Renson Mumbo is an experienced academic writer and a successful self-made entrepreneur and trainer. He runs a team of freelance academic writers in Kenya, who write in various academic disciplines. In this interview we tried to learn more about Ren’s trainings. Hope this article will be useful to all budding freelance academic writers.
1. How did you start your freelance academic writing career?
The journey has not been easy. I was desperate for an online job; hence, searching through Google for the various opportunities available using my old phone in the remote village of Western Kenya. I remember using key words such as “online writing jobs’, “online research writing jobs” among others when I came across international agencies, which were not willing to hire a newbie. Fundamentally, this was an eye opener that it was possible to earn online as I help students in their research work. Thus, I went to Facebook and searched for groups of academic writers in Kenya where I met my first employer, Tom Gichohi, who offered me training on various aspects of academic writing. I must admit that through his agency, I developed skills that make me proud today.
2. Did you work individually or for writing agencies?
I worked for local writing agencies before advancing to international ones. With time, I have established rapport with direct clients.
3. If you worked for writing agencies, can you compare working in different companies (payments, conditions, number of orders, etc.)?
Yes, the above named aspects are variable from one agency to the other; however, most companies have ranks for writers depending on their proficiency, a fact that determines the number of orders and pay per page at different levels. In regards to conditions, most companies have strict rules on their writers while others do not.
4. How and why did you start training academic writers?
Good question, personally, I learned it the hard way with a few resources and no consultants for the same. I also found out that most writers were not willing to share the skills to new entrants. Thus, I started offering free training. However, the number of trainees became overwhelming with most students taking it for granted. My friend and mentor, Walter Akolo advised me to impose a fee, which saw serious trainees come for the service. In essence, if not for one, To Gichohi, to train me, I could not be an academic writer. Therefore, I saw it pivotal to pass the same skills to other upcoming writers.
5. Do you remember your first student?
Yes, Violet Mutua, she now has writing accounts and employs other writers.
6. Do you have a general methodology or an individual approach to every student?
I have general training material for all students. However, I use a varied approach for each student due to differences in one’s needs, location, and ability to grasp the ideas.
7. Describe your writing course (activities, cost, duration, how you find students, etc.)?
I offer training on the following aspects:
The cost for the whole course is $50 for the duration of one week with continued consultation. However, the fee for particular aspects is subject to discussion with the client.
I find students through the online advertisement, referrals, and writing firms.
8. When do academic writing newbies turn to you?
They come when they are referred by previous students, friends, and writing agencies. They also turn up when they find out that their work is of low quality.
9. What are the most typical problems that your students have?
All students have a common problem of using informal language when writing academic papers. As such, I identify for them phrases and words that are used in general writing but prohibited in academic work.
Further, students as well as most experienced writers find challenges in drafting CHICAGO and HARVARD formats.
10. What career guidance tips would you give to newly minted academic writers?
One should take the time to learn new skills through local employers before applying for writing accounts from reputable companies since latter do not compromise on quality issues. Moreover, writers should aim at giving quality work, free from plagiarism. By so doing, one will be assured of a continuous flow of work and guaranteed good pay.
11. What are your plans for the future?
I am looking forward to instituting an online academy that will exclusively deal with the training of new writers as well as consultation on various aspects of the academic field. In addition, having known the challenges new writers have when securing academic writing accounts, I aim at establishing a writing agency that will facilitate employment to my students and serve the needs of clients, which have not been fully covered by the existing companies.
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