With the low level of employment and more people becoming unemployed everyday, it seems that freelance work is the only people will have to rely on. Kenya is becoming a gig economy. The freelance community is growing everyday. In this case, it is more about those people who work online writing articles, academic works, transcribing among others. There are very many people surviving on this in Nairobi and even beyond. Here is checklist that is especially specific to freelancers in terms of renting n Nairobi.
People who work online require places with very little ambient noise. This is especially true for people who do transcription work. They require absolute silence lest they deliver subpar work and lose clients. This also applies to article writers who need utmost concentration to be able to deliver work that is factual and well done. Quiet does not necessarily mean that there should not be children running around in the hallways. It is more about the outside noise. Noise from bars and churches and matatus. Noise from people who are being mugged in the middle of the night is especially unsettling. As an online worker, you can afford to venture deeper into a neighborhood in search of serenity. You will need a house whose environment supports your work.
Online work obviously requires good internet access. This is not to say that you should only choose buildings whose landlords offer this as an amenity in the building. It is to say that you should get easy access. There are two options. The first is by buying subscriptions from any of the telcos. The neighborhood should therefore not be so rural that the network will be unreliable. You could also opt for Faiba (an internet service) or other variations of it. Most people attest that this offers a cheaper option yet delivers high speed and reliable internet. You should check that you can get this service in the area. Lack of access to reliable internet will and should be a deal breaker for anyone who works online.
Online work has seasons. You should find a place where the landlord can allow you to pay your rent a few days late. It would be fine if they institute an interest for late payment as opposed to eviction. You might also require some expensive equipment for your work. Nairobi living is for the vigilant. You should find a landlord who is wiling to bend and let you install better security for your own unit so that you do not lose some of the expensive equipment. As you will realize or maybe already have, conversation can open many doors and soften resolve. Most people are rational human beings so do not be afraid to state your needs.
This really depends on the kind of freelancer you are. Some do not ever need to leave the house for anything. Others however work for local companies doing thigs that vary from influencing to social media strategy. If this is your kind of work then you will need to live someplace where you can respond to client prompts quickly. It is okay to live away from the CBD but if you often need to respond quickly then find a place where you can leave quickly. For this reason you will find that many freelance workers like to live along Thika Road. It is far enough from the bustle but still fairly accessible when there is a time sensitive deal on the table. Other popular places are Kitengela and Langata.
- Low cost of living
Freelance work is generally seasonal. Article writers have peak seasons so do academic writers. Transcription work s a bit different but it still subscribes to the same. This means that there is need to reside some place where the person can still afford even when the season is on a lull. You should find a place where rent will be affordable even in the worst economic times. You should also find a neighborhood where things like food and other amenities do not cost so much that it becomes problematic to afford things when you are off peak season. It is important to make smart financial decisions especially as a freelancer. This means having a bit of a safety net to help you in such times. The landlord will still expect his money regardless of the season.
- Security and safety
Safety is the effort taken to ensure that accidental and non-malicious incidents are managed or prevented. This includes things like frequent power surges. Most landlord employ circuit breakers in the building power system to ensure that the tenants’ electronics are taken care of in case of a power surge. As a freelancer this will be very important for you because you will need your computer protected from something like this. You should also buy a power guard just to add a layer of protection.
Security is the effort applied to prevent malicious incidents. This includes things like theft. Having a high end computer already makes you a target if you live in one of the lower income neighborhoods. The landlord should have measures in place like metal doors and trustworthy caretaker to ensure that the tenants’ properties are well taken care of and protected. As you inspect the security features have this particular component in mind. Some have left their houses for a quick drink only to come back to a burglarized house with their expensive Apple computers gone.
Freelance and online work has become the norm in this country. Many are only now realizing that this is a viable career path. It would therefore not hurt to build rental properties with this group in mind. The house you pick should support your career. You should find yourself a conducive environment. Enjoy the grind!