How would you like to turn your love for writing into a freelance business that pays well? This case study reveals how Bamidele Onibalusi built his digital business as a highly paid freelance writer.
Bamidele Onibalusi, popularly called “Oni” online, started his digital business at the young age of 16.
An age where boys only thought about girls and the girls only thought about their boob sizes.
With a tenacity that perhaps can only be found from outer space, Bamidele used his writing skills to grow his online authority, earn multiple 5 figures per month and be a mentor to thousands of writers across the globe in just 6 years.
He was the first freelance writer I ever found when I got started online and he has been my mentor in the craft ever since.
A more in depth look at how Bamidele used his love for writing to takeoff and grow his digital business, Writers In Charge, is today’s Talentpreneur story.
To begin, give it your best shot
Well, it so happens that Bamidele’s initial intention was never to be a freelance writer. He was just a young chap who wanted to make money online.
According to his Digital Journal interview,
“It all started in 2009, when I first heard about the concept of making money online…..
I never intended to be a writer or blogger then, I just wanted to make money online, and I was ready to give my best effort to become a success. I spent around 20 hours at a stretch creating my first website, and I was so excited about what I just discovered that I was ready to give it my all.”
After taking initial steps and doing a lot of reading, he started to share knowledge about making money online on his blog. This eventually led to him finding his path as a freelance writer.
Steadily grow your online authority
Bamidele already had website creation skills, so setting up his blog wasn’t a herculean task for him.
But as a wannabe Nigerian entrepreneur, resources weren’t exactly available, as is the trend with many of us.
According to his feature on Forbes by Carol Tice,
“In a country with poor infrastructure, it wasn’t exactly like he could get high-speed broadband piped into his bedroom, at any cost. So he found a local cafe owner and helped the owner tap into the Internet — illegally. “I was a desperate 16-year-old kid when I did that,” he told me. “I even thought there was nothing wrong with it.””
But here’s the key aspect of his story…
Nigeria has been associated with online scam for a long time. And this was one of the major challenges he faced,
“Coming from Nigeria this was a problem for me. In fact, I’ve gotten an email or two from people asking me why they should trust me when I’m from Nigeria.”
Despite this fact, Bamidele was still able to convince international clients to work with him. And at good rates too.
“I solved this problem by being consistent in the value I offer, and by leveraging the brand and platform of other successful bloggers to grow my business.”
But how did that happen?
He grew his online authority!
According to the interview, he got his first client after 8 months of guest blogging.
“I wrote around 270 guest posts before my business began to take off; it was around then that I got my first client, and that I started to notice significant increase in my traffic.”
Guest blogging, which involves publishing content on other big blogs to drive traffic back to your blog was his primary marketing tactic.
This allowed him get his name out there.
And being that he wrote about 270 guest posts that year (I personally haven’t been able to pull that off), he was able to prove himself over and over.
As he stated,
“I started reading various blogs and articles about how to make money online, and it was then when I discovered an article by Steve Pavlina, an article that changed everything. The article made me realize how blogging works, and, most importantly, it also made me realize the importance of giving free value without expecting anything in return. “
Most people get started online with the sole aim of making a million dollars overnight without giving any tangible value in return.
For such people, I’d say this…
“The end thereof is destruction”.
Building authority as a highly paid freelance writer
One of Bamidele’s beliefs is that when you have your own platform, and market yourself enough to grow your online presence, you have the audacity to demand higher rates from prospective clients.
And he demonstrated this perfectly on his services page. He always appends the following text beneath his client request form:
“PS. I’m pretty selective about whom I work with, so only contact me if you want results from your business, please. If you’re on a very low budget, or are looking for ways to manage your budget, I’m probably not the best fit for you.”
Service businesses are highly competitive. But the idea isn’t to reduce your prices just to get more clients.
It’s to increase your value and increase your prices to demonstrate your expertise and get ideal clients.
That’s the only way your digital business can be successful. And it’s the only way you’d be alive and healthy to enjoy that success. What’s the point working with a ton of low paying clients and at the end of the day, you’re too sick to enjoy the money you made.
How he redefined his business and created a challenge for himself
As with other things in life, digital businesses evolve.
Bamidele’s website was previous called YoungPrePro which addressed Young Upcoming Professionals.
As his authority and audience grew, so did his passion to address dominant questions from his audience.
That eventually led to the new name, Writers In Charge. And his mission is simple,
“At ‘Writers in Charge’ our philosophy is that you, the writer, should be in charge – not your client or anybody/anything else, but you. Our only goal here at this blog is to help you become the person in charge. Every content released here will be focused on helping you achieve this goal.”
His goal is very evident from the kind of content he creates. And he is direct about those he is out to help (his target audience). He has some of the largest resources online showing writers different businesses they can write for and get paid well.
So he not only gives advice, he also gives you the tools you need to use that advice.
Everyone is looking for a leader, someone to show them the right direction. To grow a digital business that genuinely helps people, you have to prove that you’re the man for the job. And a smart way to do this is by using the show and tell approach.
“Tell people what to do. Show them how to do it.”
Now as a way to further show his audience of writers how to get successful online, Bamidele created a challenge for himself. As he stated in this post:
“I’m building a brand new, client-generating blog from scratch and I want to show you how I’m doing it.
The idea behind this challenge is to start a brand new blog in a different niche, and turn it into a blog generating at least four figures in freelance income in 3 – 6 months.”
This challenge eventually led to $10,025 in freelancing income for him in just 6 months.
That’s the show and tell approach in action.
Build your life and digital business around what you love
Bamidele has big dreams, one of which is becoming a successful fish farmer.
With the revenue from his freelance business, Bamidele was able to comfortably fund his fish farming business, which he has blogged about this on his site, Effective Business Ideas.
Asides that, Bamidele has been able to diversify his income from his digital business, thus creating an opportunity for massive growth.
In December 2012, Bamidele launched coaching sessions for writers at about $100 per participant.
In his interview with Naijapreneur, when asked about building a business around what you love, here’s what he said about following your passion:
“I currently have around 3 websites, and I have built several websites before YoungPrePro, but the only reason why YoungPrePro is so successful is because it has my personal, undivided attention. I have spent thousands of dollars on my other sites, but I even fight myself to pay attention and personally monitor them; that’s the importance of passion. You need to monitor every business you invest yourself or resources into, and that’s exactly what passion enables you to do.”
Despite having several websites, he has been able to successfully follow through with what he is really passionate about. That’s the bottom line.
A few pointers from Bamidele Onibalusi’s story
- You don’t need huge funding and expertise to start. Use what you have and what you know.
- Avoid analysis paralysis. Choose a name and get started. Your digital business will evolve over time and you can as well change the name.
- To build online authority and lead your audience, tell them what to do and show them how to do it.
Get all the training you need
Do you also have writing skills? And how does earning from it sound to you?
From Bamidele’s story, he grew his digital business by creating content and directing the readers back to his website. He did all this with a mindset to help people. From there, everything else took off.
Like Bamidele, you too can take your love for writing and helping people to the next level. Let’s make that happen for you.
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