To become a successful freelancer out of Nigeria is very challenging due to the reputation a few scammers made for the country by spamming the world with shady emails. However, Joseph Ogechukwu has overcome these and many more obstacles, and on AnyTask, he has become a top seller.
"Over the past four to five years, clients from different parts of the world have purchased several hundred freelance gigs from me," said the young man, whose freelance username is Qikfingers. "I have many repeat customers, and since 2013, I have never had a bad review."
Joseph, who is a very highly sought-after video editor, logo designer, and whiteboard animator, has just recently completed his National Open University of Nigeria Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science at the top of his class. "Now, I can start offering 3D renderings, databases, and website development."
Joseph has put in hundreds of hours into perfecting his video editing skills through tutorials, online courses, and hard work. He said he also acquired many more skills and experience during his six-month internship at BWETV, an online Nigerian television outlet, where he did video editing and helped with video content for other TV stations.
"Learning and upskilling never end. I study and learn new things every day," Joseph went on to say. "I am now very good with several different video editing software, including Premier Pro. I have learned how to do many things with videos, including After Affects and so much more. I am also doing website design on WordPress."
Mr. Ogechukwu says there is a high demand for his work on AnyTask, which saw its launch in late 2019. By 16 April, 205,000 people had already signed up to the website as either sellers or buyers. Nearly 3,000 different freelance tasks are available on AnyTask, which recently removed all fees from the site to support businesses during the global pandemic.
A bit of background
Qikfingers was born in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna, but he, his three siblings, mother, and father, moved south to Port Harcourt fleeing from the religious violence that has affected the country since 1953.
He grew up in a tight-knit family with a very supportive father, Joseph said. "My dad made a huge sacrifice by giving me the money when I was 15 to buy the 'Fiverr Ultimate Guide Book' by Idris Adeley that cost US$30."
Thus, Joseph started freelancing on Fiverr in 2012. "I had to register my account on Fiverr stating I was not from this country making it easier to get gigs."
He remembers that for a year, he was able to do about five to six Yelp, Google and Amazon reviews a week before the category was removed from Fiverr as they were considered to be unethical.
"I was making about US$30 a week for the reviews. I was 16 years old then. The minimum wage was about US$80 a month."
He then decided to start editing videos on Fiverr, but got a bad review and decided to stop to take time to acquire the skills to continue without risking a second bad review.
In 2015, Joseph decided to study computer science in Lagos, and his father agreed to help him financially. So, the young freelancer took off for Lagos and enrolled in university only to suffer the death of his dad a few months later.
"This was a devastating blow because I was very close to my father. I loved him very much," he said. "However, I decided that to honour him by completing what I came here to do in Lagos."
Apart from being lucky to get a job with his tutor, Ph.D. candidate Bob Ekat, Joseph focused on doing more freelancing, which without, "I simply would not have been able to finish my university studies."
AnyTask, a massive opportunity for Nigerians
Official figures in Nigeria reveal that in 2020, the unemployment rate will reach 33.5%. The primary reasons for such high levels of people out of work is the rapid growth in population (almost doubled since 2000 to 206 million currently), an inadequate supply of jobs, poverty and the increased rural-urban migration.
"On average, university graduates can take up to five years before they land a job in their field of study," he added. "I believe freelancing represents an excellent option for Nigerians. It is already helping many youths in Nigeria to live better. Still, I believe more could and should be done to take freelancing to more Nigerians in a country where the government has failed to generate more employment."
Joseph said he believes "it is very indispensable for all of us here in Nigeria to acquire as many additional skills as possible to face the challenges life throws at us more successfully."
Joseph also believes AnyTask is the best freelance platform for people in Nigeria, a country where, according to QikFingers, financial frustration runs high. In 2016, the DW news outlet published an article entitled "Economic Hardship leads to a rise in suicide rate in Nigeria."
Why AnyTask over Fiverr
"Most freelance platforms, including Fiverr, require PayPal as a way to get paid, but PayPal does not allow Nigerians to receive funds because of all the email scams," he said. "And so, we are faced with having to find others in other countries to get our payment for us. And that is risky because you may never see your payment or costly because nobody does anything for free. So, that makes freelancing very, very difficult and very discouraging, that is until AnyTask came around."
He also said that the thing that “has impressed me significantly about AnyTask is how quickly I got paid. I got a message saying my client had approved my work, and minutes later, I got notifications that my ETN was on the way."
But the "most appealing thing about AnyTask is that as sellers, we do not pay any fees or commissions, which is huge," he added. "For example, Fiverr charges 20%, which off of a US$50 task, that is US$10 or an eighth of a monthly minimum wage here in Nigeria."
Joseph has recommended AnyTask and freelancing to many relatives, friends, and acquaintances. Some have begun using the new freelance platform and earning ETN, which they can use for mobile top-ups, for savings, and very soon for payment of electricity bills, which "I am looking forward to using."
"Freelancing is my life and AnyTask is a game-changer for me as it solves the many issues we face here in Nigeria," he said. "I will pass this way of living on to my children because freelancing gives me control over my life," he concluded.