Freelancing has helped and still helps people get well-paying jobs- Daud Abiola, Nigeria’s freelancing king

Covid-19 pushed both freelancers and non-freelancers to rethink their objectives, resulting in an increase in overall interest in freelancing. Freelancing is a powerful economic engine that connects talent with opportunities. Flexing is an example. It paves the way for Indian tech freelancers to demonstrate their knowledge to colleagues at major global corporations all around the world.

A Nigerian Freelance Blockchain and Metaverse Writer, Daud Sulaimon Abiola has assisted B2B and technical organizations in developing engaging and riveting copy, killer product descriptions, and converting landing pages over the years.

Abiola earned a bachelor’s degree in geography from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife. He won the Afolabi Ojo Prize for the best graduating student in the department and the Babafemi Ogundana Prize for the finest research thesis in the department as a learner with an insatiable thirst for perfection.

He was a UNIFEMGA scholar who received the UNIFEMGA Graduate Award, as well as the winner of the 2009 Macmilian School Bailout Initiative. He discusses freelancing and the prospects in the field with The Muslim Voice, Nigeria’s Oyebamiji Adesoji Usman.

MV: Where are you from and in what kind of setting did you grow up?

DSA: I grew up in Iseyin, Iseyin Local Government Area of Oyo State. I am from a long line of entrepreneurs and religious leaders, with four generations of Imams before my father. That legacy meant that we do not take knowledge and learning with levity in my family. Fascinatingly, I also grew up in an unusually enterprising ghetto-like environment where we woke up to the flames of Marijuana, air filled with smoke. Particularly in my teen years, I would describe myself as a reclusive youngster in that I was obsessed with technology and computers. That interest filled my time and, as you can see, has proven useful.

MV: What are the requirements and skills to have as a freelancer?

DSA: I have answered this question with more than a million words, published and read by many freelancers on the world’s most active social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This is the response I come back to again and again:

You need a “to-do” attitude to start freelancing. Before you begin learning any skill, it is crucial to determine exactly what you want for yourself. What kind of freelancing business do you want to build? Too many people started freelancing without their ideal life in mind, so they live behind the 8-ball (end up being an average freelancer). An average freelancer works with terrible clients, fights for scraps on upwork and fiverr, and charges low prices. You need an extreme level of focus, creativity, and clarity to get above average results. This starts from being in the right environment, learning sellable skills, and trusting your conviction. Many accidental “gooroos” out there defraud innocent newbies with a 2-hour WhatsApp skill acquisition training (they even issue certificates…scrap that nonsense). As a starter, you have to be a painfully persistent learner that maximizes their deep time. By painfully persistent, I meant it won’t be easy and can be very lonely (this is why you should maximize your deep time). Lastly, every successful freelancer is teachable – they have an open mind to learn and for learning.

MV: As a freelancer, how did you maintain your relationship with your client?

DSA: I think this is where most freelancers get it wrong. When people charged $100 for an article on Fiverr, I charged $400/article. What makes one’s freelancing great? What makes mine special? Where is the magic? If there is a unifying, central question at the heart of every freelancer, this is it. Obsession and its derivatives are often misunderstood. As part of our everyday lexicon, business owners often use it as a whimsical alternative to over-deliver. This is it but includes more. Over-delivering is too normal, too common. In reality, many freelancers don’t over-deliver. It is not just “over-deliver” but the feelings you leave with your clients.

Every successful freelancer cares about understanding their clients and why they are in their current situation/condition. They may say ‘they need a new homepage content,” but what they actually need is improving their customer service. How many freelancers understand this? Few are genuinely obsessed with pleasing their clients to this extent. Those who understand and use it are rewarded with better retention and client affinity – less work with huge pay.

MV: The freelance revolution is large and growing, what’s your take?

DSA: There’s no better place to begin than freelancing when it comes to independence, freedom, and financial flexibility. The opportunity to work with some of the world’s brightest minds, locked in the room with decision makers and founders, may seem grandiose, but in many instances, it’s one of the surest paths to financial freedom in this part of the world. As Nigerians insulate themselves against bad governance, freelancing removes the gatekeepers to wealth. However, the freelancing space is getting increasingly competitive post-COVID19. The Work-From-Home economy is engineering a new ecosystem where a school dropout can found and fund a startup; primary school students now earn thousands of dollars from the corners of their room on their underwear. As rewarding as this sounds, the industry rewards problem solvers, not just service providers. Read that again!

MV: Can freelance offer a way out of poverty for unemployed youths?

DSA: Unemployment is at an all-time high. Depressed graduates. Worn-out employees. Frustrated employers. But magic doesn’t happen with freelancing. Not only does it create and usher in a creator economy, but it has also built an engaging virtual community of DOERS where ideas cross-pollinate. Freelancing has helped and still helps people get well-paying jobs. Some people have used it as a ladder for their “Japa” dream. It is how you see it – a side gig or full-time job (and could be both).

MV: Will freelance platforms continue to add value to freelancers in the future?

DSA: The best bet to start freelancing is through any of the freelancing platforms. Entering the creator economy, many of these freelance job platforms seek to capture influence and attention by removing the entry barriers. It can be cold, frustrating, and lonely as a starter. But with Fiverr,, or Upwork, you can create a profile and land your first gig the next day. And it’s possible not to get a gig for over a year. The majority of people reading this interview will fall in any of these categories. Regarding your question, innovations continue to shift, and these platforms (especially Upwork) are at the forefront of reshaping the future of work. We have seen new and improved developments from Upwork and Fiverr. Interestingly, competition will enhance value-creation when LinkedIn rolls out its full freelancing platform. The future looks great for freelancers.

MV: Tell us one of the major challenges you face as a freelancer from this part of the world?

DSA: “You come from Nigeria, why should we pay you $4k/month”. Even with the global war against racism, racial bias still rocks the space. Although I have worked with many amazing clients, including Sandbox and Coinbase, there are still some elephants disturbing the normal recruitment routine. I have become a modern master of freelancing and weathered many of the storms in the freelancing space. For instance, landing clients is still a problem to many (even among the so-called experienced freelancers) but this happens when you don’t understand human psychology. While not every freelancer needs to understand the underlying protocol of behavioural economics and psychology, understanding sales and marketing is essential. With online gurus saturated, finding a process that works to advance one’s freelancing is like expecting good governance from Naija politicians. Accessing the correct information from the right people is a huge, very huge source of differentiation.

MV: Do freelancers lack a safety net as independents, particularly in developing countries?

DSA: No, they don’t. We can scream about our current situation, but it still doesn’t invalidate the independence. I think it’s one of those perks that attract people to freelancing. People want a job of their own. They want freedom. Although I have seen people tongue-lashing the 9-5 workers, I’m convinced only new freelancers who just got their $87 cleared funds do this. Freelancing can be tiring, soul-zapping, and mentally draining. If you aren’t careful, it will destroy your social contracts with friends.

MV: What are the tools and platforms freelancing beginners should be equipped with?

DSA: The list is endless. No one can give you an exhaustive list of tools and platforms. Best bet is to find what works for you and capitalize on it. Many people joined freelancing when it was scarcely a blip on the world’s radar. These people did most of their tasks manually. With these conditions, they devised an astute strategy, creating optionality on multiple levels. Not everyone will benefit from this approach, but in a market that never sleeps, never slumbers, and the first client is harder to parse, creating optionality can be the differentiating factor between quiet death and outrageous success.


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3 comments on “Freelancing has helped and still helps people get well-paying jobs- Daud Abiola, Nigeria’s freelancing king

Qamardeen AbdulMalik

This is very enlightening. I wish and pray to become a successful freelancer also

Quadri Azeez

Great work!
This is one of the greatest freelance interviews I have read, may Almighty Allah make it easy for every one of us.
Thanks and Barakallahu fee


I really appreciate every truthful utterances from mr daud… May Allah increase you in ikmah.


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