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Skill Development

Surviving Nigeria’s Competitive Freelancing Market

Last Updated on July 29, 2023


In Nigeria, the freelancing market is fiercely competitive. As technology continues to expand, more people are turning to freelancing as a way of making a living.

With so many people competing for jobs, it can be challenging to stand out and secure work.

However, discussing this topic is crucial in today’s economy as the freelancing industry offers a chance for people to work on their terms, no matter their location or skillset.

It creates opportunities, and people can earn a decent income. In this section, we will explore tips on how to survive and thrive in Nigeria’s competitive freelancing market.

We will be discussing the importance of building a robust portfolio, networking, branding, pricing, and staying on top of industry trends.

By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of how to succeed in the Nigerian freelance market and achieve your career goals.

Understanding the freelancing market in Nigeria

The Rise of Freelancing in Nigeria 

The freelancing market in Nigeria has boomed due to its flexibility and earning potential. Many Nigerians turned to freelancing amid limited employment opportunities.

Internet and technology availability further fueled the rise.

Key Factors that Have made Nigeria’s Freelancing Market Competitive

Factors contributing to the growth:

  • Easy access to internet and mobile technology.

  • Decreased setup and marketing costs.

  • Online platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.

  • Government efforts to promote entrepreneurship. Self-employed individuals increased from 11.4 million (2010) to 23.9 million (2017)

To succeed in this competitive market, follow these tips:

  1. Develop a niche to stand out.

  2. Build a strong portfolio showcasing your best work.

  3. Research and set competitive prices.

  4. Network, attend events, and build relationships.
    Nigeria’s freelancing market offers income opportunities with the right strategy and focus.

Read: Transforming Talent into Freelancing Success in Nigeria

Tips for surviving Nigeria’s competitive freelancing market

Freelancing in Nigeria can be a lucrative venture, but it can also be highly competitive. To succeed in this field, freelancers need to possess essential skills that will set them apart from others.

Here are some tips on how to survive Nigeria’s competitive freelancing market:

Identify essential skills for freelancers in Nigeria

  • Good communication and interpersonal skills.

  • Strong work ethics and ability to meet commitments

  • Excellent time management and organization skills.

  • Technical skills, depending on the area of expertise, such as proficiency in computer software or programming languages.

  • Marketing and sales skills to attract clients and win contracts.

Suggest ways to develop and showcase these skills

  • Take online courses, attend workshops or seminars to improve technical, marketing, and sales skills.

  • Participate in volunteer work or projects that provide opportunities to showcase skills and gain work experience.

  • Maintain a strong online presence through social media platforms or a professional website to display skills and attract clients.

  • Create a portfolio of past projects or references from satisfied clients.

  • Seek out new challenges that require a different set of skills to broaden your experience and knowledge base.

Discuss the importance of networking and building relationships with clients

Networking and building relationships with clients are essential strategies for freelancers in Nigeria.

  • Attend conferences, meetups, or other events where clients and potential clients are likely to attend.

  • Use social media platforms to connect with other professionals in your field and keep abreast of industry trends and developments.

  • Maintain regular communication with clients to build rapport and establish trust.

  • Exceed clients’ expectations by delivering high-quality work on time and within budget to enhance your reputation and strengthen your client base.

Surviving Nigeria’s competitive freelancing market requires a combination of essential skills, continuous skill development, and effective networking and relationship building.

Freelancers who apply these tips are likely to succeed in the market, attract more clients and contracts, and build a successful freelance career in Nigeria.

Read: Freelancing in Nigeria: The Power of Continuous Learning

Surviving Nigeria's Competitive Freelancing Market

Challenges to expect and how to overcome them

Freelancing in Nigeria has become a competitive market with its own unique set of challenges. Many young people are now embracing freelancing to make ends meet.

They see it as an opportunity to make extra income and build their careers. However, like every other business, the Nigerian freelancing industry has its own challenges.

Let’s take a look at some of these challenges and ways to overcome them.

Challenges Faced By Freelancers In Nigeria

  1. Lack of reliable power supply: Power is a major challenge in Nigeria, and it affects every aspect of life, including freelancing.

    Many freelancers spend a lot of money on powering generators to keep their computers and other equipment running. And this can be expensive and time-consuming.

  2. Lack of steady income: Freelancing is not a steady income source. Projects come and go, and there may be periods of drought where there are no projects to work on.

    This can be frustrating and can make it difficult to plan financially.

  3. Payment delays and defaulters: Some clients may delay payment or even default on payment, leaving you without pay for completed work. This can be both financially and emotionally draining, especially if it leads to long legal battles.

  4. Competition from other freelancers: The Nigerian freelancing market is highly competitive, and there are many other talented freelancers vying for the same projects. It can be hard to stand out and win projects over other freelancers.

  5. Difficulty in finding clients: It can be challenging to find clients, especially for new freelancers. With so many freelancers in the market, clients have a wide range of options to choose from.

  6. Low pay: Many clients in Nigeria may offer low pay for projects, making it difficult for freelancers to make a decent income.

How To Overcome These Challenges

  1. Use alternative power sources: Consider investing in alternative power sources like solar energy to reduce your dependence on generators and save money.

  2. Diversify your income streams: Explore other avenues for income like teaching, mentoring, and blogging. This can supplement your freelancing income during periods of drought.

  3. Use contract agreements: Always have a legal contract agreement with your clients to avoid payment delays or defaulters. This will protect your interests and ensure you get paid.

  4. Focus on your niche: Instead of trying to be a generalist, focus on a specific niche and become an expert in it. This can help you stand out from other freelancers and win more projects.

  5. Use social media to your advantage: Promote your services on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also join freelance groups to connect with potential clients.

  6. Charge what you’re worth: Do not undersell yourself. Always charge what you’re worth and do not be afraid to negotiate with clients to get a fair price.

Successful Nigerian Freelancers

Despite the challenges, many Nigerian freelancers have made a name for themselves and are thriving in the industry. Here are some examples:

  • Abdulqadir Mahmoud: A freelance writer who has worked with top international publications like Forbes Africa and BBC.

  • Timi Ajiboye: A software developer and founder of BuyCoins Africa, a popular cryptocurrency exchange in Nigeria.

  • Fatima Ahmad: A graphic designer and founder of B.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l Solutions, a design agency that has worked with top brands in Nigeria and beyond.

  • Obiageli Chikezie: A freelance legal writer and founder of Legaltech Africa, a platform that provides legal services to startups and entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

In a nutshell, freelancing in Nigeria can be challenging, but with the right mindset and strategies, you can overcome these challenges and build a successful freelancing career.

Read: Top Online Platforms for Skill Development in Nigeria

Strategies for standing out and attracting clients

Surviving Nigeria’s competitive freelancing market can be a daunting experience. The market is crowded, and standing out requires more than just a good portfolio or excellent skills.

It takes marketing, branding, and pricing strategies that will attract clients and move your business forward. In this section, we examine how to make it work and stay ahead of the competition.

Strategies for standing out in a crowded freelancing market

  • Focus on your core strengths– Look for areas where you excel that seem uncommon and focus on building expertise in these areas.

  • Offer quality services– Deliver exceptional value consistently, and you will quickly differentiate yourself from your competition.

  • Client relationships– In a crowded market, building relationships with clients based on trust and good communication can help you stand out.

  • Optimize your online presence– Optimize your portfolio and website to look professional and present yourself in an organized and efficient manner.

Tips for marketing and branding oneself as a freelancer

  • Create a niche– Focus on a specific market segment that you understand well.

  • Be creative in your branding– Unique branding helps clients remember your name and services.

  • Build your network– Attend events relevant to your market and develop mutually beneficial relationships with other freelancers, businesses, and potential clients.

  • Guest blogging– Guest blogging is an excellent way to showcase your knowledge to clients, establish authority in your field, and drive more traffic to your website.

The role of pricing and quality in attracting clients

  • Pricing– Your pricing strategy should be competitive and communicate the value of the services you offer. Strive to balance your prices in line with the services you are offering

  • Quality control– Poor quality service always results in a bad review, so it’s essential to make sure that your services meet the clients’ expectations

  • Customer reviews– Potential clients look at reviews before selecting a freelancer. A portfolio essay or excellent content cannot beat the content of a client’s experience with the freelancer.

  • Focus on customer service – The clients’ issues and queries taking into consideration help build one’s image as a freelancing to be relied on and worked with

Surviving in Nigeria’s competitive freelancing market means standing out from the competition and attracting clients to your services.

By focusing on your strengths, building relationships, optimizing your online presence, creating a niche, and building your network, you will stand out in the competitive market.

Pricing reasonably and providing excellent quality service to customers while providing excellent customer service is also an excellent strategy for keeping and attracting clients.

If you can execute these strategies well, you can stay above the competition, win clients and remain a prolific freelancer.

Read: Developing a Winning Skillset as a Nigerian Freelancer


In essence, surviving Nigeria’s competitive freelancing market requires specific strategies to adapt and remain relevant.

To recap, these strategies include networking, cultivating relationships, building a strong portfolio and brand, continuous learning and upskilling, and having a clear understanding of client needs and expectations.

It is crucial to adapt and stay competitive in Nigeria’s freelancing market to thrive and succeed. Navigating the challenges of this market requires resilience and a willingness to learn and grow continually.

By implementing the strategies discussed in this post, freelancers can establish themselves as trusted professionals and secure a steady stream of clients.

We encourage readers to take action and implement these strategies to boost their freelance career and thrive in Nigeria’s competitive market.

Remember, the key to success is staying adaptable, keeping up with changing trends, and continuously refining your skills to stand out and thrive.

With perseverance and hard work, anyone can succeed in Nigeria’s freelancing market.

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