Zimbabweans: Here is how to Generate Income Online

Update: This article has partly been overtaken by events. Upwork has since stopped processing payments to Zimbabweans. I learn’t that the hard way after failing to access money for the work that I had done. Some-overzealous-one over there probably decided that because of the sanctions, Zimbabweans could no longer work on the platform. Which is a pity. The people who the sanctions target would never think to spend hours working for $10 on Upwork. Anyway, I managed to negotiate to have my money released, but that was pretty much the end of a love story. If, however, you can get clients, you can still freelance and get paid through Payoneer. There are also other freelancing platforms such as Freelancer and Guru, so let’s just forget about Upwork. 

You may have noticed that this blog is almost entirely international. That, in case you are wondering, spells the “United States of America.” The Internationalization is despite the fact that I run my site from Zimbabwe. I have been meaning to produce this article to help out my fellow Zimbabweans for quite some time now. However, as things have turned out, I have been a little bit too busy working on my project to spare a few minutes on a sentimental cause. In any case, now that we are here, here is how my fellow Zimbabweans can generate income online through freelancing;

I am no Strive

The one thing that I need to tell you, right from the start, is that I am no Strive. You know, Strive Masiiwa the telecoms mogul? I am just your average Joe who is trying to make seemingly in-existent ends meet.

And there are no get rich quick schemes here. All the ways through which you can generate income online that I give on my blog actually require that you do a lot of work.

The Internet has a bad rap

The one thing that you need to forget right from the onset is the bad rap that the internet has acquired over the years. Most of you will have noticed how not a day goes by without some online scam being exposed somewhere or the other. You only have to read my article on Phishing to find out what I am talking about. However, my tips on how to generate income online are genuine.

Zimbabweans have a rigid frame of mind

The one thing that I have noticed about us Zimbabweans is that we, pretty much, have rigid frames of mind. I mean, there is something that’s severely wrong with our education system. You know how we are constantly bragging that we are at number one in terms of literacy on the continent? Well, that may be true, but the nature of our education leaves a lot to be desired.

A Dearth of Creativity

An important quality that’s lacking in most of us is creativity. I mean the basic Daniel Chingoma kind of creativity. All that most of us can do is regard our often impractical education as the key to the future. And when things turn tough, as they have been over the past few years, we resort to desperation and head down South, where they occasionally roast us in fits of inexplicable barbarity.

Computer Gurus who can’t Compute

Think I am exaggerating? Well, I admit to being a bit extreme in my negative analogies, but I do it for good reason. I have recently met a wide range of young Zimbabweans who have Degrees and Diplomas in Information Technology. However, from what I have been able to find out, I know more I.T than they do. Never mind the fact that I studied English.

Most look at this blog in awe. I mean, blogging is a basic thing. It doesn’t even take ten minutes to create one’s own site. Yet these young men who are fresh out of universities have seemingly no idea what I am doing. I mean, what are they being taught out there?

This situation is, I have to say, prevalent across the board. Take away the means to find a job that’s in line with one’s education, and the first thing that a Zimba will think to do is become a vendor. Now, I am not saying that I have anything against vendors and vending, but, there are other ways of living that offer better returns.

The other time I went to South Africa,there were guys selling Kapfupi DVDs at Park Station. The big question is, why would anyone risk the crocodiles and lynch parties to go and sell pirated DVDs in a foreign country. Why not, if DVD selling is your calling, do it at Mbare Musika or somewhere closer to home?

How to Generate Income Online: The Zimbabwean Edition

Okay, now that I have gotten that off my chest, let us get back to the subject of this story. There are, indeed, a number of ways through which you can generate income online. I have previously written an international version of this article, in which I talk about blogging and ebook writing. These are some of the legitimate ways through which you can generate income online. This article looks at Freelancing, which, without doubt, is a great way though which you can make a living over the internet.


When I started freelancing, I imagined that I was the only one doing it in Zimbabwe. However, as it turned out, I was wrong. There is even a Zimbabwe Online Content Creators Association out there. So, what is Freelancing? Well, in simple terms, freelancing refers to the process by which you get hired to do one job or the other over the internet.

The field, and this is something that Zimbabweans are not aware of, is a multi billion dollar industry. I mean, Freelancing is big business. I do my own freelancing on Upwork. This is a great site through which you can sell a wide range of skills.

The sad thing is that its now difficult for Zimbabweans to sign up for an Upwork account. When I did it, there were no inhibitions. Now the system tells you that you cannot sign up from Zimbabwe because Upwork cannot remit money to you. You know, because of those pesky sanction?

I suppose that if you are really determined, you can just use a South African address. The good news is that there are other great freelancing sites out there, such as Freelancer. I do have to confess that I have never really been able to make it work on Freelancer. There is also Fiverr and many other sites.

Sell-able Skills.

The following are but a few of the skills that you can sell on Freelancing platforms;

  • Content writing
  • Web Development
  • Programming
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Transcription

Freelancing is Actual Work

In fact, there are hundreds of skills that you can sell as a freelancer. Its a good answer to those who are looking at how to generate income online.The thing, however, about Freelancing is that you actually have to be good at what you do in order to be able to pull it off. Freelancing, as I have already stated, is actual work. You are not going to get rich quick this way, but you can make a decent living off it.

You may have already guessed that I personally am a content writer. I can do other things, such as Web Development, SEO and transcriptions but, as you will discover, it is better to stick to what you are best at if you are going to become a freelancer. I have read about guys who tried things that they were only half good at the tasks turned into veritable chores.

How Much can You Make as a Freelancer?

I won’t tell you how much I make as a Freelancer,  but  I can assure you that its better than selling pirate DVDs in South Africa. In fact, I think I would be able to make even more, if I wasn’t a bit lazy. I mean, I have a client who gives me 15 articles once a week that have to be 500 words in length each. They are for his website and, because I have a very high computer typing speed, I can write them all in one day. That’s 15 * $5 in a single day. Imagine if I had one such client every day…The thing is, I have, of late, been working on this blog, so I haven’t been applying for that many jobs on Upwork.

In fact, content writing isn’t even a high paying occupation on Upwork. Along with transcribing, its one of the the least paid professions. I have come across job listings for app development where clients set budgets that are as high as $5000. Its just a pity that Zimbabwean programmers never really go beyond the basic “Hello World.” I mean, I self taught Java and Android Studio and can go a beyond that! Why are our schools, producing graduates who can do no better?


In any case, Zimbabweans should head over to Upwork and try out their luck. If you studied literature, try content writing. I personally write on a wide range of topics. Even if you studied Engineering, there are bloggers out there who are looking for content on those fields. This blog was borne out of my experience on Upwork. I have become an expert in a wide range of fields, including SEO Rank TrackingWeb Hosting, SEO, Digital Marketing and much more. These, along with how to generate money online, are the things that I talk about on this site.

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