How to Make Money Online as a Nigerian Freelance Writer

Whoever holds that writing cannot be taken as a serious business probably just came out of a hole somewhere in the Sahara after decades, or is oblivious of the endless possibilities presented by the internet.

Whether you want to turn your writing skills into a full-time job or you already have a decent job and only need some side income from writing, you can easily achieve it—even here in Nigeria—with the help of the internet.

The demand for paid writing assignments is gradually going up in Nigeria. With more and more Nigerian businesses trying to establish and strengthen their online presence in order to generate more leads, and with many individuals trying to make money online through various avenues, only few things could be brighter than the future of freelance writing in the country.

As with any other venture, your first step towards setting up a successful freelance writing business is to learn all you need to know about the business—starting with the basics.

This post is an overview of the freelance writing business, with respect to the Nigerian market. Read on to learn more about and understand some basic, but vital details about freelance writing.

What follows will show you a clearer picture of the freelance writing business and help you plan your freelance writing business adequately.

make money online nigeria freelance writer writing

What is freelance writing?

Freelance writing simply means handling writing assignments for others—be it individuals or businesses—on a contract basis.

So, a freelance writer is a writer who works on a self-employed basis and gets paid per contract, not per week or per month. Freelance writers are not committed to one employer.

As a freelance writer, you can choose to work for just one or few clients, provided they can give you enough work to keep you going. Or you can work for many clients, since that provides more security.

When I first started out a freelance writer, I had several clients, but they sent me writing assignments at intervals I couldn’t predict. A client might send a project this week and not show up again until after two months. Another might send weekly projects for one month and disappear for up to a year. But the truth is, if you have many clients, you’ll hardly run out of projects. While one client is away for some time, you’d be busy with another’s project.

Right now, however, I have just two main clients. And they both send me monthly writing projects that are enough to occupy me for the whole month. That’s not to mean I don’t have other clients. I do, but those ones send me assignments occasionally.

In addition, you need to be able to produce quality content on a wide range of topics, since your clients will give you writing assignments on various topics. While you have the option to specialize on some topics only, I’d recommend you do that only after you’ve established your business firmly.

Most clients will take ownership of the writing projects you handle for them. That is, they will present your writing as their own work. In that case, you’re a ‘ghost-writer’. However, a few clients will attribute ownership to you, such as blog owners who have no problems with parading you as the author of their blog articles.

What assignments do freelance writers handle?

As a freelance writer—especially if you’re a “generalist”—you’ll be handling various types of writing assignments:

  • You’ll be writing blog posts for blog owners.
  • You’ll be writing e-books for authors and information marketers.
  • You’ll be writing proposals for individuals and businesses.
  • You’ll be writing business plans for entrepreneurs looking to start a new business or expand an existing one.
  • You’ll be writing whitepapers and reports for individuals and companies.
  • You’ll be writing sales pages for individuals and businesses looking to sell products or services directly online.
  • You’ll be writing news reports for online magazines and news sites or blogs.

And the list is endless. In short, you’ll be handling anything writing, for use either online or offline.

What are the benefits of working as a freelance writer?

While working as a freelance writer might not be for everyone, it presents a good number of benefits for those who decide to pursue it as a business. Here are some of those benefits:

  • The world of freelance writing is wide and open. One of its benefits is the ease of getting started. You don’t need huge start-up capital or any formal qualification to start. No matter what area you choose to work in, you can quickly start offering your writing services—as soon as you get your first client. And unlike what obtains with other businesses, you don’t need to plan for months to years before getting started.
  • Freelance writing offers you absolute control over what you do. You’re not formally committed to any employer, and there’s no limit to the number of clients you can work with. Therefore, there’s no limit to how much you can earn. You can decide what to do at what time, who to work with, how much to charge and when not to work.
  • You can work as a freelance writer from the comfort of your home and from anywhere you find yourself. So, a change of location will not affect your business, provided you have your tools with you. I’m always shuttling between Abeokuta, Lagos and Shagamu, but this “nomadic” lifestyle doesn’t affect my business because I can work from anywhere.
  • You can work with remote clients, since most of your communication with clients will be online. I’ve worked—and am still working—with clients in the United States, Slovenia, United Kingdom, India, Philippines, Nigeria and many other countries. So, you don’t have to meet your clients in person before working with them.
  • You’ll become more knowledgeable on various subjects. Having written on hundreds of different topics, I now have a huge knowledge base (no bragging intended). That’s quite expectable, since your work will require researching different topics and producing valuable content on them—even if you knew nothing about those topics before.

What do you need to start a freelance writing business?

As stated earlier, getting into the freelance writing business is easy. And this is partly because you need just a few tools to get started. These include:

  • A personal computer (desktop or laptop): You need this for typing your writing assignments as well as formatting and saving them. While you can use a smartphone or tablet for research and for forwarding finished assignments to your clients, these devices cannot replace your PC when it comes to typing.
  • A reliable internet connection: You need to connect to the internet when you want to research for information for a writing assignment. You also need it for communicating updates and other issues to your clients regarding their projects, and for sending completed projects to them.
  • Good writing and grammar skills: This is the most important requirement for becoming a freelance writer. Now, you don’t have to be a Soyinka or an Obahiagbon. All you need is the ability to creatively express yourself in a way that any reader can understand—without murdering the rules of grammar. So, if you’re yet to know the difference between “am” and “I’m”, you might need to work on that before parading yourself as a writer.
  • Determination: If you’re not determined to succeed as a freelance writer, nobody can help you. The road to becoming a freelance writer won’t be all that smooth. At times, you will need money and no client will show up. At times, you will have to rewrite articles because the client is not satisfied with them. At times, you will pitch potential clients and get no reply. At times, you will have to work your tail off just to beat deadlines. In fact, the list of frustrating instances is endless. But with determination, you’ll get better with time at overcoming these challenges, you’ll become a better writer, and you’ll make more money.

Why is there a large market for freelance writers?

Firstly, Nigerian businesses are becoming more aware of the effectiveness of the internet as a tool for attracting potential customers. And one of the strategies they adopt to attract customers online is content marketing, which involves publishing helpful information online with the aim of educating potential customers and indirectly marketing their products or services to them. This strategy requires constant production of content in the form of blog posts and articles, social media updates and so on.

Secondly, more and more Nigerians are joining the bandwagon of online business. Almost everyone now wants to make money online. But not everyone can write good quality content that can attract an audience. Such people have no other option but to hire freelance writers.

Thirdly, individuals and businesses also need written content for varying purposes, but they are unable to create it themselves. This explains why many freelance writers are hired to write business plans, proposals, formal letters, e-books and so on.

Finally, due to the need to cut costs, most businesses that used to have in-house writers are now hiring freelance writers, instead—because freelance writers are paid per project, not per week or month.

How much can you earn as a freelance writer?

Your monthly or annual income as a freelance writer will depend on a number of factors. Here are some of the most important ones.

  • Work quality: If your writing is really top-notch, then you have the potential to make more money than someone whose writing isn’t as good as yours. Even if your rates are high, clients who appreciate quality work will be willing to pay for it. And if your writing is good enough, you can increase your rates without your clients complaining.
  • Price: Your net monthly income also depends on how much you charge per project. It goes without saying that if you charge N1,000 per 500 words, you’ll earn more than someone charging N750 for the same word length—provided you both handle the same volume of work.
  • Number of clients: The more clients you have, the more writing assignments you’ll have to handle from time to time, and the more money you will make.
  • Full-time or part-time: Another factor that dictates how much you can make as a freelance writer is whether you’re working full-time or part-time. As a full-time freelance writer, you’ll have more time to hunt for clients, so you’ll attract more clients, get more work and make more money. Also, as a full-time writer, your chances of losing clients are slim because you have no day job that can interfere with your writing business. Due to the demands of their day jobs, part-time writers tend to miss deadlines and lose clients as a result.
  • Work volume: Your income as a writer is directly proportional to the volume of work you handle. The more work you do, the more money you will make.
  • Your target market: How much you will earn per project depends on the type of clients you’re working with. Businesses typically pay more than individuals do. My two main clients are businesses—and they’re not small businesses. Also, foreigners pay more than Nigerians do. I once had a client who paid me $50 (around N8,000) for each article I wrote for him. If you quote that price to Nigerian clients, they’ll hit the roof!
  • Effort: How much effort you put into marketing your business—and into your work as a whole—is another determinant of how much you’ll make as a freelance writer. With a lot of effort, you’ll be able to attract more clients, and you’ll be able to complete more projects within a short period. In fact, with a lot of effort, a freelance writer working part-time can earn more than a full-timer.

This post is an excerpted chapter from my e-book, How to Make Money as a Freelance Writer in Nigeria. The e-book details EVERYTHING you need to know to start earning a decent income consistently with your writing skills.

If your dream is to become a successful freelance writer, click here for more details on the e-book, and how you can get yours.

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Abass Toriola

I'm a seasoned freelance writer, internet marketing strategist, and online business coach. And I'm a university graduate, doctor-in-training, husband, and father.

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Updated: September 14, 2016 — 2:40 am


Add a Comment
  1. Sincerely you are great and I do appreciate your blog.
    I desire to become a freelancer but still having some little challenges really.
    I want to ask does reading emails and survey online actually illegitimate?

    1. Ade,

      As for reading emails and completing online surveys, there are many legitimate sites that will pay you for that. But you’re unlikely to earn up to $10 in a year with those crappy stuff.

  2. Hello sir, thanks a bunch, and thanks to the internet that i stumbled upon your site, i’ve been hearing about freelancing, even looked up some sites myself, looked a bit complicated to me at first, but i had a strong urge to further my zeal for it. This post of yours right now, is more than motivation for me, thanks a bunch, like we igbos would say, ”Jisi Ike”, (Keep up the good work). Thank you.

    1. Chinedu,

      Thank you for taking your time to read the post. I’m glad you found it helpful. However, this is just a bit of what you need to know about freelance writing, especially as it concerns Nigerians. For you to understand everything you need to know to start a successful freelance writing business, I recommend you get a copy of the e-book, How to Make Money as a Freelance Writer in Nigeria.

  3. This is quite interesting! Freelance writing? … wow!, what have I been waiting for!
    How do I get hooked?
    For sometime now, I’ve been writing for a Facebook group at least twice a day!

    Though, I’m a Banking/Finance graduate, but writing has been my passion. I derive much pleasure writing on varieties of issues.

    I will appreciate it, if you get hooked in this business.

    Thank you!

    1. Gift,

      Thank you for taking your time to read the post. I’m glad you found it helpful. However, this is just a bit of what you need to know about freelance writing, especially as it concerns Nigerians. For you to understand everything you need to know to start a successful freelance writing business, I recommend you get a copy of the e-book, How to Make Money as a Freelance Writer in Nigeria.

  4. Hello Abass,

    It’s great to see this wonderful eBook offered to your readers; usually, such value isn’t tagged with so moderate a price!

    In the days to come, I’m pretty certain I’ll be reading testimonies (on this very platform) from those who have been brave enough to drag the bull by the horns by buying, reading and implementing the tips contained in the eBook.

    To all such brave hearted people who know when a great deal is by the corner, I say, congratulations (in advance) – and welcome to the dot com lifestyle!

    To you, my dear Abass, more grease to your elbow – you’ve done a marvelous job – and like a star in pitch darkness, stood against the shade (and plight) of ignorance, poverty and eBook-scam in Nigeria. Congrats!

    Enjoy the rest of the day!


    1. Akaahan,

      Thank you very much for the well-wishes. I also greatly appreciate your contributions to the whole process of packaging this e-book. Once again, thank you very much.

  5. Thanks Mr abass
    As usual a quality article, keep the good work going

  6. Wow… So sad I couldn’t afford the ebook now… but I’m going to later… keep up the good work bro.

  7. I relly appreciate your word of encouragement,big thank’s to you.But i still have 1 questoin to ask you sir?what business can I do online without Laptop.I am using Blackberry phone

    1. Michael O,

      Frankly speaking, there’s NO online business you can do conveniently without a laptop. That’s why getting a laptop is one of the first critical steps towards starting a successful online business.

  8. thanks for the reply. how much is the ebook ? I will get a copy. I love to work online and also make money online.
    Well done for the innovative works…….lols

    1. Ade,

      Just click on the link at the bottom of the post or on the e-book image. You’ll be redirected to the sales page, where you’ll more information on the ebook.

  9. Hello Abass

    I`m so happy by landing here on your awesome and excellent web income plus. I arrived from here making moneyonlineNigerians.COM

    Your post is really inspiring me so much in terms of starting my freelance work from my country (Egypt). As you may know almost content creation has gone digital in recent years. So there are many good opportunities available for almost everyone with some writing skills, creativity and productivity to start their freelance online job from around the globe

    Thanks so much for sharing this guide
    Omar Saady

    1. Hello Omar,

      I’m delighted to learn that someone from outside Nigeria is reading this blog and getting value from it. Thanks for taking your time to read the post, and for leaving a comment.

  10. Hello Mr Abass,
    I have been following you for sometimes now and all the post that you have been given are very great and helpful.One thing I always admire on you is you always tell your readers the very truth about online business.Thank you very much for your post.From Ghana

    1. Emmanuel,

      Thank you very much for your kind words. It’s interesting and at the same time fulfilling to know that someone from Ghana is reading this blog and finding the tips I share helpful.

  11. Hi Mr. Abass
    There is one thing I want to know about freelance. I have register at and anytime I place a bid, my range is from the 1st position to the 7th position.But the most funnies thing is that I have never be awarded a job before.I have 100% profile complete. Is there a secret I must know before I can be awarded a contract? Please help me.From Ghana

    1. Hello Emmanuel,

      The competition at is quite stiff, so don’t be surprised that you’re not getting any gigs yet. In addition, most clients are biased towards native English speakers, and you really have to be an exceptional Ghanian or Nigerians writer to convince them to hire you. Keep trying!

  12. I am a writer/movie maker. I wish to really get going online with my writings. I recently published an anthology of poems and wish to get the ebook on, but the payment mode requirement seem not pulling through. And I left it. Please, is there any possible guide I could get in this regard? I really have works just lying wasted. I want to push it all this year asap.

  13. ibe carole ozioma

    Hi, please how do I get your contact info? Really need to talk. Tanks

    1. Carole,

      My phone number is 08062357604

  14. Hello A bass,
    I love your write up.l needed more info from a model, an experienced person as you!
    Do u mind?


  15. How do you receive your payment after doing a freelance work because am sure Nigerians can’t receive or withdraw with paypal?

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