Equity’s BebaPay Card: Is it Just Another Thing For the Chosen Few?

It was fascinating news in 2012, when Google announced the launch of the Beba Card. Commuting was bound for a radical shift and style. But it turned not to be quite fascinating to a number of us due to some reasons I will highlight later in this article. Altogether Equity Bank fell in love with Google’s innovation and they struck a partnership deal in April this year. That gave birth to what we have today – BebaPay.

How Useful

With my BebaPay card, I’m able to pay my bus fare with the card. All I need to do is make sure that the bus I board supports BebaPay (has a BebaPay sticker(s)). The card is tapped to a smartphone in the bus and my bus fare is debited from the card. Hang on; I should mention that this card is simply a debit card. You have to credit it with money before you are able to use it. It’s the money that you load that will be deducted. Assuming you spend KES 3,000 every month on bus fare, you may load that amount. It’s a good budgeting tool that will make sure you do not eat your fare.

But Really…

However, that is if and only if we hold other factors constant; factors such as Matatu strikes, fare hikes and availability of BebaPay supporting buses. These inconveniences happen every day, and that’s one-way BebaPay may not be completely effective, and that’s why I mentioned that this card is not exactly fascinating.

I had an interesting experience the other night; the rest of the passengers in the bus I boarded were paying KES 80 to Kahawa West. BebaPay card holders had KES 100 deducted from their cards. The conductor simply said “hatupendi hizi vitu” (we hate this BebaPay cards). Others will tell you they don’t even have the smartphone with them and that’s how you will end up being half-embarrassed and half-screwed over.

I was fleeced in broad daylight and there was nothing I could do. I’m only waiting to exhaust the amount in the card so that I can get back to keeping bus fare in my wallet.

What’s Good

There are good things to say about the BebaPay card. First of all getting this card is free, and topping up is free, no transaction charges of any kind. With BebaPay, users can monitor their receipts online, or through Equity Bank’s mobile money platform, Eazzy 247.

Another amazing feature is that BebaPay card users get SMS notifications every time their card is used. That’s an easy way to track your spending right there. Amazing too about BebaPay is that you can send money to someone who’s already in a bus, a Bebapay cardholder to pay his or her fare. That means that if you have a guest stuck in town, tell them to stay calm and get into the bus as you send money to their cards. This system has a link with MPESA. That winds up everything.

Get Yours

Getting this card is easier than pie. You will take 20 minutes or less at an Equity bank agent. The agency will take down your ID and Gmail details create you a BebaPay account, which you will bear the password. The account enables you to get SMS notifications each time your card is used, or topped up, and to also help you monitor your card activity online.

See what side favours you. If your route does not have BebaPay Javs, forget about this card and call it a day. It will not be any useful, same to anyone who uses a train to and from work. However routes that use Double M buses, Citi Hoppa and KBS are all BebaPay supported. Get yourself one of these. Plus the conductors in these buses are organized and not as rogue and greedy like some routes we won’t mention. A number of NMOA, UmmoInner and Star Bus Javs also support this initiative but like I said, there’s something about that conductor you’ll find in there.

 

The Top 10 Most Influential 2014 Media Personalities in Kenya

You may love them or hate them. Troll them or applause them. It doesn’t change a thing. They are influential, and they are probably here to stay. Here is a list of the top 10 most influential 2013 journalists and media personalities in Kenya. These are the media bigwigs who nobody should get surprised when they win a Pulitzer.

 

#1 John Allan Namu

Recruited by the Kenya Television Network (KTN) soon after graduating from the United States International University (USIU), John Allan Namu was most influential in highlighting the 07/08 post-election violence in Kenya as well as the plight of the IDP’s. He has done breathtaking coverage that has exposed corruption in the highest echelons of power, drug trafficking and terrorism.

Awards/Achievements:

  1. CNN Multichoice African Journalist Award 2009

#2 Caroline Mutuku

Kenyans love to hate the sashay and controversial radio presenter. Maybe this is what makes her all the more popular. Caroline Mutuku loves to court controversy with the same affection that women love gossip. The Kiss 100 Big Breaksfast presenter commands high ratings and is among the best paid presenters in Kenya;

Achivements: featured by CNN in “From Famous Daughters: What I loved from my mum”

#3 Jeff Koinange

Jeff Koinange (or probably Keff Joinange as the XYZ show calls his mimic puppet) is a household name in Kenya. He is the true image of professionalism and it is easy to work out why. He has been around the globe, worked with a lot of world-renown media corporations and bagged the awards. He currently hosts Capital Talk in K24.

Awards: Emmy Award for covering civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia

#4 Maina Kageni

Is he the bad boy of Kenyan Radio? There are all sort of rumors going round concerning this Break Fast show host in Classic 105, but this does not stop the show from being one of the most tuned-in talk shows on Kenyan Radio. The discussions on the talk show tend towards verbal intercourse, and that is probably why he remains popular.

#5 Sophie Ikenye

Back when she used to work as a News Anchor for NTV, Sophie Ikenye was such a cherished face! She was fired together with co-anchor Tom Mboya for alleged indiscipline. This has not stopped the thin-faced presenter from scaling mountains. Sophie Ikenye presently hosts Focus on Africa in BBC where she is highly regarded as a mentor by students in the BBC journalism school.

#6 Zain Verjee

Those who are order than the ‘Swag and Socialite Generation’ probably remember Zain Verjee from her days in KTN. She left KTN for CNN, where apparently the stars are shining brighter. Zain has been a host and co-host of several programmes in CNN, she is also the author of a children’s book. “Live On Air”.

#7 Mohammed Ali

Despite his name raising all manner of red flags in Kenyan and International airports, this bold investigative journalist puts his life on the line to bring Kenyans some the most revolutionary news.

Awards: reporter of the Year Television Award and Journalist of the Year Award, 2009.

#8 Julie Gichuru

Born from a Kenyan Mom and a Kashmiri father, Julie Gichuru oozes charisma, class and beauty. She worked on radio prior to joining television. In Tv, she has graced the lobbies of NTV and KTN but currently works for Citizen TV.

Awards: Martin Luther King Salute to Greatness Award

#9 Johnson Mwakazi

Johnson Mwakazi rose from grass to grace and now graces the households of more than 40 million television viewers in Kenya. Born and raised in Kibera, Johnson Mwakazi is probably the only journalist in Kenya who landed a prestigious position without any training in journalism.

#10 Patrick Mahinge

This unheard journalist just compiled a list of the top 10 most influential journalists in Kenya. Patrick is a blogger, freelance writer and internet entrepreneur who believes in taking the bull by the horns, whatever that means to you.

How to REALLY Make Money With Online Freelance Writing Jobs in Kenya

If you are thinking about becoming a freelance writer in Kenya, you came to the very right place. I am currently providing training to all aspiring freelance writers in Kenya. At only 1500/=, I will teach you how to find the best places for freelance writing jobs, open accounts and apply for jobs that will pay you a consistent income for as long as you want.

Why Me?

  1. I am an accomplished freelance writer in several freelance marketplaces
  2. I have the most pocket-friendly prices for freelance writing training in Kenya
  3. I can show you much more than freelance writing. I will open a whole new world of making money online that you never even knew existed

I strongly believe that freelancing is where the money is. However, I also believe that not everybody is cut out to be a freelancer. Before you go out shouting that freelance work in Kenya is such a sad venture, you should take a personal analysis to find out whether you are cut out to be a freelancer.

I only provide training to persons who are ready to overcome their odds and who believe that they can be the best in whatever they lay hands on. Are such kind of a person, contact me right now on 0710251380, and I will give you an irresistible freelance writing training package.

Top 5 Websites to Find Freelance Writing Jobs in Kenya

There many websites that allow you to register (either for free or at a fee) and start working online in Kenya. Here are a few of them:

  1. Elance

Elance is by far the most professional freelance marketplace where you can find online writing jobs.

It is free to register and apply for freelance writing jobs with an Elance account.

However, you will be charged 8.5% on every milestone payment you receive from your clients.

Once you have registered for an Elance account, you can begin bidding for writing jobs. If a client likes your bid/application, they hire your for the writing task and deposit money in an Escrow account.

When you complete the task, the client will release the money held in Escrow into your account.

2.        oDesk

oDesk works in a similar way as Elance. In fact, the two companies entered into a merger agreement on December 2013.

Opening an oDesk account is completely free. Once you have opened your account, you will need to start applying for freelance writing jobs.

Clients can hire you on an hourly of fixed price jobs. While working on the hourly jobs, remember to download the oDesk Team Application and keep it running for the duration that you will be working. This is the only way to guarantee that you are paid for the hours worked.

The more hours you are able to log on oDesk, the more the higher chances you have of getting hired by clients.

There are two other important things that you need to have in order to increase your chances of getting hired  by clients on oDesk:

  • Upload a few portfolio items on your profile
  • Do and pass tests that pertain to your chosen field of freelance work.

3.                         Freelancer

Freelancer is one of the oldest marketplaces for freelance writers in Kenya.

Although some freelance writers are able to build strong writing careers on the platform, I personally tend to look down upon the it. It is littered with scammers and low-paying clients.

If you are just starting out, and you would like to test the waters, Freelancer is probably the best place to start.

To ensure that you do not fall prey to the scammers on the platform, never attempt to do a job if a client has not funded milestones.

4.          iWriter

There is so much to be said about iWriter, including the fact that it is one of the most awesome places for freelance writers in Kenya to find simple freelance writing jobs without competing with other native-English writers and low-balling Indians.

Before you behead me for calling it one of the best places for freelance writing jobs, let me be straightforward. iWriter has some of the most demeaning rates for professional writers.

The pay however increases as you rise among the ranks. If you can survive the measly pay for a month or so, you will find that soon enough, you are earning top bucks for your talent.

 5.         Fiverr

I have extensively written about Fiverr gigs here, and I still believe it is one of the most awesome places to get freelance writing jobs in Kenya without all the hassle.

What happens in Fiverr is that you list your services (referred as gigs) on the websites. Clients come looking for gigs on the platform, and if your gig catches their attention, they place an order, deposit the cash in your account, and you get to work.

Every freelance writer that I know of has his/her favorites among the many websites, and what works for one writer may not necessarily work out for you. I therefore advise that you try each one of these freelance writing platforms and stick to the one that seems to be working in your favor.

Becoming an Exceptional Freelance Writer

Here is my own exclusive compilation of the ABCD’s of making good money while doing freelance writing jobs in Kenya.

  1. A is for Accounts– where you open freelance job seeker accounts matters a lot. Some platforms are so shady and I would advise you to stay clear of them. Odesk and Elance on the other hand have a good reputation, which is a good thing. I am personally big in Elance and I constantly have jobs open for freelance writers in Kenya. If you have not yet done so, head over to Elance, open an account, make sure your profile is complete then come back here and use the contact us form to tell me you want a freelance writing job. You can also send me an email at patrick@blogscheme.com with your Elance account details and the type of freelance writing job you want.
  2. B is for Believe. Trust me, without faith you are bound to fail time and over again. You need to strongly believe that there is money in freelancing for you to get over the many rejections that will be slapped on your face. You need faith to start working with clients, some of whom will insist that they can only pay you at the end of the month. To build up your faith and desire to succeed, I would recommend you read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich ebook.
  3. C is for Compete– I have seen a lot of freelance writers in Kenya, who because they spend their time locked up in their houses raking in quick money from freelance writing,  believe that the world is all theirs for the taking. They literally stopped learning the moment they got their first freelance writing job. That’s the wrong mentality. You are in an industry that is dominated by more than 100 million people! You need to constantly find ways of improving your freelance writing career and taking it to the next step in order to remain relevant to the market. This includes marketing yourself to the relevant clients.
  4. D is for Delimit– if I had somebody to tell me what I am telling you right now, I would have avoided some silly mistakes I committed as I started on path to freelance writing. Get out there with limits on what you can and cannot do, what type of clients you wish to work for, what amounts you can accept and what would sound like an insult. More importantly limit the type of writing jobs you apply for. The idea of limiting yourself to a particular niche sounds scary to many freelance writers, but it does pay off at the end. I personally handle press releases and app reviews and I have made myself an expert in those particular fields.
  5. E is for Educate and Encourage– you have finally made it to the clime of your career. You have a set of good clients and the jobs and the money are pouring in. don’t lock yourself in. let the world know how hard it was getting to the top. Someone somewhere is in need of your encouragement. Start a blog, start a Facebook Page. Reach out to them and let them know that there is hope at the end of the tunnel.

5 Types of Freelance Writing Jobs You Should Never Touch

If there was an easy way of finding freelance writing jobs in Kenya, I am sure I would be a millionaire by now. Unfortunately, there is no easy way of finding great freelance writing jobs. You either have to dig your nails in the dirt or dig your hands in the dirt. You have to shift through the dirt and the murk until you find one that can pay for the expensive Safaricom broadband and the electricity from Kenya Power that is down most time than the undergarment of that loose girl in your campus. So instead of trying to point you to where you will find great freelance writing jobs in Kenya, I will tell you what to avoid.

The type of freelance writing jobs you should avoid

freelance writing jobs to avoid
New Job Hunting Method Revealed: Executive Jobs at $100K & Up!

  • Writing jobs posted by Indians with exemplary bad English

We call them farmers in elance and they are trouble multiplied by trouble added to trouble minus a good paycheck. They are unfortunately the ones who seem to dominate the freelance writing industry. They win jobs from clients and subcontract them at an all time low wage. Apart from the wage, this is also the guy that will want you to churn at least 10 ‘articals’ of 500 wads daily! That ensures that most of the time your hands are full. You never get an opportunity to explore out there and find that there are clients who pay what you are getting paid to produce one article. Need I tell you what working for content mills will do to your muse?

  • Jobs posted in Freelancer

I am not saying that there are no good paying jobs in Freelancer posted by equally good clients. They are there but unfortunately the murk seems to cover them somewhere close to oblivion. No respectable freelance writer is in Freelancer. Just ask those ones close to you.

  • Freelance Writing Jobs Posted on OLX

I have nothing against OLX. I love OLX and what it is doing to help fellows sell and buy goods cheaply, and that is what the person posting his freelance writing job in OLX expects to find. Cheap labor for his lucrative freelance writing business. If I were you, I would stick to the more respectable and world-renown job boards and avoid OLX like it was the plague.

  • Jobs with vague descriptions

We have so far eliminated much of the murk. You are not applying for those freelance writing jobs on OLX which are a good waste of time. You are not trying to land the job of your dreams on Freelancer and you are not going anywhere near sniffing distance of shady writing jobs posted by *sstight Indians. Give yourself a pat on the back and read on.

Elance and odesk are where the good jobs live. This does not mean there are no schmuck clients who want to suck the juice out of you for nothing. The good news with these two major freelance writing websites is that you will know a bad client from their job descriptions. If it sounds vague, it probably is and the client is probably troublesome too.

  • SEO Writing Jobs

I will only touch a job posting describing itself as ‘SEO articles’ when I believe that my writing talent has completely fizzled out. I hate the feel of the phrase. It implies that I am writing for the Google bots, Penguins, Pandas and the latest Google Hummingbird. No sir, I am not yet ready to start writing for inanimate objects. Not surprisingly, SEO articles always attract the most schmuck clients and the low quality writers.

How to Make Money on Fiverr Without Driving Yourself Crazy

According to the information provided on Fiverr, the maximum you can make per gig while you are on Level One is 60 dollars. If you have not been promoted to level one (which means you are in the basic level on Fiverr), you can forget about earning anything more than… well, you guessed it right- $5 per gig.

At the basic level, you do not have the freedom to add gig extras on your freelance writing gigs. You are tied down to offering whatever service you are selling on the site for the basic price of 5 dollars until you can make it to Level One, which won’t happen until you have been active on the site for at least 30 days in which time you are supposed to have completed at least 10 orders and maintained high ratings.

But don’t be fooled by what Fiverr says.

You can actually earn more from your gigs at the basic level and get promoted to Level one faster than you may think possible.

I know this because I did it.

The Secret to Selling More on Fiverr

Offering Your Gig in Sizable Chunks

When you are at the basic level in Fiverr, and without the freedom to add gig extras on your gigs, your secret to earning more on a gig lies in breaking down your services into smaller chunks.

For instance, if you are an article writer, you may want to break down your services according to the number of words, and offer to lengthen the article if the buyer orders two gigs.

Here is an example of such a gig

“I Will Write a Full SEO Article Up to 250 Words for $5.00”

After you have framed your gig like this, you can then explain in the gig description that you will add more words to the article if a buyer orders more than two. For instance, “If you want an article of up to 500 words, kindly make two orders on this gig. This gig is available in increments of 250 words per gig”

By offering your Fiverr gigs in sizable chunks, you not only get to earn more but also sell more gigs, which is important in your endeavor to get to the next Fiverr Level.

Offering Complimentary Services on Your Gigs

The other Fiverr secret to earning more on your gigs while you are on the basic level is to offer services that are complimentary to each other. A good example is writing an article and offering to submit it to article directories. Or designing a logo and offering the raw AI, EPS or PSD files as an additional gig.

If you are going to use complimentary gigs to raise your rates, make sure you mention in the gig description that you do offer the other services too.

Here is an example that I have on one of my gigs,

I also offer PR submission services. Kindly have a look at my other gigs for the services.

I for instance hit Fiverr selling my press release writing services. I noticed that clients ordering the gig needed it submitted to directories, and with a backlink to their product. There were my gig extras. I quickly created a submissions gig and a backlink gig and I was in business. And guess how many press releases I had to write to hit Level One and gain access to gig extras?

The rest of this article explores additional tips that you can use to sell more gigs in Fiverr. Kindly read on.

Fiverr is one of the best platforms where you can sell your services and make clients come to you. Some freelancers however either do not understand the meaning of selling their services or they are graciously philanthropic. They are literally giving away their services to ungracious buyers! I mean, why would you want to sell your article  writing and directory submission services for a mere 5 dollars!

It is alright to write  an SEO article for $5.00. In fact this is double what most Indian and Kenyan freelance writers earn, but why would you want to punish yourself further by promising to deliver the article to 1,000 high PageRank directories at the same Fiverr? Haven’t you heard of something called gig extras?

The most puzzling thing is that most of the freelancers offering to write and submit articles to multiple directories are not even Fiverr  Level One Sellers. There is therefore no possibility that they haven’t hit the rank where Fiverr allows them to add extras to their gigs or that they do not know about gig extras. The question then ceases to become whether they haven’t heard of gig extras and becomes, is the competition really this cutthroat in the SEO  category that you are willing to work for next to nothing?
(I really need an answer to this one, please leave your comments, if you are in a position to. Here is the Fiverr search query for those poorly fiverr gigs and here is such a gig by a Top Rated Seller in Fiverr ).

Now, let me tell you how to sell in Fiverr like a pro.

Don’t Overpromise on Gig Delivery Time

The best part of Fiverr is probably that no buyer will impose crazy deadlines on you.

You choose when you want to deliver the gig when you are creating it. Be fair to yourself. Express gigs earn you nothing. They may actually make you lose some reputation if you are unable to handle the thin deadline.

Strike a balance between respecting your ergonomics and the client’s needs when picking a delivery period for your gigs.

Find Out How Other Sellers in Your Category are Structuring their Gigs

I am new in Fiverr. I am giving this information. I know what to do and not what to do if I want to actually live rather than survive in Fiverr.  I am not a genius. You can thank it all on research.

Look at various Fiverr gigs being offered by your competitors and try to view them from a buyer’s perspective. Would you buy such a gig out of apathy or real desire to benefit from the guy’s experience.

And Lastly, Only Sell What You Are Passionate About

The only reason why I am adding this last point is because of those who are already selling themselves cheap.

I really hope that you can submit articles to 10,000 directories without breaking a sweat, that it is not eating up chunks of your precious time and that you actually enjoy doing it. If you have a gig that fits those attributes, go get them tiger, go!

As just a by the way… Do you think these guys promising 10,000 high PR backlinks for a measly $5.00 are real? Do they know how the full value of their services to small businesses?

Tired of Bidding For Freelance Writing Jobs? Make Clients Come to You Now

I get tired of bidding for freelance writing jobs that are never awarded. I get angered when I see what I call Native-Bias Phenomenon being dished out on African and Indian freelance writers in hefty measures. It makes me want to simply call it quits. In fact, I don’t recall when the last time I placed a proposal in Elance was. I don’t remember the last time I logged into Freelancer. My account in Odesk got hacked and I don’t care. I am tired of bidding for writing jobs! I need jobs to come to me! I am a professional and don’t have to keep requesting begging clients to give me a chance to prove myself! If you need me, you’ll simply have to come find me. Fullstop.

Does the above paragraph describe you? Do you get tired of bidding for freelance writing jobs?

I have not met a freelance writer who has not admitted to being bogged down by bidding for freelance writing jobs, and the resulting rejection emails. Rejections are not only frustrating but also detrimental to you and your freelance writing career. They can totally ruin your self-confidence. A few rejections can turn you into an asskisser who is willing to lick whatever comes his way, which should not be the case. Remember you are a professional. Professionals are highly valued and never have to sell themselves short. Fortunately, you can avoid bidding for freelance writing jobs and still make clients come your way if you really want to. You can start feeling like a professional again!

How You Can Passively Sell Your Freelance Writing Services

  1. 1.      Using Fiverr And Other Similar Websites

The first way is to use Fiverr and other sites that are similar and work the same way like Fiverr. I will explain about this in a minute. If you have not yet opened an account in Fiverr, head there and make one. Create a few gigs too. I will show you how Fiverr allows you to passively sell your services without bidding for freelance writing jobs in a minute.

  1. 2.      Start a Freelance Writing Agency

The second way is by running your own writing agency (which by all means could be a simple blog like Walter Akolo runs in FreelancerKenya).

These two methods will make sure that you never have to write another letter of introduction, that you’ll never have to bid for freelance writing jobs again, yet you’ll be earning from your writing the pros and Native-English writers do.

How to Passively Sell Your Freelance Writing Services in Fiverr

Fiverr allows you to create gigs that clients/buyers, purchase. You simply create the gig and buyers stream in. if they like what you are selling, they will buy. You do not have to bid for jobs. You do not even have to monitor your gig. Simply create it, get the link and promote it like hell in social media, online forums such as the Warrior Forum and in emails. Believe me, if you are doing it right, promotion of Fiverr gigs is a lot more fun that placing bids in Elance.

You can sell everything in Fiverr, and you will get better rates for your services. As an example, here is my profile displaying some of the gigs that I sell in Fiverr.

Passively Selling By Creating a Writing Agency

What you create will probably be a one man’s show that does not merit to be called a writing agency, but who cares as long as you are winning clients! The only thing that matters right now to you is that you create a system that will bring clients to you.

Fortunately, free CMS systems such as WordPress have made creating a website very easy. Getting a custom domain name and getting it hosted has also become cheaper than it was a few years ago. I personally use ipage hosting. They have so far proved to be excellent, and I would recommend them to anyone who wants to launch a professional website the easy way. Their rates can be as cheaper as $1.00/pm and they offer one free domain registration.

After you have achieved the above preliminary steps, the next step is to fill your website with informational and stellar quality content (You can write about anything in the blog. I for example have a blog that is dedicated to writing about mobile applications and use it to target developers and programmers who want reviews, descriptions or press releases for their new apps). Don’t forget to include a “Hire Me” page on your blog. This is what tells your web visitors that you are in business. The last step is to promote your content to the right markets and you soon have a client-base loyal to you.

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