The narrative out there is that Africa is the next frontier for almost everything. And it is true. The question is what young professionals in the continent are doing about it?
In 2019 Mohammad Amir Anwar of the University of Edinburgh estimated that there were 120,000 African workers on Upwork, the continent’s most popular platform—fewer than in the Philippines. Most did NOT seem to be making any money. The situation for tanzanian digital freelancers is grim,
Julius P. Kessy, a digital entrepreneur from Tanzania, does not only speak Swahili, he makes money out of it. He is Tanzania’s top-rated English-to-Swahili translator on Upwork, according to a list posted by the platform. The list featured 27 top-rated EN-SW translators but there were only FOUR Tanzanians and TWELVE Kenyans!.
On why there are far fewer EN-SW Tanzanian freelancers on Upwork compared to Kenyans, Julius had this to say:
“Tanzanian youth need to be proactive. I’ve met clients who believe native Swahili is spoken in Kenya. While the owners of the language “Tanzanians” are sleeping on the opportunity. Tanzanians seeing this should wake up and tap into it.”
Dear young professionals in Tanzania, and Africa, projects are being launched in the continent. Whether you’re a language expert, social media manager, graphic designer, or software developer — you can be part of the growing digital economy in the continent.
Africa is filled with abundance!
Here are Top Five Comments Made On Why There Are Few Tanzanian EN-SW Translators On Upwork.
“We are living in a selfish society where everyone wants to be on top of each other, unlike Kenyans and Nigerians who live in a brotherhood society. Additionally, Tanzanian youth are very lazy. Most do not like to stress themselves by looking for solutions.
For example, I have been sharing tips on Twitter about my experiences using Upwork and other freelancing platforms, as well as how to be successful as a freelancer. What I noticed is that most people need to be taught how to register themselves and cannot take the liberty of even scraping resources from the internet.
We will keep on discussing these things until youth’s mindset changes. It is a shame”.
“Tanzania tatizo letu liko sehemu moja tu ukiachilia mbali “Penye miti mingi hapana wajenzi” – Social platforms tumezifanya ni za kuweka picha zetu na familia zetu, self-recording short clip video, umbea na zaidi kulike page without any piloted plan. Zama hizi tumezifanya za kujiskia kujiposti tu ili watu wa-like picha yako, then what?
Acha tuzidiwe, kujifunza social digital issues hatutaki, wacha tusahabikie Simba na yanga tu Sie… Kama hauamini, nenda insta tangaza kuwa unaanzisha program ya kufundsha digital economy na pia utangaze unagroup la discussion ya kuchambua Mpira wa hapa home uone wateja ni group lipi”.
“As an outsider looking into both Kenya and Tanzania I believe you are misjudging the situation. I have looked for and hired speakers and teachers of Kiswahili and have ended up with only Tanzanians in the shortlist!! Similarly, I have worked in the MSME sector in both Nairobi and DSM and I would not say there is a big difference between micro-entrepreneurs in either country.
Offcourse, I have come across laid-back students and graduates in both countries complaining of lack of government support for ‘ajira’ but in reality, I simply ignore them and move on to talk with those with positive growth mindsets of which there are ample examples in both countries. I make no distinction between KES and TZS or even UGX. I have no experience of Nigeria so I will let others comment on that comparative”.
“I’ve been having hard time understanding how Upwork works somebody please enlighten me, I took an assignment once but I got stuck. Why? simply because as soon as I got into a conversation with the person who posted the assignment it really felt like I was talking to a robot and not an actual person so I decided to quit!”.
How to escape the pool of total unemployment as a student? Let’s dive in;
The only opportunity you have is that you’re young. Take such an opportunity to learn new skills, and learn how to get things done.
It is during this time you have the chance to explore, grow, and seize opportunities that are readily available in the digital economy.
Be responsible for your age and use it as a backbone for learning new or improving your skills, positioning yourself in a way others simply cannot.
One of the most powerful aspects of youth which can not be backed is the ability to adapt and remain flexible in the rapidly changing job market coz the traditional path of obtaining a college degree may not always fit your needs.
Perception of the Current Market.
To tell a little, industries are placing emphasis on practical skills and experience rather than on those certificates. Employers look for those who can solve their problems (service providers), not job seekers and if it matters to you stop looking for a job and improve your skills instead.
Where we are heading, Employers might be employing freelancers whose job is already well known.
If the skills you have don’t match the existing market, changing can be the solution. See the conversation below.
So far, It’s now common to find a graduate eating on the same plate with the one who even doesn’t know how university looks like. The future of youth is threatening if you’re not prepared well.
This means you have the opportunity to break free from the constraints of a narrowly defined career path dictated by college credentials.
Use That Free WI-FI Well.
Let’s say your College provides you with free Wi-Fi yet you’re using it only for downloading movies. Have you already secured your future job? If not, take that opportunity to learn skills which will not only help get employed but also get to employ yourself.
Remember, there are some people who struggle the most to get that time and that free WI-FI you’re playing with.
Make preparations before the sunsets, find fun in yourself, improve it, and taste the flavor of the digital economy and that’s the way of increasing your chances of entering in an industry you have never imagined.
Many successful professionals today are living proof that passion and determination is exciting over formal certifications.
You don’t get to the promised land without going through wilderness – Martin Luther King.
Do not underestimate the impact of small sacrifices and dedicated effort that can have on your future. It is no secret that success does not come without hard work and perseverance. By considering the equation of sacrifice plus effort equals great results, you empower yourself to reach new heights.
The determination to go the extra mile, to put in the extra hours, and to continually challenge yourself, will differentiate you from the crowd. Cut off challenges, push your boundaries, and remain focused on continuous growth. It’s sad to hear, you graduate while you don’t know even the meaning of freelancing.
Gone are the days when success was solely determined by traditional qualifications obtained in college. The contemporary job market is changing at an unprecedented rate, opening doors to virtual opportunities in industries where certification may not be necessary.
People of my tongue says “Mtu amesoma journalism halafu kazi anapewa chawa” which translates to “A person studied journalism and a job is given to a sycophantic person”. Think of it.
Well, I am trying to get to the point, you are a loan beneficiary from the government known by its name “BOOM” use it well, invest in categories where it might help you after ending your studies.
The young generation holds a unique advantage which never come twice. You can break free from arbitrary limitations and forge your unique path to success by taking care of time and the available resource.
Remember, it is through constant learning books, articles, courses, and other related written or wise-spoken context and using skills gained to make things happen. Learning without putting into action is like pushing a wall which doesn’t move.
Some days ago, I talked with a girl, a final-year student from the University of Dar es Salaam. She was curious to know how she could find a job after graduation. She asked me-
How did you cope with the situation after graduation? Did you immediately find your dream job? What’s your story? She wanted to know my journey.
This took me back to the last quarter of 2020 when I was done with my studies and waiting for graduation. I planned to look for an internship and, see if I was lucky to secure my first job.
Until graduation time, I didn’t have any. I was tired of being idle at home with no direction or help.
I said to her, don’t be a graduate who only sends CVs and resumes and waits to be interviewed, to get employed. Be a modern graduate by
Improving your skills.
Don’t limit yourself to permanent employment that aligns with your degree; be flexible to adopt various kinds of jobs that are available depending on your other skills. Henry Bukuru, the founder of Bukuru Tech, used his skills to design websites for different companies and NGOs. He wasn’t employed but used his skills to find a job for himself before and after graduation.
Spending Time Wisely.
After sending applications, don’t spend the entire time waiting to be called for an interview. Instead of watching TV, and movies, and scrolling aimlessly on different social media platforms. Consider attending different graduate training courses where you can learn and get different ideas on how to navigate street life.
Learning Online Digital Marketing Skills.
Digital marketing jobs are the top 10 most demanded skills worldwide. Use that time to learn a skill from YouTube, Coursera, or Google Digital Skills and work as a freelancer as you wait to secure your dream job. David Mollel took a social media management course on Coursera after graduating in 2021. His first role has been working as a social media manager with different NGOs and companies.
Become an affiliate marketer.
Since you don’t have the capital to start your own business, you may become an affiliate marketer. Where you will be helping businesses reach their targeted clients and get paid for a commission.
How will you get clients?
Leverage the power of social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, where you can connect to people directly, market a product, and find clients.
Build a personal brand.
As a result of building my brand on LinkedIn, I was offered the opportunity to work as a freelancer atTanzlite Digital. You have a chance to build a brand for yourself by sharing your skills with the world and connecting with different professionals in and outside your career. I would recommend starting with LinkedIn and expanding to other platforms.
Lastly, I told her to open her mind, be ready to adapt to the different opportunities available, and not limit herself to employment. There are options for finding your first role, which may not necessarily be your professional role.
Are you a web designer and want to be the person people think of when they need a website? Or an Author? Do you provide sound advice on freelancing?
How can you make yourself known for what you’re good at and secure a corner of the digital economy?
The answer is building a personal brand on social media.
In a digital world where social media is part of our lives, successful personal branding is a result of how you present yourself to others, showcasing your skills, expertise, uniqueness, and knowledge in certain areas.
Let’s see the five roles played by social media in successfully building your personal brand.
Amplifying visibility and reach
Social media gives you an audience of 4.9 billion people ready to see what you have. That’s what made it easy for Killy Paul to be seen by Indians and get recognized for his talent. Think about Shilole, who owns Shishi food. Social media has broken the gap in how and where people can see your skills, talents, and expertise.
Content Creation and Curation
Social media gives you the power to create content and present it to your targeted audience. Each social media platform may have preferred content formats, and that requires you to understand which types of content formats work best on each platform.
Sharing Authenticity and Personal Storytelling
We have a lot of experiences in our daily lives that are good to share with others to relate to and learn from each other. Social media allows people to witness your progress from one step to another, thereby connecting and building trust with your audience. Think of Millard Ayo’s story on successful personal branding in the media industry.
Unlock Networking and Connection Opportunities.
Looking to have a chat with like-minded people like your fellow engineers, doctors, or artists? Social media allows you to connect and interact with these people more easily than ever before. This opens a door to different opportunities, as Getrude Mligo proves on Instagram.
Simplifies Engagement and Content Analytics.
How would you feel to have an engagement with a person you admire or look up to as a role model through social media? It makes you feel valued and connected, and it may be the start of building a meaningful relationship. These will help you gain a better understanding of your audience and make some informed decisions while making a content strategy that will help you build a successful personal brand.
It’s the same way you should successfully build your personal brand through your uniqueness, values, and specialty that can’t be found in someone else. That makes you memorable and recognizable for who you are. Don’t be left behind; you have everything it takes to build your own.
Are you a business owner or intending to start one in Tanzania? Know these digital tools that helps in complying your business legally.
And you don’t have to worry about hiring an experienced expert to undertake your business legal compliances such as business registration, applying for a license and payment of taxes.
You can do it yourself easily using your fingers just by clicking and filling legal business forms while your at home or own office. Every serious business will not take this for granted as it reduces cost of operation.
Here are top 3 digital tools to undertake for your smooth business operations
How to register your Business?
Registering a business in Tanzania is made easy under BRELA ORS system where you can access free search for a registered business name or Incorporation, Access industrial Journals or ask for a technical support.
To register a new business name, company or apply for a trade, service mark or changing particulars of your business name or incorporation first you need to create an account with a unique password.
The system preforms multiple functions such as Applying for different licences, renew or asking for licence termination. Note that, Tausi Portal is not applicable to all licences, some are issued under The Ministry of Industry and Trade.
How to Manage Taxes?
The TRA- Taxpayer Portal makes easy for you to apply for TIN, update your business information and file your returns in a convenient way.
After registering your business under BRELA system, your tax information will be directly accessed by TRA. To avoid unnecessary penalties issued by TRA you need to get it quick after receiving your business registration certificate ready to go for TIN number.
TBS Online Portal enables you to submit applications for destination inspection, PVoC, Premise registration, product registration and other online services.
Finally, What I have shared here comes from my personal experience of over 3 years of helping clients to register their businesses, Managing their taxes and other legal compliances for their businesses.
Feel free to contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org or +255764558190, if you need further assistance
“Now, with the internet, you’re either five years ahead or you’re five years behind, and the music game is catchin’ up right now” -Pitbull.
Aisha went from poor, unknown and unemployed girl from Mgololo- Iringa to become the most respected and successful freelancer in Tanzania just after being introduced by Hassan about exploring different career pathways in the digital world with her smartphone.
At the beginning Aisha’s mind was fueled with the notion that by only attaining University Degree at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) everything is over.
As you can be capable of venturing a new business, being employed fast and highly-respected. Guess what? After graduation things fallen apart.
By not forgetting her story, the digital world brought millions of career pathways over the past 20 years, billions of people are using Social Medias for different purposes.
According to Datareportal, as of January 2022, there were 4.9 billion internet users worldwide, approximately 63.2% of the world’s population.
Here a few tips you can learn from Aisha to embark your digital journey
Define Your Digital Goals
Aisha’s success has made her recommends whether you want to showcase your skills, talents, connect with like-minded individuals. You should be active and open minded in such a way other people will recommend you to right networks that will benefit from your talent and skills. Learn more how you can make SMART GOALS here
Identify Your Target Audience
Aisha firstly knew about Facebook and without Facebook, there is no way she could have received a text from Hassan. She gained much interest with LinkedIn as she wanted to become a freelancer. Knowing who are your audience gives you the opportunity to understand where they found and how you can draw their attention.
Choose Your Digital Platforms
Aisha continued her research and strategically digital platforms that aligned with her goals and audience for her personal brand. Through research, Aisha selected LinkedIn, a popular social network platform, creating a compelling online presence that impressed potential employers.
Build Your Online Presence
By Knowing the difference between being on social media and being active on social media creates a good impression for other people to interact with you. A person who is dormant online implies he/she is having enough on her plate or no longer exist.
Network and Collaborate
If you have a blog, website or social media accounts, make sure you create well thought and high-quality contents. Have a strategy to grow the number of your followers and don’t cease seeking insightful advice and motivation from experienced and knowledgeable experts just like Aisha who got advice from Hassan.
Do you want to stay 5 years ahead of time or 5 years back? embrace the power of digital platforms today. That is how you unlock hundreds of possibilities for your personal and professional growth.