Walter Akolo is proof that financial success is not solely about academic papers but how you utilize your skills.
He has made a name as one of the country’s top bloggers and a valuable resource for anyone looking to make money online.
He is the brilliant mind behind FreelancerKenya.com, a platform that has become a vital resource for anyone seeking to earn a living online.
He once shared his journey on Y-Hub Kenya, explaining how he resigned from his office job to surpass his wildest dreams of making over Sh180 000 monthly through article writing.
This is his journey as told by WoK:
Walter Akolo dropped out of campus in his second year when his brain ‘refused’ to fathom what he had been called to study – landscape Architecture.
To survive, he did some odd jobs such as data entry, sales and marketing, and worked as an administrator for a car hire company.
While working at the car hire, he decided to venture into the online space to look for a side hustle. Luckily, he landed some transcription gigs.
Transcription involves listening to audio clips, transcribing the spoken words, and getting paid for your efforts.
He stuck to the job for about two years, although the pay was not much.
One day, an office colleague recognized and commended his exceptional writing skills and fast typing speed. He challenged Walter to try online writing jobs, where such skills were likely to serve him well.
“He recommended that I try Freelancer, a site where writers bid for online jobs. I looked it up, and sure enough, people were bidding for jobs. The site was a big one, so it seemed confusing at first. But I soon learned how to navigate my way around it,” he recalled.
That was in 2011.
A baptism of fire
Like most beginners in the online space, Walter faced his share of fears, particularly the fear of being scammed.
Online jobs have a notorious reputation for fraudulent schemes, and he would soon receive his baptism of fire.
Within the first two weeks, he fell victim to a scam – someone assigned him work but never paid for it.
“Being scammed was very frustrating. I decided that maybe this online thing was not for me. But I decided to keep trying. I would give it just one more week. I told myself that maybe when I made my first dollar, things would be better,” he said.
A turning point came when an Indian client offered him his first genuine job, which involved writing ten articles on medicine-related topics – with each article fetching a dollar in payment.
Walter was still skeptical but decided to give it a shot.
The moment he received his first $10 payment marked a turning point in his life. He was so inexperienced in online transactions that he was clueless on how to withdraw his earnings.
Initially, he did not even have a computer. He would either work via his phone or hire a laptop.
However, a lifeline appeared when an NGO he was working with issued him an old laptop to do some data entry work, and he used it for his online work.
A leap of faith
As his online earnings surpassed his day job income within a month, Akolo decided to quit his office job to focus exclusively on online writing.
“I decided the online space was better because I could work and look after my sick wife without interrupting anyone’s schedule,” he said.
By that time, he was working for different clients, cranking over 75 articles per day. He eventually formed his team of writers to whom he outsourced most of the work.
“I was making so much working for just three hours a day. I had a team of good writers. My work was simply to edit and submit the articles,” he said.
But the success was merely a lull before the proverbial storm.
One fine morning in April 2012, Google launched a penguin algorithm update to combat web spam techniques.
Low-quality websites were de-ranked from top search results, and many of Akolo’s clients were affected. Some vanished into the ether, taking his hard-earned money with them.
Akolo’s monthly income plummeted from sh 180,000 to zero, leaving him with debts of over Sh300,000.
No clients, no work, no money. Nothing.
That was when he decided to start his own blog, Freelancerkenya.com. He says he now earns more from the blog than from anywhere else.
To avoid relying solely on clients, Akolo diversified his income streams. He started teaching newbies how to start online writing, helping them tap into this lucrative field. Of course, they paid for the lessons.
Additionally, he offered his services of facilitating immediate PayPal cash withdrawals for a small fee.
He also created products, conducted seminars, and began selling freelance writing courses as well.
Today, he says that thanks to diversification, he often surpasses his financial targets — sometimes by four or five times.
While Akolo’s achievements are inspiring, he emphasizes that online business is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
Hard work, due diligence, and perseverance are essential attributes for success in this field.
He encourages beginners to thoroughly research potential clients to avoid scams and seize every opportunity to learn and grow.