Maybe this was the origin of my writing passion, which led, years later, to my copywriter career.
I pressed on and believed in myself. So, I finished primary school and passed with flying colors. As result I got an admission to a national high school where the tuition fee was too high for my parents to afford.
After studying for just one year there, I was transferred back to a day public high school, which was affordable. These public day schools were not considered as the best performers, but I did my best and attained a good grade.
I was admitted to a public university, where the government paid part of the tuition fee for students who had good high school grades. Here I pursued a bachelor’s course in mass communication. I could do casual jobs to raise pocket money for my daily upkeep. I used to sell clothes to students and wash cars for people who resided around the campus.
In high school, I used to believe that I would never face challenges after my education. However, these believe changed, and my life hit rock bottom when my dad lost his job. After completing my high school and joining campus for my Bachelor’s, life turned from bad to worse. With my dad unemployed, money was a problem.
I had to find a way to make it; therefore, I would miss classes to do hawking around the campus and wash cars to secure some bucks for my survival. It was a tough life, but this didn’t deter me from putting more efforts in my studies and hoping for a better tomorrow.
Graduated from college:
After graduating from college, I did not secure a job as I had anticipated; I always hoped that I would not tarmac. But that was not the case.
The following months, life became quite unbearable with no job and no money. I was surviving on a few bucks that I could make as a casual laborer. Challenges became intolerable. Everything I tried seemed to be a dead-end.
I lived in a single brick-built room that went for $20 a month. It came to a point where affording the place was close to impossible. My meager income was too little to sustain me.
I had to sacrifice one meal to save the little cash I got from touting and hawking, to at least reason with the landlord not to kick me out of the house. The landlord understood, but this would not be for long. I was short on rent, and he had to kick me out.
I had to move to my cousin’s place. From here I began to set my priorities right. I decided to look at life from another angle and think “outside the box” if I was to make it.
Life after School
After graduating from campus, I went to live in the city with my cousin. But, I looked for a job to no avail. Nevertheless, I walked from office to office dropping my resume hoping that I would get an invitation for a job.
I searched for jobs in the newspapers and online and applied, but I did not get any reply. They all required three years of experience, as it is the trend in Kenya but did I have that? No. (Copywriter jobs were far away at that moment.)
Days and months went by without a job and money. I was struggling to make ends meet.
- I was barely surviving, living from hand to mouth. Life was quite hard, and I survived on a few bucks I made from casual jobs.
- I became a “matatu” (Public transport) tout, and I was able to move out from my cousin’s place to live on my own. There, I rented a single room bought a mattress, and I slept on the floor for some time.
- I tried my hand in different businesses. E.g. I opened a barber shop in town. The business did well for some time, and then things started going south. I closed down the shop and decided to start another line of business.
- Unfortunately, most of the activities I was involved in did not pick up well, and I was forced to close them down.
- I got deep into debts as I had borrowed money to do these businesses. Oh, I really was devastated and began to lose hope in life.
- I got into drinking and sank into depression.
I felt that life was entirely unfair to me. Most of my former classmates and age-mates had landed on good jobs, were married and had beautiful families.
Here I was, still struggling to survive.
Turning Point: Copywriter?
Like any other youth in Kenya, my life after graduation was not a walk in the park. I hustled hard to get by. Unfortunately, things were not going well as was my expectations. Leave alone paying rent, bringing food to the table was arduous.
However, this was just a tip of the iceberg; more challenges emerged after I was unable to repay a loan I had taken to start off small business. The business never picked up, and I lost my investment. This was a big blow since I was at a risk of being listed as credit unworthy. No one blacklisted by the credit correction agency would never have a chance to secure a loan in future.
In addition to that, you were to pay a hefty fee to get your name removed. This was one of my biggest worries. I had to lend money from friends to repay the first loan and avoid the devastating consequences. It was not the smartest move, but at least my friends would not blacklist me. Despite all, my dream of becoming a successful writer and businessman never faded.
The Beginning of my Coypwriter Freelancing Career through E-Learning
With all the challenges I was going through, all seemed lost. I almost gave up in life. I saw no meaning in trying until one day I read a story that entirely changed my perspective on life.
It was a young man who had a terrible beginning, but his life turned after starting an online writing business. The guy was making a whopping $2000+ a month.
At first, I was skeptical since the figure seemed too good to be true. So I decided to contact him. To my surprise, the story was all true. He even proved to me how he made so much working from the comfort of his home.
It was all about freelance writing. So, I became a copywriter
I enrolled for an online course that opened my door to a journey as a freelancer.
He also suggested how I would learn everything to do with article writing, transcription and academic writing. One of his suggestions was an E-learning course on Udemy.
I enrolled in their transcription and writing courses, which were well detailed and specific.
My online course was: Writing with flair: How to become an exceptional writer, by Shani Raja, Price 200 USD.
[Note of the editor: In the meantime there exists an updated version of this online course: Writing with flair 2.0]
Within a month, I had grasped everything on transcription and article writing, like needed to work as an copywriter. I then learned academic writing with one of my cousins as my online mentor.
The start was not as smooth as I had anticipated. I tried out transcription, but after a few failed jobs, I felt that was not “my thing.” I then began article writing and opened accounts with Freelancer, Upwork, Iwriter, and Fivver. All my first articles on Iwriter were rejected. But I never gave up.
I decided to perfect my skills through taking more online courses. I then gave Upwork “shot.”
First success as copywriter
I got my first client, and that was the beginning of my success. To boost it, I did both article and academic writing. As a result, I was now getting enough cash for my upkeep. However, I felt that working with Upwork was not enough so I looked for ways to get direct clients who would pay well.
I came across online courses on ways to get direct clients. That was good and I took their advice and tried social media advertising, which bore fruits; I got a direct client. Now I was making good money.
My living standards and lifestyle improved drastically. In just a few months, I had learned how to become a renowned copywriter and freelance writer by taking a few e-learning courses. I would say this was far much better and well rewarding compared to my four years on campus.
Although my certificate contributed much in getting clients, it was not what every graduate had in mind. We all thought that the degree or diploma was a gateway to a good job from the government or private investors. However, this was not the case.
Through the help of online courses and my knowledge from campus, I was able to start my own business and become an employer instead of an employee.
I now work with a team of academic writers whom I have to pay when my clients pay me. I also look forward to starting my sites to train youths on the advantages of freelance writing.
Why I Owe it all to E-Learning
In my journey as a freelance and copywriter, I get inspiration from other writers. Just like iron sharpens iron, I learn a lot from my fellow writers. I also get a lot of training from e-learning courses. I have enrolled for e-learning courses that have helped me enhance my skills.
Just like in any other job, online writing also requires regular training and updates. The online writing industry is very dynamic, and you are required to keep yourself up-to-date with new resources and updates in the industry to remain relevant.
I use both free and paid materials and supplies that I get from the internet. A significant advantage of e-learning is that you can study from anywhere and at any time. You can also be able to choose the courses you want to pursue and the mode of learning you are comfortable with. You can slow down or speed up the learning the way you want.
E-learning also enables you to test yourself if you have understood the content of the online course. Then you can be able to apply your newly acquired knowledge in your work. E-learning has enabled me to access numerous resources from all over the world that has helped me boost my freelancing career.
E-classes are highly flexible giving you the choice of when and how to study. The diversity of online resources is paramount in acquiring substantial skills, primarily as a freelancer. It has also helped me learn how successful writers and bloggers perfect their work and stand out. This is how I get better at it every day.
My copywriter Bottom Line
Being successful in life takes passion, dedication, and sacrifice. At most times I have to work day and night just to meet my clients’ deadlines. You have to make such sacrifices today to have a better tomorrow.
Similarly, you need to be ready to learn. You can never know it all; you need to acquire the best. This is where E-learning comes in handy. Learn as much as you can from different people and combine that to produce the best. That way you become a better version of your mentors.
Be innovative and don’t aspire to be employees instead work hard to be employers. This means we all make a difference.
I have never looked back, things took a turn-around, and my life has never been the same again. Today I am doing great as an article and academic writer making good cash every week. Today, I have also helped many friends by training them the basics of freelance writing and most of them are doing it very well.
In the past, I never imagined I would one day come to inspire others, as a copywriter, but here I am. Now, I have a group of academic writers whom I work with to write business plans, proposals, and projects for companies in Kenya, the US, and the UK.
It is a dream come true and if I made it, so can you.”
So far with the story of Nick. For me, it’s worth being told and shared!
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